BOSTON — Brandon Workman has done enough to stick around the majors. He’ll have a new role moving forward, though.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Wednesday’s game that Workman will join the club’s bullpen, and that he will likely be available Saturday at the earliest after starting Tuesday’s game against the Mariners.
The Red Sox’ acquisition of starter Jake Peavy obviously meant that someone was going to get bounced from the rotation, and as good as Workman has been in his three major league starts, he became the casualty. But even though Workman — who earned his first big league win Tuesday — will assume a new role, it’s clear that the rookie is on standby, so to speak, should something go wrong in the rotation.
“In the event that something were to happen going forward that’s unforeseen at this point, Brandon has done probably as much as we could’ve asked in the three starts that he’s made,” Farrell said. “If the need were to arise to go to another starter, we’d certainly turn back to Brandon if this is before Clay [Buchholz] is ready. Brandon Workman has been very impressive.”
The Red Sox would prefer if Workman isn’t needed in the rotation, as it would signify that things are going according to plan. It’s certainly a luxury to have such a talented and versatile pitcher, though, and Farrell is confident that Workman’s brief success as a starter will carry over into his relief role.
“First of all, his strike-throwing. If you start to prioritize the characteristics of a successful reliever, strike-throwing and he has shown that,” Farrell said when asked about Workman’s bullpen potential. “Even in his only relief appearance, he’s shown an ability to get some swing and miss to his fastball. [Tuesday] 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 and guys on base, he’s not trying to overthrow and come out of his delivery. He’s done a very good job.”
On Tuesday, Workman became the first Red Sox rookie since Buchholz to earn a win and strike out at least nine hitters. He probably won’t be given an opportunity to replicate that feat the next time he toes the rubber, but it’s clear that he’s still very much a part of the Red Sox’ big league equation.