Just hours after Ryan Dempster announced that he would take the 2014 season off, the Red Sox’ pitching depth took another slight hit when knuckleballer Steven Wright announced that he was undergoing hernia surgery and would be out until May. Wright was not likely to factor heavily into Boston’s plans anyway, but this will take him fully out of the running for the long reliever spot vacated by Dempster.
Wright made it to Boston for a few stints last season, pitching in four games and starting one. He threw a pair of incredible relief appearances against the Seattle Mariners, but was ineffective in his other two games. Overall, Wright pitched just 13.1 innings at the major league level and pitched to a 5.40 ERA with a 6.8 K/9 and 6.1 BB/9. In the admittedly minuscule sample size, Wright was simply unable to prove that he could be an adequate major leaguer; however, he was decent in Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 3.46 and a not-unsightly 4.3 BB/9 rate.
With Wright out of the picture for at least the first month, the long relief competition will likely be between Brandon Workman and Rubby de la Rosa, with Allen Webster a dark horse candidate. The job will likely go to Workman, who proved that he was major league ready by striking out 10.2 batters per nine innings while walking just 3.2 in 41.2 major league innings last season. However, aside from not participating in a competition that he would not have likely won anyway, this injury shouldn’t have much bearing on the 2014 season for the Red Sox.