Francisco Cordero and Tommy Layne (quietly) are taking care of business for the Boston Red Sox this spring.
Some guys grab everyone’s attention during spring training, while others endure struggles that create some concern. Then, there are veterans, like Cordero and Layne, who come in, do their respective jobs and still find themselves flying under the radar, largely because of the way their organization’s major league roster is constructed.
The Red Sox’s bullpen is in a good place, although the uncertainty surrounding left-hander Craig Breslow, who faced live hitters for the first time Saturday, ultimately might lead to an opening in the ‘pen to begin the regular season. If Breslow isn’t ready for Opening Day, the Red Sox’s bullpen figures to consist of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, Chris Capuano, Burke Badenhop and one other pitcher — assuming Boston carries seven relievers and ships outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Pawtucket (or sends outfielder Grady Sizemore on a rehab stint).
Brandon Workman and Drake Britton — two young hurlers who proved to be capable relievers last season — are candidates to fill the void, but Cordero (a right-hander) and Layne (a left-hander) absolutely have given the Red Sox even more to think about by enjoying success this spring.
Cordero, who pitched a scoreless inning against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, hasn’t allowed a run in eight innings over eight appearances. He has given up just five hits while striking out eight and walking one.
Cordero is no stranger to success, having compiled 329 career saves and three All-Star selections. But the 38-year-old sat out 2013 and entered Red Sox camp as a long shot looking to revitalize his career after dropping nearly 30 pounds. So far, so good.
“The stuff that he’s throwing right now is pretty similar to what he had two years ago in Toronto,” Red Sox manager John Farrell recently said. “There might have been mixed results at the time, but he’s gone about it the right way. He’s not putting any pressure on himself. He’s going out just to pitch and compete and see if he forces his way into a situation that was different from when we brought him into camp.”
Layne, a former 27th-round pick in 2007, doesn’t have quite the same pedigree as Cordero. The 29-year-old lefty only has 40 career big league appearances under his belt — all with the San Diego Padres — although he has pitched well at times, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 25 1/3 career innings.
Layne, who struck out three over 1 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday, has tossed eight shutout innings over seven appearances this spring. The southpaw has struck out seven, walked three and surrendered only two hits in that span.
Cordero probably has a better chance of cracking the major league roster out of camp, and even that is dependent upon the status of Breslow and the Red Sox’s decisions regarding Workman and Britton. But both Cordero and Layne are beginning to open eyes.
Photo via Twitter/@PeteAbe