Red Sox injuries: Jarren Duran placed on 10-day IL; Tanner Houck to make first start since June 16

Red Sox

Duran is batting just .143 with one RBI over his last 13 games.

Jarren Duran #16 of the Boston Red Sox runs to first base during a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023.
Jarren Duran exited Sunday’s win against the Yankees with a toe injury. Tanner Pearson / Boston Globe

Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran is going to have to spend some time on the shelf.

On Tuesday evening, Boston announced that Duran will be placed on the 10-day IL (retroactive to Aug. 21) due to a left great toe sprain.

The Red Sox made several corresponding moves ahead of Tuesday’s road matchup against the Astros.

Tanner Houck was reinstated from the 15-day IL and is expected to pitch on Tuesday night against Justin Verlander.

It will be the righty’s first appearance in the big leagues since June 16, with Houck on the mend for over two months while recovering from a facial fracture. Houck took a line drive off the face during his last outing against the Yankees, necessitating surgery to put a small metal plate in his face.

The Red Sox also called up slugging outfielder prospect Wilyer Abreu from the Worcester Red Sox, with the 24-year-old expected to earn some reps in place of Duran over the coming weeks. 

Abreu has been on a tear down in Triple-A over the last few weeks, slashing .424/.528/.949 with 9 home runs and 29 RBIs in August.

Boston also optioned lefty Chris Murphy to Worcester following Monday’s 9-4 loss in Houston.

Duran exited Boston’s win over the Yankees on Sunday in the eighth inning due to his toe injury. While Alex Cora and the Red Sox were initially hopeful that Duran was going to dodge a trip to the IL, that optimism waned over the last few days.

Duran, 26, has been one of the top surprises for the Red Sox this season as a dynamic player at the plate and on the basepaths. But he has cooled off as of late, batting just .143 with two extra-base hits, one RBI, and 10 strikeouts over his 13 games (35 at-bats).

When Duran is at his best, he often uses his game-changing speed to put himself in scoring position, be it through steals (24-for-26 on stolen-base attempts) or legging out doubles off of seemingly harmless base hits into shallow areas of the outfield. He ranks fourth in MLB with 34 doubles in 2023.

But if Duran’s speed is severely hampered due to his toe injury, the Red Sox likely don’t want to risk further injury and sap one of Duran’s top strengths by forcing him to play with a nagging ailment.