Boston Red Sox: Pitcher Craig Breslow Expected to Start Season on Disabled List

Andrew MartinCorrespondent IIIMarch 7, 2013

Breslow was being counted on as a key member of the Red Sox bullpen.
Breslow was being counted on as a key member of the Red Sox bullpen.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox received some bad news Thursday when it was announced that left-handed relief pitcher Craig Breslow is expected to start the season on the disabled list.

The story was first reported in a tweet by The Boston Globes’ Peter Abraham:

Farrell said that LHP Craig Breslow (shoulder) seems unlikely for Opening Day.#redsox

— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) March 7, 2013

WEEI’s Rob Bradford confirmed the story in a subsequent article.

The 32-year-old Breslow has struggled with left shoulder stiffness, which has prevented him from taking the field this spring.

Boston manager John Farrell explained to’s Ian Browne that while the pitcher’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious, taking a prudent approach will be best for all involved:

He's on an every other day throwing program right now. It's hard to project right now that he'll be ready to go once camp breaks. He's going to need a little time. He's going to have to go back through not only the long toss progression but [bullpen sessions] and BP, that normal progression. For a reliever, it's a little bit shorter, but still, he's got some steps he's got to go through.

A veteran of seven major league seasons, Breslow pitched for six teams (including the Red Sox in 2006) before coming to Boston in a mid-season trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks last summer.

He is known for his durability, averaging 70 appearances over the past four seasons.

In 358 career games, all in relief, he has a combined 15-17 record with six saves and a 3.00 ERA.

Showing great consistency, the southpaw has permitted a .226 batting average to left-handed hitters and a .224 mark to righties. He has also allowed a combined .224 batting average in home games which is nearly identical to his .226 road mark.

Having Breslow out at the start of the season may not be a huge blow to the Red Sox. The team has received a number of accolades for their deep bullpen, and this situation could open up a spot for another pitcher like Alfredo Aceves, who might have not made the final roster otherwise.

Boston still has Andrew Miller as a left-hander out of the bullpen. Additionally, veteran right-hander Koji Uehara has held left-handed hitters to just a .216 batting average during his career.

Farrell told Bradford that he is taking everything in stride and viewing the situation as a kind of opportunity, explaining, “Coming into camp, there was, just by numbers, there was a surplus, and just some guys out of options…This is clear proof that it has a way of sorting itself out…”

Breslow signed a two-year contract with the Red Sox this past offseason. While the team isn’t stressing out about his current injury, they will welcome him back to the bullpen as a vital part of the pitching staff as soon as he is healthy.

Statistics via Baseball-Reference