NEW YORK -- Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Far earlier than they had anticipated, the Red Sox are bringing top-rated prospect Mookie Betts to the big leagues. Betts is expected to join the Red Sox at Yankee Stadiun tonight. The corresponding roster move is unknown, though it's likely to be a pitcher who is moved to accommodate the addition.
The call-up was first reported by the Boston Herald's John Tomase.
Betts, 21, in just his third year of pro ball, having been selected out of high school in 2011. He started the season at Double-A Portland before earning a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this month.
Betts was hit .322 with an .869 OPS in Pawtucket. While in Portland, he hit .355 in 54 games with 6 homers and 34 RBI. Between the two stops, he's stolen 29 bases in 34 attempts.
A natural infielder blocked at second base by Dustin Pedroia, Betts have played the outfield at Pawtucket in an effort to make him more versatile.
More recently, the Red Sox had him playing right field in Pawtucket after Shane Victorino's rehab was halted because of lower back issues. The Sox had been counting on Victorino to join them this weekend, but his return now could be weeks away, speeding up the arrival of Betts.
It's unknown how much Betts will play, including tonight when the Red Sox face Yankee ace Masahiro Tanaka.
But the Red Sox have needed something to jumpstart their moribund offense. They were shutout for the seventh time Friday night, 6-0, and managed just three hits. They're ranked 13th out of 15 American League teams in runs scored after leading the majors in that category a season ago.
For the past week, the Red Sox have been playing with just 12 position players, as the club has carried 13 pitchers in an effort to find roles for both Brandon Workman (Friday's losing pitcher) and Rubby De La Rosa, who hasn't pitched since last Saturday in Oakland.