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Red Sox activate Danny Santana, designate Austin Brice for assignment

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The expected roster shuffle.

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Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Since late in spring training, it seemed like the Red Sox were totally intent on getting Danny Santana on the roster at some point. A foot infection pushed back the timeline a bit, but he started playing earlier this month when the minor-league season kicked off, and it was all but certain he’d be up on the active roster, and sooner than later. The expectation was that he’d be called up for Friday’s game to start off Boston’s three-game series against the Phillies, and that’s exactly what happened. Santana was officially added to the roster before first pitch — and he’s leading off the game — with Austin Brice being designated for assignment to make room on both the active roster as well as the 40-man.

As for Santana, well, we’ve known this was coming so we’ve talked about him a bit. The veteran has been mostly well below-average at the plate over his career, but he’s had a couple of big years at the plate, including in 2019. That is the biggest point in his favor if you’re looking for a reason to be excited about him.

It was always expected that Brice would be designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man as well. The righty has struggled mightily in a mop up role this year, pitching to a 6.94 ERA over 11 23 innings with nine strikeouts and six walks, plus four more batters hit. There’s a decent chance he will clear waivers anyway, likely remaining in the organization as depth in Worcester.

The only real question around this decision was whether or not another pitcher would come up with Michael Chavis or Franchy Cordero also being optioned. The Red Sox have been rolling with a three-man bench all season, and they haven’t seen particularly interested in changing that. This move does just that, though, and I’d guess the recent injury to Eduard Bazardo played into that decision as well.

But for now, the Red Sox are going to see what Santana can provide on this roster, and they’re throwing him right into the fire right away, leading off against Aaron Nola, one of. the best pitchers in the game.