MLB News

Red Sox Select Joely Rodriguez, Naoyuki Uwasawa

Red Sox To Select Joely Rodriguez; C.J. Cron Granted Release

The Red Sox announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contracts of left-hander Joely Rodriguez and right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa — the latter of whom was just acquired from the Rays yesterday. Rodriguez will head straight to the MLB roster, while Uwasawa has been optioned to extended spring training. Righty Liam Hendriks (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and southpaw Chris Murphy (UCL sprain) have been placed on the 60-day IL to create 40-man roster space. Boston also placed righty Bryan Mata (hamstring strain) on the 15-day IL and placed infielder Vaughn Grissom (hamstring strain) and utilityman Rob Refsnyder (broken toe) on the 10-day IL.

Rodriguez, 32, was with the Sox in 2023 but pitched just 11 innings due to oblique, shoulder and hip injuries that combined to result in three different stints on the injured list. He posted a 6.55 ERA in his short time on the mound, striking out 27.5% of his opponents against an 11.8% walk rate and 45.2% ground-ball rate. He re-signed with the Sox on a minor league deal and turned in a strong showing this spring, holding opponents to a pair of runs on nine hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in seven innings of relief. He also recorded a massive 61.9% ground-ball rate.

Looking beyond last year’s struggles, Rodriguez has a decent track record in recent years. From 2020-22, Rodriguez pitched 109 1/3 frames between the Rangers, Yankees and Mets, working to a 4.28 ERA with even more encouraging secondary marks. Rodriguez fanned 25.5% of his opponents in that time and induced grounders at a huge 55.7% clip. His 10.3% walk rate was still a couple ticks north of the league average, but the lefty offered an enticing blend of missed bats and grounders while excelling at keeping the ball in the park (0.58 HR/9). Metrics like FIP (3.14) and SIERA (3.51) were rather bullish on his work.

Uwasawa, 30, has a long track record of success in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball but inked a minor league pact with the Rays over the winter. He most recently tossed 170 innings with a 2.96 ERA in NPB, though that strong mark was accompanied by a lackluster 17.8% strikeout rate and sub-par velocity. Last September, MLBTR contributor Dai Takegami Podziewski noted that Uwasawa’s fastball velocity was averaging 90.8 mph during the 2023 NPB season. Uwasawa does boast a strong 7.5% walk rate, which dropped as low as 5.9% in 2023, but he’s generally viewed as a soft-tossing finesse pitcher.

It was a rocky spring for…

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