It wasn’t long ago that Bryan Mata was thought of as a starting pitcher destined for stardom with the Boston Red Sox.

Now, the franchise is looking to resurrect the oft-injured pitcher’s career by possibly changing his role.

The Boston Herald’s Mac Cerullo reported Tuesday that Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow told reporters that Mata could make a move to the bullpen. Pitching in relief is something Mata has done just three times while coming up through the ranks in Boston’s farm system, starting 94 of his 97 appearances.

Mata, who is now ranked as Boston’s No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline, once again struggled with his health this past season, missing over four months due to a lat injury. The right-hander also missed the entire 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t pitch in 2021 due to Tommy John surgery.

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The roadblocks in Mata’s development hurt his production in 2023 as he finished with an 0-3 record and a 6.33 ERA with Triple-A Worcester. He also logged a putrid 10.00 walks-per-nine, which doubled his total from the season before. His last two appearances did come out of the bullpen, though, as he allowed three runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief.

But Mata, who possessed a fastball that can reach triple digits, still is just only 24 years old and isn’t far removed from a season that even caught Chris Sale’s eye. The youngster went 7-3 with a 2.49 ERA and struck out 105 batters in 83 innings across multiple minor league stops in 2022.

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The Red Sox hope they can still tap into that side of Mata and try to help the flame-throwing pitcher from flaming out.

Featured image via Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports Images