Mike Shawaryn started all 48 games he pitched at the University of Maryland and 67 of the 68 games he played in the minor leagues after the Red Sox took him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.
Outside of a short stint as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League in 2018, Shawaryn has always started.
“Even then, they told you what day and what innings you’d pitch,” he said on Wednesday. “It was all mapped out. It’s not like what I’m doing now.”
What Shawaryn is doing now is sitting out in the bullpen waiting for his name to be called. It’s new for him but working out well so far.
Shawaryn has made three appearances since the Red Sox called him up from Triple A Pawtucket. He has allowed one run on one hit over six innings and struck out 11 with no walks.
In Tuesday night’s messy 9-5 loss against Texas, Shawaryn pitched two scoreless innings and struck out four with a mix of fastballs and curveballs. His days as a starter may be over.
“We like him as a reliever,” manager Alex Cora said on Wednesday. “[Pitching coach Dana LeVangie] likes what he’s doing out of the bullpen.”
Shawaryn was called up on May 30 but didn’t get into a game until June 7. LeVangie and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson used the time to make some adjustments to his delivery.
Shawaryn also was strongly encouraged to me more aggressive in the strike zone after walking 28 in 55⅔ innings at Pawtucket.
“I threw a few times in the bullpen and once I got in a game, it clicked,” Shawaryn said. “I’m throwing my best pitches more often. I don’t feel like my fastball is better. I’ve always gone all out with everything I throw.”
As the Sox seek reliable arms from their farm system, Shawaryn has been one of the few who has impressed this season.
“He’s been outstanding for us,” Cora said.
Steven Wright threw three shutout innings for Pawtucket in a 10-8 loss at Louisville.
Wright allowed two hits and struck out one without a walk, throwing 20 of 34 pitches for strikes. The knuckleballer has pitched twice for Pawtucket and given up one run over 4⅔ innings.
The Sox plan to use Wright as a reliever once he returns from his 80-game suspension for using human growth hormone. He is eligible to return on June 25.
Wright’s surgically repaired left knee has held up well so far.
“That part of it has been good,” Cora said.
Wright was activated off the injured list in September last season and appeared in 10 games as a reliever, allowing one earned run on 11 hits over 13⅔ innings.
He was on the roster for the Division Series but was dropped before Game 1 when he reinjured his knee.
Righthander Tyler Thornburg, with Pawtucket after being put on the IL with a hip strain, went 1⅔ innings against Louisville. He allowed one run and had three walks and two wild pitches.
Johnson ready to go
Cora said lefthander Brian Johnson would “most likely” be activated when the team starts a series in Baltimore on Friday. His 30-day minor league rehab assignment ends on Thursday. Johnson appeared in six games for Pawtucket and Double A Portland, allowing 11 earned runs on 20 hits over 14⅔ innings. But his last game was solid. Johnson, out since April 6 with an elbow strain, is a candidate to start on Sunday . . . Nate Eovaldi remains shut down with biceps soreness. He has not pitched off the mound since May 5 . . . Righthander Hector Velazquez, on the injured list since May 30 with a strained back, is set to start a rehab assignment in the coming days . . . Mitch Moreland, out with a strained right quad, is doing some exercising but isn’t close to baseball activities . . . Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, who is coming back from a sprained left knee, is 3 for 12 in four games for Pawtucket.
J.D. Martinez struck out four times in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over Texas. It was the sixth time in his career he’s had four or more strikeouts, the first since June 5, 2015 . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. (1 for 3) has a .371 on-base percentage in his last 28 games . . . The latest shuffling of pitchers with high ERAs came before the game when the Sox recalled righthanders Travis Lakins and Josh Smith from Pawtucket and optioned lefthanders Darwinzon Hernandez and Bobby Poyner. Hernandez was sent to Portland and Poyner to Pawtucket. Hernandez and Poyner combined to allow eight earned runs on Tuesday night. The Sox have had a transaction involving a pitcher in five of the last six days.
Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.