May 1, 2012 at 5:24 PM
The Red Sox called up shortstop Jose Iglesias today and have optioned right-hander Junichi Tazawa to Triple-A Pawtucket. The move is likely to create more infield depth with Kevin Youkilis out of the lineup for a third straight game while dealing with a stiff back.
Iglesias is not off to a hot start in Triple-A, hitting .200/.274/.212 over 85 at-bats. However, his defense remains excellent and the walk rate is encouraging since the Red Sox have wanted him to have better at-bats and show better pitch recognition. Tazawa pitched well in his time with the club, and manager Bobby Valentine said that the move was based on contract status rather than performance. Specifically, Tazawa has options available while others in consideration did not.
If Youkilis is forced to go on the DL, the natural replacement for him would be the Red Sox top prospect, Will Middlebrooks. However, WEEI's Alex Speier is reporting that Middlebrooks was not considered for a call-up because he is dealing with a mild thumb injury that occurred over the weekend. He was given a day off yesterday and will be reevaluated today. He is currently listed as starting in today's Pawtucket lineup. Middlebrooks still could be considered for a promotion in the coming days if his thumb checks out fine and Youkilis winds up on the DL.
Aaron Cook's contract contains a May 1st opt-out clause, and due to this, it is possible that there might be another roster move coming to prevent Cook from exercising this option. One cannot be sure what that move would be as Valentine has indicated that the Red Sox could use him in either the bullpen or the rotation.