Hembree dazzles out of bullpen in Sox debut

Hembree dazzles out of bullpen in Sox debut
August 10, 2014, 11:30 am
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Heath Hembree kept going -- pitch after pitch, inning after inning -- hoping to buy some time for his teammates to come up with a run to end their marathon with the Los Angeles Angels.

The run never came, and in the end, Hembree's four scorelss innings, coming in his Red Sox debut, were in vain. In the 19th inning, an inning after he left, Brandon Workman allowed a walkoff homer to Albert Pujols, giving the Angels a 5-4 victory.

That, however, took nothing away from Hembree's effort, which included throwing 62 pitches.

"He was outstanding,'' said John Farrell. "We backed him into a corner with a couple of intentional walks there (in the 17th inning), but he was very good. He had some swing-and-miss to his fastball, didn't fear the strike zone...a very positive outing.''

"It was a crazy game tonight,'' said Hembree, obtained from the San Francisco Giants last month in the deal that sent Jake Peavy west. "That was definitely the longest outing of my career, so I was just trying to catch my breath and keep going.''

By the 18th, Hembree conceded, "I was getting a little tired. I was just trying to get ahead and just empty the tank. There wasn't that much adrenaline. I was just out there trying to make pitches and it just happened that I had to go four innings.''

Hembree said he had never before thrown more than two innings since turning professional. The last time he threw four, he guesses, was as a sophomore in college.

"It's a tough game,'' said Hembree. "Everyone battled tonight. I mean, 19 innings....it's just one of those things. It just seemed like it was never going to end. But everybody played hard. Everybody played their butts off.''

"When he said he was able to go back out for the third [inning of work], we kept in contact with him each half-inning,'' said Farrell. "He went out and had a clean fourth inning and we felt we had pushed him far enough.''

An exhausting night for Hembree turned worse after the game when the Sox optioned him back to Pawtucket in order to get a fresh arm for Sunday.

"Unfortunately, because of the four innings, it's going to be a couple or three days for Heath to be ready to go,'' said Farrell, "and he's the one who's optioned out.''

"That's part of [the game],'' shrugged Hembree. "I know they need a fresh arm. I'm just going to try to to get some rest and when they need me back up here again, I'll be ready.