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Red Sox designate Dan Butler for assignment to make room for Craig Breslow 01.07.15 at 11:12 am ET
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Dan Butler

Dan Butler

In the end, Drake Britton’s potential was too good to part ways with quite yet.

The Red Sox designated catcher Dan Butler for assignment to clear up room on the 40-man roster for newly signed Craig Breslow.

The decision always appeared like it would come down to either Butler or Britton. The case for keeping the catcher was that if something happened to Ryan Hanigan or Christian Vazquez early in the season, the former undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona would be needed. Top prospect Blake Swihart is the only other catcher on the Red Sox‘ 40-man roster, and he wouldn’t seem to be a major league option until later in the season.

Britton also was out of options, meaning if he didn’t make the team in spring training he couldn’t be sent down to the minor leagues. Butler does have options.

But with the Red Sox needing another lefty in the bullpen, and with Britton bouncing back from a horrific minor league campaign in 2014 to impress in his seven outings with the Sox at the end of the year (6 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs), the value of the reliever was too much to part ways with quite yet.

Butler, who could re-sign with the Red Sox on a minor league deal, was one of the best Sox stories in ’14. The 28-year-old made his major league debut and appeared in seven games, hitting .211 with three doubles.

The Breslow announcement comes after the lefty agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Red Sox on Dec. 19. The lefty passed his physical, which was taken Monday. (To read about how Breslow landed back with the Red Sox this offseason, click here.)

Read More: Craig Breslow, Dan Butler, drake britton,
What the Red Sox bullpen might look like 12.23.14 at 10:34 am ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Today we wrote about how the Red Sox priority has to be finishing off the construction of the bullpen. With some uncertainty involving the starting rotation, it would seem to make sense to have as good a read on the relievers heading into the season as possible.

(To read the entire column, click here.)

So far, this is what we know …

— Koji Uehara will come in as closer.

— Edward Mujica (he had a 1.78 ERA in his 79 post-All-Star break appearances) will join Junichi Tazawa as the primary set-up men.

— If Craig Breslow‘s 2014 is, indeed, an aberration he also enters into that group.

— Brandon Workman should get every opportunity to become the factor he was at the end of 2013.

— Newly-acquired Anthony Varvaro almost certainly will be in the equation as a viable ground ball-inducer, heading to camp out of options.

That’s six. There would seem to be room for one more.

Last Opening Day, the only differences in the group was the presence of Burke Badenhop, Chris Capuano and Andrew Miller. (Breslow started the year on the disabled list)

While Varvaro might be viewed as a cheaper replacement for Badenhop (although the jack-of-all-trades free agent would seemingly still be valuable fit if re-signed), the Sox would seemingly be down one lefty. There are still free agent options (Phil Coke, Neal Cotts, Joe Beimel among them).

But this might be a spot the Sox look to fix with an internal option. For this very reason, the Drake Britton vs. Tommy Layne camp competition will be something to watch. If Britton impresses to the level which he did until the very end of spring training last year, he would certainly have the upper-hand considering the 25 year old is out of options.

(As a quick aside, here are the players who are — or will be — on the 40-man roster and out of options: Varvaro, Britton, Breslow, Mujica and Daniel Nava.)

That would still seemingly leave one spot to find an impact arm, via promotion, trade or free agency. Matt Barnes might be an interesting option, although it is unclear if the Red Sox plan on continuing him down the road of a starter for the 2015 season. With options, the likes of Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar and newly-acquired Zeke Spruill would have to separate themselves dramatically in camp to have a shot at opening with the big club.

Of the free agents, Badenhop might be the best option/fit, but one of an intriguing group just might slip through the cracks and add an unexpected element to this group…

Which free agent reliever do you want the Red Sox to make a run at?

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Read More: Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Koji Uehara,
Sources: David Ross agrees to 2-year deal with Cubs; Craig Breslow deciding between Red Sox, Cubs 12.19.14 at 6:15 pm ET
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According to a major league source, David Ross has agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs.

The 37-year-old had narrowed his decision down to the Red Sox, Padres and Cubs prior to Friday. The Red Sox, however, appear to be on the verge of acquiring Ryan Hanigan from San Diego for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

With the choice coming down to the Padres and Cubs, Ross made the move to join his former teammate Jon Lester in Chicago.

Ross battled various injuries during his two-year stint with the Red Sox, including concussions. He played in a combined 86 regular-season games with the Sox, thriving during the team’s 2013 postseason run when the backstop took over starting duties for the final two rounds.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was first to report the agreement.

The Cubs and Red Sox seemingly have at least one more free agent showdown, with another major league source suggesting reliever Craig Breslow has narrowed his decision down to the two teams. The Red Sox declined their $4 million option on the lefty earlier this offseason.

Read More: Craig Breslow, David Ross,
David Ross, Craig Breslow still in mix with Red Sox 12.17.14 at 10:13 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Cubs evidently aren’t done battling for players this offseason.

According to a major league source, free agent catcher David Ross was choosing between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres as of early Wednesday night. Reliever Craig Breslow is also narrowing his potential landing spots, with his agent having had recent discussions with both the Sox and the Cubs.

