As welcome as was the shift to a 10-day minimum for stints on the disabled list, the loophole it opened was cavernous. A team with a depleted bullpen could stash a starting pitcher on the disabled list with a phantom injury in order to summon a reliever and only have to skip one start with that starting pitcher -- an especially easy move to make with an off-day or two coming up on the schedule.

No official word has come down, but Red Sox manager John Farrell said his understanding is that Major League Baseball plans to crack down on the so-called "phantom DL" and require increased documentation for injuries requiring DL stints. That would make it more difficult for teams to manipulate roster rules by abusing the disabled list.

"With it just being 10 days, I think the DL will be scrutinized even greater to try to control that," Farrell said. "I think there's going to be doctor documentation required for every move that's made to the DL. On the surface, it looks like it could be manipulated. But I think the backup evidence is going to be much more in-depth."

For teams with relievers they can option to Triple-A and recall with little restriction, the crackdown on disabled-list manipulation would have few consequences.

The Red Sox, however, don't have the same obvious taxi squad. Three projected members of the Opening Day bullpen have minor-league options, but none of the three -- Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and Robbie Ross Jr. -- are pitchers the team will want to keep around at all times, not send to Triple-A to alleviate a roster crunch.

One could imagine it being tempting for the Red Sox to stash a pitcher like Drew Pomeranz on the DL if a need arose, fulfilling the dual purpose of opening a spot for a reliever and skipping a start for a pitcher still adapting to a 30-start workload. They could bring up a reliever for four days, swap him out for a starter for one day, and then bring up another reliever for the next four days -- and then Pomeranz could make his next start on schedule.