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Why Red Sox chose to call up Steven Wright

04.16.13 at 1:49 pm ET
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At first glance, the choice of Steven Wright as the player to replace Joel Hanrahan (who was placed on the 15-day disabled list) seemed curious.

Wright is a starting pitcher, a knuckleballer and someone who has started in 45 of his 50 appearances over the past two seasons. He pitched exclusively as a starter in both spring training and during his two appearances with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox this season.

The reason for the promotion — which will be the 28-year-old’s major league debut — has a lot to do with the state of the Red Sox’ 40-man roster than anything. With Tuesday night’s starter Felix Doubront having not pitched since April 5, and reliever-turned-starter Alfredo Aceves following up Wednesday, there may be a need a long-man in the coming days. So with the understanding the Sox would need somebody on the 40-man, the candidates to fill such a role realistically came down to Wright and Daniel Bard.

The Red Sox weren’t about to take prospects Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa or Drake Britton out of their routines to jump into the uncertain role with the big league club. That leads to the question of why not Bard?

When the right-hander was sent to Double-A Portland it was made very clear that part of the reason his destination was that level and not Triple-A because the Red Sox didn’t want Bard feeling that a quick promotion was in the works at the first sign of progress. Thus far with the Sea Dogs, Bard has been somewhat up and down, having allowed baserunners in each of his six one-inning appearances. In six innings, he has given up five runs (4 earned) while striking out three and walking three.

Bard is coming off a scoreless, hitless, one-inning outing against Binghamton, walking a batter. He extended what was a no-hitter by the Sea Dogs at the time, coming in to pitch the sixth inning after Anthony Ranaudo turned in five innings of hitless ball.

It should also be noted that after an uneven spring training, Wright had looked good in his two outings with the PawSox. The knuckleballer, who was supposed to start for Pawtucket Tuesday against Lehigh Valley, was coming off a six-inning outing in which he allowed one run on two hits. His first start of the season saw him give up two runs on four innings. Wright has struck out 11 and walked seven.

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