By Joe Stiglich
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Red Sox called up left-hander Drake Britton on Sunday for his first taste of the major leagues and optioned outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Britton, 24, has been a starter ever since Boston drafted him in the 23rd round of the 2007 draft, but he was promoted to add depth in the bullpen, particularly with Brandon Workman making his first big league start Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Oakland A’s.
“We felt like we needed to add another arm to the bullpen,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Given the number of left-handers this lineup has, it felt like Drake was a good fit to give us a third lefty. Also, it’s part of what we wanted to see with young internal pitchers to take a look at them in the early part of July and through this month. And he comes to us having thrown the ball well of late.”
Farrell says he expects Britton to remain with the major league club coming out of the All-Star break but wouldn’t speculate on how long he would stick. The Sox are rumored to still be looking for pitching on the trade market, so that could affect Britton’s status.
“Barring any other changes internally or externally, he’ll be here for now,” Farrell said.
Britton underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in October 2008 and missed most of the 2009 season while recovering. He posted a 2.97 ERA starting for low Single-A Greenville in 2010 but then ballooned to a 6.91 ERA over 26 starts in 2011 with Single-A Salem.
Britton steadied himself during a 2012 season split between Salem and Double-A Portland. He was 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) at Portland this season but received his first big league call-up after just one appearance at Triple-A.
The lefty found himself in hot water in March when he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and property damage while he was participating in his first big league camp.
He wore a wide smile Sunday morning while addressing reporters, the look of a player not only excited for his major league debut but grateful for the chance considering his legal slip-up.
“It was very tough,” Britton said. “It was very embarrassing, and I’m extremely remorseful for bringing that negative attention not only to myself but to the organization. it was a very big learning experience for me. I know I disappointed a lot of people … but I couldn’t ask to be part of a better organization.”
Bradley, a 2011 first-round pick, has hit .155 with two home runs and seven RBI over three stints with Boston this season.
“We’re talking about a very good young player who’s been up and down now three times for us,” Farrell said. “We’ll get through today fine without Jackie here, but we just feel like we needed to get an additional bullpen arm to us.”
By Joe Stiglich