March 29, 2014 at 6:15 PM
On the finale of Spring Training 2014, the Red Sox finalized their Opening Day roster with right-hander Brandon Workman (pictured) earning the final spot in the bullpen. In the final official cuts, the team released veteran reliever Francisco Cordero and reassigned pitchers Tommy Layne and Brayan Villarreal, outfielder Corey Brown, and utility man Mike McCoy to minor league camp.
Workman, 25, won the competition for the final spot in the bullpen that opened up when left-hander Craig Breslow was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Workman made his major league debut in July, and appeared in 20 games for the Red Sox, including 17 out of the bullpen. The highlight of his season was working a perfect eighth inning in the World Series-clinching Game Six. He appeared in six games in spring training, allowing 9 runs on 17 hits in 15 2/3 innings, striking out 16 while walking only two. He joins Xander Bogaerts among members of the SoxProspects.com top 10 on the major league roster.
Cordero, who is 13th on the all-time leaders in saves, was attempting a comeback after sitting out the entire 2013 season following shoulder surgery. His last major league stint was ineffective. Signed before the 2012 to be the Toronto closer, Cordero posted a 5.77 ERA before getting traded to Houston in July, where he continued to struggle, allowing 11 runs in five innings. He was effective in spring training, striking out eight and allowing five hits in eight scoreless innings, but lost out to Workman for the final bullpen slot. Though reportedly offered a spot with Pawtucket, the 14-year veteran is expected to search for a major league opportunity.
Layne, Villarreal, Brown and McCoy were all considered long shots to make the major league team. Villarreal was acquired in July as part of the deal that included Jake Peavy and Jose Iglesias. Layne appeared in nine games during spring training, taking the loss in Saturday's spring training finale. Brown's minor league contract included an opt-out clause, but per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, he declined to exercise it and will report to the minor leagues. McCoy played every position except for catcher during a four year stint in the majors with Colorado and Toronto, including pitching an inning against Boston in a June 2011 blowout. All four are projected to be assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket, whose season begins on Thursday.
Photo Credit: Brandon Workman by Kelly O'Connor