PAWTUCKET — Key takeaways from the Red Sox taxi squad working out at McCoy Stadium:
Sox may use Pawtucket pitchers
Whether it’s related to COVID-19 or general ineffectiveness on the mound, the Red Sox figure to frequently dip their toes into the pool as it relates to the club’s pitching during this 60-game sprint of a 2020 season.
A roster spot for a pitcher who threw multiple innings the previous night could very well go to a fresh arm who at the moment is biding his time in Pawtucket.
A good example of this particular scenario played out earlier this week with Brian Johnson. The lefty threw two innings in Wednesday’s exhibition game against Toronto, hence it would have been unlikely he would have bounced back soon enough to be available for Friday’s season opener against the Orioles.
The Red Sox opted to send Johnson to McCoy Stadium, but don’t expect him to be down here for very long. Other than Nathan Eovaldi and perhaps Martin Perez, Boston’s staff is thin when it comes to starters who can last at least three turns through the batting order.
The need for middle relief figures to be great, hence why pitchers such as Johnson figure to be subjected to roster shuffling where if you’re the freshest arm, the odds of you pitching for the parent club figure to improve greatly.
To that end, PawSox manager Billy McMillon was asked following Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage — one that featured Kyle Hart, Domingo Tapia, and Mike Shawaryn — about the throwing program that enables pitchers to be stretched out while being mindful of the needs in Boston.
“The plan is to look at our pitching depth and look at guys who may be starters [such as Hart] and have them pitch every 3-4 days in an extended roll and have other guys like Domingo go one inning or two innings,” McMillon said. “The goal is not to have all the long guys throw on one day. We’ve got to space it out where every day or couple of days there’s a long guy who’s available for a potential callup.”
Hart among new additions
Hart was one of several new additions to the taxi squad. The list also includes power-hitting infielder Bobby Dalbec, who recently went through his own ordeal with coronavirus, along with infielder Marco Hernandez and outfielder John Andreoli. Johnson was not listed on the roster of players that was distributed to the media.
Right now, the taxi squad that’s training at McCoy features 24 players.