Drake Britton screwed up royally during spring training. But to his credit, the 24-year-old has worked tirelessly this season, and he now has a chance to make an impression on the Red Sox.
Britton was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket before Sunday’s game in Oakland. It marks the first major league stint of Britton’s career, and it will be an opportunity for him to show that he has grown both as a pitcher and as a person.
Britton, who was drafted in 2007, made strides in 2012 after an awful 2011 season with High-A Salem. The lefty seemed to be headed in the right direction, and he entered spring training with a chance to show he was big league ready. Britton didn’t make it past the first round of roster cuts, though, because he was arrested in early March.
Britton allegedly drove 111 mph in a 45-mph zone near the Red Sox’ spring training complex in Fort Myers, and he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and property damage. The police report said that Britton drove over a curb and knocked down a fence, and that he later admitted that he had been drinking.
Let’s be clear, what Britton did was stupid, no matter how you slice it. He could be a cashier, a butcher or even an astronaut, and getting into such a situation would still be a total lack of judgment. But the fact that he fell into hot water during his all-important, first big league camp just reeked of immaturity.
Britton immediately owned up to his mistake. He apologized back in March for the negativity he created around the organization, and he stressed that he was “extremely remorseful.” The Red Sox needed him to prove it, though, and it appears as though he’s back on track.
Britton seems to understand that the March incident isn’t going anywhere. He still has some legal issues to work through, and he’ll always have to live with his mistake. Britton also seems to realize that he has a chance to make things right, however, and his call up to The Show could help him do that.
“It was very embarrassing,” Britton told reporters before Sunday’s game. “I’m remorseful for bringing that negative attention, not only to myself but to the organization. It was a very big learning experience for me. I’ve learned a lot, but now, I’m just concentrating on making things right and back to focusing on baseball.”
When it comes to baseball, Britton has plenty of potential. He is a 2013 Eastern League All-Star, and he was recently promoted to Pawtucket after enjoying success with Double-A Portland to begin the season. Britton went 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) with Portland before making the leap.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Sunday’s game that he expects Britton to remain with the major league club when the team comes out of the All-Star break, although he wouldn’t speculate on how long the pitcher’s first big league stint will last. Britton might have a chance to log some relief innings, though, especially if the Red Sox don’t make another trade between now and Friday.
The exact length of Britton’s first stint with the Red Sox doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he showcases the progress he has made since the March mishap.
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