Links 4-15-2010: Lackey rolls, Ortiz vs Hermida, Sox claim Luis, Bonser hurt?

After another solid outing in Minnesota, John Lackey has gotten off to a great start in 2010. Expected to be a solid 3rd starter, the 6-6 righty has been the strongest arm in the rotation thus far, posting two quality starts with a sparkling 1.42 ERA. The peripherals are nothing too special (3.91 FIP, 5.53 xFIP) but he’s using all his pitches effectively and induced almost 50% ground balls and let the defense work for him. Don’t expect this kind of pitching all season from Lackey, but it’s certainly nice while it lasts. This is the strength of a team with a quality front three – it will be VERY hard to get us to lose more than a few games in a row.

Manager Terry Francona is predictably still standing behind Papi, but the Sox are smart and they won’t stick with him for too much longer if he doesn’t show signs of improvement. The thing about it is, we have another productive left-handed hitter on the roster right now in Jeremy Hermida. With the opportunity afforded him by Jacoby Ellsbury’s injury, Hermida has shown that he can play in this league; if Ortiz continues to struggle, he could easily step in as a lefty DH. Again, there’s that great team depth I’ve been praising.

The Red Sox yesterday moved SS Jed Lowrie to the 60-day DL to make room for right-handed reliever Santo Luis, claimed from the White Sox. Luis is a 26-year old RHP with good size (6-4, 200) who is just getting his first taste of Double-A this season. He owns a 12.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 rate in 261 minor league innings, mostly at Single-A. He’s a cheap gamble with some good peripherals and closing experience.

After a second rough outing at Pawtucket, Boof Bonser is getting his surgically-repaired shoulder examined by the medical staff.

Justin Masterson is making quite an impression in Cleveland, and is getting the attention of saberists. It looks as if he may have improved his changeup quite a bit, and it’s aiding him against lefties. Best of luck to you, Justin!

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