Bonser is a new name to many. He spent three seasons with the Minnesota Twins before missing the entirety of the 2009 season with tears in his right labrum and rotator cuff.
The Twins swapped him to the Red Sox in the offseason for minor league player Chris Province. Bonser received a long look in spring training but hit the disabled list with a groin issue. While on a rehab assignment, he experienced a setback with his right shoulder, so the clock on his rehab assignment restarted. When he reached the 30-day maximum anyone can go on a rehab assignment, he joined the Red Sox.
Bonser is out of options, so the team had to decide whether to put him on the major league staff or expose him to waivers. The team has been wary of letting Bonser go on waivers in the off chance he clears, because his fastball can reach 95 mph out of the bullpen and he has extensive starting experience — traits that are always in demand. As has been proven, you can never have too much pitching.
So what can Bonser do for the Red Sox? For one, he can make his big fastball play out of a bullpen that has had some rocky outings lately. Scott Atchinson has been riding the Boston-Pawtucket shuttle, Joe Nelson is a journeyman with a wicked changeup but is also prone to the occasional blowup. And for all of Manny Delcarmen‘s good outings, MDC mentioned after Sunday’s game that he’s been dealing with a nagging back injury.
Now Jonathan Papelbon has hit the bereavement list. The bullpen is in a state of flux, and Bonser can help address that. He also becomes the designated long reliever, as his ability to start makes him the backup starter with Tim Wakefield back in the rotation. Once Josh Beckett returns from the disabled list, the Red Sox may choose to elevate Bonser to being a middle reliever alongside Delcarmen and the BoSox may suddenly have a bullpen to be feared.
That’s what Bonser might be able to do for the Red Sox. Of course, he also might prove his career 5.12 ERA is not a fluke, or might battle injuries the entire year.
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