Red Sox Moving ‘Grateful’ Nick Pivetta To Familiar Bullpen Role

'I'm grateful for every opportunity I'm given'


May 17, 2023

The Red Sox simply have too many starting pitchers, with the month of May almost being used as a tryout for many of their arms to earn or lose starting spots.

On Wednesday, the first shoe dropped in Boston’s effort to narrow things down.

The Red Sox will be moving Nick Pivetta, who has made 73 starts in 74 regular season appearances for the club, to a multi-inning bullpen role, according to Boston manager Alex Cora. The move comes after a rough start to the season, as the 30-year-old went 3-3 in his first eight starts, sporting a 6.30 ERA across 40 innings pitched.

“Nick is going to the bullpen,” Cora confirmed following Wednesday night’s win over the Seattle Mariners, per NESN’s postgame coverage. “Tanner (Houck) is starting on Monday. Let’s see how (Brayan) Bello feels about this one tomorrow, and most likely he’ll pitch on regular rest in Anaheim.

“It’s just where we’re at. We’re getting healthy and we’ve got a lot of starters. He’s going to be a part of the bullpen, I talked to him today and he understands. He’s part of it, and just (needs to) go out there and dominate (his) role. We’ve seen him do it before, he came out of the bullpen in October in 2021 and was really good. The stuff is going to play, we saw it yesterday early in the game, the fastball went down a bit command wise and velocity wise. He’ll be a multi-inning guy, just like Kutter (Crawford), just like (Josh Winckowski) and we’ve got three good ones.”

The move undoubtedly makes sense for the Red Sox, and was even foreshadowed, but is disappointing for Pivetta. The right-hander made it clear he wanted to be a starter, but took the move in stride citing a desire to put the team first.

“I’m grateful for every opportunity I’m given in helping my team achieve our goals,” Pivetta said Wednesday. “I’m gonna go out there and do my job, put up zeroes and help my team win. I just don’t think I should make this about me. I’ve got to pitch better and I’ve got to start doing that right there. The better I do out of the bullpen, the more I can help this team win and help us move toward the ultimate goal of winning the World Series. I think that’s what is most important.

“I think nothing is going to change. I’m still going to go out there and compete. I enjoy pitching, I enjoy playing for this team and any time I can go out and help this team win that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Red Sox rotation sits at five following Pivetta’s departure, with Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, James Paxton, Houck and Bello all slated to make their next starts on regular rest. Things could change soon thereafter, however, as Garrett Whitlock nears a return from the injured list. The bullpen is also filling up, with Pivetta joining Crawford, Winckowski, Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, Joely RodrĂ­guez and Richard Bleier just to name a few.

In the end, the numbers game left Pivetta on the outside looking in.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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