Red Sox win on a dizzying day of trades, roster moves and a 14th player to the IL



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BOSTON — The lineup is typically announced four hours pregame.

On Wednesday, it arrived 25 minutes before first pitch.

That’s because the Red Sox were pushing through yet another slew of roster changes for a team that somehow is still finding ways to win.

On Wednesday, that win was a 6-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants behind a career-high seven innings from Kutter Crawford. But before the game, it was a bit chaotic as the Red Sox added two new position players while putting another key player on the injured list.

As if that wasn’t enough, earlier in the day, the Boston Globe reported chief baseball officer Craig Breslow had hired a sports consulting firm to audit the front office, in an attempt to streamline the operations of the organization. The process started a few weeks ago. Breslow has wanted to take a closer look at the infrastructure but has been far too busy with day-to-day organizational management.

“In-season, there’s a certain amount of crisis response that pops up,” Breslow told the Globe. “In a lot of ways, we’re kind of playing Whack-a-Mole.”

It was an apt description of the current dizzying amount of moves made in recent days.

Masataka Yoshida became the 16th player to land on the IL this season with 14 players currently still on it. The designated hitter got hit on the hand in his first at-bat Sunday night, and it swelled up the last couple days. Yoshida had an MRI on Wednesday that showed a strain, but the team is gathering more information on treatment and how long he might be out.

In the hours leading up to the game, the Red Sox acquired infielder Zack Short from the New York Mets for cash considerations and signed first baseman/designated hitter Dominic Smith to a one-year deal. Smith had just been released by the Tampa Bay Rays and was in the Red Sox’s starting lineup on Wednesday, driving in a run. Short should arrive in Boston by Thursday.

To make room for Smith, the Red Sox DFA’d pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez, whom they’d acquired two weeks ago and stashed in Triple-A Worcester.

Earlier in the week, the club DFA’d two players who’d been on the Opening Day roster — infielder Pablo Reyes and left-hander Joely Rodriguez. Rodriguez cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A.

On Tuesday, the team acquired lefty Bailey Horn from the Chicago White Sox and finalized a deal for first baseman Garrett Cooper, who arrived via trade with the Chicago Cubs. Horn is on the 40-man roster but was optioned to Worcester. Cooper started for Boston on Tuesday and was promptly drilled on the wrist, exiting the game. Manager Alex Cora said he’s sore but doing OK.

Yet another new pitcher, Naoyuki Uwasawa — who began the season Worcester after joining the organization in a trade late in the spring — was added to the bullpen on Sunday.

Cora’s office door hasn’t yet been turned into a revolving one, but it might as well be.

“It’s hard, but isn’t that hard. It’s the business of it,” Cora said of the injuries and roster churning. “We’ve been through this a lot of times, I don’t know at this pace — probably never, since I’ve been here, but at the same time, we know the drill.”

Cora also knows the importance of role players. As a former utility man himself, he understands more than most the difficulty of coming in off the bench, but at the same time, how impactful those types of players can be.

“I think the most important thing in the big leagues is it’s a star-driven league, we know that,” Cora said. “But what we do with the edge of the roster is very important. Having the flexibility roster-wise is huge. You can move guys around.

“I do believe that the edge of the roster can help you win eight, nine games a season. That’s important at the end.”

More moves will be coming soon.

Second baseman Vaughn Grissom has been battling the flu but will likely be activated on Friday in Minnesota, which would be his season debut with the Red Sox. Right-hander Nick Pivetta has a rehab assignment on Thursday with Worcester. He’s expected to be activated by next week. Right-hander Brayan Bello threw a bullpen on Tuesday and has a simulated game in the next couple days before making a rehab assignment on Tuesday. Right-hander Garrett Whitlock is feeling better but still dealing with the oblique pain. Infielder Romy Gonzalez, who’s been sidelined with a left wrist strain, is expected to go on a rehab assignment in the next day or so.

In the midst of all the turnover the Red Sox continued to win. They’ve now won four straight and eight of their last 11 games.

Connor Wong had a terrific night at the plate on Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. He drove in a run while also making an outstanding play in the sixth. On a tapper in front of the plate, he dove out, sliding on one knee and in one fluid motion grabbed the ball and fired to first for the out.

“This guy is a freak,” Cora said. “He’s explosive, he’s fast, he made it look easy.”

Meanwhile, Crawford’s seven innings were not only a career high, but he was the first Boston pitcher not named Tanner Houck to throw more than six innings this season. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six.

“Obviously the first month hasn’t been the greatest as far as keeping guys healthy,” Wong said. “Some freak things have happened, some stuff you can’t control, but I think it just goes to show, no matter who we put out on the field, we believe in ourselves. It starts from the top down, and I think that’s the biggest thing. We’re showing resilience and belief in ourself that we can go out there and compete no matter who we have on the field.”

(Photo of Smith: Jaiden Tripi / Getty Images)





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