BOSTON (CBS) -- Help is on the way for the Red Sox at the first base spot.
The Red Sox promoted first base prospect Sam Travis to the major leagues from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday prior to the first game of a three-game set against the Rangers, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski announced. Pitcher Hector Velazquez will be optioned back to Pawtucket to make room on the 25-man roster.
Travis, 23, was a second-round pick in the 2014 draft and has worked his way up to becoming MLB.com's No. 4 prospect in the Red Sox system for 2017, behind only Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and Jason Groome. The Red Sox' Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2015, Travis has hit at every level of baseball he has played at so far, sporting a career minor-league batting average of .301.
After missing most of the 2016 season due to a season-ending knee injury, Travis went just 5-for-36 (.139) in his first 16 games of 2017 for Pawtucket. Since April 22, he has batted .344 with six doubles and three home runs in 23 games.
According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, the right-handed Travis is being called up in order to spell Mitch Moreland at first base against left-handed pitching. Travis has batted a sizzling .414 with two homers and a 1.209 OPS against left-handed pitching in Triple-A this season. Travis has only ever played first base in his professional career.
Travis' call-up to the major leagues could be viewed as something of an indictment on Hanley Ramirez, who has played just one game at first base this season. He lasted only three innings at first base on May 10 in Milwaukee before exiting the game with spasms in his right shoulder.
Moreland will be in the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday night against Rangers righty Andrew Cashner. Look for Travis to make his major-league debut on Wednesday, when the Red Sox face Rangers southpaw Martin Perez.
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