Red Sox bullpen getting some Work(man)

The Guru
Contributing Writer

Despite the solid contribution from the bullpen in last night's win (5 2/3 innings of one-run relief), the Red Sox are still looking for answers. While trade rumors continue to swirl in regard to the Red Sox and possible relievers (Jonathan Paplebon, Matt Thorton, Kevin Gregg), the answer may actually come from within the organization.

Tuesday the Red Sox called up right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman from Triple-A Pawtucket. Workman has been primarily a starter in his career, but the Sox are hoping Workman's ability to throw strikes and go multiple innings will provide the much needed help.

"He's shown consistent fastball command for strikes," manager John Farrell said before Tuesday's game. "So, if you're trying to put together a criteria of what we're looking for in a reliever, it's a guy that can throw the ball over the plate first. Can they handle the emotion inside the game? At each of the levels in which he's pitched, he's shown that."

The Red Sox bullpen currently ranks 13th in the American League and 26th in the majors with a 4.30 ERA. With the season ending injury to lefty Andrew Miller and Alex Wilson placed on the DL with a thumb injury, it is interesting that general manager Ben Cherington went with an in-house option before testing the trade market.

The Red Sox have actually been down this path before. In 2008 the Sox promoted starter Justin Masterson and he proved to be a valuable bullpen arm before being traded to Cleveland for Victor Marinez in 2009. Jonathan Papelbon was also a starter in the Red Sox system before becoming one of the games most dominate closers.

Workman, the Red Sox second-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2010, started the season in Double-A Portland and moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket in June. Between both clubs, he was a combined 8-2 with a 3.21 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 17 games. The strikeouts are the most for any Red Sox minor leaguer.

Farrell said, “He has some experience in college at this, and it’s not completely foreign for pitchers to come to the big leagues and get exposure in shorter stints until they get their feet on the ground. How it unfolds, we’ll see. But we like a lot about him."

If Workman makes it work in the bullpen, it could be a big win for the Red Sox. With the Sox reluctant to give up any of their highly touted prospects for short term relief help, Workman just might be the answer.

Thoughts on the Red Sox calling up Workman? Comment below.

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