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Henry Owens highlights first round of Red Sox roster cuts

Boston’s spring training roster is slimming down, with a few pitchers leading the cuts.

New York Mets v Boston Red Sox Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Red Sox announced their first round of roster cuts for the spring. It’s always a strange day in camp, as most of the players in the first round weren’t expected to make the Opening Day roster anyway. Despite that, it always sucks to be cut even when you knew it was coming. Here’s a look at the players who will be sent to minor-league camp.

Henry Owens

The biggest name of this round of cuts is clearly Owens, who was no guarantee to be cut this early. He was fighting for the top depth option in Pawtucket’s rotation, but couldn’t show enough in spring to continue that battle. Owens continues to struggle with control, and he’s considering a change to his mechanics to help with that issue. Hopefully some work against minor-league competition will help boost his confidence and get him back on the right track. He likely possesses the highest ceiling among the depth options.

Brian Johnson

Johnson, meanwhile, is coming back from what was a lost year that involved ailments both mentally and physically. He’s in a better state of mind this year, which is a positive regardless of his results. Unfortunately, those results haven’t been great. According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Johnson is searching for the optimal arm slot that he lost last season. If he can do that, he’ll certainly get a handful of starts in Boston this season.

Brandon Workman

Workman is coming off a major injury that has caused him all of 2015 and most of 2016. He is working this spring to get back to the majors for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. The righty has done pretty well considering how much time he’s had off, striking out six and walking three in seven innings of work against Grapefruit League competition. He was never going to make it on the Opening Day roster without at least a few injuries, but if he can show his old self is still in there he’ll be a big part of the bullpen for the latter part of the upcoming season.

Junior Lake

Lake was an offseason minor-league signee who was always going to serve as a break-in-case-of-emergency option in the outfield. Given Pawtucket’s lack of outfield talent, though, that looked moderately likely until the team claimed Steve Selsky off waivers. Still, Lake has some talent that he showed in his rookie year in Chicago back in 2013, though he’s never come close to that level since. He hit .235/.409/.235 in 22 Grapefruit League plate appearances.

Rafael Devers

Devers is the most exciting player who was cut from the big-league roster on Tuesday, although this was always a given. Since he’s never played above High-A, he was obviously not going to make the team out of camp. Still, there’s an outside chance he could be put on the fast track and come up late in the season, particularly if Pablo Sandoval struggles and the other third base options don’t play up to the position. Devers didn’t have a great camp, hitting just .136/.208/.236 in 24 plate appearances. Still, just getting him somewhat acclimated to the major-league clubhouse and lifestyle justified his presence for the start of camp.

Jordan Procyshen

Like Devers, Procyshen is a prospect who was never going to make the team out of camp. Unlike Devers, Procyshen isn’t a highly touted prospect with a good likelihood of making a big major-league impact. That being said, he’s a strong defensive catcher and we all know that those guys can make solid careers as backups. He’ll start the year with Devers at Double-A Portland.