The Boston Red Sox are giving veteran reliever Jeurys Familia a shot at redemption.
Familia, who was released by the Philadelphia Phillies last week before signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox on Tuesday, received a call up to the big-league club prior to Saturday’s matchup with the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.
Familia struggled mightily in 38 appearances with the Phillies this season, posting a 6.09 ERA while surrendering 48 hits in 34 innings pitched. But the Red Sox hope with a few tweaks that they get the most out of the former All-Star and make him an asset out of the bullpen.
“The stuff is good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters prior to Saturday’s contest, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “Obviously he had a hard time in Philly. We feel like there are a few things we can adjust and maximize his repertoire. ? His stuff is really good.”
Familia’s strong arsenal of pitches is evidenced by his ability to get opposing batters to swing and miss, as he recorded 33 strikeouts in nearly as many innings with the Phillies.
While Familia probably won’t return to his 2016 form when he recorded 51 saves with the New York Mets, anything even relatively close to that would be a massive benefit for the Red Sox. And the 32-year-old thinks he might be on to something that will help him get back on track.
Familia went back to his native Dominican Republic after getting released by the Phillies, and he said he worked with a pitching coach there on his mechanics and mentality, according to Speier. Fine-tuning those things has Familia feeling like “a completely different person” when he joined Triple-A Worcester.
He looked like it, too, with the right-hander striking out the side in his lone inning of work with the WooSox.
That was enough to convince Boston to bring him back to the majors, as Familia looks to contribute with the Red Sox heading into the stretch run.