The Red Sox have finalized their bullpen to start the 2015 season, and with it the 25-man roster, keeping Steven Wright and Tommy Layne with the team for Opening Day while sending Matt Barnes back to Pawtucket, where he will return to the starting rotation.
The Barnes outcome is perhaps the most surprising move of the spring, not counting the Christian Vazquez injury situation. Barnes had been turning heads with his relief work both at the end of the 2014 season and during spring training, leaving many to pencil him in as one of the replacements for Joe Kelly and Koji Uehara's roster spots to start the season. Had the Red Sox simply decided to send him to Pawtucket would have been surprising enough, but a return to starting is stranger still given the relatively crowded Triple-A rotation.
Instead, it will be Tommy Layne and Steven Wright heading to Philadelphia with the Red Sox. The 30-year-old Layne figured to be the top lefty candidate for the Pawtucket shuttle this season after a productive 2014 season, filling in whenever the Red Sox needed a southpaw out of the pen.
Wright is rather more surprising--the knuckleballer is a candidate to make spot starts for the Red Sox early in the season before the likes of Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, or Brian Johnson (and perhaps now Matt Barnes) are ready to fill in at the Major League level when needed. But unless Joe Kelly is actually going to miss his start--and there had been little reason to believe that's the case until now--Wright is a slightly odd choice over Barnes. He'll presumably fill in as a long-relief option, but it's worth keeping an eye on the Kelly situation in the days to come just in case.
With the bullpen locked in, here's the full Opening Day roster:
Catchers (2) -- Ryan Hanigan, Sandy Leon
Infielders (5) -- Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt
Outfielders (5) -- Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig
Designated Hitter (1) -- David Ortiz
Starting Pitchers (4) -- Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Wade Miley
Relief Pitchers (8) -- Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa, Anthony Varvaro, Alexi Ogando, Craig Breslow, Robbie Ross, Steven Wright, Tommy Layne
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