The Red Sox have gotten surprisingly strong contributions from their bullpen this season, but they just lost one of their key relievers. Prior to Saturday’s game against the Yankees, Boston placed Joe Kelly on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. Brandon Workman has been recalled from Pawtucket to take his place on the roster.
Joe Kelly to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Brandon Workman recalled.— Chad Jennings (@chadjennings22) July 15, 2017
Kelly has been arguably the second-best reliever in this bullpen after Craig Kimbrel and should probably be the primary setup man for the Red Sox. They’ve been trying to take it easy with the former starter, though, and haven’t been using him on back-to-back days. John Farrell was hoping to lift that restriction soon, but instead they will lose Kelly for an undetermined amount of time. Hamstring injuries can be tricky, and there’s a wide range of possible return dates.
This leaves a void in the back of the Red Sox bullpen. Matt Barnes has been better than many give him credit for, but he’s also prone to lapses in control and isn’t an ideal candidate for regular high-leverage spots. The same can be said for Heath Hembree and Robby Scott due to their platoon splits. This injury, in my view, makes it more likely that Boston will go after a reliever before the trade deadline barring major progress from Carson Smith in the next week or so.
Meanwhile, Workman has certainly earned another shot in the majors but was being held back by a lack of opportunity in the unit. The righty has tossed 29 innings across 18 outings in Pawtucket this season and has pitched to a 1.55 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 13 walks. Workman was originally supposed to be called up as the team’s 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader. As of this writing it is unclear who will now take that roster spot for tomorrow.