March 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM
The Red Sox have announced that a trio of players have been optioned to the minor leagues. First baseman Mauro Gomez and infielder Brock Holt have been sent to Triple-A Pawtucket, while pitcher Daniel Bard has been optioned down to Double-A Portland. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, in camp on a minor league deal, has also been told that his contract will not be purchased.
While not officially announced, the moves mean it is likely that outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will open the 2013 in the major leagues. Bradley, a supplemental first-round pick in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina, has put himself in position to make the club with a fantastic spring training, hitting .441/.521/.644 in Grapefruit League play. The Red Sox will still need to make another roster move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Bradley.
Gomez was the 2012 International League MVP while playing for the PawSox, hitting .310/.371/.589. He also appeared in 37 games at the major league level, hitting .275 with a pair of home runs. Considered a long-shot for a role as a back-up first baseman, Gomez went 7 for 45 without a home run in Fort Myers.
Holt was acquired as part of the deal that brought closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox. He made his major league debut in September with the Pirates after an impressive 2012, hitting .344/.406/.453 between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.
The Red Sox hope that a demotion to Double-A will help Bard straighten out his mechanics after he followed up his disastrous 2012 season with a difficult spring training, allowing seven runs in eight innings pitched. Bard last pitched for the Sea Dogs in 2008. He dominated the level, with a 1.99 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings.
After he was non-tendered after the 2012 season, the Red Sox signed Sweeney to a minor league deal to add depth following the injury to outfielder Ryan Kalish. He went 10 for 46 with one extra base hit in spring training. With an opt-out clause as of midnight last night, Sweeney has 24 hours to tell the Red Sox whether he will accept a minor league assignment. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Sweeney has indicated he will elect to become a free agent.