Elias feeling 100 percent again
PAWTUCKET – The outings in extended spring training are a thing of the past. So too is the rehab start that Roenis Elias made for High-A Salem last Sunday.
On Friday night, Elias will make a start for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the ball club he envisioned breaking spring training with prior to suffering a right intercostal muscle strain. The 28-year-old will technically be on a major-league rehab assignment since he’s been on Boston’s disabled list since March.
Elias is on target to throw 80-85 pitches against Rochester. Following him will be Shawn Haviland, who was originally scheduled to start Friday.
“I feel 100 percent,” Elias said. “I’m ready to throw.”
The presence of Elias in the home clubhouse at McCoy Stadium comes at a time when the Red Sox’ starting pitching depth is being stretched razor thin. The two-game Kyle Kendrick Experiment in a Boston uniform was nothing short of a disaster – he was optioned to Triple-A on Thursday after going 0-2 and surrendering 12 earned runs on 18 hits over 8.1 innings.
With off-days on May 15 and May 22, the Red Sox won’t need the services of a No. 5 starter for the foreseeable future. In the event David Price suffers a setback with his rehab or even after he rejoins Boston’s rotation, the importance of Elias could loom even larger.
Elias does have major-league experience, having posted a 4.21 ERAin 54 games (50 starts) between his time with the Mariners and Red Sox. Elias was acquired as part of the trade with Seattle that also landed Carson Smith.
Reflecting on the muscle strain that required assistance to get off the field, Elias said, “It was scary. I felt a little that first day. The next day, there was a lot of pain.”
The start for Salem saw Elias struggle, allowing 10 runs, nine earned, 10 hits (one homer) and two walks while striking out one in four innings. He threw a side session at McCoy on Tuesday and has only gained more confidence since.
“My rhythm on the mound was a bit off,” Elias said about his outing for Salem. “Throwing in the bullpen [at McCoy] in front of [Bob Kipper, PawSox pitching coach] … right now it’s okay.”
Jamie Callahan was a non-roster invitee to spring training. The 22year-old ended up as one of the final cuts from big-league camp.
“It was a great experience,” Callahan said. “Just soaked it all up and kept it moving.”
The eyes he opened during spring training continued to remain fixated on the hard-throwing reliever, who struck out 20 batters and did not issue a single walk in 13 innings for Double-A Portland. On Thursday, Callahan was officially added to Pawtucket’s roster. To make room, Erik Cordier (0-1, 5.40 ERA) was released.
“It kind of caught me by surprise, but it’s all about going in every day, doing what I’m supposed to do, and let the rest play out,” Callahan said.
The reports that PawSox manager Kevin Boles received on Callahan – a second-round pick by the Red Sox in 2012 after being that year’s Gatorade High School Player of the Year in South Carolina – have been glowing. Callahan is now the youngest player on Pawtucket’s roster and should benefit from being around the veterans in the bullpen.
“The last outing in Portland featured power with the fastball. He showed 98 and had good feel for his secondary pitches. He’s got a good arm and he pounds the zone,” Boles said. “The guys in Double A, they’re excited with the way he’s progressed. They had great things to say about him.”
EXTRA BASES: The PawSox came into Thursday’s game having allowed just 22 runs in their last 12 games, an average of 1.8 runs per contest. … Hector Velazquez is the probable pitcher for Saturday’s game with Price scheduled for Sunday. It’s possible that Brian Johnson may piggyback Price.