Ross, who battled injuries and concussions throughout his two-year tenure with the Red Sox, is valued by Chicago in part due to his relationship with newly-acquired ace Jon Lester. The Sox, however, view the 37-year-old as a good complement to projected starter Christian Vazquez.

The fit with San Diego might have gotten more complicated Wednesday night with the Padres’ acquisition of Ryan Hanigan in their three-way trade that also netted San Diego Wil Myers from Tampa Bay. The Padres also figure to have Tim Federowicz, who comes over from the Dodgers in the swap for Matt Kemp.

Breslow, whose $4 million option wasn’t picked up by the Red Sox following the 2014 season, has seen talks with the Sox intensify over the past few days. The lefty recently attended the winter meetings in an effort to paint the picture of what transpired in a down ’14 campaign.

The odds of the Red Sox signing their other free agent reliever, Burke Badenhop, likely diminished with the team’s trade of former Braves sinkerballer Anthony Varvaro Wednesday.

Read More: Craig Breslow, David Ross,
Red Sox decline option on Craig Breslow 10.31.14 at 2:28 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced that they’ve declined their $4 million option for the 2015 season on left-handed reliever Craig Breslow. The 34-year-old went 2-4 with a 5.96 ERA in 60 relief appearances this season, a marked departure from a six-year stretch that had established him as one of the most consistent left-handers in the game, with a 2.82 ERA while averaging 62 innings and 65 games a year. It was that track record that led the Sox to sign Breslow to the first multi-year deal of his career, a two-year, $6.25 million deal that included the 2015 option.

Breslow proved a pivotal part of the Sox bullpen in 2013, posting a 1.81 ERA in the regular season and then seven scoreless innings in the first two rounds of the postseason before he faltered in the World Series, retiring just one of the seven batters he faced in three appearances, at a time when he was running on fumes. That October run undoubtedly had a lingering toll in 2014, with Breslow frustrated by his inability to perform to his customary levels.

“I’ve never before had to play the last game of such a miserable season,” Breslow said on the final day of the season. “There were a lot of firsts this year. I’ve never struggled like this at any point of my career. I’ve never had a full season that ended up like this, especially one that had significant expectations going on. The best part of this season is that it’s done. …

“I’m not looking for sympathy. I recognize that in my mind, and I think quite pragmatically, 2014 was the complement to 2013. I wouldn’t undo any of that. I would gladly make that sacrifice. As much as this stinks, being able to contribute to a team that won a World Series is something that guys play for 20 years and never get a chance to do,” he added. “I think it’s kind of like I had the ultimate high of highs last year and the ultimate low of lows last year and in 2015 I’ll go back to being the same guy I was for six of the last seven years.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Craig Breslow,
Transition coming: Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow take stock of new Red Sox order 08.01.14 at 12:35 am ET
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Given the pure volume of trades that the Red Sox made at the deadline on Thursday, former Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton expressed concern at Thursday’s Buchholz Bowl charity event at Jillian’s and Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston.

“I’m coming to the game on Saturday and they might need me to pitch,” Thornton said with a chuckle.

The former Bruins winger was not far off, however. Following the trades on Thursday, Clay Buchholz is the only pitcher in the current Red Sox rotation who was a part of the group on Opening Day.

Jon Lester and John Lackey not only represented the team’s most consistent pitchers, but also provided leadership for the group in the clubhouse. Buchholz said that he was slightly shocked to see two of his rotation mates shipped out of town.

To be able to make friends and be lucky enough to be with the guys that I’ve been around, it’s a little different,” Buchholz said. “That’s the business side of baseball. Hopefully, they can make a move on and help another team reach the playoffs and reach another World Series.”

As the pitcher with the most experience on the staff, Buchholz would appear to be the de facto leader for the rotation. When asked if he was ready to lead the group, Buchholz was noncommittal and instead started to talk about his health.

I feel good where I’m at right now. I feel healthy,” Buchholz said. “Obviously, the numbers haven’t gone the way that I wanted it to this season yet, but if I have 10, 11, 12 starts left, I’m going to go out there and treat it like it’s another game and go out and try to do the best I can to help the team win.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow, john lackey, Jon Lester
Closing Time: Sox bullpen falters, Indians snap Boston’s seven-game home win streak 06.14.14 at 7:31 pm ET
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Entering Saturday’€™s game, the Red Sox bullpen posted a collective 2.90 ERA – good for sixth lowest in baseball this season.

However, Boston’€™s usually stout relief corps would cost the team Saturday, as the Indians scored two runs off of lefty Craig Breslow in the seventh en route to a 3-2 win at Fenway Park.

The loss snaps Boston’€™s brief two-game win streak and seven-game home winning streak, which originated on May 28 against the Braves.The Red Sox are now 8-15 this season in one-run games this season.

With the Red Sox leading 2-1 going into the seventh, Breslow entered the game and surrendered two-straight singles to Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley, putting runners at the corners with no outs.

Jason Kipnis followed with a groundout to Dustin Pedroia, who proceeded to throw home in an attempt to retire the advancing Cabrera. While the throw was in time, Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski mishandled the ball, allowing Cabrera to score and put runners on first and second.

