Matt Thornton is headed to the disabled list with an oblique strain just 10 appearances after the Red Sox acquired him from the White Sox.
Thornton mostly worked the eighth inning for Boston, so the bullpen will have to reshuffle a bit in his absence. And based on the usual recovery timetable for oblique injuries–which can often linger much longer than initially expected–the impending free agent may not pitch again until September.
Thornton suffered the injury Sunday and had hoped to avoid the DL, but Pedro Beato has been recalled from Triple-A to take his place in the bullpen.
Yesterday the Red Sox acquired reliever Pedro Beato from the Mets to complete the Kelly Shoppach trade and to make room for Beato on the Triple-A roster today they released Mark Prior.
Prior had impressively racked up 38 strikeouts in 25 innings as a reliever for Pawtucket, holding opponents to a .172 batting average. So why would the Red Sox release him from Triple-A? Because he couldn’t throw the ball over the plate, walking 23 batters in those 25 frames.
That includes a 15/13 K/BB ratio in 15 innings over his last 10 appearances, during which time Prior coughed up seven runs.
Obviously with nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings and a sub-.200 batting average against there’s still some juice left in Prior’s oft-injured arm and he’s still only 31 years old, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 and clearly wasn’t going to get an opportunity with the Red Sox.
Earlier this week the Red Sox traded Kelly Shoppach to the Mets for a player to be named later and today that player was revealed as reliever Pedro Beato.
Beato appeared in 60 games for the Mets last season and pitched decently as a 24-year-old rookie, but has spent most of this season at Triple-A with a 4.14 ERA and 27/11 K/BB ratio in 37 innings.
He was originally an Orioles first-round pick in 2006, going to the Mets as a Rule 5 pick in December of 2010.
So, basically the Red Sox and Mets swapped an impending free agent part-time catcher for a mediocre middle reliever under team control for a while.
Lucas Duda’s stay of execution was a short one.
Several reports had him likely to be demoted to Triple-A yesterday, but instead the Mets decided to send down reliever Pedro Beato following his ugly appearance versus the Nationals last night.
That means Duda stuck around in the majors … but only for an extra 12 hours or so. He’s been optioned to Triple-A, with the Mets choosing to keep Kirk Nieuwenhuis around as outfield depth instead.
Duda worked his way into an extended opportunity with a strong performance last season, but hit just .241 with a .726 OPS in 89 games. He did flash solid power and plate discipline with 12 homers and 42 walks, but because of his poor defense Duda really has to produce to be a worthwhile regular.
UPDATE: It looks like Pedro Beato’s poor performance tonight saved Duda from a demotion. Beato gave up four runs over one-third of an inning in the 10th inning tonight against the Nationals, after which he was sent to the minors.
9:30 PM: The Mets need to clear a spot on their roster for top prospect right-hander Matt Harvey, who will make his major league debut Thursday against the Diamondbacks. Many speculated that the struggling Kirk Nieuwenhuis would be the odd-man out, but Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record hears that Lucas Duda will be demoted to Triple-A Buffalo.
Duda earned a shot at the starting right field job after hitting .292 with 10 homers and an .852 OPS in 100 games last season, but he has delivered a disappointing .241/.335/.391 batting line to go along with 12 home runs, 44 RBI and a .726 OPS across 355 plate appearances in 2012. He’s hitting just .140 (6-for-43) with one homer and 16 strikeouts this month. Making matters worse, he has been one of the worst defensive outfielders in the majors.
While the Mets try to get Duda back on track in the minors, they appear ready to give more playing time to the hot-hitting Jordany Valdespin. The 24-year-old entered tonight’s action batting .299/.330/.586 with six home runs, 20 RBI, four stolen bases and a .916 OPS over his first 92 plate appearances in the majors.