PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- The Red Sox beleaguered bullpen may be getting help at some point in the form of Pawtuckets Alex Wilson. The right-hander was scheduled to start the PawSox game against the ScrantonWilkes-Barre Yankees on Tuesday. Instead, Brandon Duckworth got the start with Wilson working out of the bullpen for the first time in his four-season career.
However, if Wilson is going to help, it wont be immediately. Tuesday was the first of his 69 professional appearances working out of the bullpen since being selected by the Sox in the second round of the 2009 draft. Earlier that season, though, he made 16 relief appearances, with two saves, for Texas A&M.
In his first appearance out of the PawSox pen, he pitched one inning, giving up a run on two hits with a strikeout. He faced five batters, throwing 19 pitches, 12 for strike.
There are adjustments to be made.
Its a little different, said Wilson, who turned 25 in November and is in his first full season at Pawtucket.. Its been about four years since Ive done that but its exciting. Its fun. Its something that I look at it as a good opportunity for me right now at this point in time.
Its just a matter of trying to figure out when to start getting loose, try not to throw too much but not throw too little down there warming up in the bullpen. And its just going to take a couple of outings and get the feel back, and really learn my body again for this kind of situation.
Wilson, who had made three starts this season, posting a record of 1-0 with a 5.52 ERA, was told after Mondays doubleheader of the organizations plan for him.
I was sat down and told they were going to they were going to make the switch, he said. The front office came to the decision to go ahead and slide me back there, not to look at it as a demotion but as an opportunity, and thats all. Im going to take that and run with it.
Against the Yankees Tuesday, Wilson gave up consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly, accounting for the run, before retiring the next two batters, including Jayson Nix on a strikeout looking, to end the inning.
He did a nice job, said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. We talked early about hisbullpen routine and he seemed to get up and wait and do what he was supposed to do. He didnt throw down there forever. He just got up and went in, and did what he does. I thought he did a nice job of getting the ball down.Thats where hes going to have to be to have some success, and thats what he hasnt been consistently this season.
Wilson said his repertoire lends itself well to a change to the bullpen.
I pretty much pitch the same way, he said. Ive always been a guy that comes right at you, fastball, slider, and changeup, if I need it, kind of deal. So I think itll play well into my game, actually.
Still, it will be a while before Wilson, who is not on the 40-man roster, is fully acclimated to his new role. He started an inning on Tuesday, but the Sox would like to get him into a variety of relief situations, including back-to-back appearances, and entering during an inning with runners on base.
Im lucky enough to have kind of done it before, so I know what its going to be like going into it, he said. But the biggest thing for me is not the physical aspect. Its the mindset of being ready every day. Ive been used to having four days off, not having to worry about game action or anything like that. So for me to be ready day in and day out, thatll be the biggest adjustment.
Up till this point he considered himself a starter. Now, hes a reliever. With an opportunity.
So its going to be an interesting year, he said. I didnt expect this but welcome it with open arms and hopefully itll work out well for the best.