FORT MYERS, Fla. — Drake Britton’s chances of making the Boston Red Sox’s Opening Day roster dropped significantly when the club signed Chris Capuano to a one-year contract.
The 24-year-old isn’t hanging his head.
“I can only worry about myself and getting myself ready,” Britton said Friday at JetBlue Park. “They’re obviously bringing [Capuano] in for a reason. They’re not going to do it just for fun. It’s for a reason. As an organization and a front office, we’re going to trust that he’s coming here for a reason. So to me, they’re bringing him in to help us win games. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. Aside from that, off the field, I can’t worry about that. I can just worry about myself and what I’m doing.”
Britton made 18 relief appearances with the Red Sox in 2013, posting a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings. While he figured to be a long shot to crack Boston’s 2014 Opening Day roster, Britton still had an outside chance if the Red Sox opted to carry an additional left-hander in the bullpen.
The lefty swingman role now likely will go to Capuano, a 35-year-old southpaw with nine years of major league experience. Britton likely will begin the year at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he’s unsure if he’ll be used as a starter or a reliever.
“I have no idea, and deep down I don’t really care,” Britton said. “I just want to pitch, so I’m going to do my work, I’m going to make sure I’m ready, and then they’re going to tell me when to pitch and I’m going to pitch.”
Britton, who said he constantly heeded the advice of Craig Breslow and Matt Thornton while with the major league squad last season, is part of a crowded group of young pitchers in the Red Sox system. Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens are among the other young hurlers vying for major league roster spots in 2014.
Britton and Brandon Workman showed last season, however, that the Red Sox are willing to experiment with young pitchers when holes open up. Nothing can be ruled out, and Workman’s eighth-inning appearance in the Red Sox’s World Series-clinching victory over the St. Louis Cardinals serves as the gold standard.
“I think we all like to picture ourselves playing in that final game to win the World Series, so that’s always the goal,” Britton said. “But you can’t reach the goal without taking every day, you know, day by day, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make sure I’m ready every day and we’ll go from there.”