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For Red Sox, reliever depth is plentiful

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 5, 2013 01:48 PM

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The Red Sox have 49 games remaining and seem to have stabilized their rotation with the addition of Jake Peavy. Their bullpen moves were more modest with just the addition of lefty specialist Matt Thornton.

Here's why: The Red Sox have 22 relievers at their disposal. Thanks to a series of moves, they have what amounts to three layers of pitchers who could be used in in the bullpen.

Here's a brief breakdown:

Major League roster (7)
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Junichi Tazawa
LHP Craig Breslow
LHP Matt Thornton
LHP Drake Britton
RHP Rubby De La Rosa
RHP Steven Wright (starting on Tuesday)

Thornton could be headed to the disabled list today after coming out of Sunday's game.

Major League DL, have started rehab assignments (2)
LHP Franklin Morales
RHP Alex Wilson

Both are either ready to return, or close to it. Rehab assignments for pitchers can last 30 days, so the decision can be dragged out. Morales started his assignment on July 29 and Wilson on July 30.

40-man roster players in Pawtucket (5)
RHP Brandon Workman
RHP Jose De La Torre
RHP Allen Webster
RHP Pedro Beato
RHP Brayan Villarreal

Workman should be back in the majors once eligible. Webster has not pitched in relief this season, but could be used in that role in September. Villarreal, acquired from the Tigers last week, is getting over a thumb injury and should start pitching for Pawtucket soon.

Veteran MLB pitchers at Pawtucket (4)
RHP Jose Contreras
RHP Clayton Mortensen
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
RHP Alfredo Aceves

These pitchers are not on the 40-man roster, but could be added. Contreras and Rowland-Smith are essentially in tryout mode at this point and would be granted their release if the Red Sox have no plans for them. Mortensen and Aceves were outrighted off the roster. Aceves is on the DL at Pawtucket was recently shipped off to Fort Myers. It would take an unforeseen series of events for him to return.

Others potentially in mix (3)
RHP Brock Huntzinger
RHP Chris Martin
RHP Anthony Carter

These minor league veterans are in Pawtucket's bullpen, but not on the 40-man roster. Huntzinger has had a breakout season, posting a 2.03 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 42 appearances for Portland and Pawtucket. Martin, a former independent league player, also has shown promise. Carter is a AAA veteran.

Not in the mix (1)
RHP Daniel Bard

Bard remains on the 40-man roster but has not pitched since May 15 when he was with Portland. The Sox claimed he had an oblique injury and have since said he will pitch again this season. Given the team's need of a righthander who could pitch in the 8th inning, Bard is sorely missed. It's a sad story.

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