Workman struck out two and did not allow a hit or walk over one scoreless inning in Sunday's spring game against Atlanta. Workman made his first appearance of spring, backing up Nathan Eovaldi's three shutout innings with one of his own in the fourth. He's expected to open the season as Boston's closer, but he doesn't possess a high-end fastball and only landed the closing role in 2019 when the Red Sox cycled through back-end options.
Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke said Workman will open the season as Boston's closer, Ian Browne of MLB.com reports. Workman finished out the 2019 season as the closer after the Red Sox started the season without a set end-game option. "I think so," Roenicke said about Workman's candidacy for the role. "I think what he did last year deserves that shot to be the closer. I think it's always more ideal if you have roles for those guys." The 24-year-old right-hander posted a 2.01 ERA with 13 saves (two blown) during the second half of the season. He doesn't own overpowering stuff, but Workman was able to fool opponents on the way to a career-best 13.1 K/9.
Workman agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Red Sox on Friday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. This was his third and final year as an arbitration-eligible player. He will be a free agent after the season and should get plenty of high-leverage opportunities with Boston.
Workman walked one in a scoreless ninth inning Tuesday to record his 16th save of the season in a 12-10 win over the Rangers. Manager Alex Cora suggested that Workman's usage was going to be limited over the final week, but after the right-hander pitched twice this weekend against the Rays, he found himself right back on the bump Tuesday. It's hard to blame the manager for sticking with what works -- Workman has a 0.00 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 15:6 K:BB over 10.1 innings in September, and is a perfect 7-for-7 in converting save chances.
Manager Alex Cora said he'll try to stay away from high-leverage relievers, including Workman, after the current series with Tampa Bay ends Monday, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports. Workman has emerged as Boston's closer over the second half of the season, but it looks like Cora will try to limit his usage after Monday's series finale against the Rays. Limiting Workman could have an impact as fantasy leagues wrap up this week. Cora added the names Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez and Marcus Walden to the list of pitchers he plans to stay away from over the final week. It's unclear which reliever will get a chance if a save opportunity presents itself. Of the relievers not on the list, Ryan Brasier has the most saves (seven).
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