After walking David Murphy to load the bases, Breslow was pulled for Junichi Tazawa, who proceeded to walk Carlos Santana, forcing in a run and giving Cleveland a 3-2 lead. It was the first time that Tazawa has walked in a run in his major-league career.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Craig Breslow, Indians, jake peavy, junichi tazawa
Craig Breslow on M&M: ‘Biggest goal is getting healthy’ 04.28.14 at 2:08 pm ET
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Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the Red Sox getting back to .500, Clay Buchholz‘€™s “dead arm”, the differences between the bullpen in 2013 and 2014 and Michael Pineda‘€™s pine tar incident last week. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

(Breslow’s charity — the Strike 3 Foundation — will be holding their annual charity event, “Sip Happens,” May 19 at the Boston Children’s Museum to benefit the fight against pediatric cancer.  To purchase tickets, or more information, click here.)

The Red Sox haven’€™t gotten off to the hot start they had in 2013, instead staying below .500 for the majority of the season, holding a record of 12-14. Breslow pointed out that while getting over that mark is one of the priorities, the biggest priority at this point is getting all the starters on the field.

“I think different teams probably have different goals at this point, and for us I think the biggest goal is getting healthy. … Obviously we’€™ve suffered through some early season injuries,” Breslow said. “We’€™re now just getting back some key players. Obviously, (it’s) great to get (Shane) Victorino back, (Will) Middlebrooks back. And I think just being able to run out the lineup that we had envisioned taking the field with on opening day consistently is really our first step towards, kind of, identifying who we are and who we will be as a team.”

Buchholz, who has struggled in 2014 with a 1-2 record and a 6.66 ERA, is thought, by many, to have “dead arm.” Breslow contends that he too may be struggling through the same thing.

“There are probably a lot of parallels between Clay, and I just in terms of a heavy workload, battling some shoulder issues last season, wanting to make sure that we were completely healthy going into this season, picking up a throwing program a little bit later,” Breslow said. “I kind of felt like I ran out of time towards the end of spring training and needed a little bit longer to get myself in game shape.”

Added Breslow: “This whole dead arm phenomenon is really a bizarre thing because you don’€™t feel hurt or unhealthy or weak, but when you go to throw a baseball, despite the fact that you feel you’€™re putting the same effort into it, it’€™s just not coming out as hard.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow, Michael Pineda
Wednesday’s pregame notes: Red Sox contemplating outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino 04.09.14 at 3:20 pm ET
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Once Shane Victorino works his way back from a hamstring injury (and a case of the flu), the Red Sox outfield may get a little crowded. Both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore have been playing well, and manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox are contemplating scenarios that would feature all three of those outfielders once Victorino is activated, given the possibility boost such a grouping would have on the team’s run prevention.

“All of those alignments are thought of,” said Farrell. “How we get to that point remains to be seen with roster adjustments. The one thing that continues to bear out is the outfield defense and placing a premium on that.”

An alignment of Bradley, Sizemore and Victorino would undoubtedly give the Red Sox one of the defensive outfields in the league, but carrying all three would require some roster shuffling, with Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp all part of the outfield mix. If Bradley and Sizemore remain in the big leagues when Victorino is activated, the Sox will likely have to make a move to clear one of those other three outfielders off the 25-man roster.

For more on the Sox’ incentive to feature a Sizemore/Bradley/Victorino alignment, click here.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Craig Breslow, grady sizemore, jackie bradley jr., Shane Victorino
Red Sox optioning Brandon Workman to Triple-A Pawtucket to clear spot for Craig Breslow 04.08.14 at 10:48 pm ET
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Life can be cruelly unjust for players at the start of their big league careers, a notion that gained reinforcement on Tuesday night in the person of right-hander Brandon Workman.

Workman pitched brilliantly in long relief for the Red Sox on Tuesday night, delivering three perfect innings before permitting a run — his only one in 6 1/3 innings this year — in the ninth inning, giving the Sox an opportunity to mount a comeback.

“He did great,” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. “One thing about Work, he’€™s going to throw it over the plate. He’€™s not afraid. He works fast, throws three or four different pitches over the plate that all have the ability to get hitters out. I’€™m proud of the work Workman did.”

His impressive open to the 2014 campaign followed a 2013 season that Workman concluded by throwing 8 2/3 postseason relief innings without permitting an earned run.

His reward? On Tuesday night, it was being optioned down to Triple-A Pawtucket. In some ways, the decision to send Workman down represents a compliment to his abilities, as the team feels that he offers them perhaps their most reliable source of starting pitching depth (at a time when Chris Capuano is at a point where he’s unlikely to be stretched out), and so the team wants him to take the ball every five days. Still, the idea of getting sent down — no matter the reason — is inevitably disheartening.

Still, the 25-year-old said that he understood the team’s rationale behind sending him down in order to clear a roster spot for left-hander Craig Breslow.

“That’€™s just part of it. They said they wanted me to keep being stretched out and stuff. That’€™s just the way it goes,” said Workman. “Obviously it’€™s not ideal but I understand what they’€™re doing. It’€™s part of it.’€

Read More: Brandon Workman, Craig Breslow,
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