The Red Sox announced they’ve placed utilityman Kiké Hernández on the COVID-19 injured list. Yairo Muñoz has been selected to the big league roster in his place. Additionally, Jonathan Araúz has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester while Christian Arroyo is landing on the COVID IL. Hernández has tested positive for the virus, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe), while Arroyo has entered protocols as a close contact.
Hernández has been one of Boston’s most valuable performers this season. He has gotten starts at all three positions up the middle of the field while posting one of the best offensive years of his career. Over 483 plate appearances, Hernández is hitting .258/.346/.465 with seventeen home runs, earning himself the leadoff spot in the order.
Muñoz is up for the first time this season. The 26-year-old has spent the entire year in Worcester, hitting .318/.346/.461 with eight home runs over 356 plate appearances. Muñoz hasn’t drawn many walks or hit for a ton of power, but his 13.2% strikeout rate in the minors is minuscule, allowing him to hit for a high batting average. He has also displayed plenty of defensive flexibility, starting multiple games at each of third base, shortstop, second base and all three outfield positions.
That’s nothing new for Muñoz, who logged big league action as a multi-positional player in each season from 2018-20. The bulk of that experience came in his first two seasons with the Cardinals, but Muñoz did appear in twelve games with Boston last season. He owns a .278/.332/.402 line over 555 career trips to the plate at the big league level. Because Muñoz was selected as a COVID replacement, he can be removed from the 40-man roster and returned to the minor leagues without passing through waivers whenever a player is able to return from the COVID list.