Highly touted pitching prospect Brayan Bello will make his major league debut for the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday when they host the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game series.
With starter Rich Hill on the 15-day injured list with a knee sprain, the call went to the 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic. He has piled up 114 strikeouts over 85 innings in the minors this season.
Bello was 6-2 with a 2.81 ERA in nine games for Triple-A Worcester, the last of which was on Friday. In the Boston system since 2018, he was the 2021 Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.
"I'm 100 percent excited," Bello told MassLive.com through translator and Triple-A teammate Yolmer Sanchez. "I just want to work hard and have a good game."
Injuries have shuffled Boston's pitching staff in recent days. Hill was placed on the injured list Saturday, sidelining him alongside fellow starters Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation since June 9) and Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation since June 12).
Whitlock, whom manager Alex Cora said would return to action as a reliever, and Eovaldi both threw two innings in a simulated game prior to Tuesday's 8-4 Rays win.
Additionally, Michael Wacha was scratched from his Monday start due to "dead arm," Cora said.
Chris Sale (right rib stress fracture) could make the final step on his journey back to Boston as his rehab assignment moves to Triple-A, where he will pitch in front of a sold-out crowd on Wednesday. His return to the Red Sox rotation could follow.
"I talked to him a little bit. He's ready to go," Cora said. "If it's up to him, he'll pitch (at Fenway on Wednesday), but I think one more, maybe two, down there. Go compete on Wednesday and we'll decide what we do next."
Offensively, the Red Sox will look for better results with runners in scoring position after going 2-for-12 and stranding 11 on Tuesday. Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story both homered.
For the Rays, two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (3-5, 3.91 ERA) will oppose Bello. Kluber has gone 0-3 in four starts since his most recent win on June 8 against St. Louis.
Most recently, Kluber gave up five runs on seven hits in a three-inning Friday outing at Toronto, a 9-2 loss.
"They hit some pretty decent pitches. They laid off some pitches just out of the zone and took advantage when I did make mistakes," Kluber said of his the start, which ended with an 11-batter third inning.
Kluber will be making his 12th career start against the Red Sox, a team that he had not faced since 2018 until earlier this season. He allowed 11 hits and four runs in a five-inning start back on April 22, a 4-3 Boston win.
Kluber has a 3-5 record and 4.63 ERA in his career against Boston.
The Rays bounced back from being shut out 4-0 in the series opener on Monday by posting the eight runs on 11 hits in Tuesday's win, their fourth in five games.
"It was encouraging," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "(Boston starter Nick) Pivetta's tough. ... They got back in the ballgame, but we added back. I'm very encouraged with how we swung the bats."
Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco have hit streaks of 10 and eight games, respectively.
--Field Level Media