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Steve Pearce activated from the injured list ahead of series finale in Oakland

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The World Series MVP is back

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Boston Red Sox Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox get a little bit of punch back in their lineup, particularly against left-handed pitching. Steve Pearce, coming off a World Series run that ended with an MVP trophy, missed some time at the end of camp with a leg injury and that carried into the regular season. It was never believed to be serious, but the team opted to take the cautious route and place him on the injured list to start the year. His stay there did not last long, as he joined the team in Oakland prior to Wednesday’s game and has been activated ahead of the series finale on Thursday. To make room on the active roster, Sam Travis has been optioned to Pawtucket.

Getting Pearce back is obviously a big deal for the Red Sox. The offense hit a snag for a bit in Oakland, but even when they’re going well they are better and deeper with Pearce. Against left-handed hitters in particular, the lineup will be more balanced with the 2018 World Series MVP presumably slotting into the third spot. That would move Rafael Devers down a few spots, likely around sixth. On top of that, Pearce’s presence gives Alex Cora a better chance to give everyone rest. Mitch Moreland plays the same position, of course, but Pearce can also slot in as the DH against righties when J.D. Martinez or any of the outfielders need a breather. Cora wouldn’t hesitate to give anyone a day off regardless of circumstance, of course, but Pearce makes the lineup a lot better in their absence. He also gives the team a big righty to come in off the bench to face off against a left-handed reliever late in a game as well. This is good, is what I’m trying to say.

As for Travis, it was always known he was not long for the active roster barring any setbacks in Pearce’s recovery. Travis did get two starts over the first week of the year, going 2-3 in the second game of the year before putting up an 0-4 performance in the fourth game. The former second round pick will likely be up and down all year depending on health on the major-league roster, though he could theoretically be displaced in that role by Michael Chavis at some point.