Reliever Julian Tavarez was designated for assignment Monday by the Red Sox. ((Steven Senne/Associated Press))

Pitcher Julian Tavarez was designated for assignment Monday by the Boston Red Sox, paving the way for the return of first baseman Sean Casey.

Boston has 10 days to trade, release or demote Tavarez to the minor leagues.

"He was always there for insurance," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Not the most glamorous job, but he would take the ball back to back."

Tavarez, who turns 35 on May 22, went 0-1 with a 6.39 earned-run average in nine relief appearances, permitting 18 hits and nine walks with six strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.

The right-hander is 84-71 lifetime with a 4.44 ERA and 22 saves in 743 appearances (108 starts) over 16 MLB seasons with the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Red Sox.

"We thought we can win more with the other pitchers," Francona said.

Casey, 33, is recovered from a strained right hip suffered April 25.

He is hitting .346 in 17 games with eight runs batted and six runs scored.

Casey is a career .302 hitter with 130 home runs, 726 runs batted in and 682 runs in 1,353 games since making his major-league debut with the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 12, 1997.  

He also has played for the Pirates and Detroit Tigers.

With files from the Associated Press