Brennan Bernardino has powerful comments after not making Red Sox Opening Day roster

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Left-handed reliever Brennan Bernardino was one of the Boston Red Sox's breakout stars of the 2023 season.

When it was reported that Bernardino would open the 2024 campaign in Triple-A after his performance last year, fans and reporters alike were puzzled.

It seems Bernardino felt the same.

“It caught me off guard,” Bernardino said to Chris Cotillo of MassLive. “But I’m here now. I’ve been through a lot of s--t in my career so this is part of it. I’m gonna try whatever I can to get back up there and help the big club. . . I’ve always got a chip on my shoulder I can’t shake off anyways, so it’s just a bigger chip now.”

The Red Sox are playing the options game with the lefties in their bullpen. Bernardino made his MLB debut at 30 years old for the Seattle Mariners in 2022 and he carried three minor league options into the beginning of this season. Boston's other lefty reliever, Joely Rodríguez, had no options and the chance to opt out of his contract if he didn't make the roster. The Red Sox need multiple lefties on their pitching staff, so they kept Rodríguez in the big leagues to bring Bernardino up later. At least, that's the assumption.

Brennan Bernardino has plenty of motivation to work to get back to the Red Sox roster

Bernardino did not confirm if fans' and reporters' theories are true, but he did say that Boston told him he needed to improve his strike-throwing frequency and his approach against right-handed hitters, who had more success against him than lefties last season.

Bernardino has never made an Opening Day roster in his career, and after his 2023 campaign and a few exceptional performances in spring training, he seemed like a lock, especially due to Rodríguez's early struggles. Bernardino pitched to a 3.20 ERA last season with 58 strikeouts over 50.2 innings — numbers worthy of the fanfare he's received.

Rodríguez faltered to begin the season and he let up two runs in Boston's extra-innings loss to the Mariners on March 30. Many fans have stated their expectations for Bernardino's call-up and some think it'll be as soon as the Sox's home opener at Fenway Park on April 9.

Regardless of when Sox fans will see Bernardino again, he's been putting in the work to make his way back to the majors.

“I’ve got to just continue doing what I was doing, throw strikes a little better, get ahead of counts. That’s major here now," he said. "As a baseball player or anything in life, the moment you stop trying to be better, you get worse. If I wasn’t trying to get better, I might as well quit this game.”

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