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Mitch Moreland activated off the injured list; Marco Hernandez optioned

A bit of a surprise in the corresponding move.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have made a roster move prior to Tuesday’s game in Tampa Bay, getting the return of one of their key players from early in the season. The return of said player is not a surprise as it was indicated on Monday that he’d be activated off the injured list. The corresponding move had not been announced yet, though. It was announced today, however, and it comes as a surprise. The non-surprise: Mitch Moreland was activated off the 10-day injured list. The surprise: Marco Hernandez was optioned to Pawtucket to make room on the active roster.

We’ll start with Moreland, who has been out since June 7 with a quad injury. That June 7 game was his only game after being activated off the injured list with a previous ailment, too, so he hasn’t really been a consistent part of this roster since May. It’s easy to forget now since it was so long ago and since the stretch was so disappointing for the team, but Moreland sort of carried the team to the few wins they did get early on in the year. The veteran hit for big power and had a lot of clutch homers and doubles in that stretch. On the year he is hitting .225/.316/.543 in 174 plate appearances. He just finished a quick rehab assignment in Pawtucket in which he went hitless in three games, but clearly the team isn’t worried about that.

The more interesting and honestly perplexing part of this is Hernandez being optioned. There were two other options to make room on the roster that I think most of us were expecting. They could either place Michael Chavis on the injured list as he’s been out a couple days with back spasms and is not starting on Tuesday either. If they decided against that, it seemed logical to send Sam Travis down. Instead, they option Hernandez who has been impressive in a backup infielder role. This leaves the roster with three guys — Moreland, Chavis and Travis — who are primarily first basemen and leaves Brock Holt as the only true middle infielder besides Xander Bogaerts on the roster. I can’t really figure a way to justify this. It’s a bizarre, bizarre move. Hernandez will pretty certainly be back at some point and likely relatively soon. Remember, though, that he cannot be brought back up for ten days unless someone is placed on the IL.