Red Sox promote 1B prospect Sam Travis

BOSTON -- For now, at least, think of Sam Travis as more of a specialist than a savior for the Boston Red Sox.

Having lost seven of their past 12 games and seeking to spark their pedestrian offense, the Red Sox called up Travis from Triple-A Pawtucket before their series-opening 11-6 win against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

While the 23-year-old prospect remains the club's first baseman of the future, he will play initially against only left-handed pitchers, manager John Farrell said.

"He's been swinging the bat well. There's some momentum with Travis, getting him up here," Farrell said. "The fact is, we're probably looking at four left-handed starters over these next four series. Felt like this was an opportunity to add another right-handed bat."

Less than a year removed from knee surgery that ended his 2016 season prematurely, Travis is batting .344 with six doubles, three home runs and a .909 OPS in his past 23 games for Pawtucket. In 33 games overall, he's batting .286 with nine doubles, four homers and an .805 OPS.

Travis recently was rated as the Red Sox's fourth-best prospect and the No. 98 prospect in baseball by ESPN's Keith Law.

But Travis has been exclusively a first baseman throughout his minor league career, and the Red Sox have gotten solid production from veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland, who has homered in three consecutive games and leads the league with 16 doubles.

When the Red Sox signed Moreland to a one-year, $5 million contract, their original plan was to play him against right-handed pitchers and move designated hitter Hanley Ramirez to first base against lefties. But Ramirez has played only three innings at first base because of soreness in his right shoulder. Ramirez took grounders at first base Tuesday, but asked if the Sox have plans to try him at the position again soon, Farrell said, "Not at this point."

Entering Tuesday, the Red Sox had hit only four homers this season against lefties, fewest in the majors. They have a .718 OPS against lefties, including .629 against left-handed starting pitchers.

Travis likely will make his first major league start Wednesday night against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez. He said his mother, father and sister likely will be at Fenway Park for the game.

Otherwise, when the Red Sox face a right-handed starter, Travis will be used as a pinch hitter.

"It's a surreal feeling," said Travis, who teamed with Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber in college at Indiana. "Something you've been working for your whole life. It's pretty amazing. I can't put it into words. I'm just here to help the team win."