|Connelly’s Top Ten: Comebacks, Championships and Doobie Brothers||Patriots 2014-2015 Position Review: Quarterbacks||Cubs Hire Manny, Youkilis to Try to Become ’04 Red Sox…Literally||Red Sox 2015 Preview: Buchholz, Porcello, Miley, Masterson, Kelly|
First it was Nomar. Now, another former Red Sox favorite has re-signed with the team. Only, he has the plans to keep playing.
Alan Embree now returns to Boston for the chance to compete for a spot in the Sox bullpen. It was Embree who was on the mound to close out the epic four-game comeback in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. The next season, he was designated for assignment and eventually picked up by the Yankees during the season. He has since made stops in San Diego, Oakland, and Colorado before finally re-signing with Boston last week.
Embree signed a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Upon arriving in Fort Myers, he did not have his name plate placed in the locker room, wanting to surprise former teammates. Since then, he made one outing against Baltimore’s Triple A squad. Although he struggled with warmups, Embree went three up, three down and had 11 strikes on only 12 pitches. Very impressive.
With the Red Sox needing another lefty in the bullpen, as Hideki Okajima being the only current one, more success for Embree could lead to regular appearances. The loss of Billy Wagner left the vacancy and now Embree returns, competing with Joe Nelson (righty), Brian Shouse (older lefty then Embree), and Scott Atchison (another righty). All of that means there is hope of Embree to return full time to the Sox.
This is all great for Embree, who missed the second half of last season after being hit by a line drive that broke his right tibia. He was expected to rejoin the Rockies should they have made a deep playoff run, but they were eliminated to soon. Now with his 12th team, fans will be hoping that Embree will return to a time where he had his most success, when he was in Boston.
He has appeared in 882 games and has a 4.59 ERA in his career, with 39 wins and 25 saves. His stats are not the flashiest, but he does still have a little magic. Last season, Embree recorded a win last season without even throwing a pitch. It was only the second time 1990 that it has happened.
It’s not a guarantee, but everything seems to be looking strong for Embree. A couple more outings like Wednesday and it will be all but certain that Boston fans will soon see Embree wearing Red Sox in the regular season again.