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Robbie Ross activated from disabled list; Ben Taylor optioned to Pawtucket

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Robbie Ross is over the flu.

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Red Sox Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Before we got a chance to see Robbie Ross out of the bullpen this season, he succumbed to the flu and his case was so bad that he was placed on the disabled list for ten days. Now, thankfully, the reliever is over it and is coming back to the majors on his first day of eligibility:

He’s not completely rusty, having thrown an inning in a rehab appearance with Pawtucket on Wednesday night. It was a perfect 1-2-3 inning, though there were no strikeouts involved.

Ross is among the most underrated relievers on the roster, and with Joe Kelly starting to lose any momentum he had towards a high-leverage spot, the spot behind Matt Barnes in the bullpen is up for grabs. Heath Hembree is probably still the favorite for that role, but he still isn’t all that trustworthy against left-handed hitters. Ross, on the other hand, is a southpaw who can get both righties and lefties out. He won’t be trusted with a big role right away after missing the first eight games of the season, but I suspect he’ll work his way into a high-leverage role soon enough.

As for Taylor, he is just on the bad end of having minor-league options. He was something of a savior on Wednesday, throwing almost 70 pitches in 3 23 innings of mop-up duty after Steven Wright’s disaster. That performance helped prevent Farrell from totally killing his bullpen, with Kelly likely being the only pitcher in the bullpen who will be unavailable on Thursday.

Unfortunately, that kind of outing also makes Taylor unavailable for a few days, and the Red Sox need bullpen arms who can pitch. So, for now he gets stashed in Pawtucket where he has to stay for at least ten days unless someone else gets placed on the disabled list. This buys Fernando Abad a little more time. He made his first appearance of the year on Wednesday, and was perfectly mediocre. If Taylor pitches well in Pawtucket and Abad continues to be like this, those two could be swapped out by the end of the month.