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Red Sox place Bobby Poyner on the disabled list, recall Marcus Walden

A little shuffling in the bullpen

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox were forced to go deep into their bullpen on Wednesday when David Price left after just one inning with a strange tingling sensation in his throwing hand. The good news is that the team is apparently optimistic about Price and he’s not going for an MRI for now. The bad news is that they still need some fresh arms in the bullpen. They will get that in the form of Marcus Walden, but apparently the cost will be Bobby Poyner going to the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

At first glance, I couldn’t blame anyone for thinking this is just a phantom DL stint to get Walden back up in a bullpen in need of fresh arms. The righty, of course, was just demoted to Pawtucket earlier this week, and without an injury he wouldn’t be allowed back on the active roster for ten days. However, Poyner did get visited by the training staff during his two innings of work on Wednesday, though he was deemed okay to stay in the game. Furthermore, it’s not as if Walden was their only long relief option. Justin Haley, Chandler Shepherd or Roenis Elias all could have reasonably been called up if they didn’t want to put anyone on the disabled list. This isn’t to say it’s definitely not a phantom DL stint — I have no idea! — but there’s at least some reason to believe it’s real.

Obviously, it’s not good if it is a real issue, because Poyner has been mostly impressive as a surprise member of the Opening Day roster. The southpaw certainly isn’t overpowering, and you don’t want him playing a super important role in a bullpen, but he has shown that he can definitely carve out a role in the majors. Despite lackluster stuff including a fastball that tops out at 90-91, there’s some real deception with Poyner’s pitches and major leaguers just haven’t figured it out. All of this is to say that hopefully this isn’t anything major and the lefty can get back in the mound sooner rather than later.

As it stands, the Red Sox now are back to just having one lefty in their bullpen with Brian Johnson. He has thrown 37 and 28 pitches over the last two days, too, so it’s reasonable to expect they’d like to give him the day off today. That means Walden, who was scheduled to start for Pawtucket on Thursday, will serve as the long reliever if they need one, with Hector Velazquez slated to start on Saturday. Hopefully, they won’t need a long reliever.