Matt Barnes has suffered a setback in his bid to earn a spot in the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen.
Barnes, who has been impressive in spring training, was shut down Monday because of food poisoning, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell. The 24-year-old right-hander will resume throwing whenever he overcomes the illness.
The Red Sox originally planned to groom Barnes as a starter, but he opened eyes early in camp while pitching out of the bullpen. His velocity, in particular, forced the Red Sox to reconsider his role, as Boston doesn’t have anyone else with his arsenal in its projected bullpen.
Farrell said recently the Red Sox could start the season with eight relievers if Joe Kelly (biceps) opens the year on the disabled list. It’s also very unlikely closer Koji Uehara (hamstring) will break camp with Boston because of his injury, so Barnes has a realistic shot of sticking with the Sox come Opening Day.
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