Red Sox

Drellich: Fernando Abad worth look as playoff roster dark horse


Drellich: Fernando Abad worth look as playoff roster dark horse

BOSTON — The Red Sox left-handed pitching situation is one of the most unclear heading into the playoffs, with seemingly only one bullpen spot on a potential playoff roster locked up: David Price’s.

Now, it might be wise for the Red Sox to rethink their stance on Price and give him a shot at starting — but, for now, he’s viewed as a reliever. 

That gives way to a slew of other questions. If, say, Eduardo Rodriguez does not make a postseason rotation, would the Sox see value in him out of the bullpen? His reverse splits this season — an .850 OPS against lefty hitters compared to .709 vs. right — might discourage the Sox, if they’re looking for match-up help. 

But E-Rod looks more likely to start with Price relegated to relief and Doug Fister struggling.

So, who else behind Price, who won’t be considered a specialist? Based on his usage for most of the year, you’d think Robby Scott would be a lock. You’d think.

Sox manager John Farrell didn’t make it sound a certainty Monday

“That’s his role, that’s his forte,” Farrell said of Scott vs. lefties. “That’s where we’ll take every opportunity to hopefully take advantage of the side arm and the angle that he pitches with.  That’s all going to be within the context of how our roster builds out going forward and more importantly, how we can get him to the mound in the final two weeks.”

Enter Fernando Abad, who has been used (or not used) as though he were an outcast much of the year.

You have to wonder if Farrell will at least give him a thought as a hot hand down the stretch. He probably should, because Abad's had better command, allowed fewer home runs and has considerably more experience. But Abad’s been used in the lowest leverage situations of all Red Sox relievers with at least 20 innings, even lower than Blaine Boyer, per FanGraphs.

In the last 14 days, Abad has been used in higher leverage moments than previously, but still not to the extent of Scott.

Both Abad and Scott have both been excellent against lefties overall. Scott’s faced 70 lefties and held them to a .133 average, while Abad has faced 65 and held them a .190 average. The peripherals are slightly tilted Abad’s way: Scott’s walked eight, Abad’s walked five. Scott’s struck out 17, Abad’s fanned 20.

But of late, Scott hasn’t been quite the same. He has a 6.47 ERA since the start of August, although he’s allowed opponents an average of just .167 in that time, a seven-inning span. He’s given up three home runs in the stretch as well.

Abad, meanwhile, has a 1.86 ERA in the same period, with 9 2/3 innings pitched.

Abad’s had to be patient all year. He had nine days down, sitting from Aug. 14-24. But he’s made good of his opportunities.

“It's part of the game,” Abad said. “So, I’m here, to do whatever they want to me to do. … I got my routine, you know every single day, with [bullpen catcher Mani Martinez]. And I got like two, three days of pitching and throwing a little flat ground to get my arm in shape.”

The biggest difference for Abad this year compared to last has been his command. His walk rate with the Sox last year was 4.2 per nine between Boston and Minnesota, down to 2.6 in 2017.

“I think I last year I [was thinking] too much,” Abad said. “I was thinking too much in the game, you can’t concentrate a lot. So this year I feel like more fresh. To come in the game, I say, oh, I have to throw a first-pitch strike. No matter what pitch it is, breaking ball, changeup, whatever, it has to be a strike.”

Abad, 31, is a free agent to be, and someone’s going to pay him decently to handle southpaws next season. Abad said he’d like to re-sign with the Red Sox next season.

“I want to come back here,” he said. “I’m focused now to come here every day to come here prepare get ready. To go to the playoffs and then World Series.”


Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor league catcher Oscar Hernandez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, our own Evan Drellich reports.

Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in January and currently is on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster. The 24-year-old will be able to return in late May.





Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

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Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright will be suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, NBC Sports Boston has learned. The league is set to make the announcement Friday.

Wright, working his way back from right knee surgery, has to serve the suspension when healthy. Potential time on the disabled list to begin the season would not count. Wright is not expected to appeal.

Wright was arrested at his Tennessee home in December following an incident involving his wife, Shannon. Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call, which are misdemeanors in Tennessee, and released on a $2,500 bond.

The case in December was retired by the Williamson County courthouse. If Wright commits no other offenses for a 12-month span, the charges are expected to be dropped.

Fifteen games matches the lowest suspension MLB has given out in relation to a domestic violence case since the league and players union agreed to a policy in 2015. Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games in March 2017.

"It's a situation that, it sucks not only for me, but for my family, for the team," Wright told reporters in Florida on Thursday. "But I try not to think about it. When MLB comes out with their discipline, or if there's going to be discipline or not, it's just going to go from there."

Wright said this spring that he did not harm his wife.

“We’ve been going to counseling. We’ve been working through it,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to put it past us, but it’s hard. Because MLB is doing their investigation and it’s in the limelight. It’s really hard on a personal level to get past something that’s constantly being thrown at you. But I did it to myself. It’s one of those things that I’ve got to live with the consequences that came from my actions that night.”