Looking ahead to the regular season, the biggest strength for the 2013 Boston Red Sox is undoubtedly their bullpen depth. Left-handed pitchers Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales are each expected to play a key role in the team’s relief corps, but nagging injuries have put a halt on their preseason work.
Breslow, an eight-year veteran coming off another great season, is especially effective against left-handed batters. Lefties hit just .222 against him last season, as he struck out better than one batter per inning. After joining Boston at the 2012 trading deadline, Breslow appeared in 23 games down the stretch, posting a solid 2.70 ERA. But the 32-year-old came into camp with a stiff shoulder and has yet to pitch in a spring training game. Red Sox manager John Farrell has expressed concern in Breslow’s recovery explaining that “he’s making progress, albeit slow”.
Morales has been battling a bad back since the start of camp, and the Red Sox finally sent him back to Boston on Thursday to get it checked out by a specialist.
“He did go to have it checked,” Farrell said. “He has been undergoing treatment here, (but) he hasn’t really been making the improvements that we had hoped for. We’ll have more of a detailed update once he returns.”
The Red Sox still have lefty Andrew Miller in the bullpen, but clearly management isn’t comfortable with the situation, as they brought in 35-year-old journeyman Cedrick Bowers, another left-handed reliever, for a workout earlier this week.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)