The Red Sox believe the next steps in Tanner Houck’s development must be taken at the minor-league level.
Boston on Tuesday night optioned Houck to the alternate training site in Worcester, Mass., clearing a spot on the roster for Eduardo Rodriguez, who will start Thursday in Baltimore. The Red Sox announced the news Wednesday morning before their series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Houck was excellent in three starts last season but struggled in spring training, seemingly erasing the chances of the 2017 first-round pick breaking camp on the big league roster. But Rodriguez beginning the season on the injured list opened a spot for Houck, who made the most of his opportunity.
The hard throwing right-hander struck out eight batters while giving up two earned runs Saturday against the Orioles. He also pitched an inning in Boston’s thrilling Tuesday night victory, fanning two Rays.
For his career, Houck is 3-1 with a 1.17 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 23 innings, including four starts.
Houck’s talent is undeniable. However, he still has much work to do on his third pitch, a sinker, and his general effectiveness against left-handed batters. The 24-year-old also occasionally suffers from command issues, as evidenced by his 10 walks, two wild pitches and one hit batter at the big-league level.