ANAHEIM, Calif. — With Sept. 1 bringing the ability to expand the big-league roster from 25 to 40 players, the Red Sox added a half-dozen on Sunday. Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, catcher Juan Centeno, and righthanders Hector Velazquez, Ryan Weber, and Travis Lakins joined the team from Triple A Pawtucket, as did righthander Jhoulys Chacin — who reached a minor league deal with the Sox on Saturday after being released by the Brewers in August.
Hernandez, who signed a minor league deal with the Sox last winter, was immediately put in the lineup on Sunday as the starting centerfielder against Angels lefty Andrew Heaney. Though Hernandez hit .219/.319/.377 in Pawtucket this year, he posted a .305/.408/.533 line against southpaws. Given the Red Sox’ season-long struggles against lefties — 20-24 after Sunday, compared to 54-39 against righthanded starters — the Sox were eager to add a bit of righthanded thump.
Hernandez went 0 for 3, Cora pinch-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. against righty Hansel Robles in the ninth.
“For X or Y reason, we haven’t been able to get going against lefties,” said Cora. “We just feel like we’re going to face [Heaney], obviously next weekend we’ll probably face two or three [against the Yankees]. It gives us options to manage the game.
“As everybody knows, this September is going to be different as far as pitcher usage. Be ready for four hours — well, we usually play those games anyway — but it seems like the teams we have on the schedule, they’re going to load up the rosters with pitchers and it will be matchup games from the get-go. So we’ll join the party.”
Lakins, Weber, and Velazquez all add depth to the bullpen, and all pitched on Sunday — they covered the third to the seventh collectively, with Lakins allowing five hits and two runs in his two innings. Centeno gives more flexibility to manage their usage of catchers Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon.
Chacin (3-10, 5.79 in 19 starts with the Brewers) hasn’t pitched in a game since July 24. While the Sox could consider him for a start down the road, particularly in a bullpen game, he’ll be available initially as a reliever.
“Obviously there’s going to be a few days where it will be a bullpen day and we’ll see the matchups,” said Cora. “If we feel that he’ll start and can give us three innings, we’ll start with him, but as of now, today obviously he’s in the bullpen.”
Velazquez, Weber, and Lakins were already on the 40-man roster. To clear spots for Hernandez, Centeno, and Chacin, the Red Sox transferred Chris Sale and Steven Wright to from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list, and outrighted Double A Portland first baseman Joey Curletta off the 40-man roster.