Red Sox will use Steven Wright out of the bullpen this year
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed that knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright will be pitching out of the bullpen this season.
The Boston Red Sox bullpen problems last season didn’t cost them a World Championship. They figured it out in the playoffs by using starting pitchers in relief appearances. But, you can’t have David Price or Chris Sale come out to pitch the eighth inning of games in the regular season.
With the market really low on relief pitching, Boston couldn’t get help in the offseason. The Sox need to rely on the pitchers they have to get the job done.
As for Steven Wright, he’ll be strictly coming out of the bullpen this season. The knuckleball pitcher has been dealing with a knee injury that caused him to miss 85 games last season. Wright had a procedure done on his left knee in May of 2017. It’s the same surgery Dustin Pedroia had done on his knee in October of 2017. Wright would only pitch in 20 games and post an ERA of 2.68 last season.
The Sox removed Wright from the ALDS roster because he had knee soreness. He would then have a knee scope done in November, according to MassLive. It seems the Red Sox and Wright have an understanding on how to deal with the injury going forward. He’ll also be wearing a knee brace during the season when he pitches.
Wright remains confident that he can contribute to the team coming out of the bullpen. He won’t feel the same as he did before he was injured but hopefully, he won’t have to miss significant time like he did last season. According to Christopher Smith of MassLive, Wright expressed doubt that his knee will ever be the same again.
"“I don’t think I’m ever going to feel 100 percent like I did before I hurt my knee,” said Wright. “But it’s just trying to get as close to that as we can and staying consistent with it.”More from Red Sox NewsGiants’ desperation post-Carlos Correa debacle highlights Red Sox’ lack of urgencyDave Dombrowski reunites with former Red Sox ace on Phillies10 grievances against the Boston Red Sox in honor of Seinfeld holiday FestivusRed Sox risk repeating rookie mistake with Eric Hosmer releaseFormer MLB All-Star slams Red Sox for ’embarrassing’ treatment of Rafael Devers"
Manager Alex Cora is being cautious with Wright in Spring Training. Having Wright come out of the bullpen is a smart move. He won’t be pitching all the time and I doubt he’ll be pitching if the game is close. If there is a big enough lead in the game, expect Cora to use Wright in relief. You don’t want a pitcher who has a knee problem to pitch in a game that is close. Cora might have him come out during a Spring Training game to see how he does in a game situation.
With Pedroia and Wright undergoing the same surgery, it will be interesting to see how they both adjust in 2019. Wright has the potential to be a good relief pitcher out of the bullpen. According to Baseball Reference, Wright is a better relief pitcher than a starting pitcher. In 78 innings pitched in relief, he’s 6-0 with a 2.99 ERA. He’s only given up seven home runs and a WHIP of 1.328. As a starter, Wright is a different pitcher. In 263 innings pitched he’s 18-15 with a 4.00 ERA. He’s given up 33 home runs and a WHIP of 1.304.
Cora is smart with keeping him in the bullpen hopefully the knee brace helps and Wright doesn’t miss too many games this year because of injury.