FORT MYERS, Fla. — Righthanded reliever Colten Brewer learned a few weeks ago that the Red Sox tried to obtain him last season at the non-waiver trade deadline but the San Diego Padres weren’t willing to make deal.
“It would have been really, really cool to help win a World Series,” Brewer said Wednesday. “But everything happens for a reason.”
The Sox finally pried away Brewer in November, sending minor league second baseman Esteban Quiroz to the Padres.
The Sox have long been intrigued by the 26-year-old Brewer, who was a fourth-round draft pick of the Pirates in 2011 and has since bounced around.
The Yankees selected Brewer in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in 2016. He then signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent after spurning an offer from the Sox.
What makes a player with a career 4.01 earned run average in 129 minor league games so special?
Brewer has averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings since being used exclusively in relief starting in 2017. He also had a spin rate of 2,644 RPM in 11 major league games for the Padres last season, one of the best marks in the majors.
Brewer had a 5.59 ERA and 2.28 WHIP in those games. But that was largely the product of two awful outings. The raw talent is there.
“It’s flattering the Red Sox wanted me. I’d love to pitch at Fenway Park,” Brewer said. “I learned a lot in that experience in the majors last season. It was a small sample size. I’d like to see what I could do over a month.”
Brewer has an above-average spin rate on his curveball and cutter and could develop into a matchup option for the Sox. He also has minor league options, something the Sox value.
For now, Brewer is getting to know his way around JetBlue Park.
“I can see why this team won the World Series. They’re together,” he said. “But everybody has been good about introducing themselves and making me feel welcome.”
On the way
Dustin Pedroia is expected in camp Thursday or Friday. According to manager Alex Cora, the second baseman took groundballs in Arizona wearing his road uniform from the World Series for some reason.
“I was like, ‘You’re nuts, bro,’ ” Cora said.
Pedroia played only three games last season as he recovered from surgery on his left knee. After being shut down in June, he had another surgery in July.
“He feels good. Our medical reports on him are good,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “It’s a matter of the buildup and the pounding on a daily basis and how he handles it.”
The Sox would be thrilled if the 35-year-old Pedroia can play 125 games at this point.
“It’s not about today. It’s about tomorrow, how he’s going to bounce back,” Cora said. “We have to really pay attention to that.”
Mookie Betts arrived at camp a few days after a video surfaced of him running pass routes at Tennessee State’s indoor football facility. Betts used an inside/outside move to beat a defender for a pass.
One of Betts’s trainers is Deon Giddens, a former professional football player and many of his clients are aspiring NFL players.
Betts also can dunk a basketball and has bowled several 300 games in professional tournaments.
Is there anything he can’t do?
Moving on up
This is the eighth season the Red Sox have been at JetBlue Park. David Ortiz had the best space in the clubhouse for the first five of those, a set of two lockers in the middle of the room next to the door with a bench and wall mirror on the side.
For a clubhouse, it was the high-rent district.
Hanley Ramirez, the player with the most seniority, inherited that spot when Ortiz retired. Now it belongs to Pedroia.
Eduardo Nunez also upgraded to a corner locker near the exit closest to the players’ parking lot. Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. also are together, which seems fitting.
Cora said the Sox would use a No. 6 starter for the sixth game of the regular season on April 2 in Oakland. They want to give the first five an extra day off the first time through the rotation. Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are the leading candidates . . . Dombrowski still intends to trade one of the three catchers. Every indication is that it would be Sandy Leon or Blake Swihart . . . Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce also arrived at camp. Pearce was wearing a throwback Pat Patriot shirt and is still giddy about the Super Bowl . . . Special assistants Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek were in uniform for the workout and Derek Lowe stopped by to continue his work with Rick Porcello . . . The Red Sox remain scheduled to visit the White House on May 9. The Sox play in Baltimore on May 8. There will be a flight back to Boston after the game for those players and staffers who aren’t going to the White House, and another on May 9 from Washington for those who do go.