Notes: Escobar called up for bullpen depth

Notes: Escobar called up for bullpen depth
August 10, 2014, 5:15 pm
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Edwin Escobar was called up from Pawtucket this morning to serve as insurance for the Red Sox bullpen. The Red Sox desperately hope he isn't needed, since that will mean starter Rubby De La Rosa didn't get far.

Escobar, obtained from San Francisco last month, doesn't have a lot of bullpen experience.

"He's pitched primarly as a starter,'' acknowledged John Farrell. "But given where we are, the length is clearly needed if something were to happen unforseen with Rubby here today.''

The Sox used everyone in their bullpen, and Brandon Workman, normally a starter, in their 19-inning marathon loss to the Angels Saturday night, though Farrell said he expected to have most of his relievers available for the Sunday finale except Junichi Tazazwa, who pitched for the fourth time in five games Saturday.

Heath Hembree, who pitched four scoreless innings of relief Saturday, was optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for Escobar.

As for Escobar, Farrell said: "He's got a four-pitch mix that he throws for strikes. He's coming off a solid outing where he able to command the strike zone. We liked him leading into the trade for Jake [Peavy]. He'll pitch with average velocity, but has the ability to use multiple pitches.''

Escobar will likely be returned to Pawtucket after the game so the Sox can add a bullpen arm.

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The Red Sox were still raving about the play and endurance of rookie catcher Christian Vazquez Saturday night. He caught all 19 innnings of nine pitchers and a total of 272 pitches.

"In the 17th inning, when he's blocking balls off his mask,'' said Farrell, "seemingly off his neck...at that time of the game, six hours in, he did a fantastic job with not only the technique behind the plate, but the ability to handle the duration of the entire game.''

Vazquez continues to impress the Sox after less than a month in the big leagues.

"The game-calling is more advanced that I anticipated,'' said Farrell. "It probably shone through two nights ago with [Allen Webster] and the way he had some feel for his stuff behind the plate and helped him navigate through that outing, particularly when some fastballs got away from [Webster]. He's shown a very good feel. His retention has been great, understanding what sequences have been used in previous at-bats. He's been very good.''

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Farrell said Kelly Johnson, who pitched in high school, would have been the next Red Sox pitcher Saturday night if the Sox got to the 21st inning.

Workman, who pitched the 19th and gave up the game-winning homer to Albert Pujols, was good for two innings. After that, the Sox were out of relievers and didn't want to burn another starter, so Johnson was on call.

Johnson was in the lineup Sunday in his Red Sox debut in a more familiar position for him: first base.