Red Sox finalize Opening Day roster

Red Sox finalize Opening Day roster

After sweeping the Blue Jays in a pair of exhibition games in Montreal on Friday and Saturday, the Red Sox formalized their Opening Day roster on Sunday afternoon.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright beat out Roenis Elias for the fifth spot in the rotation. Elias, who was optioned to to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday, was also competing for a relief role, but right-handers Noe Ramirez and Matt Barnes secured the final two spots in manager John Farrell's bullpen.

Wright's opportunity to start opened up when it became apparent lefty Eduardo Rodriguez would open the season on the disabled list with a right knee injury. Out of Minor League options, Wright would have made the team as a long man if not for the opportunity to start.

Farrell's decisions reflect importance of fast start

His move to the rotation, in addition to side-winder Carson Smith (flexor mass strain in right elbow) opening the season on the DL, created the opportunity for both Barnes and Ramirez to make the team.

"I think both have shown very good arm strength," said Farrell. "Both have shown the ability to get a strikeout when needed. Going back to the type of situational thing, Noe's got a very good ability to put the ball on the ground. Each guy has come in, whether it's been with men on base in innings that they've come out of the bullpen, to multiple innings, but recognizing that they're different styles, each have performed very well."

Barnes starts a double play

Elias has been a starter for his entire career and the Red Sox gave him some opportunities in the bullpen late in camp once it became apparent Wright would win the last rotation spot. But the lefty didn't bounce back well on a bullpen schedule.

Elias will begin the season in the rotation at Pawtucket and provides the Red Sox starting depth within the organization.

Barnes, a first-round Draft selection by the Red Sox in 2011, pitched 32 games with the club last year, going 3-4 with a 5.44 ERA. Ramirez also made his debut in the Majors last season, registering a 4.15 ERA in 17 games for Boston.

Catcher Christian Vazquez and right-hander Brandon Workman were also placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to March 25, as they both recover from the Tommy John procedures they underwent last year.

Here is how the roster shapes up for Opening Day:

Catchers: Blake Swihart, Ryan Hanigan.

Infielders: Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Travis Shaw, Pablo Sandoval.

Outfielders: Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. , Brock Holt, Chris Young, Rusney Castillo.

Designated hitter: David Ortiz.

Pitchers: David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Wright, Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Tommy Layne, Robbie Ross Jr. , Barnes, Ramirez.

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.