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Red Sox place Rodriguez on family leave list

Kelly returns from his suspension to help bolster bullpen
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Following a 13-inning loss to the Royals on Tuesday night, the Red Sox had a couple of bullpen reinforcements for Wednesday afternoon's game.

Right-hander Joe Kelly, arguably the team's top setup man, returned from his six-day suspension. The team also called up Marcus Walden from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill the roster spot of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was placed on the family medical leave list.

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BOSTON -- Following a 13-inning loss to the Royals on Tuesday night, the Red Sox had a couple of bullpen reinforcements for Wednesday afternoon's game.

Right-hander Joe Kelly, arguably the team's top setup man, returned from his six-day suspension. The team also called up Marcus Walden from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill the roster spot of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was placed on the family medical leave list.

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A player must remain on the family medical leave list for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven days.

Rodriguez would be eligible to return for his next start, which is scheduled for Saturday night against the Rangers in Arlington.

"Hopefully, he can be back with us sooner rather than later," manager Alex Cora said before Wednesday's series finale against the Royals.

Asked if Rodriguez would miss his next start, Cora said, "Hopefully not."

Getting Kelly back is a good thing for the Red Sox, who have played with a 24-man roster the last six games -- some of which have included abbreviated performances by the starting pitcher.

"It wasn't easy," Cora said. "At this level, playing with one man down is tough. As you guys saw, we had to use certain guys more than usual -- [Heath Hembree] and [Brian Johnson], those two. It's a tough one because you're managing the game, where you're at. You never want to be in that situation. You don't want to be in that position. But it is what it is. Obviously, the starting pitching hasn't been as great as early in the season. We haven't had too many long outings. The bullpen was taxed and we paid the price."

This is Walden's third stint with the Red Sox this season. In the first two, he posted a 4.91 ERA in seven outings. Walden spent 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues before making his MLB debut against the Rays at Tropicana Field on April 1.

Cora still 'comfortable' with catching tandem
Though the Red Sox haven't gotten much offense out of their catching tandem of Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon, Cora will stick with them for now rather than integrating utilityman Blake Swihart into the catching mix.

Video: KC@BOS: Vazquez lines an RBI single to left in 13th

"As of now, those two guys are going to catch," Cora said. "We're comfortable with Sandy and Christian. I do feel, although the results are not there, Christian is taking the right steps to be better offensively. Hopefully the single Sandy got the other night will get him going. But in the end, they're doing a good job behind the plate."

Cora respects the tough situation Swihart is in. Swihart was again not in the starting lineup on Wednesday and started just two of Boston's first 30 games -- both as the designated hitter.

Video: BAL@BOS: Swihart plates Holt with a single to center

"He prepares just like the other two guys. It's just right now, we're comfortable with the other two," Cora said. "Nothing against him. Like I mentioned to you guys two weeks ago, I know there are going to be days he won't want to see me. He works, he's ready, it's just that the other guys right now, I do feel that they're that good defensively. There's a difference. He can catch at this level, of course he can."

Not only is the switch-hitter boxed out behind the plate, but Mitch Moreland and J.D. Martinez are the ones who typically get starts at first base and the outfield when Cora decides to rest someone else. Swihart is out of options so the Red Sox would likely lose him on waivers if they tried to send him to the Minors.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Joe Kelly, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez