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Enrique Hernandez could be back in Red Sox lineup this week

BOSTON -- The Red Sox got a big boost from Michael Wacha on Sunday night, with the righty returning from the IL to pitch seven shutout innings in a win over the Yankees. And more reinforcements are expected to arrive for the Red Sox this week.

Outfielder Enrique Hernandez, who has been out since June 8 with a hip flexor strain, finished up a rehab assignment with Double-A Portland over the weekend. Barring any off-day setbacks on Monday, the 30-year-old is expected to rejoin the Red Sox when the team begins a three-game series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Hernandez went 3-for-12 over four games with the Sea Dogs with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. He's been sorely missed atop the Boston lineup, even after a slow start to the season that saw him hit just .209 over his first 51 games of 2022.

Hernandez was a massive part of Boston's success in 2021, with the outfielder slashing .250/.337/.449 with 20 homers, 35 doubles and 84 runs scored in his first season with the Red Sox. He was even better as the team made a push for the World Series in the postseason, batting .408 with five home runs, nine RBIs and nine runs scored.

He may not be the only outfielder to return to Boston this week, either. Rob Refsnyder, who has been out since the end of July with a knee injury, is also in line to join the Red Sox ahead of the series against the Pirates. Refsnyder hit leadoff for Portland on Sunday and crushed a two-run homer for the Sea Dogs, part of a two-hit day for the 31-year-old.

Getting both Hernandez and Refsnyder back in the lineup will greatly improve Boston's outfield depth. Jarren Duran can move back to a utility role, while Jaylin Davis will almost certainly be sent back down to the minors.

Davis was optioned back to Triple-A following Sunday night's win over New York, opening up a roster spot for someone on Tuesday.

Injured second baseman Trevor Story will also be with the team in Pittsburgh, though it doesn't sound like he'll be back in the lineup anytime soon. Story will take on-field batting practice at PNC Park as he recovers from a right wrist injury, and a Minor League rehab assignment could come shortly after.

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