When the Red Sox host the Orioles in a scheduled doubleheader at Fenway Park next Saturday, they will need two starting pitchers. As things stand now, Nathan Eovaldi is in line to start one of those two games.
As for who will start the other, manager Alex Cora hinted before Saturday’s win over the Mariners that the Sox may very well call up top pitching prospect Josh Winckowski from Triple-A Worcester to make his major-league debut.
Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Cora said the Red Sox planned to use their extra player (MLB allows teams to add a 27th player to their rosters for doubleheaders) and that the starter would likely come from the minors.”
Since Winckowski will start for the WooSox on Sunday, he becomes the obvious choice to pitch on regular rest for the Red Sox next weekend.
“Most likely, it’s going to somebody from the minor-leagues,” said Cora . “Stay tuned for whoever pitches whenever.”
Winckowski, 23, has posted a 2.10 ERA and 2.49 FIP with 28 strikeouts to six walks across six starts spanning 25 2/3 innings of work for Worcester this season. Earlier this month, the right-hander was limited to just two innings in the event that the Red Sox needed him for their series in Texas. In his last time out against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 17, he struck out nine over six scoreless, two-hit innings at Polar Park.
Originally acquired from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals last February, Winckowski is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization. He was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last November.
If Winckowski were to start one of the games against Baltimore next Saturday, he would likely be doing so as Boston’s 27th man, meaning he could be sent right back down to Worcester afterwards.
(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)