Friday, July 1, 2022

Red Sox promote Jeter Downs, part of Mookie Betts trade, to make big-league debut

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USATSI

The Boston Red Sox have recalled infielder Jeter Downs from Triple-A Worcester, according to Chris Cotillo. Downs would be making his MLB debut, should he get into a game, but his stay in the majors is not expected to last long.

In a corresponding move, the Red Sox designated right-handed reliever James Norwood for assignment.

Downs, 23, was considered to be the top piece in the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2020 season. He hasn’t performed up to expectations since, and this he’s hitting .180/.297/.397 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases on 14 tries in 53 games. He’s also struck out in more than 31 percent of his trips to the plate, though that marks an slight improvement over his 32 percent strikeout rate last season.

Downs’ presence on the big-league roster is precipitated by a few notable developments. Foremost, the Red Sox have multiple infielders nearing their return to the active roster, including Enrique Hernández (on the standard injured list since early June with a strained hip flexor) and Christian Arroyo (on the COVID-19 IL). Additionally, the Red Sox had to get in accordance with Major League Baseball’s guidelines by reducing the number of pitchers on their active roster down to 13. Boston was carrying 14 pitchers as of Sunday.

In addition to Downs, the Red Sox received outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Connor Wong in return from the Dodgers. 

Of the three, Verdugo has had the most successful career in Boston to date, posting a 103 OPS+ and accumulating 3.9 Wins Above Replacement in 260 games with the Red Sox. Betts, for his part, has hit for a 135 OPS+ and notched 10.6 Wins Above Replacement during that span.

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