Dalier Hinojosa, a 29-year-old righthander who two years ago defected from Cuba and was signed by the Red Sox to a minor league deal and a $4 million bonus, was called up from Triple A Pawtucket before Wednesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It marked Hinojosa’s first promotion to the major leagues after six years toiling for the Guantanamo Indios of Cuba’s Serie Nacional before his defection in 2013.
“It’s tremendous, a great feeling, and what every athlete dreams of,’’ Hinojosa said through an interpreter as he sat in the Sox dugout before the game. “I’m very appreciative and thankful to God for the opportunity.’’
The Sox also recalled lefthander Tommy Layne from Pawtucket. Layne, 30, had a 5.79 ERA (4⅔ innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts) in a previous four-game stint with the big club.
To make room for Hinojosa and Layne, the Red Sox sent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Pawtucket and designated 30-year-old righthanded reliever Anthony Varvaro (0-1, 4.09 ERA, 11 innings, 14 hits, 5 runs) for assignment.
Hinojosa pitched for Pawtucket last year, getting accustomed to the American game, which, he said, “hits you from all sides once you get here.”
Working primarily with a fastball that tops out at 92-94 miles per hour and a slider, Hinojosa has struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings in a season-plus at Triple A, holding opposing hitters to a .184 batting average.
Struggling at the start of last season because of cold weather, Hinojosa compiled a 6.26 ERA through his first 20 appearances, but from June 19 on, he had a 1.83 ERA.
“I know and accept my role as a reliever here and I’ll do whatever I can, but I know coming in I will do anything I can to help in the bullpen, whether it’s one or two innings,’’ said Hinojosa, who this season has a 3.68 ERA, 9 strikeouts, and 4 walks in 7⅓ innings. “I feel healthy right now and I feel like I’m in a position to help out.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.