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Red Sox call up Roenis Elias, option William Cuevas

Having used up their William Cuevas bullet (on their own foot), the Red Sox turn to Roenis Elias for bullpen help.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston bullpen shuffle continued Friday afternoon as the Red Sox sent William Cuevas down to Triple-A Pawtucket, replacing him with Roenis Elias.

Elias, at the moment, falls into a swingman role, but will almost certainly be asked only for relief while he's in Boston. Henry Owens still seems very much to be in line for Sunday's start in place of Joe Kelly, and the Red Sox are not in a position to leave a roster space unused given the state of the bullpen.

For his part, Elias will at least be an interesting long-relief option as compared to Cuevas, who is the sort of guy you were hoping to never see for reasons you might have figured out when those hopes were dashed on Thursday. He's gotten off to a bit of a shaky start in Pawtucket, walking seven batters in nine innings, but that seems to just be kind of the norm for the Paw Sox these days. Included in the Wade Miley trade along with Carson Smith, he has 3.97 ERA in 279 major league innings, certainly making him the more experienced option.

Really, if Elias manages to find a chance to pitch over the next couple of days, he could well be auditioning not for a long-term bullpen spot, but for a place in the rotation. As much as Henry Owens is the first choice for Kelly's spot, the Red Sox can hardly claim to have a sure thing there. And after Owens, you don't have to go far to get to Elias in the pecking order. If he impresses now, John Farrell and co. will surely remember it if the time comes where yet another new starter is needed