Steven Wright

Steven Wright likely to make a start; no more starts for Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman

September 21, 2014 - 9:40 am
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BALTIMORE -- The open audition for spots in the 2015 Red Sox rotation are wrapping up, with two pitchers having concluded their late-2014 cases and one more being a chance to make his. John Farrell outlined the rotation for the final week of the season, which will feature Anthony Ranaudo, Clay Buchholz and Allen Webster pitching against the Rays, followed by the possibility of knuckleballer Steven Wright on Friday against the Yankees, with Joe Kelly and Buchholz logging the final two games of the year. Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman will be available in the bullpen for the final week of the season, while Wright would be making his first start of 2014 and his second in the big leagues. At one point, it appeared that De La Rosa had secured a spot in the Red Sox' rotation for 2015, but his seven-start stumble to the finish line (7.16 ERA with an opponents' line of .355/.405/.514) has raised some questions about whether his future is in the rotation or bullpen. When he pitches down in the strike zone, he shows the ability to compete as a starter, but the 25-year-old ended up having an increasingly difficult time doing that as the year progressed, with his nine-hit, six-run, four-inning effort against the Orioles having featured the right-hander pitching up in the strike zone, and getting hit hard, with his fastball. He still tops out in the mid- and high-90s, but the Sox have seen his average velocity tailing off at a time when he's now up to a career-high 160 innings, up roughly 45 percent from his prior career peak. De La Rosa is out of minor league options, and there's no question he has a major league arm. But his future role is still unsettled, with the ability to evaluate his performance over the final weeks of the season complicated somewhat by his innings plateau. "As much as we wanted to continue to start him, to not shut him down, he's at an innings threshold or an innings amount right now that's been a sizable jump over last year," said Farrell. "There's been some extremely positive signs inside his year's work, and yet there's still quite a bit of development left to do." Workman, who is 1-10 with a 5.17 ERA, suffered his 10th straight loss in Pittsburgh last week, but produced a solid effort, logging five innings and allowing three runs (two earned) while striking out six. Wright, meanwhile, now has a 3.38 ERA with 18 strikeouts and just two walks in 16 innings spanning five appearances. Among all the Red Sox starting candidates -- De La Rosa, Workman, Ranaudo, Webster and now Wright -- he's shown the most consistent ability to get swings and misses and throw strikes, putting him in position for the possibility of a look against the Yankees on Friday.

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