After the Red Sox squeezed in a pair of trades right before the deadline in which they sent Kevin Pillar to Colorado and Josh Osich to Chicago, they had to fill up the roster with a couple of call-ups. Although many were hoping for names like Jarren Duran and Tanner Houck to come up, it’s not going to be quite that exciting. Oh, and there was a third spot opened up as well with Darwinzon Hernandez hitting the injured list with a sprained SC joint. Taking the three open spots are Yairo Muñoz, Robinson Leyer and Mike Kickham.
Darwinzon Hernandez has a sprained SC joint and will go on the injured list. Sox calling up Jairo Munoz, Robinson Leyer, Mike Kickham.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) August 31, 2020
We’ll start with Hernandez, because this is clearly the biggest piece of this news. One of the few exciting developments for this team over the lats few weeks was the lefty’s return to the roster after his season was delayed. Hernandez tested positive for COVID when players were reporting to camp and thus was late in getting ramped up for the season. That seemingly had an effect on his game, too, as he came to the majors with diminished velocity, sitting around 93 mph with the fastball as opposed to the typical 95-96 mph. That is explained now by the SC joint sprain, which is in the shoulder area. It’s unclear as of now how serious this will be.
As for the call-ups, they should all be expected to be role players. Muñoz was a minor-league signing the Red Sox made right before the transaction freeze in March after he went AWOL on the Cardinals. He makes a lot of sense for this roster as a guy who can play both infield and outfield, joining José Peraza and Tzu-Wei Lin in that role. In 510 career major-league plate appearances he has hit .273/.331/.391 for an OPS+ of 95.
Leyer and Kickham, meanwhile, can both throw multiple innings out of the bullpen. Leyer was a minor-league signing picked up midway through last season and he threw 23 2⁄3 innings at Portland with a 2.66 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 17 walks. Kickham was signed to a minor-league deal over the offseason. He’s pitched 30 1⁄3 innings at the major-league level, though that came back in 2013 and 2014 when he pitched to a 10.98 ERA. The righty spent last season as a swingman at Triple-A in Miami’s system and he pitched to a 4.27 ERA over 86 1⁄3 innings.