HOUSTON — The Red Sox will soon have a decision to make with Brandon Workman.
The two-time World Series champion has opted out of his minor league contract, starting a 48-hour clock that will result in his being called up or released to pursue other options.
Workman has appeared in seven games with Triple A Worcester, allowing one earned run on three hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts. The 32-year-old righthander returned to the organization on May 6 after being released by the Cubs.
“His last two outings were outstanding. I feel like that was the Brandon Workman we’ve seen in the past,” WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott said.
“I feel like he came here on a mission to show that he could be that guy, and I think that he was more trying to impress that he has the stuff. He was just a little disconnected with his delivery.”
Workman was a reliable option for the Sox until being traded to Philadelphia last August. He pitched poorly for the Phillies, and then for the Cubs.
Now he could return to the majors.
“That’s part of the contract,” Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’re very pleased with the way he’s throwing the ball. He has been throwing his cutter a little bit better. Velocity is OK. Breaking ball has been great.
“But as of now, that’s all I have. He’s going to opt out and I think we’ve got two days or something to make a decision. We’ll see where it goes. There’s a lot of stuff on the table. We have a 26-man roster right now and he’s not part of it.”
Colten Brewer, who allowed four runs over one inning on Monday, is a candidate to be replaced. He has a 4.98 earned run average and 1.78 WHIP in 70 games for the Sox since 2019.
Adding Workman also would require opening a spot on the 40-man roster.
Bobby Dalbec out again
Bobby Dalbec sat out the 5-1 loss against Houston, Cora going with Danny Santana at first base against righthander Luis Garcia.
“Right now, obviously, he’s been scuffling,” Cora said. “He’s been chasing pitches out of the zone. He’ll play the next two days in the series. I just feel like there’s certain matchups that we’ve got to try and avoid to protect him.”
But the Sox are showing remarkable patience with Marwin Gonzalez, who was 0 for 3 and is 3 of his last 35 with 11 strikeouts. He did drive in his first run since May 7 with a groundout.
Gonzalez’s .554 OPS is the fifth-lowest among the 156 players in the majors with at least 160 plate appearances.
“It feels like he’s in-between, too,” Cora said. “He knows how they’re going to attack him but the fact that he hasn’t been able to catch up with the fastball the usual way he does, it puts him in doubt.”
WooSox offer vaccines
The Triple A Worcester Red Sox are offering free COVID-19 vaccines at Polar Park through Sunday in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center.
Fans 18 or older who receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be given a complimentary general admission ticket to that day’s game, along with a team cap.
Fans who already have tickets and would like a vaccine should check in with the Kennedy Health Center staff after the gates open. They will receive a general admission ticket to a 2021 home game.
Triston Casas plates two for US
Team USA beat the Dominican Republic, 8-6, in the Americas Olympic qualifying tournament at Port St. Lucie, Fla. Red Sox prospect Triston Casas was 2 for 4 with a two-run double. Jarren Duran was 0 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base. Casas is 4 for 8 in the tournament.
The United States, now 2-0, faces Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
Another Sox prospect, infielder Jeter Downs, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts for Colombia in a 3-2 loss against Venezuela. Downs is 0 for 7 through two games.
Xander Bogaerts struck out three times in the loss, just the fourth time he’s done that in the last two seasons, but tied Nomar Garciaparra for third in team history with his 956th appearance at shortstop. Only Everett Scott (1,093) and Rick Burleson (1,004) have more . . . Cora said righthanded reliever Ryan Brasier is moving closer to a rehabilitation assignment. He has been sidelined for two-plus months with a calf strain . . . Worcester righthander Tanner Houck, who hasn’t appeared in a game since May 4 because of a flexor muscle strain, threw in the bullpen Tuesday, according to Abbott. Houck, who has started twice for the Red Sox this season, threw all fastballs. “He’s on the mend and looked really good,” Abbott said.
Alex Speier of Globe Staff contributed to this report.