There is one less pitcher now in the mix for one of the final spots in the Boston Red Sox starting rotation.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters Sunday that Josh Winckowski will no longer be in contention to be a part of the starting staff and will head to the bullpen, according to the Boston Herald’s Mac Cerullo.

Boston still has two openings in the back-half of its rotation, with one of those vacancies coming due to the injury to Lucas Giolito. Brayan Bello and Nick Pivetta already secured their positioning as frontline starters while it is assumed that Kutter Crawford has locked down a spot as well. That leaves Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock and Cooper Criswell battling for the two starting jobs that remain.

Winckowski moves to the bullpen with experience as a reliever. He struggled as a starter when he called up to the majors in 2022, but turned in much better results as a reliever last season. He made 60 appearances in 2023, posting a 4-4 record with a 2.88 ERA while striking out 82 batters in 84 1/3 innings.

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The 25-year-old turned in subpar performances this spring, though, leading Cora and the Red Sox to stick him back in the bullpen. Winckowski surrendered 12 hits and six earned runs in 11 1/3 innings this spring as a bulk of that damage done against him came in his latest outing. The Philadelphia Phillies touched up the right-hander for five earned runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

That’s not going to get the job done, especially with Houck, who has a 2.45 ERA, Whitlock and Criswell putting together better showings in spring action.

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This always felt like the most likely of outcomes for Winckowski, though. He now can be a multi-inning option for Cora out of a bullpen that is looking for reliable arms outside of Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin.

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