ANAHEIM -- For the second straight summer, the Red Sox are bringing a top prospect up in the middle of a pennant race.And just like Andrew Benintendi a year ago, Rafael Devers joined the Red Sox in Seattle for the start of his Major League career.After president of baseball operations
ANAHEIM -- For the second straight summer, the Red Sox are bringing a top prospect up in the middle of a pennant race.
And just like Andrew Benintendi a year ago, Rafael Devers joined the Red Sox in Seattle for the start of his Major League career.
After president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced following Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Angels that the club will purchase the contract of Devers from Triple-A Pawtucket, the third baseman was offically called up on Monday to join the club for the opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
In corresponding moves, left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, while right-handed pitcher Kyle Martin was optioned to Pawtucket.
Devers, 20, is the No. 4 prospect in the game, according to MLBPipeline.com. Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Devers would make his first Major League start on Tuesday night, when the Mariners start right-hander Felix Hernandez.
• Callis: What to expect from Devers
The Red Sox optioned right-hander Kyle Martin to Pawtucket and transferred left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to the 60-day disabled list.
All season, the Red Sox have lacked production at third base. Pablo Sandoval was designated for assignment and then released earlier this month.
At least initially, the left-handed-hitting Devers will start against most right-handed pitchers, and Deven Marrero will get most of the playing time at third against lefties. Brock Holt will roam around the infield but still get some time at third base as well.
But Devers will certainly have the opportunity to get into the lineup more frequently, just as Benintendi did in 2016.
The move comes nine days after Devers was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket just after playing in the 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and with the Red Sox leading the Yankees by 2 1/2 games in the American League East.
"Well, we're not going to put [too much] pressure on him," said Dombrowski. "I know John and we have talked -- he's going to hit near the bottom of the order. We're not looking for him to carry us. We just want him to be himself and do what he can do. And really it's going to be up to other guys to kind of have to step up and be the main guys in the middle of the order."
Devers went 3-for-4 on Sunday for Pawtucket, and slashed .400/.447/.600 in his nine games at Triple-A. He previously batted .300 and slugged .575 over his first 77 games with Double-A Portland this season. Devers has 20 homers and 60 RBIs in 322 at-bats in the Minors this season.
Why was the timing right to call him up now?
"Well, we've been constantly keeping track of him as far as his performance. We moved him to Triple-A to get a pulse of how he would handle that on the field, first of all, which he's handled it very well," Dombrowski said. "Secondly, from a mental perspective, our people just say that he continues to handle the challenges that are given to him.
"Our biggest concern with him has been that if we brought him up and he struggles, like a lot of guys do, how would he handle it? And our people feel that he would handle it well at this point. They said that he's ready to tackle that next step."
The Red Sox got similar reports on Benintendi last year, and that move wound up being the right one.
What will Benintendi tell Devers when he joins the team in Seattle?
"Same game. It's baseball," Benintendi said. "Still have to get three outs and everything. He'll probably be all jacked up and excited. Just to slow it down, I guess."
Benintendi was called up on Aug. 1, just after the '16 non-waiver Trade Deadline expired. He was promoted when Dombrowski was unable to acquire Carlos Beltran in a trade.
Devers was added eight days before the Deadline, but after Dombrowski had talked to many teams about help at third base. Todd Frazier went to the Yankees earlier this week, but the Red Sox were never as close to acquiring him as some reports indicated.
"We're looking for offensive uptick, no doubt," said Farrell. "Internally we're taking a look first obviously. If there are other opportunities that present [themselves], we'll see, but yeah, we can do better offensively."
The Red Sox had success calling up Xander Bogaerts as a 20-year-old in August 2013, and won a World Series championship two months later. The difference for Bogaerts is that he was used as a backup at first, and played a more prominent role during the postseason.
"It's going to be fun," said Bogaerts. "You know, he's going to be in the race. I don't know how often he'll play. That's up to the coaches to decide. But you never know what he can do. I think Benintendi got called up in Seattle, too, worked out good for him. So, let's hope the same."
The Red Sox signed Devers as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic on Aug. 9, 2013.
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Hitting .311 with 20 home runs across 322 at-bats in the Minors this season, Devers warrants an immediate addition in all fantasy leagues. Entering the Majors as a 20-year-old with only nine games of experience above Double-A, the premier prospect may deal with his share of growing pains. However, he has the potential to help shallow-league teams as a regular component in a Red Sox lineup that ranks 10th in baseball with 470 runs scored. Owners of solid-but-unspectacular third basemen such as Javier Baez, Frazier, Eduardo Nunez and Jonathan Villar should be especially willing to make the switch to Devers.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and **Facebook**.