Brandon Workman's long road back from 2014 Tommy John surgery continued in 2016, as he ended the season with 20 innings logged between Rookie ball, Low-A and Double-A. He wasn't necessarily effective in those 20 innings, but being on the mound was an important step for the 28-year-old righty. He allowed 17 earned runs in his limited action, with a 9.00 ERA and 2.20 WHIP in his 10 Double-A innings. Workman last pitched in the majors in 2014, when he started 15 games for the Red Sox at the top level, finishing with a 5.17 ERA. He has since switched to a bullpen arm, a role which he will try to nail down at the major league level during spring training. After such a long layoff, it wouldn't be surprising to see Workman begin the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Workman was optioned to the Red Sox's minor-league camp Tuesday, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports. Workman was auditioning for a long-relief role with the big club and pitched well during six appearances in Grapefruit League play, but due to his limited action in competitive games since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2015, the Red Sox understandably want the right-hander to build up his innings count in the minors. If he pitches well at Triple-A Pawtucket, Workman could reemerge as a bullpen option for the Red Sox at some point later in the season.
Workman, who hadn't faced major-league hitters since the end of the 2015 spring training, threw a live batting practice session Monday, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. Workman was pleased with the results of the outing, noting that he pitched better throughout the session and located well. There's very little chance the right-handed Workman breaks camp with the Red Sox, but he's fully healthy for the first time in two years and has MLB-experienced arm out of the bullpen. He could find his way back to Boston if he pitches well at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Workman is expected to open the 2017 in the minors where he can get back into a routine and rebuild arm strength, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Workman's career has stalled since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery during the offseason leading up to the 2015 season. After missing all of 2015, he pitched in just 12 minor league games (including rehab outings) in 2016, but was slowed by elbow soreness and a strained rib cage muscle. The right-hander now reports his fastball back up to 93 mph and tight offspeed pitches during his Instructional League stint this past fall. He came up as a starter, but has a much better MLB track record out of the bullpen and will remain there as long as he's in the Boston organization.
Workman says he feels back to normal heading into spring training, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of 2015, Workman has dealt with several setbacks and pitched in just eight minor league games last season. However, after reporting to Instructional League heading into the offseason, it appears the right-hander is finally ready to go. With a loaded starting rotation already in place, Workman will need to impress if he wants to earn a bullpen spot out of spring training.
Workman agreed to a one-year contract with the Red Sox on Friday, avoiding arbitration. The 28-year-old hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2014. He underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2015 and endured several setbacks in his rehab, but he got some work in with the Double-A club and in instructs late in the season. Workman will have to compete for a spot in spring training.