The Boston Red Sox’s major league spring training roster continues to shrink.
Pitchers Rich Hill, Dalier Hinojosa and John Ely were reassigned to minor league camp on Sunday. Catcher Dan Butler was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Pitcher Jose Mijares was released.
Hill arrived at Red Sox camp late because of the tragic death of his newborn son. The 34-year-old left-hander has been solid since arriving, though. He hasn’t allowed a run in any of his three appearances.
“I thought he did a great job of somewhat catching up to speed under the difficult circumstances he came into camp under,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Sunday. “It’s going to take a little more time to get back to the arm strength that we typically know him to have. Innings are starting to dry up a little more now that the starters are getting deeper.”
Hill has a May 15 opt-out date, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, so it’s possible the veteran southpaw could head elsewhere if he’s not on Boston’s major league roster by then. Hill, who spent three years in the Red Sox organization from 2010-2012, is a native of Milton, Mass.
Hinojosa had a shaky spring, but the 28-year-old right-hander didn’t pitch at all in 2013 while defecting from Cuba, so he’s still adapting to pitching in the United States.
“You marvel at a guy coming into a new culture, particularly with the way he got here. Different baseball world,” Farrell said. “He’s got very good physical abilities. We’re going to send him to Pawtucket to pitch out of the bullpen there.”
Ely, a 27-year-old right-hander, is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’ll remain at minor league camp and begin the year doing extended spring training.
Butler, who often flies under the radar because of the club’s other catching prospects (Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Ryan Lavarnway), continued to impress the Red Sox this spring.
“As we mentioned to him on the way out, if the need were to arise, we’ve got one of three catchers we feel are a foul tip away to come up and replace someone if that need were to happen,” Farrell said. “Daniel is clearly in that mix.”
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday that Mijares had opted out of his contract with the Red Sox. The club announced shortly after that the 29-year-old left-handed reliever has been released.
Sunday’s roster moves come as the Red Sox prepare to give their regulars more playing time over the final week of spring training. The Red Sox, who open up the regular season in Baltimore against the Orioles on March 31, now have 35 players in camp.
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