The Boston Red Sox suffered another injury on Wednesday. This time it was starting pitcher Brian Johnson. A left shoulder impingement sent him to the 10-day disabled list early on Thursday. To replace him, the Red Sox called up Austin Maddox.
Although the call up is strictly because of an injury, it’s well deserved. On the year, Maddox has thrown 27 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 1.33 earned run average and three saves in that time. The 26-year-old has a 1.04 walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) and opponents are hitting just .185 against him.
Perhaps most importantly though, the right-hander pitched better in Triple-A than Double-A. The stats are eerily similar, but still slightly better. That gives the indication that the move up shouldn’t mess with him too much.
Even though Johnson is a starter and Maddox is a relief pitcher, this move makes sense for a few reasons.
First off, the Red Sox may already have Johnson’s replacement on the active roster.
Hector Velazquez has been a starter all season, but came out of the bullpen to replace Johnson on Wednesday. He’s been lights-out in Triple, but his only start in the Majors was a dud. Velazquez looked fantastic replacing Johnson though, and deserves another chance. With Velazquez filling in the fifth spot in the rotation, another bullpen pitcher makes sense.
Then there’s the fact that the Red Sox might only keep Maddox for a few days.
It makes no sense to call up a starter and have him sit for four games until his spot in the rotation comes up. There’s a good chance the Red Sox are using Maddox as an extra bullpen arm for a few days, just to send him down when they need another starter.
The most likely case is option one, though. Eduardo Rodriguez should be back from his injury relatively soon. In fact, Johnson might not miss much more than the 10 days needed. Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports tells me Johnson expects to be ready in a week.
With that being the case, expect Austin Maddox to stick around until Johnson’s ready to return, he’s earned it.