Red Sox pregame notes: Brandon Workman headed to the bullpen as relief arms start to stack up
|07.31.13 at 9:32 pm ET|
Tuesday, Brandon Workman collected his first major league win. Wednesday, he was officially relegated to the bullpen.
With the acquisition of Jake Peavy, right-handed Workman — who allowed five runs in 18 1/3 innings in his three starts — was squeezed out of the rotation and sent back to the role that the Red Sox originally called him up for, pitching in relief.
So even though they did not acquire a right-handed reliever to bolster their bullpen, as they had reportedly been interested in doing, the Peavy acquisition allows the Red Sox to add a new arm to their relieving corps anyway.
And manager John Farrell expects Workman to adjust just fine.
“If you start to prioritize the characteristics of a successful reliever, strike throwing, and he has shown that, even in his only relief appearance,” Farrell said. “He’s shown the ability to get some swing and miss to his fastball. Last night was the best curveball he’s had in the three starts he’s made for us. I don’t know that you can pinpoint any one thing because the one thing that stands out probably the most is the demeanor on the mound and the composure and the mound presence.
“Even when he’s been pitching with some traffic behind him or guys on base, he’s not trying to overthrow and come out of his delivery. He’s done a very good job.”
Workman will be available starting Saturday, according to Farrell, and he will be the team’s first go-to if it needs a spot start any time before Clay Buchholz returns, whenever that may be.
How Workman will be used more generally is unclear. Since he has started all season, he would be a natural fit as the long man. But given his success and poise, like when he struck out Mike Morse and Justin Smoak with the bases loaded to end the sixth Tuesday night, he could also be effective in shorter stints in tighter games.
Farrell indicated he would not be wary of using the 24-year-old rookie in high-leverage situations, particularly on days when the usual late-inning relievers are unavailable.
“He’s been thrown into the fire, and he’ll be thrown in there again,” Farrell said.
The manager also noted that if Workman doesn’t have multi-inning appearances for 10-14 days, it would be time to worry about his being stretched out.
Farrell grouped Workman in with Drake Britton, the rookie southpaw who has started his major league career with six nearly spotless innings of relief.
In the end, the deal for Peavy gives the team more reliable relief options, which could prove particularly important since it didn’t acquire another arm at the deadline.
“They’re helping us now,” Farrell said. “With each time both Drake and Brandon have walked to the mound, they’re gaining the trust in us, and I have to believe that they’re gaining confidence in their own right based on the way they’ve performed. It gives us the ability to rotate guys through a little bit more regularly instead of leaning on one or two guys exclusively.”
Other Red Sox notes:
– Farrell did not say when Peavy would make his first start with his new team, but he did indicate he would like to break up lefties Jon Lester and Felix Doubront — scheduled to pitch on Friday and Saturday, respectively — which would put Peavy on track to start Saturday against the Diamondbacks.
Peavy was scratched from his start Tuesday, and has not pitched since July 25, so he will throw a bullpen when he joins the team Thursday.
“This has a chance to be an outstanding fit,” Farrell said.
Farrell spoke with Peavy late Tuesday night and said the newest Sox hurler is “ecstatic” to come to Boston.
“As his career has gone on, he’s made some of the adjustments that every pitcher is going to have to go through as they gain years of experience and years of work,” Farrell said. “The competitive nature that he has — you’re going to see a guy that’s not afraid to talk to himself out there. Whether that’s to fire himself up or whether that’s to rise to the occasion in the moment, and he loves to compete. I think his attitude, his personality will fit as the vast majority of our clubhouse shares the same approach to the game.”
– Left-hander Franklin Morales pitched another scoreless inning for Pawtucket Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from a pectoral strain. He needed only 13 pitches to retire Norfolk, the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, in order.
The next step will be for Morales to pitch on back-to-back days Saturday and Sunday, according to Farrell.
Righty Alex Wilson will make his second rehab appearance Thursday with Pawtucket.
– Clay Buchholz threw again today, and he planned on stretching it out to about 120 feet before bringing it back in to 65-70 feet at a higher intensity. Farrell said he continues to respond well physically.
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