Mike Timlin returns to the Boston bullpen after a little more than a month on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder.
And in a surprising move, the Red Sox chose not to option Javier Lopez to Pawtucket, which would be the safe, we-basically-lose-nothing move, but to designate JC Romero for assignment. The team has 10 days to either trade him, waive him or release him.
The Sox would rather risk losing Romero than demote Lopez and give Romero more time to get straightened out. And Romero's contract ($1.6) is easier to eat than that of the equally-crappy-if-not-more-so Joel Pineiro ($4). Romero said he was "stunned" at the decision.
Romero has a season ERA of 3.15 and an ERA+ of 142. But that is deceptive, because in 20 innings, he has allowed 24 hits and 15 walks for a staff-high (and really, really bad) 1.950 WHIP. And while he has a 2.08 ERA in his last 19 appearances, he has also walked 12 batters in his last 9.2 innings. ... Both left- (.297) and right- (.317, 1.025 OPS) handed hitters have hit him well all year.
Meanwhile, Lopez has allowed two earned runs in his last 10 appearances and has held lefties to a .219 average (7-for-32).
Now, with Timlin, I'm concerned that Terry Francona will immediately slot him in as the RH set-up guy, bumping Brendan Donnelly. I was not thrilled that the Sox brought the 41-year-old Timlin back for this season -- as one of Francona's favorites, Timlin is relied upon much more than is warranted by his actual performance -- and I question what he can offer this team. In 8.2 innings this season, Timlin has allowed 11 hits and has a 6.23 ERA.
Also: A little bit more on Julio Lugo's hidden ball trick.