BOSTON — The Red Sox swapped a couple of infielders before Friday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
Ryan Roberts was designated for assignment and Brock Holt was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket in an attempt by the Red Sox to ignite Boston’s struggling offense. Roberts never got things going after signing with the Red Sox as a free agent on April 7, and Holt has torched Triple-A pitching to begin the season.
“We felt like we needed to try to create a little bit of a jumpstart to the offense,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday. “With the designation of Ryan, we got another left-handed hitter here in Brock Holt. We’ve come through a stretch, I think, of seven left-handed starts against us over the past 10 (days) and we’re kind of reversing that right now (and) going against primarily right-handers. We felt like we needed to try a different combination to attempt to spark that bottom third of the order.”
Roberts, who signed with Boston after third baseman Will Middlebrooks was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a calf strain, hit .105 (2-for-19) in eight games with the Red Sox. He’ll need to clear waivers before joining Pawtucket, which isn’t a guarantee given the interest teams apparently showed in the 33-year-old after he opted out of his contract with the Chicago Cubs at the end of spring training. There certainly could be a scenario in which another big league club swoops in and claims Roberts, thus marking the end of his Red Sox tenure.
“We certainly want him to remain in the organization,” Farrell said. “We feel like he needs at-bats to get things going a little bit.”
Holt, meanwhile, has been red-hot down at Triple-A, hitting .380 (19-for-50) with one homer, three RBIs and a .446 on-base percentage in 12 games with the PawSox. Holt, who spent one day with Boston before being shipped back to Pawtucket once the club signed Roberts, appeared in 26 games with the Red Sox last season, so it’s not as if the organization is unfamiliar with the 25-year-old.
“He’s clearly earned the promotion here,” Farrell said. “When he was sent out, even after just one day of being here with the big league club, I think he was disappointed. But he’s channeled that in the right way and gone down and played very well in the left side of the infield.”
Holt immediately will be thrust into action Friday, as he’ll play third base and bat ninth against the Orioles. Holt likely will split time with Jonathan Herrera at third base while Middlebrooks continues his rehab.
The Red Sox are hopeful Middlebrooks will begin a rehab assignment the middle of next week.