Thursday February 10, 2011 | 08:56 AM

Prediction: Robert Coello is going to be an effective reliever in the majors someday. Will he be with the Red Sox when that day comes?

To make room for newly-signed Afredo Aceves, Boston needed to remove someone from its 40-man roster. The Red Sox decided that someone would be Coello, 26, a reliever who began last year in Portland and finished in Boston.

Coello is a great story because he was a catcher when the Reds drafted him in 2004. Released after the 2006 season, the Angels signed him and made him a pitcher. Released after 2007, he pitched in the independent leagues before Boston signed him in 2009.

In 2010, in his fourth year as a pitcher, Coello found himself in Fenway Park.

He pitched well in Portland (3.32 ERA, 51 K in 43 IP) and OK in Pawtucket (4.22, 79 K in 64 IP), but his major league debut was a disaster.

Pitching against the Rays on Sept. 6, Coello allowed 3 hits, 2 walks and 3 earned runs over 1/3 of an inning.

"Just have to move on," Coello told me the next day.

He did. In his final five appearances for the Red Sox, Coello allowed 0 runs, 1 hit and 2 walks over 5 1/3 innings. So when you see his major league ERA of 5.67, it is a little deceiving.

Coello throws a fastball in the low 90's and a forkball. He is working on a change-up and spent part of the off-season in the Dominican Winter League, learning the pitch from former major league pitcher Roman Martinez.

Coello was invited to the Red Sox rookie camp in January - a sign that he was on the doorstep of pitching in the majors again.

Now the Red Sox are gambling that no one will claim Coello and that he will re-join Boston on a minor league contract.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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