In the wake of the injury to Jacoby Ellsbury, the Boston Red Sox have shuffled the roster around to add depth in the outfield. The team will no longer carry 13 pitchers. Reliever Michael Bowden has been optioned to AAA Pawtucket along with catcher Luis Exposito. The team also sent Che-Hsuan Lin back to the minors. Lin was used as a defensive replacement in the game yesterday against the Tampa Bay Rays, but he did not see any action in that final inning. The Red Sox will add outfielder Jason Repko and infielder Nate Spears to the 40 man roster.
With just two additions, the Sox now have one remaining spot open as well. That empty spot saves the team from being forced to place another player on waivers when a player on the 60-day DL returns. With Daisuke Matsuzaka possibly returning from the DL in May, the spot should not stay empty for long. The Red Sox have a number of players, like Exposito and Bowden, that are out of options and therefore must be exposed to waiver claims before they can return to the minors.
Exposito is a minor league organization guy and it is unlikely that another team will claim him. Bowden, however, could easily appeal to a team in need of a right-handed bullpen arm. The 25 year old former prospect converted to reliever last season and was impressive in the minors with a 2.73 ERA and 16 saves in 52 innings last year with AAA Pawtucket. That success has yet to translate to the majors, however. In limited work (just 59 innings in 3+ years) at the Major League level, Bowden has a 5.61 ERA. A fly ball heavy pitcher, Bowden often struggles with home runs and his control has been questionable at times as well. Even so, he is young and in the right environment he could be a quality middle reliever.
The team has one less reliever to turn to now that Bowden has been optioned, but with the last three starters all going seven or more innings, the bullpen has not been worked too much the past few days. Lefty Justin Thomas is the one member of the bullpen that still has options and will likely be the next player sent down. The Red Sox have Rich Hill and Andrew Miller on the 15 Day DL right now, and when one of those two returns Thomas will likely be the odd man out.