Red Sox: Brandon Workman’s bullpen re-emergence could be short-lived

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 10: Brandon Workman
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 10: Brandon Workman /

In just 13 games Brandon Workman has proven himself healthy and as effective as he was four years ago. Unfortunately, he remains the odd-man out in a bullpen that is over capacitated.

In 2013, Brandon Workman was a staple in the Boston Red Sox bullpen, pitching in seven of the team’s 16 postseason games – none bigger than the eighth inning in Game 6 of the World Series. But that was a long time ago, and in the four years since, Workman has gone through an arduous road to regain his spot with the Red Sox.

It’s been three years since he last appeared in a major league game and two years since he underwent Tommy John surgery. Still, his desire to re-emerge as a stable arm in the Red Sox bullpen has never wavered. Neither has John Farrell‘s trust in his willingness to do so. With 18 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, three walks, and a 1.86 ERA this season, he’s proving that he could be a mainstay in the bullpen. But he’s also faced with the predicament of being the only pitcher with options in a bullpen that is one over capacity.

Dustin Pedroia is expected to return from the disabled list on Tuesday, meaning the Red Sox will inevitably have to send one of their excess pitchers back to Pawtucket. Those likely to be under consideration are Workman, Doug Fister, Fernando Abad, and Blaine Boyer. Fister is needed in the rotation as David Price recovers from his reoccurring elbow injury. Abad is the only lefty in the bullpen now that Robby Scott is in the minors. And Boyer has pitched well, despite filling in as a long man.

More from BoSox Injection

So despite Workman’s excellent numbers, it’s likely that we’ll see him heading back to Pawtucket come Tuesday unless the Red Sox plan to expose any of the other names to waivers. Still, he deserves recognition for the work he’s put in to re-insert himself in the team’s bullpen discussions.

Per Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald, no one has recognized that more than Farrell.

"“He’s healthy,” Farrell said. “In 2013, this is very similar to the way he pitched prior to the Tommy John surgery. The fact that he’s gone through the rehab, the games pitched to get back to the physical stuff he has now, I’m sure he’s learned more about who he is as a pitcher and how he’s using his breaking balls, both the curveballs and the slider. But the power has returned.”"

Next: Mitch Moreland's the latest walk-off hero

It’ll be interesting to see how the team approaches the situation over the next few days. It’s not as though Workman has been a part of the setup crew in front of Craig Kimbrel, but if he’s back to where he was in 2013 he very well could be. If his 13 appearances this season have proven anything, it’s that the 28-year-old is at the very least back to full physical health. He’s overcome a lot just to get to this point, it’s only fitting that he’ll likely have to endure more to reclaim a permanent spot in the ‘pen.