A Red Sox team that did not add to its bullpen mix prior to the July 31 trade deadline is instead about to lose an arm as it heads to New York for a four-game weekend series against the first-place Yankees.
According to a major league source, righthander Heath Hembree is going on the 10-day injured list with an elbow problem. The Red Sox announced Friday that Hembree has right lateral elbow inflammation. It is Hembree’s second injured list stint of the season, as he was also out from June 14-July 4 with a right elbow extensor strain.
Hembree had been one of the most effective Red Sox relievers through the first 2½ months of the season, recording a 2.51 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 28⅔ innings through 31 appearances. But since coming off the injured list, Hembree had struggled, allowing 10 runs (nine earned), six walks, and three homers in nine innings.
His four-seamer, which averaged 94.0 m.p.h. through June, had been at 92.7 since his return, and his results suffered, most recently when he allowed three runs while appearing over the last two games against the Rays this week.
The Red Sox brought up righthander Josh Smith from Pawtucket to replace Hembree. Smith is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 appearances (two starts) and 18 1/3 innings. He last pitched at the major league level on June 23.