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What will Sox do with Durbin?

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  April 9, 2007 05:47 PM

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It will be interesting to see how things unfold tomorrow at Red Sox opening day. The Sox claimed J.D. Durbin off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks this afternoon, and he's currently on a plane coming to Boston.

Durbin could be activated if doctors believe that Mike Timlin needs a little more time to rehabilitate his strained left oblique. The feeling would be what's the point of rushing a 41-year-old reliever with an oblique injury in cold weather this early in the season?

If Timlin and the doctors feel he's ready to go, the Red Sox have an interesting dilemma. They could make two moves to make sure they keep Durbin (Lefty Javier Lopez is the only Sox reliever with options remaining) or they could turn around and re-designate him for assignment and risk losing him to another team. But the Sox are intrigued by his arm.

Before he was shut out because of a nerve problem in his right biceps while at Rochester last season, Durbin could throw 96-97 mph on his fastball. He was a second-round pick of the Twins in 2000 after being the Arizona baseball Player of the year.

He's always been a starting pitcher, but the Red Sox feel his live arm could be an asset in the bullpen.

The Diamondbacks didn't kick Durbin out because of his poor outing April 4 (7 hits, 7 runs, in two-thirds of an inning vs. Colorado), but because they needed to make a roster spot to purchase the contract of Micha Owings from Triple-A.

The Twins wanted to keep him but couldn't get him through waivers. The Diamondbacks also wanted to keep him and outright him to Triple-A if he cleared waivers after the 10-day designated-for- assignment period had run out. But this time Boston stepped in.

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