ARLINGTON, Texas — When Doug Fister arrives at Globe Life Park on Wednesday for his start against the Texas Rangers, he’ll take a moment to appreciate the situation.
The 33-year-old righthander was a free agent until May 22, when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels and agreed to be optioned to the minors. He then opted out of that deal after three starts with Triple A Salt Lake City to join the Red Sox via a waiver claim.
“Two months ago I was sitting at home doing nothing trying to get ready on my own,” Fister said. “To be in the game again and be part of a great clubhouse, I’m so gracious for it. Things can turn on such a quick note. For me, I’m very grateful.”
Fister has started two games for the Sox and kept them in the game both times. He went six innings against the Angels on June 25 and left trailing, 3-2. He then pitched five innings against the Blue Jays on June 30 and also left trailing, 3-2.
“He’s made some big pitches with men on base in both starts. That to me is a guy who doesn’t let the game speed up too much,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s not afraid in big spots against key hitters to reverse the count. What I mean by that is to throw pitches in off the plate with a purpose, trying to set up maybe an off-speed pitch to record an out.”
Fister was 12-13 with a 4.64 earned run average for Houston last season, making 32 starts. But he was 0-5 with a 10.54 ERA in his last seven starts and that dropped his stock as a free agent.
Teams also noted a drop in velocity, an increase in his walk rate, and fewer swings and misses. But Fister did not back off demands for a major league contract.
“I didn’t want to go back to the minors. I knew I could still pitch,” he said. “I was content to wait and see what happened.”
The Sox were one of the teams who had their offer of a minor league deal turned down. But they never lost interest.
“That was a process that was fairly lengthy,” Farrell said. “We had a lot of conversations with him leading up to the time that he signed with the Angels and we stayed on him.
“When he was making the three starts in Salt Lake, we had people there watching every one of his starts understanding what the contract terms were. When his decision was to be made, we were quick to act.”
Fister faced Texas five times last season and had a 4.73 ERA. Pitching for a contending team, he said, has been energizing.
“I’ll tell you what, being a part of this team has been a humbling experience and a blessing,” he said. “These guys here, as a team, have welcomed me with open arms. I enjoy coming to the ballpark every day. We have a high expectation of winning here and that speaks for itself. I thoroughly enjoy it.”
Bogaerts in contention
Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after missing two games with a slight groin strain on his left side. Now he’s hoping to get into the All-Star Game.
Major League Baseball announced Bogaerts was second in the online voting to claim the final spot on the American League roster.
Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas was first, followed by Bogaerts, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, and Rays first baseman Logan Morrison.
The voting runs until 4 p.m. Thursday. Fans can vote online at RedSox.com. The site also has directions on how to vote via text message.
Bogaerts is at a disadvantage because the Sox do not play any home game before the deadline. The Rangers have heavily promoted Andrus in the park the last two days. The Yankees also are home this week.
Rodriguez gets in work
Eduardo Rodriguez made his second injury rehabilitation start. The lefthander went four innings for Triple A Pawtucket at Rochester and allowed four runs on four hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
Rodriguez threw 88 pitches, a good test of his right knee.
Farrell has indicated the Red Sox will not activate Rodriguez until after the All-Star break. That likely means another minor league start.
Owens is wild again
Lefthander Henry Owens, who was demoted to Double A Portland last month, pitched his first game for Sea Dogs and it was another backward step.
Owens could not get through the first inning against New Hampshire, walking six and allowing three runs before he was taken out of the game after 42 pitches, only 15 of them strikes.
The former supplemental first-round pick has walked 66, hit six, and thrown six wild pitches in 69⅔ innings this season.
Mookie Betts would be the first Red Sox to start two All-Star Games before turning 25 since Ted Williams started three before the age of 23. Williams then missed three seasons because of World War II . . . Farrell has become a big fan of first baseman Mitch Moreland. “He is one tough SOB to deal with some of the things he’s dealt with physically,” the manager said. “He’s come up big in RBI situations with his all-field approach. Things you begin to appreciate are probably more on a personal level and how he goes about his game every day.” . . . Ernesto Frieri, who allowed two runs in the 11th inning on Monday night, was designated for assignment by the Rangers before the game. Righthanded reliever Jeremy Jeffress was activated off the disabled list.