Valdez was placed on the virus-related injured list Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19, Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe reports. The extent of Valdez's absence will partially depend on whether he's vaccinated, a detail that has not been disclosed. If unvaccinated, the righty will miss no fewer than 10 days. Brad Peacock was recalled to replace Valdez in the bullpen.
Valdez was called up by the Red Sox on Monday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. Boston needs bullpen help with both Matt Barnes and Martin Perez landing on the COVID-19 injured list. Valdez gives the team an extra arm but will likely be limited to low-leverage opportunities, as he owns a 5.56 ERA in 34 major-league innings this season.
Valdez was optioned to Triple-A Worcester on Thursday. Valdez was lit up for seven runs while recording just three outs Wednesday against the Rays, raising his ERA from 3.82 to 5.56. He'll make way for Tanner Houck, who was recalled ahead of his scheduled start in a corresponding move.
Valdez changed his pitch mix for Friday's three scoreless innings against the Yankees, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports. While Valdez didn't get the win Friday, he was arguably the key to the victory in a game that starter Eduardo Rodriguez left early due to a migraine headache. Valdez ended a Yankees threat in the second inning and pitched two more scoreless frames while striking out seven. He's recently become a mostly changeup pitcher with the occasional fastball, but Valdez flipped the script Friday. "Phillips, he goes down there, he starts using his fastball more in Triple A," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Saturday. "A fastball that he kind of lost the last few years because he's been throwing a lot of changeups. His pitches are basically 75% changeups and 25% fastballs. And they kind of flipped it down there. And the velocity's up. You saw the swings and you saw the takes." Valdez threw 65 percent fastballs during Friday's outing.
Valdez allowed one hit and one walk while striking out seven over three relief innings in Friday's 6-2 win over the Yankees. Valdez was huge out of the bullpen after starter Eduardo Rodriguez departed early in the second inning with a migraine. He entered with none out and runners on second and third base. After a strikeout, he hit a batter to load the bases before striking out Greg Allen and DJ LeMahieu. Valdez was called up Friday after Boston placed Hirokazu Sawamura (triceps) on the injured list.
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