Two fresh arms will be joining the Red Sox as they start a three-game series in Minnesota on Monday evening.
Boston is calling up righties Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, multiple sources confirmed. Kelly and Ort will take the spots of lefty Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura, who were both designated for assignment after Sunday’s blowout loss to Tampa Bay.
Kelly will make his major league debut when he gets into a game. The 27-year-old has been lights-out for the WooSox this season, posting a 2.72 ERA and striking out 72 batters in 49⅔ innings. A former undrafted free agent out of Newberry College who signed for $500, Kelly spent time with the Athletics and Angels organizations before signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox in Dec. 2020. After undergoing elbow injury during the COVID shutdown in 2020, he has checked every box in the minors since joining Boston. He had a 2.18 ERA in 45⅓ innings split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021 and was invited to major league spring training this year. MassLive’s Chris Smith profiled Kelly in March.
Ort has seen major league action in both 2021 and 2022 but has not fared particularly well. In 12 appearances (15 innings) with the Red Sox this season, he owns a 9.00 ERA while allowing 24 hits and issuing seven walks. The 30-year-old joined the organization via the minor league Rule 5 draft in Dec. 2020. He has pitched well in Worcester this year, notching a 2.88 ERA and saving 16 games in 39 appearances.
It’s clear that the last-place Red Sox want to use the last few weeks of the season to assess some new options in the bullpen. Davis (10.71 ERA in his last 19 outings dating back to July 8) and Sawamura (6.46 ERA since the All-Star break) simply weren’t getting the job done. Boston has other relief options at Triple-A that might be considered for call-ups, including Frank German, Andrew Politi, Eduard Bazardo and others.
Kelly will need to be added to the 40-man roster to be called up. Ort is already on it. The Red Sox will have 39 players on their 40-man roster once Davis and Sawamura are subtracted and Kelly is added.