Tommy Hottovy--that's two T's, for those of you who have just heard his name for the first time--has been called up to replace the injured Rich Hill on the Red Sox roster. He required a spot on the 40-man, but luckily (well, you know what I mean) Daisuke Matsuzaka was also injured, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room.
Hottovy is 29 years old and has been in the Red Sox organization (and professional baseball) since 2004, when he was drafted in the fourth round and debuted with the Low-A Lowell Spinners. Hottovy was a reliever in college, but the Sox used him as a starter until 2008, when he underwent Tommy John surgery and was able to appear in just two games.
He returned in 2009, once again with a few outings at Lowell, but with most of the year at Double-A Portland. He was also a reliever once again, and had his most productive season since his debut five years earlier (10.9 K/9, 3.2 K/BB, 0.8 HR/9, 3.18 ERA). He has stuck in that relief role ever since, but in 2010 he changed his delivery as an additional look towards improvement.
You can't argue with the results anymore: while things were rough at first (Double-A was not kind to him during his repeat performance in 2010, and Pawtucket was just about as ugly) he has turned things around in the early goings this year. Between Portland and Pawtucket, Hottovy has 28 strikeouts in 27 innings, a 5.6 K/BB ratio thanks to allowing just five walks in that stretch, and a 2.33 Run Average out of the pen.
Based on those punch out figures, you would think Hottovy had real good stuff, but he's more the crafty lefty type, with mid-80s fastballs and junk pitches to complement that. He's close to average in terms of groundballs vs. flyballs, but his control and his delivery make him effective against lefties. That is the role the Red Sox plan to use him in, and while we don't know yet if he is considered a permanent solution, it's nice to see a 29-year-old get his first shot at the bigs, even if it was due to injury and the refusal of a certain demoted reliever to come back to Boston that helped get him here.