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Alex Speier

Yes, the Red Sox could add Brandon Phillips to the postseason roster

Brandon Phillips signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in late-June.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Yes, the Red Sox can add Brandon Phillips to their postseason roster.

Because Phillips wasn’t on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster as of August 31, there’s been some question as to whether he could be part of the team’s playoff picture. The initial pool of eligible players is indeed comprised of all of the players who are on the 40-man roster as of August 31, including players who are on the 60-day disabled list.

In the case of the Red Sox, that group includes 39 healthy players (everyone currently on the 40-man except for Phillips) as well as four injured players who are currently on the 60-day DL: Dustin Pedroia, Carson Smith, Austin Maddox, and Marco Hernandez. But, according to a major league source, if any of those 43 players is injured and unavailable to play in the postseason, he can be replaced by another player who was in the organization – even if not on the 40-man roster – as of August 31.

Phillips, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in late-June, fits that bill. He can be added to the playoff roster in place of Smith, Maddox, Hernandez, or, if he remains sidelined this season, Pedroia. For that matter, if any other Red Sox player were to be unavailable in the playoffs due to injury, Phillips could replace that player if a spot were needed.


There are several instances in which playoff teams have rounded out their roster with players who were not on the 40-man roster as of August 31. In 2014, the Royals brought up Brandon Finnegan on Sept. 1 in the same year when he was drafted; he was pitching in the playoffs that year. One season later, Kansas City added Raul Mondesi Jr. to its World Series roster, adding him to the 40-man (and major league roster) on October 27.


The Red Sox have used the injury-replacement rule in October. In 2008, when Mike Lowell had to be removed from the Red Sox’ postseason roster due to a torn hip labrum, infielder Gil Velazquez – who wasn’t added to the big league roster until Sept. 25 – replaced him on the postseason roster.

So, put simply: Phillips could find his way onto the Red Sox postseason roster. Of course, it’s worth noting that he seemed to be behind a number of depth infielders until Wednesday, with manager Alex Cora acknowledging after the veteran’s game-winning homer that he’d only made the decision to add him to the roster on Monday morning – after the team had already made the decision to add Tzu-Wei Lin (a faster pure runner than Phillips, and a player who can offer solid defense at a broader number of positions) to join the ranks of versatile players like Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez, and Rafael Devers.

Nonetheless, if Phillips continues to prove capable of performances such as the one he had on Wednesday – not only delivering the game-winning homer, but also drawing walks, and making an impact on the bases that exceeded his pure speed thanks to a long-cultivated baserunning IQ – then he has a chance to make a case for a place. And if not, as Cora pointed out earlier in the series against the Braves, Phillips can share insights with players who are on the roster and serve as a cheerleader, a role played on a 2007 Red Sox championship team (on which Cora was a member) by Royce Clayton.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on twitter at @alexspeier.