Prospect Travis called up, will start vs. lefties

Highly touted 1B excited for first taste of The Show; Velazquez optioned

Prospect Travis called up, will start vs. lefties

BOSTON -- The Red Sox called up No. 3 prospect Sam Travis from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday with the intention of him starting at first base against left-handers.

With a rested bullpen, Red Sox manager John Farrell said it was the right time to have the bench at full strength. To make room for Travis, the team optioned right-hander Hector Velazquez to Triple-A.

"He's been swinging well. There is some momentum with Sam," Farrell said. "The fact is, we are probably looking at four left-handed starters over these next four series, so we felt like it was an opportunity to add another right-handed bat."

Travis' family on callup

Travis got the news during a phone call late Monday night and immediately called his mother.

"It was a surreal feeling, something I've been working for my entire life. It is pretty amazing," said Travis, the No. 9 first-base prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. "I was actually about to go to sleep and then got the call. I was up for a few more hours after that."

The 23-year-old Travis, Boston's second-round Draft pick in 2014, was hitting .286/.353/.452 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 33 games for Triple-A Pawtucket this season. He's been incredibly successful against left-handed pitching, batting .414 with two home runs.

Sam Travis Lightning Round

The Red Sox signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a one-year deal in the offseason with the intention of him getting at-bats against right-handers. The move will be a respite for Moreland, who has played in 43 of the Red Sox's 44 games.

While Hanley Ramirez played first base last season, he's been unable to play the position this season due to shoulder soreness, starting one game in Milwaukee and the rest at designated hitter.

"Mitch is doing outstanding. We aren't going to deviate from that. He didn't warrant a different approach," Farrell said. "At the same time, where ever we can add some right-handed bats at the corners against left-handers, we are going to do it."

Moreland's two-run smash

Travis has been taking grounders and focusing on his footwork around first base, but is a work in progress. Much of that is because he missed over three months last season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

"He's been improving," Farrell said. "It is never going to be because of a lack of work ethic. He missed a ton of time last year, but what he showed in Spring Training was solid. It's not the same caliber as Mitch Moreland, but he's still worthy of the position."

It's been a slow and steady process for Travis since the injury, but it's made the call up that much sweeter.

"I try not to think about it too much, but it is pretty awesome. It hasn't even been a year since surgery," Travis said. "My leg feels fantastic and I am just happy to be out here."

Worth noting

• In need of a fifth starter for Saturday's game against the Mariners, Farrell said that left-hander Brian Johnson is the strongest candidate.

Brock Holt, who's been on the disabled list with vertigo, has reached the 20-day limit of his rehab assignment and will spend five days of required down time before beginning another assignment. He'll see concussion specialist Micky Collins in Pittsburgh on Friday.

Marco Hernandez will have left shoulder surgery Friday at Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.