William Cuevas went from major league, high-leverage situation Thursday to back to the minors Friday.
The Red Sox right-handed reliever was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket a day after he made his major league debut, where he was on the mound in the eighth inning with the score tied at 8 and took the loss in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 12-8 victory at Fenway Park.
Left-hander Roenis Elias, who was a candidate for the fifth starter spot in spring training, was called up from Pawtucket and will join the team in Houston, where the Red Sox open a three-game series tonight.
The Red Sox will need a starter to take Joe Kelly’s spot Sunday in Atlanta. Elias made two starts for the PawSox, but will likely be used as a reliever this weekend and all signs point to lefty Henry Owens (1.00 ERA in three Triple-A starts this season) coming up to make that start. Kelly was placed on the disabled list earlier this week with a right shoulder impingement.
The Red Sox optioned three players, including lefties Robby Scott and Roenis Elias to Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, leaving rookie Bobby Poyner as the leading candidate to make the team as a lefty reliever.
Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin was also sent to Pawtucket and catcher Dan Butler, infielder Iván De Jesús Jr., and outfielders Rusney Castillo and Aneury Tavárez were re-assigned to minor league camp.
Poyner, 25, dominated at Double-A Portland last season. The 14th-round pick from the University of Florida in 2015 held opponents to a .142 batting average with a .094 ERA in 27 appearances for the Sea Dogs. Poyner has an 0.96 ERA with eight strikeouts in 9 1/3 spring training innings.
Red Sox manager Alex Corea told reporters in Florida on Saturday that left-handers Drew Pomeranz (left forearm) and Eduardo Rodriguez (offseason knee surgery) will begin the season on the disabled list, leaving Hector Velazquez, Justin Haley or Marcus Walden to make the team as the fifth starter.
A few decisions remain with the opener approaching Thursday at Tampa Bay, including whether Blake Swihart, Brock Holt or Deven Marrero will make team as bench players.
The Red Sox and catcher Christian Vazquez have agreed to a three-year contract extension that runs through 2021 with a team option for 2022, the team announced Saturday.
Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported the contract details:
Vazquez, hitting .323 this spring with two homers, appeared in a career-high 99 games (85 starts) last season and hit .290 with five homers and 32 RBI. Vazquez also threw out 42 percent of attempted base stealers in 2017, the highest rate since 1987.
Vazquez split time with Sandy Leon (85 games) behind the plate last season. The Red Sox will carry three catchers on the Opening Day roster if Blake Swihart, who can also play the outfield, makes team.