Layne proving his worth out of Sox bullpen

Layne proving his worth out of Sox bullpen
August 16, 2014, 5:45 pm
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BOSTON - One of the Sox' most effective relievers right now was a non-roster invitee to the team's spring training this year.

Tommy Layne is getting it done when called upon. That was never more apparent than it was Friday night, when Layne was sent in the game in the 8th inning with two men on and no outs.

Layne, primarily a lefty specialist, struck out both batters he faced on the night, lefties Jason Castro and Jon Singleton.

It was his eighth scoreless appearance for the Sox out of nine. Opponents are hitting just .083 (2-for-24) against him.

"The biggest thing is he's thrown consistent strikes," John Farrell said of Layne. "A matchup like last night, even though there's a couple men on base, he's responded whether it's been at home whether it's been on the road in some tight spots. So in short order he's earned our trust and continues to execute. Our experience with him which goes back to the start of spring training has been very consistent and productive throughout."

Andrew Miller is no longer with the team, and Craig Breslow has struggled as of late. That leaves Layne as the guy - and he's stepped up.

"It's been an opportunity that's been presented to him, but he's making the most of it," Farrell said. "Anytime we have that matchup situation, he's a guy that [we've not] been reluctant to go to, and he continues to execute."

With the PawSox this season, Layne is 5-1 with 11 saves in 11 opportunities and a 1.50 ERA. Opponents are hitting .173 against him in 37 games. Over the last 16 games with the PawSox, Layne has a 0.57 ERA with four walks and 16 strikeouts. Lefties are hitting just .138 with one extra-base hit off him.

But Layne would love to not have to put up those numbers down in Pawtucket, and instead stick with the big league club. If he keeps it up, it'll be hard for John Farrell to overlook him next season.

"With each passing outing he puts another notch in it to say that he's answered the question or he's answered the opportunity," Farrell said. "He's making a strong case for himself as we look to see what's currently here and what we may come across being available in the offseason."

*****

Allen Craig and David Ross could both be back with the Red Sox by the end of the team's series with the Angels.

John Farrell said on Saturday that Craig will go out on a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Monday.

Craig has been dealing with a sprained left foot, and will need some at-bats before he's activated. He's had a few days of BP and work out in the field this week.

Ross on the other hand will skip a rehab assignment and be activated on either Monday or Tuesday, according to Farrell. He's recovering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

The Sox begin a four-game series at Fenway against the Angels on Monday. Then they'll host the Mariners in a three-game series that will conclude their 11-game homestand.