The Red Sox and Yankees are currently getting set up in London for their historic two-game series across the pond that starts on Saturday. This is obviously an unprecedented series, and as a result MLB has allowed a little extra leeway for the two teams in terms of their roster. Both sides will be allowed to carry a 26th man on their active roster for the series, with the specification that it must be a position player. Additionally, both teams can bring two extra players on top of the 26 active players who can be added to the roster at any point. Obviously, if someone gets hurt in the first game it would be tough to call up a guy from Triple-A to replace them on the roster.
Alex Cora told the media who will be serving these roles for the upcoming weekend and joining the team abroad in England. Sam Travis will serve as the 26th man while Hector Velázquez and Óscar Hernández will be on the “taxi squad.”
The Red Sox really didn’t have a whole lot of options for that 26th man given the injuries they are dealing with at the moment. Of the position players not on the active roster but on the 40-man, Steve Pearce and Tzu-Wei Lin are the two most appealing but neither is ready to come back to the majors right now. Mitch Moreland is not currently playing games. That leaves Travis, Hernández and Joey Curletta, and at that point it’s a no-brainer to add Travis. He will almost certainly not start either game, but can provided a right-handed bat off the bench. That could come in handy given Aroldis Chapmand and Zack Britton at the back of New York’s bullpen.
As for the “taxi squad,” the choices were a little more interesting. At least for the pitcher. Hernández was an obvious choice here, because the Red Sox couldn’t take a chance with only having two catchers in London. He provides insurance in case either Christian Vázquez or Sandy León get hurt in the first game. As for Velázquez, the Red Sox had plenty of options for the pitchers. They went with the guy with the most experience. Velázquez is currently on the injured list, but he is eligible to be activated on Saturday. There’s a chance he could be activated for the first game, in which case whoever he replaced on the roster would move over to the reserve portion of the roster.