Alan Embree will opt out of Red Sox deal if not called up this week


When he signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox during spring training Alan Embree had the right to opt out of the deal if he wasn’t on the major-league roster by April 15. Once that date arrived and the Red Sox had no plans to promote him Embree extended the deadline to April 30, saying that he needed a bit more time to get ready anyway.
However, yesterday the 40-year-old reliever told Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal that he will not extend the opt-out deadline again and plans to become a free agent if not called up to Boston by Friday.

There’s not going to be any extending of the deadline anymore. I’ve been a good soldier, I did whatever’s asked, and I did what it took to get ready. If something hasn’t happened by the 30th, I think they know that I’m not going to consider staying. So it’s pretty much cut-and-dried. If I don’t hear anything, I get on a plane and head home until I have a new job.

I feel like I’m ready, I feel like I can help the team, but ultimately that’s not my decision. I can respect that. I’m a player, they’re in charge. The way I look at it is that they either take me, or I go somewhere else, or I go home. At this point in my career, I’m pretty comfortable with it. I’m sure there’ll be work out there for me, and I’m sure it’ll be good work. But that’s not what was intended when I signed over here. I wanted to be a Red Sox and retire a Red Sox.

Tim Wakefield getting bumped from the rotation makes the Red Sox’s bullpen even more crowded, but realistically Embree is simply competing with fellow southpaw Scott Schoeneweis for the situational left-hander role anyway. Hideki Okajimi clearly isn’t going anywhere as the left-handed setup man and it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would keep three lefties in the bullpen right now.
In other words, unless Boston feels like dumping Schoeneweis my guess is that Embree will indeed be getting on a plane and heading home at the end of this week.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.