Infielder adds depth at corners; replaces struggling reliever
By Alec Shirkey
BOSTON -- With a handful of everyday players nursing minor injuries, the Red Sox recalled Travis Shaw from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday to bolster their infield depth. The odd man out was rookie reliever Matt Barnes, whom the team optioned to Pawtucket.
"Given the physical situation with a couple of our position players, we needed some depth at the corner position," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Shaw went 0-for-2 with a walk on May 8 in what was his Major League debut and only appearance with the Sox this season. The 25-year-old hit .256 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 56 games with Pawtucket, playing 30 games at third base and 22 at first.
The addition of Shaw's left-handed bat gives Boston a five-man bench, including seldom-used utility man Jeff Bianchi, and a six-man bullpen. Tommy Layne is the team's only lefty reliever available, with Craig Breslow on paternity leave.
Barnes, a converted starter, posted a 4.24 ERA in 17 innings for the Sox. The right-hander had notably stumbled in the team's past two losses, allowing three hits without recording an out Friday before giving up the go-ahead home run in an extra-innings defeat Saturday.
Barnes had strung together five straight scoreless appearances before the recent skid. Farrell emphasized that the team still has plenty of faith in the 24-year-old's potential, and the skipper expressed that belief to Barnes.
"It's been more in hitter counts where the mislocated pitches have cost him," Farrell said. "[Russell Martin's home run Saturday] was a prime example of that. The one thing about Matt is, if you look back at his progression to get to the big leagues, there's been obviously a learning curve at each of the levels he's advanced through.
"You combine that with a changed role. This is part of his continued learning and the required consistency at this level. He's got all the ingredients to be a very good late-inning reliever. There's a lot of trust in him. You look at the three-pitch mix that he has, and yet we're striving for consistency."
Barnes will continue to pitch out of the bullpen in Pawtucket.
• Pablo Sandoval started at third base Sunday after leaving Saturday's game due to right quad tightness. He engaged in some light running and took batting practice in the cage before the game.
"The quad first grabbed him tightening up running from second to third yesterday, and then escalated in that final at-bat," Farrell said. "It feels more loose today, responded to treatment after the game yesterday. But we've still got to guard against it flaring up in the game today."
• Center fielder Mookie Betts (lower back strain) also took batting practice before Sunday's game. His status for Monday is up in the air, though Betts said he was feeling better before his pregame work.
• Right-hander Justin Masterson will make another rehab start with Pawtucket on Tuesday, his fourth since landing on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. The Red Sox remain unsure when outfielder Shane Victorino (calf strain) could begin a Minor League rehab assignment.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.