BOSTON — The Red Sox have played just 13 games, but they already need to fill another hole in their rotation.
Joe Kelly officially was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement before Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, making him the second starting pitcher to hit Boston’s DL. And now, Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team will turn to Pawtucket.
“With Henry (Owens), with Roenis (Elias) and (Brian) Johnson, who is getting stretched out, we feel like we?ve got guys that have got major-league quality appearances under their belt, and they?re ready to step in,” Farrell said before Wednesday’s game.
Johnson spent the final two months of the 2015 season on the DL with elbow irritation, but Farrell said he’s among the three contenders for Kelly’s spot.
“He?s in the conversation at this point,” Farrell said. “So, it?s all going to be dependent upon days in which they start, where they?re at, what the recommendation is with the Triple-A staff. That?s all ongoing.”
The Red Sox’s three choices all are appealing in different ways. Elias has the most major-league experience, with two seasons and 279 innings under his belt, but he has the worst numbers of the three at 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two Triple-A starts. Owens is 1-1 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts, but he still hasn’t brought down his walks, with 10 in 18 innings. Johnson is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA. Handedness isn’t part of the picture here, either, as they’re all lefties.
Johnson likely is No. 3 on the list, as the Red Sox could remain cautious with his injury. That would leave Boston choosing between numbers and experience with Owens and Elias. It really could be any of them, too, because they all would have enough rest from their last outings to pitch Sunday, when Kelly was supposed to start.
Still, no matter who is chosen, it could be short-lived. The Red Sox are hopeful that left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who started his season on the DL with a knee injury, will join an affiliate club after he pitches in a simulated game Saturday.
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