The Red Sox announced on Wednesday that they optioned Roenis Elias to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he can continue to stay stretched out as a starter. It also means that relievers Matt Barnes and Noe Ramirez are both going to be on the Opening Day roster. In fact, we now know the entire Opening Day roster for the Red Sox, as this was the final battle for a spot on the 25-man left this spring.
With Eduardo Rodriguez, Carson Smith, Brandon Workman, and Christian Vazquez on the disabled list to begin the year and Elias now at Triple-A, the Sox finally narrowed things down to the 25 players allotted them on the big-league roster. The roster makes about as much sense as it can right now with those injuries, too.
The Sox will, of course, keep David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, and Joe Kelly in the rotation. Steven Wright will join them while Rodriguez is on the disabled list -- combine Wright as a starter with Smith's absence, and you've got a bullpen of Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross, Tommy Layne, Barnes, and Ramirez.
The lineup and bench have been set since David Murphy officially opted out and was granted his release earlier in the week, but for the sake of completion: the starting nine will include Blake Swihart, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, one of Pablo Sandoval or Travis Shaw, Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts. The bench will have the other of Shaw or Sandoval, as well as Ryan Hanigan, Brock Holt, and Chris Young.
So, there you go. It's not the 25-man the Red Sox wanted for Opening Day, as that included both Rodriguez and Smith, but Ramirez isn't a bad option for this kind of situation given he can be sent back-and-forth between the majors and minors, and Barnes could use another chance in the pen, anyway. Elias staying stretched out is the best idea for the Sox in the long run, as he might be a better temporary option than Henry Owens at this point, and Brian Johnson still needs to prove that his elbow is in a good place where it will stay.
The last major question is whether it will be Sandoval or Shaw at third base on Opening Day, but if you had to bet, you should put that money down on Sandoval. Shaw will get his chances to take the job, and you know John Farrell won't give Sandoval infinite chances to keep it, but Opening Day is just so soon. Who knows, though? Maybe the exhibition series in Montreal against the Blue Jays will tell us for sure who we can expect at the hot corner.