It occurred to me that we call this series the Daily Red Sox links, but then we skip two days of the week. No more! We’ll be bringing you some link dumps on the weekends now as well, at least during the regular season. No promises during the offseason when nothing is happening. I’m going to take care of these most of the time, and many of the editions are going to be the old version of the Links where it’s just a straight link dump. It’s still the weekend, which happens to be the busiest time of the week for me at my day job, ya know? Sometimes, if there’s a short-form topic I feel like tackling, I’ll go with Phil’s new format that he’s rolled out during the week. (His new format rules, by the way.) Anyway, today is one of those days.
The big suspension news for the Red Sox on Friday came in the form of Steven Wright getting a 15-game ban from the league for his domestic violence incident from earlier in the winter. That wasn’t the only suspension that came through, though. Oscar Hernandez, a catcher who the team signed to a minor-league deal this winter, was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse. Before we get into what this means for the Red Sox, we should probably take a second to recognize that MLB regularly suspends minor-league players for drugs of abuse — which can include weed, for what it’s worth — longer than they suspend those involved in domestic violence incidents. Do with that what you will.
As far as how this affects the Red Sox, it’s obviously not a major game-changer for the team, but it is something to monitor. If you’ll recall, the Red Sox lost another high-minors catcher to a long suspension when Jake Romanski was suspended for 100 games for his second positive drug test. Boston, to be fair, is in a unique situation with its catching depth as its planning to carry three major-league caliber catchers, so even an injury to a backstop wouldn’t lead to a call-up to a catcher. If disaster strikes and two catchers go down, though, they get into a murky situation. Of course, that would probably be the case for just about every team in baseball.
As it stands now, Dan Butler represents the top depth option that will not start the year in the majors, and things are less clear after that. If the team wants to remain with what they already have in the organization, I would assume Jordan Procyshen would move up to Triple-A with Austin Rei taking a larger role in Double-A. That still leaves one hole — whether it be at Triple-A if they decide to keep Procyshen in Portland or in Double-A — so expect the Red Sox to make a minor acquisition between now and the start of the minor-league season.
Alex Speier has a look at the youth movement around the league. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)
When the Red Sox need some speed late in games, who are they going to call upon as a pinch runner? (Rob Braford; WEEI)
He hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since his injury, but Drew Pomeranz threw in a minor-league game on Friday and felt good. (Christopher Smith; Masslive)
The Red Sox are emphasizing aggressiveness this year, and Rafael Devers is taking it to heart. (Sean McAdam; Boston Sports Journal)