BOSTON - The Red Sox bullpen has about as much definition as Pablo Sandoval this time a year ago.
Joe Kelly and Robbie Ross Jr., two of the perceived most reliable relievers going into spring training, don’t seem to be at the top of manager John Farrell’s list right now. If there’s a sense of roles yet — seventh inning, eighth inning, whatever — John Farrell isn’t putting it forth publicly.
“Without a returning lockdown eighth-inning guy, we’re about settling into some roles as quick as possible,” Farrell said Monday. “There’s going to be a little more matching up right now, before we bridge to [Craig] Kimbrel in the ninth. So, you take some of the momentum that certain guys have coming out of spring training throwing the ball.
“[Heath] Hembree and [Matt] Barnes from the right-handed side have probably been the most consistent. Robby Scott and Fernando [Abad] from the left side have probably had more momentum coming out of spring training. So, we’ve got to settle into the roles as quick as possible.”
Tyler Thornburg’s shoulder injury is a culprit here.
It doesn’t sound like there are any relievers Farrell wants to keep to clean innings, a la Koji Uehara last year.
“No, I wouldn’t say there’s [anyone],” Farrell said. “We’ve checked those boxes off in spring training with guys coming in in the middle of the inning, just to give them at least in preparation of this season, that experience. They’ve done it in the past.
“We know last year Matt Barnes was very effective with inherited runners when he entered ballgames. How that unfolds, that’s the one … the bullpen is the most unpredictable component of any team. Like I said, the sooner we can settle into roles, the better.”
Thornburg’s halfway through his 10-day no-throw period, Farrell said.