Relief sought in Mets’ Wagner
Waiver claim could land veteran lefty
With just one lefthander in their bullpen - Hideki Okajima - and their relief corps still weakened by the trade of Justin Masterson, the Red Sox were awarded a waiver claim on Mets lefty Billy Wagner, according to a major league source. Wagner was placed on waivers Wednesday, the day before he made his first major league appearance in almost a year after having Tommy John surgery.
According to a major league source, the Sox have been monitoring Wagner and scouted him Thursday night against the Braves, when he worked a perfect inning with two strikeouts. He hit 96 miles per hour on the radar gun.
The Mets can either work out a trade with the Sox, allow Wagner to leave without getting anything in return (as the Blue Jays did with Alex Rios), or pull Wagner off waivers.
Another major league source told the Globe that the Sox would like to get a deal done with the Mets, and Wagner does have a no-trade clause in his contract. Wagner has said that he might be willing to waive it to join a playoff contender.
Wagner would not be an inexpensive pickup, owed about $3 million the rest of this season with an $8 million club option in 2010. But the Sox could use bullpen help after rotating an assortment of arms since Masterson was traded to Cleveland July 31, including Marcus McBeth, Billy Traber, Enrique Gonzalez, Junichi Tazawa, Fernando Cabrera, and now Michael Bowden, who was recalled from Pawtucket yesterday.
Over 15 major league seasons, Wagner, 38, has a 2.40 ERA and 385 saves.
According to Bowden, Johnson said, “When you’re done shaving your head, come in my office so I can tell you about you going to the big leagues.’’ Asked whether that sped up his handiwork, Bowden quipped, “Well, he already blew the surprise, so I took my time.’’
Bowden was scheduled to start today for Pawtucket, but instead he entered last night’s game in the fifth inning in relief of Brad Penny. The Yankees battered Bowden for eight hits and seven runs in two innings. It was his third major league appearance, following his debut in August 2008 and two scoreless innings April 26 against the Yankees.
“Trying to not just maybe protect our bullpen but enhance it,’’ manager Terry Francona said of the addition. “Going forward, it does give us some flexibility in what we want to do.’’
In 22 starts for Pawtucket this season, Bowden, 22, was 4-6 with a 3.20 ERA.
To make room on the roster, the Sox designated reliever Cabrera for assignment. The Sox also activated outfielder Rocco Baldelli from the disabled list and sent outfielder Brian Anderson back to Pawtucket.