Brennan Bernardino didn’t start last season on the Red Sox but he ended the campaign as one of the more reliable arms in Boston’s bullpen.

The Red Sox claimed the left-handed reliever off waivers from the Seattle Mariners in mid-April continuing a roller-coaster journey for Bernardino. But once with Boston, the 32-year-old found a home and excelled in his role.

Bernardino made 55 appearances in 2023 — six of those outings he started as an opener — and posted a 3.20 ERA and 1.303 WHIP in 50 2/3 innings. For someone who had only pitched 2 1/3 innings in the major leagues prior to last season, it was a massive step forward.

But Bernardino isn’t looking to rest what he did last season and wants to build on it. He even learned to throw a cutter this offseason with some help from Red Sox game planning coordinator Jason Varitek.

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“(The cutter) was something we talked about at the end of the year last year,” Bernardino told MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “I talked with Tek about it. And then once (new pitching coach Andrew) Bailey came in here, it just assured that’s the pitch we needed to attack.”

Varitek wasn’t looking to take credit for Bernardino adding the cutter to his pitching mix. Bernardino is looking to use it more against right-handed hitters who batted .304 off him last season compared to the .169 batting average lefties compiled.

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“I don’t know if I was one of the ones,” Varitek told Smith. “I think that came from our pitching department before me and I’m encouraging what they came up with. I saw him throw it for the first time the other day. It looked good. It looked good and it’s a piece to add to his repertoire. Still a work in progress.”

Bernardino plans to use spring training to refine his cutter and have it help him again be the go-to lefty out of the bullpen for the Red Sox.

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“I’m ready to go,” Bernardino said. “I’m not going to get better with it unless I use it. So I’ve got to use it. Spring training is a good time for trial and error.”

Featured image via Kevin Sousa/USA TODAY Sports Images