Marrero optioned as Red Sox whittle roster

Marrero optioned as Red Sox whittle roster

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox announced a series of roster moves and pending moves on Monday, as they continue to get closer to a 25-man roster for Opening Day.

Deven Marrero, the team's No. 9 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Though the Red Sox like Marrero's defense, the presence of super-utility man Brock Holt doesn't provide any room for him on the roster.

Top Prospects: Marrero, BOS

Boston also reassigned Allen Craig, Josh Rutledge, Brennan Boesch, Dan Butler, Sandy Leon and Anthony Varvaro to Minor League camp, and Carlos Marmol was released.

Craig was once one of the top run producers in the National League, but hasn't been able to generate much offense at the Major League level since 2014. The Red Sox have a balance of $20 million on Craig's salary over the next two seasons, plus a $1 million buyout for his 2018 club option.

The veteran has a .323 batting average in Spring Training, but just one of his 10 hits has been for extra bases. Craig will remain in big league camp through the exhibition games in Montreal this weekend and will then report to Triple-A Pawtucket unless the Red Sox can work out a trade for him.

Craig's two-run single

The Red Sox also announced that four players -- Carson Smith, Brandon Workman, Eduardo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez-- will be placed on the disabled list before Opening Day. In all four cases, the announcements were expected.

Smith, expected to be a key component in the bullpen this season, suffered a strained flexor mass to his right elbow last week.

Rodriguez, a key member of the rotation, is recovering from a patella subluxation in his right knee. He could miss most of April, if not all of it.

Vazquez has been playing in Grapefruit League games but is still building up his stamina after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. The catcher will open the season at Triple-A Pawtucket and likely stay there for the full 20 days of his rehab assignment. At that point, the Red Sox will either have to option him to Triple-A or activate him.

Wright's one-run outing

For the Red Sox, the main roster decisions left in camp revolve around the final spots on the pitching staff. Knuckleballer Steven Wright is likely to win the fifth spot in the rotation. That would leave righties Matt Barnes and Noe Ramirez vying for the final roster spot with lefty Roenis Elias.

Elias started camp as a starter, but he has had a hard time bouncing back between outings as a reliever. The Red Sox might decide to option Elias and keep him stretched out as a starter.

Manager John Farrell is also still in the process of deciding on whether Pablo Sandoval or Travis Shaw will be the third baseman on Opening Day. Sandoval has been dealing with a back injury in recent days but returned to action in a Minor League game on Monday. The hope is that he starts for the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.