The Red Sox are still going without any external help for the bullpen for the time being, and the big news this week was that Nathan Eovaldi would be coming back from his injury in a relief capacity. That seems to be the headliner coming to help internally, but the Red Sox will get another key piece back on Thursday. Heath Hembree has been activated from the injured list ahead of the series finale in Toronto. To make room on the active roster, Trevor Kelley was optioned.
The #RedSox today reinstated RHP Heath Hembree from the 10-day injured list.— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 4, 2019
To make room on the active roster, the club optioned RHP Trevor Kelley to Pawtucket following last night’s game.
Hembree is not really a fan favorite as his entire Red Sox career has been very uneven, but before his injury he was one of the more stable members of this relief unit. That’s relative and of course a low bar, but it is what we are dealing with. The righty does have a very nice 2.51 ERA through his first 31 appearances, but he also has a 3.91 FIP to go with it. Hembree is getting a lot of strikeout at 11 per nine innings, but he’s struggling with control at nearly four walks per nine. He’s also allowing more balls in the air than ever before, which is saying something because he’s always been more of a fly ball pitcher. He should head right back to his role with guys like Marcus Walden and Brandon Workman late in games.
As for Kelley, the sidearmer gets sent right back down after just being called up. He has had a great season in Pawtucket, but he’s a good example of the issues with scouting the statline. Kelley had a very tough major-league debut when he allowed three runs in his one inning of work on Tuesday. That’s not to say that outing is indicative of his true-talent either, however, and he should get another shot at least in September, if not sooner.