Prospect Mike Shawaryn could be next spot starter in Red Sox' shorthanded rotation


Next up: Mike Shawaryn?

With three off days in the next week, the Red Sox should only need one spot starter. And after underwhelming performances from Josh Smith and Hector Velazquez, Shawaryn could get a look after a solid run at Triple-A Pawtucket.

The burly 6-foot-2 right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six starts. He's coming off his best outing of the season in a no-decision vs. Rochester in which he allowed five hits and just one unearned run over eight innings on Friday. He has yet to allow more than three runs in a start this season.

A fifth-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Maryland, Shawaryn (pronounced SHU-warren) isn't the prototypical Red Sox pitching prospect. He throws from a low three-quarters arm angle and relies on movement as much as velocity, which typically sits in the 92-93 mph range.

He's not a high strikeout guy (6.7/9 IP), but he has delivered consistent results at each level of the minors, never posting an ERA higher than 3.88.

When the Red Sox needed a starter for what ended up being a rainout against the Rays on April 26, they choose Smith, who made one relief appearance last week before starting and allowing a grand slam in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore on Monday.
Shawaryn had been in the mix.

"He was considered, but it didn't work out as far as where he was and the schedule," manager Alex Cora told reporters in Chicago over the weekend. "He got our attention in spring training, the way he uses his stuff and the way he uses his fastball. . . If we feel you can get outs, you're going to be part of the equation."

Shawaryn projects as a reliever or swingman in the big leagues -- he pitched primarily in relief in the Arizona Fall League while compiling a 2.13 ERA -- but opportunity can work in strange ways, as infielder Michael Chavis is proving now, and as Cora noted in spring training.

"I mean, Ryan Brasier contributed last year and he wasn't even in the conversation here," Cora said. "That's the message I've been telling them. Brandon Workman in 2013 was a big part of the World Series."

With David Price and Nathan Eovaldi sidelined by elbow injuries, the Red Sox are down two members of the rotation. Thanks to upcoming off days on Thursday, Monday, and next Thursday, however, they can probably rely on Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, and Chris Sale to start six times during the eight-game homestand that begins Friday against Seattle.

E-Rod will start the opener and Porcello should get the ball on Saturday. That creates a need for a starter on Sunday. Mark down Shawaryn as an intriguing candidate.

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