The Red Sox have optioned Noe Ramirez to Triple-A Pawtucket, recalling Heath Hembree as his replacement.
It was only going to be a matter of time before the Red Sox made a move in the bullpen. While it was Koji and Kimbrel who came up short on Monday, the team has proven reluctant to turn to anyone but their top-three guys except when absolutely necessary. And mostly with good reason. Ramirez, along with Tommy Layne and Robbie Ross Jr., have all struggled in the early going.
Ramirez' results, though, are easily the worst. He's allowed runs in four of his six appearances, with 13 baserunners reaching in just over seven innings. The Red Sox, frankly, just don't have to live with that this year. There's no guarantees at Pawtucket, but there's plenty of options with the potential to be better, and Ramirez still has options left. For today, Hembree is the man who gets the call. And it's hard to say he's not earned it. It's still early, but Hembree has made great use of what opportunities he's gotten thus far, striking out nine batters in five innings of two-hit baseball. He's always been a guy whose potential has outpaced his production. The Sox are hoping this is a sign that things are finally changing.
If Hembree doesn't work out, though--or if the Sox want to move on from one of their other relievers--there's still plenty of names worth considering, with Edwin Escobar and Anthony Varvaro in particular off to strong starts down below.