Embree, one of those 25, is back
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox fans are always happy to get some reminders of 2004, and today they have one. Alan Embree, who you might remember as the man who got the last out in Game 7 of that American League Championship Series against the Yankees, is back on a Minor League contract with a Major League invite.
“He was obviously a very huge part of a very good bullpen for us,” said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. “He’s
got deception, he’s got experience, he’s got some power. I don’t know
where he’s at time-wise right now, but he’ll be a very welcomed
Obviously Embree, who is 40, could be a a factor on the Major League team this year, or the Red Sox wouldn’t have signed him at this late point in camp. Hideki Okajima is the only other lefty reliever sure to make the team. Brian Shouse, more of a pure situational lefty than Embree, is also in camp, trying to make the team. Shouse is 41. Keep in mind that Embree, because of his late arrival, doesn’t figure to be ready for the start of the season. Then again, the Sox are keeping all their options open.
“Well, Alan is signed to a Minor League contract and today we’ll go out and kind of see where he is,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He says he’s almost game-ready. That’s encouraging for us. At the same time, we’re not going to go do something like that. We’ll go out and let him do his stretching. Whether that takes him to a bullpen or not is going to kind of depend on how he and John see fit. We’ll try to estimate where he is in his progression and then we’ll try to get him ready to get in games.”
The lefty reliever had his 2009 season with the Rockies end abruptly when his right leg was broken on a line drive.
Embree was acquired by the Sox in June of 2002 and was a key contributor as a setup man through the end of that memorable ’04 season.
In 2005, however, it all fell apart (1-4, 7.65 ERA) for Embree, to the point where he was released shortly after the All-Star break. He hooked on with the Yankees for the end of that season, but rediscovered his form in San Diego (2006) and Oakland (2007-08). Embree had a 5.84 ERA with the Rockies last year before taking the line drive.
The 40-year-old Embree will try to regain his form for the Red Sox. He is here this morning and will address the media in a bit.
Embree has pitched 882 times in his Major League career, going 39-45 with a 4.59 ERA. In 774 innings, he has 691 strikeouts. Opponents have hit .254 against him in his career. He pitched 211 times for the Red Sox, posting a 4.69 ERA.
He came up big for the Sox in the 2003 and ’04 postseasons. In ’03, he didn’t allow a run in eight outings. If you remember, manager Grady Little was criticized for not bringing on Embree to face Hideki Matsui when Pedro Martinez faltered in that infamous eighth inning. Embree was called on 11 times by manager Terry Francona in the October ’04 run to the title, posting a 2.45 ERA.
“He seemed to have the ability kind of mix a little more his secondary pitches when he was in Oakland — that was the last time we saw him,” said Varitek. “But he was still powerful. I don’t know where he’s at right now, but he’s very welcomed. It’s a nice face to see.”