A story in the Rhode Island news is suggesting the Boston Red Sox are looking to 'stretch out' Craig Hansen, turning him into a starter.
"I'd say it's a bit of a longshot, but it's been discussed," general manager Theo Epstein acknowledged when asked yesterday. "Some things would have to happen, but it hasn't been totally dismissed."
Why create a starter out of your future closer? Because Papelbon has been so successful as a closer this year. What started out as an experiment out of doubt regarding Foulke's effectiveness may be turning into a permanent situtation.
At the beginning, it was suggested that Papelbon would close until Hansen was ready to come up later this year. But with Jonathan 11-11 in closing situations, Hansen would need to wait until Papelbon failed.
Hansen threw 53 pitches on Wednesday night for Pawtucket after being promoted a few weeks ago to AAA. "Hansen throws his fastball in the mid-90s and has an above-average slider. If he can master and command a changeup, he would have the necessary three pitches to start." If he continues to build up his arm strength, he may be ready to throw five innings for the Red Sox in as soon as three weeks.