BOSTON -- With Steven Wright going on the seven-day concussion DL after being struck with a batting practice fly ball earlier in the week, Boston Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo announced that right-hander Matt Barnes will take Wright’s turn in the rotation on Monday.
Barnes, who has made 21 appearances out the bullpen this season over two stints with the club, has been stretched out to start since being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in July.
“We’ve asked a lot of him, moving back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, but he’s very capable of that,” Lovullo said before Saturday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. “The last start he had, the word we got from player development was that it was aggressive. He was throwing a lot of his pitches in the zone and doing a good job.”
The 25-year-old Connecticut native and former UConn standout has a 5.64 ERA with the major league club this year and a 4.17 ERA in 16 appearances (including five starts) pitching for Pawtucket.
Lovullo emphasized that the organization sees Barnes’ long-term future as a starter, despite being pressed into a bullpen role earlier in the year.
“He’s been a proven starter at the minor-league level,” Lovullo said. “Player development has recommended that this is a guy that could be a very qualified major league starting pitcher, but out of necessity, we had to move him to the bullpen.”
Lovullo was asked whether Rick Porcello, who makes a rehab appearance at Single-A Lowell on Saturday, might have been a candidate to take Wright’s turn in the rotation.
“We thought about a couple of options going forward and we wanted to split up our lefties, so we didn’t push anybody around,” Lovullo said. “But he’s going to slot in there and take that start for us on Monday.”
Porcello will be evaluated after Saturday’s appearance and a timetable will be set afterward for his next appearance, according to Lovullo.
Cecchini recalled: Garin Cecchini was recalled from Pawtucket on Saturday to take Wright’s roster spot. It hasn’t been a banner year for Cecchini, who has been in the midst of a position shuffle with the PawSox this season. Cecchini was hitting .217/.293 in 362 at-bats at the time of his recall. He’s also played about 60 games in left field.
“The at-bats have been getting better throughout the course of the year, but we know what he’s all about,” Lovullo said.
New to the fold? In his first full day as interim manager, Lovullo was adapting to a new schedule, one that includes the day-to-day media obligations that come with the manager role.
“Things have definitely changed for me, but everybody here does such a good job of preparing me and having me understand what this new role is,” Lovullo said. “There’s a system in place and you just slot in.”
One day after manager John Farrell revealed he’s been diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma and will step aside for the remainder of the season, Lovullo said it’s only a matter of time before a staff addition is made.
“We’ve been throwing some names around and we want to have somebody on the bench,” Lovullo said. “That’s imminent, but, at this point, we’re not sure. We’re going to going to do that as soon as possible.”