Bonser: 'My role is in the 'pen'

While Red Sox pitcher Boof Bonser has been starting (he'll face the Rays in a split squad game Monday), he has understood all along that the Red Sox were preparing him to be a long reliever. He is all but assured of one of the two spots available in the bullpen, with the recently signed Alan Embree likely to claim the last spot as soon as he is game-ready.

“It’s not like a shocker to me,’’ Bonser said. “Basically when they traded for me, they said that’s my job.’’

He’s being stretched out as a starter, he said, because that’s useful in his role as a long man.

“Hopefully it never happens, but if a starter goes down, who knows, maybe I'll get a quick spot start, but my role is in the pen.’’

Bonser is just 13 months removed from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder.

“I think he’s had very good action, especially given what he’s gone through,’’ Francona said, predicting that Bonser’s velocity will increase in the last couple of weeks of camp. Bonser has been in the 91-93 range.

Bonser hasn’t had a single setback this spring. “Knock on wood,’’ he said. “We’ll see what happens.

“I would not change a thing right now,’’ Bonser said of the progress he has made since surgery. “It’s the first one I’ve gone through, and hopefully the last.’’