The Red Sox have officially placed Joe Kelly on the 15-day disabled list, replacing him and Marco Hernandez (optioned back to Pawtucket) with relievers William Cuevas and Noe Ramirez. Edwin Escobar was designated for assignment to make room for Cuevas on the 40-man roster.
Ramirez was just optioned to Pawtucket the other day to make room for Heath Hembree, who took on much of the work that Kelly left the bullpen after leaving Tuesday's game in the first. Usually, the Red Sox would be unable to bring him back so soon, but with Kelly going on the disabled list, the Sox are free to recall him well before the usual time limit.
Cuevas, 25, is actually a starting pitcher, and not the one you'd expect the Red Sox to call up with Joe Kelly hitting the disabled list. Realistically, though, he's not here for long, and will not be starting in Kelly's place. Instead, with their bullpen so battered after Tuesday's game, Cuevas is protection against the need for another long night of relief pitching. If the Sox need four or five innings in an ugly game, they can turn to him to preserve the more important arms.
Don't expect Cuevas to stick around for long, though. He'll likely get sent back down when Kelly's spot in the rotation comes again, with Brian Johnson or, more likely, Henry Owens coming up to take that start.
Really, the most surprising thing in all this is that Heath Hembree doesn't end up back in Pawtucket as the sacrificial lamb after Tuesday's game. The reliever who takes on way more than should be asked of them and is repaid with a quick trip to the minors is a sad story that's repeated far too often. That they're sticking with him suggests they really liked what they saw on Tuesday (and for good reason). Don't be surprised if Hembree starts getting a chance at some semi-important innings in the days to come if the roster situation allows him to remain in Boston.