Boston Red Sox roster moves: Alex Verdugo returns from paternity leave, Tanner Houck sent down to WooSox (but only until Tuesday) –

by pregnancy journalist

BOSTON — The Red Sox once again used MLB rules to their advantage to create some roster flexibility Friday afternoon.

In addition to activating Kyle Schwarber from the injured list and designating Marwin Gonzalez for assignment, the Sox activated outfielder Alex Verdugo from the restricted list and sent righty Tanner Houck down to the WooSox. Verdugo, who has been away from the team since Sunday on paternity leave, started in left field Friday night against the Orioles. Houck, who started Thursday afternoon, won’t be off the roster for long.

Houck is in line to start Tuesday during Boston’s doubleheader against the Yankees in New York, so the club plans to recall him as the 27th man before Game 1 on Tuesday afternoon. By doing so, the Red Sox can carry an extra player (either a reliever or bench bat) on their 26-man roster for their weekend series against the O’s with Houck’s status for his next start unaffected.

If Houck were to be optioned under regular circumstances, he would need to need to remain in the minors for at least 15 days (unless he was called up to replace an injured player). But the 27th man rule for doubleheaders cancels out that requirement, meaning the Sox can call Houck up and keep him on the roster for however long they want after Tuesday.

So while it looks newsworthy that Houck — who owns a 2.93 ERA in eight appearances (six starts) this season — is once again being sent down, it’s really a paper move. He will be back on the roster to make his next start and will be part of the big-league rotation going forward.

Other moves coming

On Saturday, the Red Sox will activate lefty Chris Sale from the injured list and catcher Christian Vázquez from the bereavement list. Infielder Jonathan Araúz and catcher Connor Wong are candidates to be optioned to make room for Sale and Vázquez, though that would leave the Sox with 14 pitchers and 12 position players. Right now, they have 13 pitchers and 13 position players.

Sale, who is on the 60-day injured list, will need to be added to the 40-man roster as well. The decision to cut Gonzalez opened up a spot for him.

The Red Sox will need to add three other players — Ryan Brasier, Christian Arroyo and Danny Santana — off the IL in the coming days, so more moves are likely to happen next week. Brasier is also on the 60-day IL and will require the opening of a 40-man spot.

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