Right-hander Heath Hembree certainly earned the respect of his teammates and coaches Saturday. It came at a price.
Hembree threw 62 pitches over four shutout relief innings in the Boston Red Sox’s 5-4, 19-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. The Red Sox, needing a fresh arm for Sunday’s series finale, optioned Hembree to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game. Left-hander Edwin Escobar has been called up to take his place.
The swap is rather fitting given that Hembree and Escboar both were acquired in the trade that sent Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants. It’s a reminder, however, that baseball can be a cruel game, even if Hembree finds his way back to Boston in the coming days.
“Honestly, I was getting a little tired, but I was just trying to give everything I had and just empty the tank,” said Hembree, who acknowledged that Saturday’s appearance was the longest of his career. “There wasn’t that much adrenaline, per se. I was just out there pitching, and it just happened I had to go four innings (Saturday).”
Hembree, a 25-year-old reliever, pitched the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th innings as the Red Sox and Angels battled well into Sunday morning. Albert Pujols eventually lifted the Halos to victory with a walk-off home run off Brandon Workman.
Escobar, a 22-year-old starter, joins the Red Sox on the heels of two starts with Pawtucket. He allowed two runs on 13 hits over 12 innings while striking out 10. The southpaw owns a 4.76 ERA in 22 starts at the Triple-A level this season, though he entered the year ranked the No. 56 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.
Escobar has never appeared in a major league game.
Photo via Twitter/@EUDeporte