When Alan Embree signed with the Red Sox in spring training, a clause was put in his minor league deal that would have allowed him to opt out on April 15 if he was not a member of the big league club by then.
That deadline has come and gone, and despite Embree's initial plan to opt out, he remains in uniform for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.
"I realized that I needed some more touches," Embree told PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard. "I came here wanting to be a part of the Red Sox and it's one of those things where … do I go home, or do I stay and get myself ready?"
Embree indicated that even if there was a fit that could have put him in the majors immediately, it wasn't with a team expected to contend. That didn't interest him.
"If I go out, I want to go out guns blazing," the 40-year-old said.
Embree currently has an 8.10 ERA in 3 1/3 innings for Pawtucket, walking five and striking out three while giving up two hits and three runs.
He faces stiff competition in Boston for the right to be the second left-hander out of the bullpen. Scott Schoeneweis is impressing so far in Red Sox threads.
Embree feels he is close to major league ready and the more innings he can get, the better.
"I'm looking forward to just getting the ball and doing what I'm told and once that time comes up, if they evaluate it and it's not there, and the other options are not good options, I'll just go home," Embree told Hoard.
Embree's new deadline to reach the majors is April 30. If, at that point, the Red Sox or another team in contention is not interested in Embree's services, he'll simply pack it up and go home. If that happens, he would finish with a career 4.59 ERA in 882 games comprised of 774 innings over 16 seasons.
Embree was acquired from San Diego in June of 2002, and is perhaps best known for a blazing fastball that was crucial to the Sox' deep postseason runs in 2003 and 2004. He was on the mound when Boston clinched its stunning comeback against the Yankees in the ALCS, propelling the team to its first World Series title since 1918.
The Sox released Embree midway through the 2005 season after he posted a 7.65 ERA with Boston. Embree signed with the Yankees after his release, and posted a 7.53 ERA with New York. The left-hander recovered his effectiveness when he returned to the Padres in 2006, and later suffered a fractured tibia while pitching for the Rockies last year.
Embree has played for the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta
Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox,
San Diego Padres, the Red Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and most recently, the Colorado Rockies.
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