Ryan Weber Enthusiastic Over Potential Role As Red Sox ‘Opener’

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Ryan Weber prepared fully to make the most of the biggest spring of his Major League Baseball career.

The Boston Red Sox pitcher addressed his fine start to spring training Wednesday in an interview with Sirius XM MLB Network Radio, explaining why he believes he’s pitching so well and expressing his enthusiasm at potentially being Boston’s “opener” or a back-of-the-rotation starter in 2020. Weber has started two games this spring, striking out seven batters and not allowing a single earned run over five innings.

“Spring feels good so far,” Weber said. “I’ve had two good outings under my belt. It’s always good to get off to a hot start. It’s tough to play catch-up.

“With the opportunity out there, even if we go with the opener, they know I’ve pitched out of the bullpen before, given that length. If (Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke) gives me the ball in the first inning, I’ll go out there. Or if he gives me the ball in the third or the fourth, I’ll go out there until he takes it away from me.”

Weber has pitched just 114 1/3 innings in his MLB career, including 40 2/3 for the Red Sox in 2019, his first season with the team. He now is determined to prove his worth and solidify Roenicke’s confidence in his ability to help the rotation and contribute to Boston’s success. Weber offered an understandable reason why his work on that front started ahead of schedule.

“I started my throwing program way early this year because I knew those first couple outings are huge. I wanted to go in no rust, throwing all my pitches … the last bullpen (session) I threw 45 pitches and the last 20 or so was a game-like situation.

“… It’s always good to make another good first impression. That’s what I wanted to do, and luckily that first one was good.”

The coming weeks and months will determine how long Weber can maintain his fine form, but he and the Red Sox seem bullish on his 2020 prospects. After all, he has done the hard work of laying the foundations for success.

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