FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clayton Mortensen spent last year riding the shuttle between Triple A Pawtucket and Boston. The righthander pitched well when summoned to the major league club, but was often the victim of a numbers game when the team needed to create a roster spot.
Mortensen had options remaining last year, meaning the Sox could move him between Boston and Pawtucket without exposing him to waivers. He appeared in 26 games and posted a 3.21 ERA with a WHIP of 1.21.
But this season, Mortensen is out of options and with plenty of other established relievers -- Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow and Alfredo Aceves -- out of options and virtually guaranteed spots, that means Mortensen could be lost at the end of spring.
If the Sox can't find a means of getting him on the 25-man roster, they may have to deal him elsewhere and get something in return rather than risk losing him on waivers.
"Without a question, it puts me in a good situation," said Mortensen. "But it could work against me, too. I've had my share of up and downs, so I'll come in here and try to win a spot on the team. I feel like I have a little better shot without options of making the team than if I did have options.
"I feel confident coming in here. As long as I go out and do what I have to do, I feel like I have a shot of making this team."
Mortensen admits that he's done the roster math in his head and tried to analyze the best he can.
"You're always looking at it," he said, "and evaluating where you're at and try to place yourself in there. But it all comes down to, you never have a clue what these guys are going to do. After a while, you just try to do what you do."
The last thing Mortensen wants to do is "play GM because you're never right. I don't even bother with it. I don't even bother with it. If I'm in their plans, awesome; if I'm not, then something's going to happen."