After an abysmal start against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night, Allen Webster has been optioned back to AAA Pawtucket. Webster gave up 8 runs on six hits, two of which left the park, and three walks, striking out only two in one and two-thirds innings pitched. While Webster’s stay in the majors didn’t figure to last long, the rookie expedited his trip back to Rhode Island with his horrific performance last night. Webster had been called up from Pawtucket to assume Joel Hanrahan’s spot on the roster when the closer went down with an apparent forearm injury. His call up had come as a bit of a shock, as many had expected Boston to recall a reliever to lighten the load on an overworked bullpen. Had Webster pitched well, he likely would have stuck around and spelled Felix Doubront every fifth day, with Doubront working out of the bullpen.
In the 23-year-old’s stead the Red Sox have called up Jose De La Torre. De La Torre was acquired from the Cleveland Indians last year for Brent Lillibridge, who had been previously part of the Kevin Youkilis deal. The right hander features a low 90’s fastball and an above average slider which he mixes with two-seamer and a changeup. He doesn’t overpower hitters, but with good to better command he misses bats and generates a lot of ground ball outs. He performed well in the World Baseball Classic, pitching for Puerto Rico he struck out 12 batters across six innings pitched.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, De La Torre is not currently on the 40-man roster, so someone will have to be removed to facilitate De La Torre’s call up. The likely solution is one of Franklin Morales, Joel Hanrahan or Alex Hassan being placed on the 60 day disabled list with their respective injuries. The latter two are more likely, with the extent of Hanrahan’s injury presently unknown and a broken foot has prevented Hassan from starting his season.
The 27-year-old is a little old for the prospect label, but has yet to make his major league debut and has been pitching well for Pawtucket. Currently, De La Torre owns a 1.56 ERA in ten games pitched. In those ten games, he has given up only five hits good for a .089 BAA in 17.1 innings pitched. If he is able to bring some semblance of these numbers with him to Boston, he will provide the Sox with a reliable bullpen arm who can be shuttled between Boston and Pawtucket all season long.