The idea that Darwinzon Hernandez could once again start for the Red Sox has been out there ever since the left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for good last July.
Hernandez made his first career major-league start against the Rangers last June at Fenway Park, but never again made an appearance as a starter at the big-league level for the rest of the season.
Instead, as previously mentioned, the now-23-year-old was called up for good in July and proved to be quite effective out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, posting a 4.32 ERA, a .693 OPS against, and a 3.33 xFIP over 27 relief outings and 25 innings of work.
Still, despite that success, the Sox view Hernandez as a starter in the long run. At least, that’s what manager Ron Roenicke said on his weekly segment with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria on Wednesday.
“Eventually, we think this guy could end up being a starter,” said Roenicke in regards to Hernandez’s future. “Who knows? Maybe he’s starting games by the end of the year.”
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, it is worth mentioning that Hernandez is still technically recovering from a bout with COVID-19, which he tested positive for while at home in Venezuela earlier this month.
Since that time, Hernandez reported back to the Red Sox in Boston in last week and has been working out at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket in the meantime while he’s on the 10-day injured list.
At McCoy Stadium, the flame-throwing southpaw is set to throw a live batting practice session on Wednesday, then he’ll throw another one on Saturday before preparing for a simulated game this coming Monday, according to Roenicke.
From there, the Red Sox will evaluate where things stand with him as well as fellow left-hander Josh Taylor before taking any further action.
The most important thing here, particularly in Hernandez’s case, is to build up his workload so he can get stretched out in order to handle two to three innings at a time. That way, he could be more prepared to start at some point this season if that’s the direction the Red Sox decide to go.