The Red Sox have optioned Junichi Tazawa to Pawtucket in order to recall shortstop Jose Iglesias before Tuesday's game against the Oakland Athletics.
It's a move that seems strange at first. After all, if there's one thing the Red Sox are in need of it's arms in the bullpen. However, looking at the bigger picture, it's not hard to see how this could be just the first in a series of moves surrounding Aaron Cook, Clay Buchholz, and Kevin Youkilis.
The immediate concern for the team is Kevin Youkilis, with Tuesday marking his third straight game missed due to a back injury. Jose Iglesias provides immediate backup for the team while they're unwilling to start Will Middlebrooks' clock for a short cup of coffee. Tazawa was unlikely to pitch today, having already thrown in the last couple of days.
Next up is Aaron Cook, who has an opt-out clause in his contract that activates today. If he requests to leave the team, the Sox have just 48 hours to bring him up. Cook would not be ready to go today, having thrown as a starter on Saturday, so the Sox wait to be sure on Kevin Youkilis before moving him to the disabled list.
The other interesting participant here is Clay Buchholz, who has been terrible in his first five starts of the season. While it doesn't seem like he's injured on any level that would require a trip to the disabled list, the Sox have started floating information about Buchholz having blisters.
If Kevin Youkilis does need to go on the disabled list, then he and Clay can both make the jump, bringing up Aaron Cook and Junichi Tazawa in the process, leaving Aviles, Iglesias, and Punto to cover the left side of the infield (hopefully primarily Aviles and Iglesias) while Cook takes over for Buchholz in the rotation and Tazawa returns to the bullpen.
If he doesn't, then it's simple as sending Iglesias down for Cook, and then putting Buchholz on the disabled list to get Tazawa back up.
It seems a bit of a convoluted scheme, but the timing seems to just make too much sense. For Tazawa to come up in the next 10 days, someone has to hit the disabled list--players can only be recalled ten days after being sent down barring an injury--and it seems unlikely the Sox are simply willing to take that hit to their bullpen.