Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Hembree hits injured list; Taylor recalled 

Red Sox sign six players from 2019 Draft
June 14, 2019

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree stood at his locker at Camden Yards on Friday and told reporters he believed he needs just a day, maybe two, to recover from the right forearm discomfort that arose while he warmed up without appearing in Thursday’s 7-6 win over the Rangers.

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree stood at his locker at Camden Yards on Friday and told reporters he believed he needs just a day, maybe two, to recover from the right forearm discomfort that arose while he warmed up without appearing in Thursday’s 7-6 win over the Rangers.

Only if absolutely needed, he said, he would feel well enough to pitch in the series opener against the Orioles.

“Like I said, it’s nothing that I’m worried about,” said Hembree, whose 2.51 ERA across 28 2/3 innings in 2019 is third best among Red Sox hurlers. “Hopefully just a soreness I’m fighting through and it’s a day or two and it’s done.”

Less than a half hour later he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right elbow extensor strain, retroactive to June 11.

“Rather stay away from him for a while,” manager Alex Cora explained, adding that he expects Hembree to return the earliest he is eligible on June 21. “He’s been throwing the ball so well that we don’t want to take the chance.”

Left-handed pitcher Josh Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill Hembree’s spot in the bullpen. The southpaw has made five appearances with the Red Sox thus far in 2019, allowing six earned runs over five innings pitched.

Hembree’s placement on the shelf is the latest domino to fall in the seemingly unending turnover for a Boston bullpen fresh off using seven relievers for 7 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday -- the longest scoreless outing by Red Sox relievers in a nine-inning game since 2003.

But the pitching staff did get one key cog back in its lineup Friday with the return of lefty Brian Johnson -- back with the team after landing on the injured list on April 6. First baseman/outfielder Sam Travis was optioned to Pawtucket as the corresponding move.

Despite Johnson only pitching out of the bullpen before landing on the IL with left elbow inflammation in the first week-and-a-half of the season, Cora said he plans to employ him as the team’s fifth starter -- at least until Nathan Eovaldi, who is feeling better but still not throwing, returns to the club.

Cora said that the team, which was without Mookie Betts in the starting lineup Friday for a rest day, hopes to avoid having to use Johnson right away.

“It’s big for us,” Cora said of Johnson’s return. “Hopefully we stay away from him today. Most likely he will start on Sunday but if we need an inning from him or a batter, he’s available.”

Johnson made 13 starts in 2018, piecing together a 4.17 ERA in 38 total appearances across 99 1/3 innings pitched. Before returning to the Red Sox, Johnson pitched in six games, including four starts in the Minors, conceding 11 earned runs across 14 2/3 innings with Double-A Portland and Pawtucket.

Sox sign Draft picks
Boston announced its first of several Draft signings on Friday as six amateurs inked deals, including right-handed pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn (third round), catcher Jaxx Groshans (fifth round), right-handed pitcher Brock Bell (seventh round), center fielder Wil Dalton (eighth round), infielder Alex Erro (17th round) and center fielder Luke Bandy (29th round).

All but Bell will report to short-season Class A Short Season Lowell, while he will head to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

From the trainers' room
Steve Pearce (lower back strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Lowell Friday, while Hector Velazquez (lower back strain) will pitch for Lowell Saturday and Pawtucket Tuesday before being re-evaluated. The next step in Tyler Thornburg’s (right hip impingement) rehab, Cora said, is pitching in back-to-back days.

Activity remains stalled for Eovaldi (loose bodies in right elbow, right biceps soreness) and Mitch Moreland (right quad strain). Cora expects Eovaldi to return to throwing Sunday or Monday.