Newly acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler was giving the Red Sox just what they wanted, improved defense and a spark offensively. But now he’s heading to the disabled list.
“It’s a little bit tight,” manager Alex Cora said. “His legs are very important the way he plays. We don’t feel it’s that bad. It might be, probably, a DL thing.”
It was later learned the Sox had decided to put Kinsler on the DL and call up a player from Triple A Pawtucket for Saturday. Tzu-Wei Lin is dealing with an injury, so the choice is expected to be Tony Renda, who started the season with Double A Portland.
Kinsler was 4 of 10 with three runs and an two RBIs. He also had made several sharp defensive plays, including starting a double play in the first inning Friday.
The Red Sox started the season with three catchers on the major league roster, an abundance of depth at a position where that can be hard to come by.
Now that depth has withered away.
The Red Sox on Friday placed catcher Blake Swihart on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and purchased the contract of catcher Dan Butler from Triple A Pawtucket.
With Swihart joining Christian Vazquez (broken right pinky) on the disabled list, Sandy Leon will have to carry a heavy load. He went 0 for 3 Friday — though was on the receiving end of Rick Porcello’s one-hitter — and is scheduled to catch Saturday and Sunday, too.
Butler, 31, has seven games of major league experience, all in 2014 with the Red Sox. He was hitting .202 with a .634 OPS in 58 games for Pawtucket.
“This is a guy that we feel can handle the staff,” Cora said. “We know him; he knows the staff.”
Swihart came out of Thursday night’s win over the Yankees after five innings. The hope at the time was that he could avoid the disabled list.
“Hopefully it’s something that doesn’t take too long,” Cora said. “But we feel that the best way is to go on the DL . . . This is a tough one because he is a catcher. The smart thing is to take care of him and hopefully he can be back as soon as possible.”
The injury comes at a time when Swihart had started to emerge offensively. He was 13 of 36 (.361) over 12 games with five extra-base hits.
If the Sox need yet another catcher, it could be 27-year-old Mike Ohlman, who had seven games of major league experience with Toronto last season. He has hit .209 with a .686 OPS in 61 games for Pawtucket.
Bogaerts sits a spell
Xander Bogaerts was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game with a bruised right hand, the result of being hit by a pitch Tuesday. He played two innings defensively.
Bogaerts was struck in the same area of his hand July 6, 2017, and hit .232 the rest of the season with little power. The shortstop said after the season he regretted not having taken the time to let the injury properly heal.
Now the Sox are giving Bogaerts that time.
“When he’s ready, he’ll be in there,” Cora said.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle, is looking forward to throwing off the bullpen mound Sunday afternoon.
“It feels great,” said the lefthander, who was 11-3 with a 3.44 ERA before he was injured July 14. “I’ve been throwing in the outfield and trying to throw all my pitches. I haven’t had any problems.”
Rodriguez no longer has to use a brace and is only getting his ankle taped. The progress has been quicker than expected given what initially looked like a serious injury.
Ready to go
Nathan Eovaldi was impressive in his first start for the Red Sox last Sunday, throwing seven shutout innings against Minnesota. The righthander allowed four hits without a walk and struck out five.
“Very efficient. That stuff was above average,” Cora said. “We’re talking about 97, 98 [miles per hour] and cutting the ball at 93, 94.”
Now Eovaldi faces the Yankees on Saturday afternoon. He started in New York on June 15 while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and allowed five runs over 7⅓ innings.
“I know their lineup,” Eovaldi said. “It’s a good one. I want to build off that last start.”
Eovaldi was with the Yankees from 2015-16 and faced the Red Sox seven times. Now he will see the rivalry from a different side.
“It was fun [Thursday] night watching that game. It was a huge win for us,” Eovaldi said. “The fans were really involved. It’s unique. I’ve been able to play for both teams. I’m grateful for that.”
Call to the ’pen
The Yankees initially planned to have J.A. Happ start Saturday afternoon. When he went on the disabled list with hand, foot, and mouth disease, Luis Cessa was the backup option.
Cessa was needed for 3⅔ innings of relief on Thursday night and now the Yankees will call up 23-year-old righthander Chance Adams from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make his major league debut.
Adams was 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA and lofty 1.32 WHIP in 21 starts in Triple A. He walked 48 in 98 innings.
“We’re a little depleted here of late with some of the moves we have to make,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Lefthander Justus Sheffield would have been the preferred choice of the Yankees but he started for Scranton on Thursday. That left Adams.
“Hopefully he can give us a quality outing and give us a chance,” said Boone, who did not intend the pun.
Cessa was optioned to Triple A and the Yankees recalled righthanded reliever Tommy Kahnle, who pitched the eighth Friday.
Boone said the Yankees were considering external options before deciding to call up Kahnle.
A hit with the fans
NESN said Thursday’s game drew a season-best 11.2 household rating in the Boston market and that 1.4 million viewers watched the game across New England’s nine markets . . . The 15 runs the Sox scored Thursday night were their most against the Yankees since April 25, 2009, a 16-11 victory at Fenway Park. Mike Lowell homered and drove in six runs in that game . . . Drew Pomeranz is “most likely” to start Tuesday in Toronto, according to Cora. But that may leave the door open to Brian Johnson staying in the rotation . . . 2016 Olympic fencing medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad threw out the first pitch. She was the first female Muslim-American athlete in hijab to earn an Olympic medal.