BALTIMORE -- For the fourth time this week alone, the Red Sox welcomed a pitcher from the Pawtucket roster Friday.
Following the earlier arrivals of Jose De La Torre, Alfredo Aceves and Alex Wilson, Rubby De La Rosa arrived Friday to give the Sox a fresh arm in the bullpen.
The Sox can use all the help they can get there after playing two long extra-inning games Monday (14 innings in St. Petersburg) and Thursday (13 innings in Baltimore).
To make room for De La Rosa, the Sox optioned back Wilson to Pawtucket. Despite getting the loss, Wilson pitched well in 2 2/3 innings Thursday. But the longer outing meant he wouldn't be available for a couple of days and the Sox needed some fresh arms and De Le Rosa, who was scheduled to start Thursday only to be rained out, was the choice.
De Le Rosa will be used "to give us multi innings,'' said manager John Farrell. "In the event that something unforeseen happens in the early innings, he knows he's stretched out to 75-80 pitches. Ideally, if the situation allows, [we'd prefer him] to come in to start a clean inning. He was the most fresh one on the roster that we can tap into to help a bullpen that has obviously been taxed of late.''
De La Rosa, who was part of the mega trade with the Dodgers last August, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and had his innings limited a year ago.
Even earlier this year, the Sox held him to two inning stints as he continued to build arm strength.
In 11 starts at Pawtucket, he was 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA. Over his last eight starts, he has a 1.14 ERA.
"Of late, the most important thing is that the overall command of his fastball has improved,'' said Farrell. "Every report has that he's got power and there are no issues coming off the Tommy John situation.''
De La Rosa probably won't remain with the club long-term, but he is still in the mix for a spot start Tuesday against Tampa Bay when the Sox have a day-night doubleheader.
The other option for the Sox in that start is Aceves.
De La Rosa said he now regards the decision to limit his workload early as "a good idea. Because right now, I feel so much stronger. I feel I can work up to 100 pitches with the same power.''
In addition to a mid-90s fastball, De La Rosa throws a curveball, a slider and a changeup. The slider, in particular, has improved since spring training to the point where he regards it as "my third-best pitch right now.''