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The Boston Red Sox bullpen is getting some much-needed assistance. According to manager Alex Cora, knuckleballer Steven Wright will return to the major league roster prior to Tuesday’s action against the Chicago White Sox. Wright missed the first 80 games of the season thanks to a PED suspension.
Despite Nathan Eovaldi still being on the injured list, the Boston Red Sox have no plans to insert Wright into the starting rotation. Instead, the 34-year old knuckleballer will serve as a long-inning option out of the bullpen. The Red Sox bullpen currently leads the American League with 15 blown saves, and Wright’s arrival can help solidify the back of the bullpen.
Wright has struggled to stay on the field in each of the past three seasons. Thanks a combination of shoulder and knee injuries to go along with his suspension, Wright has pitched in just 25 major league games since the start of 2017. However, the righty has made five rehab appearances with the Pawtucket Red Sox. During his time in the minors, Wright has compiled a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings of work.
Even though Wright is back, he won’t be eligible for the postseason. Per MLB rules, any player suspended for performance enhancing drugs will not be allowed to play in any postseason contests. Even if Wright pitches like a man possessed for the rest of the year, he won’t be able to help the club in October.
Wright only pitched 53.2 innings in 2018, but he was effective when he was actually on the mound. During his 20 appearances (four starts), Wright recorded a 2.68 ERA while posting a 7.04 K/9 and a 4.36 BB/9. While his FIP suggests he got a little lucky, FIP isn’t really the best way to judge a knuckleballers’ performance. Wright also made the All-Star game back in 2016 after pitching 156.2 innings to the tune of a 3.33 ERA and a 3.77 FIP.
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