The Red Sox pitching staff should soon be getting a boost.
Lefthander Brian Johnson is likely to be activated this week after a protracted rehab assignment. Johnson’s last start, Sunday for Triple A Pawtucket, went well, and manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that he shouldn’t need another one.
“He feels good, he actually threw the ball well the last one,” Cora said. “The next coming days we’ll talk about what decision we’re going to make, where we go. But he felt good, he felt good overall as far as, like, the way he attacked hitters, his delivery, his arm, which is the most important thing.”
Johnson has been on the injured list since April 6 with left elbow inflammation. He has had six rehab outings for Pawtucket, as well as Double A Portland.
Sunday’s performance indicated he is ready, or close to it, to rejoin the Red Sox. Johnson pitched four innings and gave up one run and four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He said he felt much more comfortable with his command than he had in previous rehab outings.
“I was just missing a lot, and my misses were just bad misses over the plate and obviously, I was getting hit,” Johnson said. “So now that I kind of can feel like I can throw whatever I want in any count, that’s what kind of allowed me to start having success.”
Johnson said he’d also felt comfortable in his rehab start prior to the one Sunday and, after stringing two good performances together, was eager to get back to Boston.
It’s possible Johnson could start Sunday against the Orioles. That’s the spot in the rotation that was filled Tuesday by Darwinzon Hernandez.
The Red Sox could also use Johnson out of the bullpen. Cora brought up Johnson’s name as one way to reinforce that group other than a trade, when asked if he felt the team needed to acquire another reliever.
“I think there’s certain guys that are going to come out off the DL that are going to help us out, starting with BJ,” Cora said. “He’s going to put us in a good spot as far as not going to certain guys in certain situations if we go with him in the bullpen, or if he starts he’s going to benefit us the other way with another guy in the bullpen.”
Brasier on leave
The Red Sox placed righthanded reliever Ryan Brasier on the bereavement/family medical emergency list.
Cora said he wasn’t sure how long Brasier would be away but expressed his best wishes for the player.
“I don’t know,” Cora said. “We’ll see. Keep your thoughts and prayers for him and his family and whenever he gets back, he gets back.”
The Red Sox have Mike Shawaryn and Colten Brewer available as relievers who can provide multiple innings. Cora said he wasn’t sure if they would need to make a move to call up a temporary reinforcement.
Eovaldi not throwing
Righthander Nathan Eovaldi is still shut down because of biceps tightness. Cora said Eovaldi is doing conditioning work but isn’t throwing. There is no timetable for when he will begin doing so. Eovaldi had surgery to remove loose bodies in his elbow on April 23. He’d recovered quickly until his bullpen session was postponed over the weekend because of the setback . . . Steve Pearce started running Tuesday after hitting off a tee Monday. He is making progress toward his return from the 10-day injured list because of back spasms . . . Mitch Moreland still has not been cleared to resume baseball activities. Moreland is on the 10-day IL with a right quadriceps strain . . . The start time of Wednesday’s game against the Rangers was moved up from 7:10 p.m. to 4:05 to accommodate fans who want to watch the Bruins game.