ATLANTA — The Red Sox do not have any set role available for infielder Brandon Phillips. But the team decided to reward his perseverance by adding the 37-year-old to the major league roster.
The three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner will join the Sox on Tuesday along with third baseman Rafael Devers, who will be activated from the disabled list.
Phillips agreed to a minor league deal with the Sox on June 27 after not playing all season. The Sox then traded for Ian Kinsler on July 30.
Phillips had several opt-out clauses in his contract but decided to stay with Triple A Pawtucket with no promises of advancement.
He hit .302 with an .824 OPS in 38 games for the PawSox, playing second and third base.
“He’s done an outstanding job from everything I’ve heard,” Sox manager Alex Cora said Monday before an 8-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves.
“He has plenty of opt-outs, and he stayed with the team. It’s not about rewarding people, because he’s a talented player. I do feel that, hey man, he wants to be part of this.
“I think he can contribute. He’s a guy who can hit against lefties. He’s been around for a while. He’s a good guy in the clubhouse. He can help some of the young kids, too.”
Cora made it clear that Phillips understands there’s no guarantee of playing time despite his 16 years of experience in the majors.
“That’s part of the conversation, too,” Cora said. “He just wants to be here. That means a lot.”
Devers will rejoin the Sox after playing six injury rehabilitation games for Pawtucket. He has played only six major league games since July 28 because of two stints on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
With Eduardo Nunez playing well at third base, Devers will have to earn his playing time. How he plays defensively will be of particular interest to the Sox. Devers has been inconsistent all season, particularly with his throwing.
Devers was 7 of 21 with Pawtucket with three extra-base hits and two RBIs.
The Sox have not named a starter for the series finale Wednesday afternoon. Hector Velazquez is in play unless he is needed in relief Tuesday.
Velazquez has allowed 11 earned runs on 24 hits and seven walks in his last eight appearances and 17⅓ innings.
“I do feel he feels better as a starter,” Cora said. “He’s more aggressive.”
Not necessarily. Velazquez has a 3.91 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in six games and 23 innings as a starter and has walked 10.
He has a 2.92 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 33 appearances and 49⅓ innings of relief with 13 walks.
David Price told the coaching staff he was prepared to start Wednesday afternoon. But he will he held back until the weekend, most likely for Friday against Houston.
Price was hit on the left wrist by a line drive in his last start.
“Obviously it doesn’t make sense for him to grab a bat,” Cora said. “It looks like Friday will be the day.”
The Sox are still working on a plan for Chris Sale, who is coming back from shoulder inflammation. He will throw in the bullpen Tuesday afternoon. The choice then will be to have him pitch a simulated game or start a major league game and go two or three innings.
“The bullpen is the most important thing, then we’ll decide what to do,” Cora said.
Full (club) house
The addition of Devers and Phillips will give the Red Sox 35 active players, with Sale soon to join them.
The only players on the 40-man roster who were not added to the major league roster were righthander Justin Haley, righthander Chandler Shepherd, righthander Marcus Walden, and infielder Tony Renda.
Cora said no other additions are planned.
Dustin Pedroia will return to Boston this week after spending nearly two months getting rehab work done on his left knee close to his home in Arizona.
If Pedroia were activated off the 60-day disabled list, the Sox would have to make a corresponding move to open a spot on the 40-man roster for him.
The Red Sox used eight pitchers, their most in a nine-inning game this season. In all, 11 players were in the ninth spot of the order with no designated hitter in the National League park . . . The Sox are 12-3 in interleague games this season and have won 33 of their last 41 against NL teams . . . The Sox are 31-8 in day games and have won 15 of the last 18 . . . The Sox have four errors in their last 21 games . . . Nathan Eovaldi threw a 100.9-mile-per-hour fastball to strike out Ronald Acuna Jr. in the first inning. Not only was it the fastest pitch he has thrown this season, it was the fastest by any starting pitcher per MLB’s Statcast data. “That’s interesting,” said Sale . . . The Red Sox have two quality starts in the last 15 games . . . Joe Kelly had a string of 7⅔ consecutive scoreless innings snapped when Ozzie Albies led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run to right field.