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Red Sox 'comfortable' using Workman as closer

@IanMBrowne
August 4, 2019

NEW YORK – The assumption when the Red Sox moved Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen was that the flamethrower was poised to become the team’s closer. The truth is that Brandon Workman has earned his keep in that role, and manager Alex Cora will most often pitch Eovaldi in the

NEW YORK – The assumption when the Red Sox moved Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen was that the flamethrower was poised to become the team’s closer.

The truth is that Brandon Workman has earned his keep in that role, and manager Alex Cora will most often pitch Eovaldi in the seventh or eighth inning when the game is on the line.

“We’re comfortable with Work, the way he’s throwing in the back end,” Cora said. “You look at the numbers, against lefties, against righties, what he’s done, it’s amazing. We’re comfortable with him there.”

In 50 appearances entering Sunday night’s game, Workman had a 2.03 ERA and a .113 opponents’ batting average while converting five of nine save opportunities.

For the first half of the season, Cora had been mixing and matching in the ninth inning. Of late, he has consistently gone to Workman.

Eovaldi has made five relief appearances since returning from the injured list, and the last two have been his best.

Cora said that the plan is still for Eovaldi to return to the starting rotation next year in Spring Training. He is signed for three more years.

Brewer down; Weber up

The Red Sox made a series of roster moves prior to Sunday night’s game. David Price was reinstated from the paternity list to make his start, while righty Ryan Weber was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. Infielder Marco Hernandez was optioned to Pawtucket, along with righties Colten Brewer and Josh A. Smith.

Smith was essentially an extra pitcher to get the Red Sox through Saturday’s doubleheader. Why the Weber-for-Brewer swap, aside from needing a fresh arm?

“He needs to work on a few things,” Cora said of Brewer. “The swing-and-miss potential is there, but there’s some deep counts and not controlling the strike zone; we feel he can do a better job. At the same time, where we’re at with the roster, it was just the logical move.”

Did the Red Sox give any thought to bringing Ryan Brasier back from Pawtucket? Brasier was one of the team’s best relievers in 2018.

“We need length,” Cora said.

Brasier hasn't been scored on in six of his seven outings for Pawtucket since he was demoted on July 16.

“Fastball command has been better, offspeed pitches [have been] OK. He’s been like, back and forth,” Cora said. “Overall with the fastball, it’s a lot better than when he was here towards the end.”

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.