Red Sox recall Allen Webster from Triple-A, place Joel Hanrahan on DL
|05.07.13 at 4:14 pm ET|
The Red Sox called up righty Allen Webster from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, and the 23-year-old will start Wednesday against the Twins. In addition, the team announced that reliever Joel Hanrahan will be placed on the disabled list for the second time this season. Left-hander Felix Doubront, who had been scheduled to start on Wednesday, will head to the bullpen for this turn of the rotation.
In one previous start this season at the major-league level (on April 21) Webster tossed six innings of five-hit baseball in a 5-4 loss to the Royals. Webster is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA (6 ER/20.0 IP) in four starts for the PawSox this year, compiling 26 strikeouts compared to six walks while holding opponents to a .171 average (12-for-70).
“I’ve been here before and had a game under my belt. Ready to see how it goes,” Webster said of his second call-up, which he received at about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, with the PawSox in Gwinnett, Ga. “Now it’s just to go out there and do the best I can to help us win.”
For Hanrahan, this marks his second stint on the disabled list this season after missing 15 games last month because of a right hamstring strain. The 31-year-old has made three appearances since coming off the disabled list on April 30, allowing two runs over 2.2 innings of work. He collected his 100th career save with a scoreless ninth inning in Toronto on May 2. Hanrahan is 0-1 with four saves, a 9.82 ERA (8 ER/7.1 IP), and five strikeouts over nine relief outings for the Red Sox overall in 2013, his first season with the club.
Hanrahan was diagnosed with inflammation and a strain in his right forearm. He will need a period of rest and re-evaluation before a timetable can be put on his return. Farrell said that the elbow ligament did not appear to be at issue, and that the reliever is instead dealing with a flexor mass issue.
“Everything shows that the structure of the ligament is not involved in this situation. It’s in that flexor mass, probably at some point where the tendon and the muscle join. So, that’s the area that we’re dealing with right now, that Joel’s dealing with,” said Farrell, who suggested that this issue is unrelated to his prior stint on the DL with a sore hamstring. “Want to be careful not to put a timeframe out there and then he’s quicker than it or longer than it. Then it becomes a story in and of itself. Right now, it’s confirmed — he’s got a strain to the right forearm. When we say there’s going to be a shutdown period, we have to go on, I’m sure at some point there ail be a re-exam or a re-MRI of the right forearm, but at this point, he’s in a shutdown period.”
According to the Red Sox, Webster is slated to start Wednesday night’s game against the Twins at Fenway Park. Wednesday’s scheduled starter, left-hander Felix Doubront, will be available in the bullpen beginning Tuesday night. Farrell said that Doubront is expected to return to a starting role in he next turn of the Red Sox rotation, but that in the short-term, the team felt like shifting Doubront to the bullpen and skipping him as a certainty, rather than a mere possibility, offered the best clarity regarding roles.
“As we’re going through this couple of day period to somewhat regroup and get our pitching back on track, this was the one way we could communicate to everyone involved, pitchers, that this would be a concrete plan over the next couple of days,” said Farrell. “I didn’t want Felix going down and getting loose or possibly being available — he is available tonight — but potentially coming into that game with the thought of, he’s starting tomorrow as well. This was the way to be clear cut about it and Webster starts tomorrow. So, Felix will be in the ‘pen today and tomorrow. It’s anticipated at this point that the next time we go through the rotation, Doubront will be back in it.”
Meanwhile, with both Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey on the disabled list, the Sox will entrust closing duties to Junichi Tazawa. Koji Uehara will continue to work in the seventh and eighth innings.
Farrell said that the decision to designate Tazawa for ninth-inning duties was related “as much [to] the entire bullpen as it is with Junichi closing things out. Koji’s done an excellent job in that seventh, eighth inning for us. With the addition of Craig Breslow in that mix, I feel like we’ve gotten more options to match up in that bridge to Junichi as a closer, and I like the fact that Junichi’s got power to his pitch mix. He’s been effective against lefties and righties as well. I think the late-inning guys we have here do a very good job of controlling the running game. All things considered, Junichi is the choice.”
Also relevant in the decision was the fact that Uehara faces some workload restrictions given his age (38) and history of arm issues; by anointing Tazawa, the Sox believe they have created the most consistent structure to their bullpen until Bailey returns.
Tazawa — who has a 2.51 ERA, 18 strikeouts and three walks in 14 1/3 innings — suggested that he would treat his new responsibility no differently than he’s treated his role as a setup man this year.
“Basically, it’s just pitching the last inning, so I’m not going to change my style,” Tazawa said through a translator. “[Farrell] just ssaid, ‘You’re going to be pitching as a closer, and don’t change anything.’
“I’ll try to fill the responsibility as much as I can,” he added. “It’s nothing that I’m really feeling different about. Just that it’s my role, and any way that I can help the team win games, that’s what my mindset is.”
Also: Franklin Morales will start a new rehab assignment on Wednesday with Double-A Portland. He’ll log two innings, with the Sox still planning on stretching him out as a starter for now, though that blueprint is subject to change depending on needs that might arise in the coming days in the Red Sox bullpen.
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