Clayton Mortensen was asked to make a spot-start for the Boston Red Sox on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles. Mortensen was his usually effective self, pitching three shutout innings for the team and once again putting himself front and center for a spot in the Red Sox’ bullpen.
The 27-year-old Mortensen does nothing to blow people away while watching him, except continue to get people out. He changes speeds, keeps hitters off balance and generally moves the ball around.
After being picked in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, he has moved around baseball and the Red Sox are his fourth major league team. He was initially acquired for Marco Scutaro during January of 2012 from the Colorado Rockies.
Last season pitching out of the Red Sox bullpen, Mortensen was a pleasant surprise in the 26 games that he pitched for Boston. Showing that he was pretty durable and effective, Mortensen struck out nearly a batter per inning and gave up less hits then innings pitched.
Biggest problem for Mortensen last season was his control, issuing 19 walks in the 42 innings that he pitched.
Mortensen is out of options, meaning that the Red Sox will need to keep him on the major league roster or risk losing him to another team. Given the injuries to Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales, plus the continuing issues with Alfredo Aceves, it might create an opening for Mortensen.
Looking at what would make sense for Boston short-term, it would be to start Breslow and Morales on the disabled list, start Daniel Bard in the minors to rebuild his confidence and see if the Red Sox can develop a market for Aceves.
Mortensen could be a very valuable piece for the Red Sox if they can hold on to him.
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