How an email got Brasier into the Red Sox Bullpen
BALTIMORE — It is really strange how things can work out sometimes in this wonderful world of personal technology. Red Sox right-handed reliever, Ryan Brasier (pronounced like Frazier) is a living, breathing example of how the Internet can be beneficial.
Brasier had returned to his Arizona home last fall after a miserable season serving as nothing more than an occasional mop up man for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Central League in Japan going 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA. He pitched in only 26 games finishing half of them and logged only 30 innings the whole season.
“I went over there last year and it didn’t turn out like I hoped it would and right now I am kinda happy that it didn’t,” Brasier told me this week.
The 30-year-old former Los Angeles Angels reliever had no where to go for spring training this year and no teams seemed even a little interested in his services.
Brazier, along with his agent, crafted an email addressed to every Major League team alerting them of his availability and of a mid-January date that he would throw for any scout willing to see him pitch. Most teams passed. Eight teams did show up, including Red Sox Special Assignment Scout, Steve Peck.
After the workout, Brasier heard nothing. Crickets. As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in mid-February, he wondered if he would have a job and if not, what was next in his life. He and his wife, Shaina, had no answers.
Over a month after his workout, the Red Sox called saying they liked his slider and high velocity fastball and signed him on March 2nd. Late in spring training he was used as a closer and really opened some eyes. He saved 13 of 14 games in AAA Pawtucket before his call up and now is a key bullpen figure pitching in more high leverage situations for the best team in baseball. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, several stints in the minors and Japan, it would be five years between Big League pitches when he showed up in Kansas City on July 8th to join the Red Sox.
More Mookie Moments
Mookie Betts romp over American League pitching continued this week when he became the 21st Red Sox player ever to hit for the cycle on Thursday night in Toronto. He smashed a home run well over the left field wall in the 9th inning to complete the trick. He became the first Boston player to cycle since Brock Holt in 2015, the third ever leadoff hitter to do it along with Holt and Leon Culberson in 1943. Betts was also the first to cycle when his team lost the game since Carl Yastrzemski in 1965. Yes, they lost 8-5, but you would never know it judging by the good mood in the dugout and on the plane afterward.
Cora Provided the Pearl
You probably already like new Red Sox manager, Alex Cora for a number of reasons. Now, I hope you will have one more. Last Saturday, the day after I lost my dad, Bill, suddenly, I was on the field Fenway standing next to Cora at the cage while the Sox took batting practice. In my right hand, was a batting practice ball that wasn’t too scuffed up. I showed it Cora and told him I was going to put the ball in my dad’s casket and send it with him.
The Sox skipper, who lost his own dad at age 13, barked at me, “Let me see that.” He then grabbed the ball out of my hand and and threw it away.
“Make sure to come by my office tomorrow morning and I will have a brand new ball for you,” he told me. The new ball was waiting for me when I showed up the next day. My mom signed the “sweet spot” normally reserved for the manager on a team ball. My sisters, my brother and I signed it also and the ball Cora gave to me is now with my late father forever.
The Red Sox will turn back the clock and travel by train following today’s game with the Orioles to Philadelphia where they will rest tomorrow before opening a two-game interleague set with the Phillies.
Tim Neverett is in his third season as Red Sox Radio Play-By-Play Announcer for the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network throughout New England. Tim can be followed on Twitter @timneverett