With the number of additions the Boston Red Sox made to their bullpen this offseason, John Schreiber has faded to the background.
That might have been good thing for Schreiber, though, as he continues to work through struggles during spring training without being in the spotlight.
After back-to-back rough outings over the last few days for the right-hander as he allowed a combined four runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings of work, he turned in a much-needed bounce-back performance Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles in relief of Chris Sale.
Schreiber made quick work of the Orioles with a clean sixth inning in which he threw all five of his pitches for strikes and recorded a strikeout as well.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora had been well aware that Schreiber wasn’t where he needed to be at this point in the spring, but was encouraged with this latest performance that could help the standout reliever from a season ago get back on track.
“That was better,” Cora told reporters, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “Early on, he wasn’t throwing strikes. The last two, he was throwing strikes. He was able to elevate. He was able to execute certain pitches he wasn’t able to execute throughout camp so that was a good one.”
Schreiber was one of the more reliable arms out of the bullpen for the Red Sox in 2022. He led all full-time Boston relief pitchers in innings pitched with 65 while posting a 4-4 record, 2.22 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.
He clearly was trusted in high leverage situations as well, notching a clear team-high 22 holds — Matt Strahm was the next closest with 13 — and tied a team-high with eight saves.
That control Cora mentioned certainly aided in Schreiber’s success last season. He issued only 19 walks and used his funky, side-arm delivery to register 74 strikeouts.
Bringing in veteran closer Kenley Jansen along with Chris Martin to anchor the backend of the bullpen will keep a heavy workload off of Schreiber, a luxury the Red Sox didn’t have amid Schreiber’s breakout season.
But he still will be a key piece and having him at the top of his game will be important to the Red Sox turning their bullpen into a strength this upcoming season.