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January 30, 2015 at 10:58 PM

Drake Britton designated for assignment as Red Sox sign Ogando

The Red Sox have designated left-handed pitcher Drake Britton for assignment, the team announced Friday. A move was necessary to open a spot on the 40-man roster to sign free agent pitcher Alexi Ogando

Britton, 25, is out of options, leading to his precarious roster situation. With the additions of Ogando and Robbie Ross this week, open slots in the major league bullpen appear limited. Britton pitched well out of the major league bullpen down the stretch in 2013, posting a 3.86 ERA and striking out 17 in 21 innings. A starter throughout his minor league career, 2014 was the first time Britton went through the offseason preparing to work out of the bullpen. Unfortunately he was unable to build on the success of the previous season, struggling mightily in Triple-A Pawtucket. In 45 appearances, Britton had a 5.86 ERA, and walked 38 batters against only 37 strikeouts.

Britton had an up-and-down development process. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 draft out of Tomball (TX) High School, the fireballing southpaw was given a $700,000 bonus to forgo his commitment to Texas A&M. He had a breakout season in 2010 with Low A Greenville with a 2.97 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings, all as a starter. Following that performance, Britton was rated the fourth-best prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com, and was rated the #97 prospect in the game by Baseball America. His follow-up campaign with High A Salem was a major disappointment, with a 6.91 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, and a walk rate that nearly doubled.

Across seven seasons with the Red Sox organization, Britton has made 176 appearances. He was, perhaps surprisingly, the fourth-longest tenured member of the organization. Among those currently under contract only David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Clay Buchholz were currently with the team when Britton signed back in 2007. 

Photo Credit: Drake Britton by Kelly O'Connor