BOSTON (CBS) – Before the Red Sox took the field for a playoff tune-up on Wednesday, manager John Farrell shed some light on what their postseason roster will look like.
The Red Sox don’t know who they will take on in the ALDS, but Farrell said they will carry 11 pitchers on their roster. All signs currently point to lefty reliever Matt Thornton making the squad.
“It was more staying with what our strengths have been,” Farrell said Wednesday of his decision to go with 11 pitchers. “You start to get multiple moves down the line and you begin to weigh what’s important and to me, protecting the downside of something unforeseen happening on the mound, pitching wise, I don’t want to disrupt that.”
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So barring any surprises or injuries over the next few days, it appears that Boston will carry starters Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy, closer Koji Uehara, set-up men Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa, right-handed relievers Brandon Workman, Ryan Dempster, and lefties Franklin Morales and Thornton.
Thornton had been on the playoff roster bubble with fellow southpaw Felix Doubront, but Doubront has recently let it be known he prefers to be a starter over a reliever. And while Thornton had a rough season with the Red Sox, posting a 6.35 ERA in eight appearances in September, the versatility of a few of Boston’s position players opened up a spot for him.
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With Daniel Nava and Mike Carp each able to play in the outfield or at first, along with Xander Bogaerts’ ability to play short stop or third base, Farrell said that versatility was “clearly” a factor in Thornton getting a spot.
Elsewhere on the roster, it appears as though Quintin Berry will get one of the final spots over rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. Berry was a perfect 24-for-24 in stolen base attempts this season (three coming after he was acquired by the Red Sox), and will give Boston another speedster on the base paths.
“I wouldn’t say exclusively as a pinch runner but that was why he was brought here and that’s still first and foremost the attribute that we’ll look to use,” Farrell said of Berry on Wednesday.
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Boston’s final roster for the ALDS is due by Friday morning at 10 a.m., with Game 1 of the series set for 3:07 p.m. at Fenway Park. The Red Sox will take on either the Cleveland Indians or Tampa Bay Rays, who play Wednesday night for the American League Wild Card spot.