It appears the training wheels are off in the Red Sox bullpen, as Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen will be called upon to pitch more often with the game on the line, according to manager Terry Francona. Francona said he spoke with Hansen, who was recalled from Pawtucket last night, Delcarmen, and a few of the team’s other young pitchers to talk about what is expected from them as Boston leans on them more and more.
“I think we’re getting to the point where we’d like to keep them here and kind of have them carry some of that responsibility in that bullpen,” said Francona. “I just want them to understand that I’m actually OK with it and a little bit excited and they just have to pay attention to detail and show the veterans that they care about winning and as long as they do that, this has a chance to work out really well.”
Francona went on to say that both Hansen and Delcarmen will be used enough at the big league level “where it won’t hinder their development.” He also explained some of the rationale in not thrusting Delcarmen or Hansen into regular roles right away, something fans have been clamoring for.
“I just felt responsibility to try to help these guys do the best they can,” said Francona. “That was really all I was getting at. I really am pretty comfortable [using them] because I think if I wasn’t I don’t think these guys would be here. I want them to pitch with confidence and know that we’re not backing away from them. This isn’t an instance where they have to be here. We kind of want them here. I just wanted them to understand that.”
In other news:
— Despite his sterling start last night, it’s still likely that Kyle Snyder will be sent to the minor leagues. Francona said that decision will be determined by the health of tonight’s starter Tim Wakefield. With off-days Thursday and next Monday, the team doesn’t need a fifth starter other than for health reasons. Francona said the team could use the extra roster spot if it doesn’t need a fifth starter.
— Last night, Wily Mo Pena, who had surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left wrist, said he hoped to take live batting practice possibly as soon as this weekend. Francona said that might be a bit ambitious. Pena has hit soft toss and fielded ground balls and was scheduled to field fly balls today, but a bout of pre-game rain cancelled those plans.