Grant Gambrell's journey to the Red Sox began on June 4, 2021, when he was announced as part of the package of "PTBNLs" or, "Players To Be Named Later" for Andrew Benintendi coming from the Kansas City Royals in 2021.
His first season in Boston's system, he went 1-6 with a 7.16 ERA in eight starts, and was a combined 3-7 with a 6.02 ERA in 13 starts between his time in the Red Sox system and the Royals.
After sitting out the entire 2022 season due to injury, Gambrell was expecting 2023 to be a year of recovery where he got back to himself, and got into the rhythm of things before progressing further up in the minors.
Instead, barely one month into the season, Greenville Drive manager Iggy Suarez called him into his office, and, naturally, Gambrell didn't know what to expect - especially after being limited in 2021 due to being traded, and not pitching at all the year before.
At first, Suarez initially told him that his next start was "going to be a little bit wonky." Definitely, not something you want to hear out of your managers mouth when he calls you into his office.
Gambrell was initially taken aback and quickly asked him why. Suarez told him it was because he was "going to be pitching for Portland" and not Greenville, to which Gambrell said "oh let's go", his face lighting up reflecting on the moment that Suarez told him he would be pitching at the next level.
Red Sox prospect Grant Gambrell makes best of Double-A debut
Gambrell quickly packed his bags, said goodbye to his teammates, and made the trip to Hartford where he made his Double-A debut last night for the Portland Sea Dogs against the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin' Park -- replacing Shane Drohan on the roster, who was promoted to Triple-A earlier in the day.
Before the game, Gambrell sat down with his battery-mate, catcher Stephen Scott, and just talked about his pitches and got ready to start the game like it was any other - despite Scott never catching the 25-year-old before at any level. Both guys had no nerves before the game, and just wanted to act as if everything was normal.
Scott told him to "trust his s**t", and take it one pitch at a time. Scott said he did have some trouble keeping up with Gambrell given how fast that he works, but the resulting numbers didn't prove that to be a problem for either guy - especially for Scott, who has been thrust into more of a catching-centered role this season and last.
In fact, Gambrell and Scott were so much on the same page, that Gambrell retired the first 15 batters he faced, and carried a perfect game into the sixth inning -- all of that without breaking a sweat, or, allegedly, knowing that he was throwing a perfect game. Whether that last part is actually true, who knows, but Gambrell will tell you himself that he had no idea.
After a perfect five innings to start the game, Gambrell gave up a solo home run to start the bottom of the sixth inning to put the Sea Dogs behind 1-0. That didn't deter him as he just "moved on to the next pitch" and finished the inning, and that's how he called it a day - unfortunately finishing with a no-decision.
Gambrell pitched six innings, allowing just the one run (earned), two hits, all while striking out eight. He also did not walk a batter.
(I couldn't have said it any better)
Gambrell was dominant to say the least in his debut with Portland, and is looking ahead to develop his skills whether it's with the Sea Dogs or down in Greenville with the Drive - either way, right now, he's just relishing every opportunity he gets to pitch.