Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/18/12

The Boston Red Sox have demoted reliever Mark Melancon to Pawtucket, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Junichi Tazawa has been called up to replace him on Boston's active roster.

Acquired this offseason from the Astros in exchange for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Wieland, Melancon was expected to solidify the back-end of Boston's bullpen following the signing of Jonathan Papelbon with the Phillies and Daniel Bard's move to the Red Sox rotation. It really hasn't worked out that way. Melancon, a former Yankee who came to Houston in the Lance Berkman trade of 2010, was terrible in four games this season. He only managed to get six outs in those four games, striking out one, walking two, and allowing an eye-popping ten hits, five of which left the yard. He's obviously not this bad, as a 20% strand rate, .500 BABIP, 62.5% HR/FB ratio, and 22.50 homer rate aren't sustainable at all. But after an absolutely terrifying outing on Tuesday that saw him face six batters, and see all six score, it was definitely time for a change in a horrific Red Sox bullpen.

He'll be replaced in the majors with Tazawa, who the Red Sox signed out of Japan in December of 2008 for three years and $3.3 million. The intial contract has expired, but Tazawa is still a pre-arbitration player with the Red Sox. He spent 25 1/3 innings in the majors in 2009, and was awful, posting a 7.46 ERA while only striking out 13 hitters. He blew out his elbow in the spring of 2010 and missed the whole season, and when he came back in 2011, he split the year between the bullpen and rotation. In Salem, Portland, and Pawtucket last season, he threw 56 2/3 innings over the three levels, striking out 59 and walking just 16. So far this season for Pawtucket, he's been exclusively a reliever, striking out nine and walking two in seven scoreless innings.

The Red Sox had to do something to quell their fanbase, and while Tazawa might not be the ideal solution, the Red Sox are going to have to give him a whirl sooner or later.

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This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

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