The Red Sox bullpen had started to get back towards normalcy, over the last week or so with the returns of Brian Johnson and Hector Velázquez. The former is in the rotation, of course, but as we saw on Tuesday some extreme situations can change that. Velázquez, though, was activated from the injured list ahead of this series in Minnesota and made his first appearance since coming back on Tuesday. The righty allowed a game-tying home run to the first batter he faced, but after that he settled in well and tossed four innings in the marathon game. However, he left earlier than the team had hoped and was clutching at his back. So, it’s no surprise then that Velázquez is heading back to the injured list after just the one appearance. Josh Smith comes up to take his spot.
Prior to tonight’s game against the Twins, the #RedSox placed RHP Hector Velázquez on the 10-day IL with a low back strain.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 19, 2019
To fill Velázquez’s spot on the 25-man roster, the club recalled RHP Josh Smith from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Really, there’s not a whole lot to say about this. Velázquez is far from the best or most exciting pitcher on this Red Sox roster, but he has generally held down the long relief/swingman role well over the past couple of years. Going to Smith is a downgrade. That said, some sort of move was always going to be made today. Boston has a day off on Thursday, but their bullpen has been used like crazy in recent days even before Tuesday’s 17-inning affair. They needed a fresh arm, and preferably one that could provide length. That’s exactly what they’re getting with Smith.