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Red Sox place ace Michael Wacha on 15-day injured list

The Red Sox are placing right-hander Michael Wacha on the 15-day injured list due to left intercostal irritation, reports Chris Cotillo of MassLive. The move is retroactive to May 5. Fellow righty Tyler Danish has been recalled in a corresponding move.

This is yet another in a series of frustrations for the Red Sox so far this year. After a 92-win campaign a year ago, the club is off to a dismal 10-18 start here in 2022, dropping them into the basement of the AL East. They also got some bad news on Saturday, when it was reported that Chris Sale and James Paxton have both suffered setbacks in their attempts to rehab from their respective injuries.

Wacha has been one of the few bright spots for Boston this year, as he has an ERA of 1.38 over his first five starts. There might be some good fortune in there, as Wacha’s strikeout rate of 19% and walk rate of 11% are both a bit worse than league average. His surface-level success is probably connected to his unsustainable .162 batting average on balls in play and 94.3% strand rate. Still, it’s a blow to a club that has had little to feel good about over the first month of the campaign. The rotation also lost Rich Hill, who went on the COVID-related injured list recently, but it’s unclear how long he is expected to be out for.

With Wacha being scratched from Sunday’s start, the club gave the ball to Tanner Houck instead. Houck opened the season in the rotation but was gradually usurped by Garrett Whitlock. He’s been piggybacking behind Hill for the past few turns through the rotation but could get more starts now with the recent openings. He was pitching on just two days’ rest Sunday and was able to throw only 39 pitches over 2 2/3 innings but could get further stretched out in the weeks to come. Unless Hill can return soon, the club might need another arm down the line, as they are down to a four-man rotation of Houck, Whitlock, Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta. That will do for now, as the club has off-days on Monday and Thursday. But after that, they will play 10 days in a row, followed by one off-day and then a stretch of 10 games in nine days, thanks to a doubleheader on May 28.

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