Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez each played a big role in keeping the Blue Jays off the board enough on Tuesday to help the Red Sox win a 15-inning affair. For their reward, both will be sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket. Replacing them on the roster will be Kyle Martin and Ben Taylor.
Red Sox make it official: Johnson and Velazquez down, Ben Taylor and Kyle Martin up.— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) July 19, 2017
Optioning both Johnson and Velazquez isn’t a huge surprise, as they both threw multiple innings in Tuesday’s game and won’t be available for at least a couple of days. Now, they can go back on a normal schedule and Velazquez can go back to starting games. They were both very solid in that game — Velazquez especially — and are proving that they represent reliable rotation depth in the event of an injury.
As for the two new guys, they can’t be expected to provide the same kind of workload, but both can likely work a couple innings if needed and have the talent to help the bullpen while they’re up. Taylor, of course, has already been up with the Red Sox this season. The righty made the Opening Day roster, and was impressive while he was up. He served as a long reliever and kept the team in some games that could have easily been blowouts. That being said, he was much better in early in the season and a rough month of May led to a 6.59 ERA for him on the season in the majors. He did strikeout more than a batter per inning, but suffered from lapses in command. The 24-year-old missed some time in the middle of the year and has only thrown 9 1⁄3 innings in Pawtucket this season.
Martin, meanwhile, will be making his major-league debut if/when he is able to make it into a game during this stint with the Red Sox. He was, however, already on the 40-man roster after being added as a Rule 5 eligible player this past winter. The righty has been solid in 38 innings at Triple-A this season with a 3.79 ERA and 35 strikeouts to go with 17 walks. I wouldn’t expect Martin, a former ninth round pick, to pitch in any high-leverage situations, but he can work some early innings if he’s needed. John Farrell expects Martin to be able to give him 40-50 pitches if that is what’s called for.
Kyle Martin can give the Red Sox 40-50 pitches, Farrell says on @WEEI.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 19, 2017
This move maintains the roster imbalance on the Red Sox roster. They are still left with only lefty in the bullpen in Fernando Abad and have 13 pitchers to 12 position players. This suggests another move for a position player can be expected at some point in the near future. Whether that comes from a trade or a simple promotion remains to be seen.