Red Sox will start Josh Smith Monday against Orioles

Cora said the Sox don’t want to commit to Hector Velazquez as a starter because of his value to the bullpen.

Josh Smith
Josh Smith will make his first major league start since 2016, and first with the Red Sox, on Monday night in Baltimore. –Jonathan daniel/Getty Images

CHICAGO — Hector Velaz­quez has been an effective pitcher for the Red Sox, both as a starter and reliever. But they’re not ready to put him in the rotation while they wait for Nate Eovaldi to return from elbow surgery.

The Sox will instead start righthander Josh Smith against Baltimore on Monday night, deciding Velazquez will remain in the bullpen. Smith, 31, has pitched one inning since April 20 and last started a major league game in 2016 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds.

Manager Alex Cora said the belief is Smith could get 12-15 outs.