The Red Sox bullpen has been one of they keys to their success so far this year, and really for the past couple of months it’s been a core group of six guys who have carried the load. Now, they’re going to be down a man in that core with a bit of a surprise injury. The team announced prior to Friday’s game against the Yankees that they are placing Hirokazu Sawamura on the 10-day injured list with right tricep inflammation. Phillips Valdez comes back up from Worcester to take Sawamura’s spot in the bullpen.
The #RedSox today placed RHP Hirokazu Sawamura on the 10-day IL due to right tricep inflammation (retro to July 20).— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 23, 2021
To fill Sawamura’s spot on the active roster, RHP Phillips Valdez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.
Sawamura has been a very steady member of this bullpen for most of the year. There was a little bit of an adjustment when the season first started, but he’s settled in nicely and used his splitter to keep batters off-balance on a consistent basis. On the season, he’s pitched to a 2.87 ERA over 38 appearances and 37 2⁄3 innings, striking out 44 and walking 18. As the tweet above indicates, the move is retroactive to July 20, so he is going to be eligible to return right around the end of the month.
In the meantime, Valdez comes back up after first going down to the minors back in early June. Prior to being sent down, he had pitched to a 4.24 ERA over 23 1⁄3 innings, striking out 21 and walking 12. In Worcester, Valdez has allowed four runs over 10 2⁄3 innings with 14 strikeouts and six walks. The righty can pitch multiple innings if needed, and will likely serve in a similar role to that of Brandon Workman and Yacksel Ríos, in more of a supporting role behind the main core.