Overall, Wednesday was a very good game for the Red Sox as they won their third in a row against the Phillies. Unfortunately, there was some bad news early on the contest when Brian Johnson left early with shoulder discomfort. He said after the game that he wasn’t too worried about the injury, but it’s apparently bad enough that he’ll have to miss some time. On Thursday the southpaw was placed on the 10-day disabled list, with Austin Maddox being called up to take his roster spot.
The Red Sox have placed Brian Johnson on the 10-day disabled list and selected Austin Maddox from Triple-A Pawtucket.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) June 15, 2017
This is obviously a tough break for both Johnson and the Red Sox. The pitcher had a rough third inning in Philadelphia, but was looking good early on and it stands to reason that the shoulder contributed to his struggles in his final frame. It seems like Johnson has had some sort of setback at every point his career is looking up. Hopefully this is only a short-term injury, because he doesn’t deserve all of the issues he has dealt with over his career.
In the meantime, one would have to believe Hector Velazquez will be taking Johnson’s rotation spot. The righty did very well in relief on Wednesday, throwing 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings in Philadelphia. Obviously, the Phillies don’t have the best lineup in the league by any stretch, but it was a clear step up from Velazquez’ major-league debut in Oakland last month.
It’s unclear how long that rotation spot will be open. Of course, we don’t yet know the full extent of Johnson’s injury. For all we know they will only need Velazquez for a couple of turns through the rotation. There’s also Eduardo Rodriguez, who should be ready to throw off the mound again relatively soon. He’s probably still a month away from returning, but he has been progressing more quickly than expected, so perhaps he’ll continue that pace and return sooner than we originally thought.
With Velazquez now moving to the rotation, the Red Sox also needed someone to fill his short-term slot in the bullpen. That spot will go to Maddox. The righty was not on the 40-man roster, and to clear a spot for him there the team transferred Roenis Elias to the 60-day disabled list.
Maddox just turned 26 last month and was a third round pick back in 2012. He began the season in Portland but was promoted and has made eight appearances in Pawtucket. He has a 1.35 ERA against Triple-A competition with eight strikeouts and five walks in 13 1⁄3 innings of work. He features a low-to-mid 90’s fastball, a slider and a changeup, all of which are average-to-below-average offerings.
This move still leaves the Red Sox with 13 pitchers, so there is probably another move coming in the next few days to get the roster back to balance. Maddox would be the most logical arm to send down if/when they decide to make such a move.