January 19

On Baseball: Workman made short work of Cardinals

Former Sea Dog’s pitching absolves his turn at bat.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Ask Brandon Workman about his most memorable moment of the 2013 World Series and that’s an easy one.

click image to enlarge

Red Sox pitcher and former Sea Dog Brandon Workman chats with fans prior to Friday’s Hot Stove Dinner and Silent Auction at the South Portland Marriott. Workman started last season as a Sea Dog and ended it as a member of the World Series champions.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Game 6, eighth inning.

“A lot of excitement,” he said. “I had to harness my emotions.”

The Red Sox led St. Louis 6-1 in that game and were six outs from the world championship.

“I knew we had a big lead,” Workman said, “but …”

But you never can be sure.

Workman made certain there was no comeback on his watch, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth, getting a line-out to right field and two ground outs.

The ninth belonged to closer Koji Uehara and soon Workman was joining his teammates in a champagne-doused celebration.

Workman, 25, returned on Friday to where the 2013 season all started – Maine. Workman, who began last season with the Portland Sea Dogs, was one of the featured guests at the annual Sea Dogs Hot Stove Dinner at the South Portland Marriott.

Before Workman told of his memorable appearance in the clinching Game 6, he talked about Game 3, when he batted.

Manager John Farrell neglected to make a double-switch when Workman entered the game in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium (National League park, so it was National League rules, with the pitcher batting).

Workman finished the eighth. The pitcher’s spot in the lineup was due to bat in the top of the ninth. Farrell wanted to keep Workman in the game, so he batted.

Scared?

“Believe it or not, I was really confident,” Workman said.

Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal threw a fastball and Workman’s attitude changed.

“He threw the first pitch and I didn’t see it.”

Workman struck out on three pitches. St. Louis ended up winning the game on the ninth. Workman allowed a single in the inning and took the loss.

But Workman can joke about the at-bat now. He will be collecting a World Series ring.

Workman was not a likely candidate for a major league call-up at this time last year. He had not been invited to the Red Sox rookie camp, an annual event in January for prospects that the team believes are close to reaching “the show.”

And Workman was not invited to major league spring training. But he did start a major league spring training game in late March – a sign that Boston was beginning to like what it saw in Workman, the 6-foot-5 fastball/curveball pitcher out of the University of Texas.

Workman lasted two months in Portland (5-1, 3.43 ERA) and joined Triple-A Pawtucket on June 5. A month later he was in the big leagues.

Workman has been a starter in the Red Sox organization, but they made him a reliever to bolster the bullpen. He became one of Farrell’s most dependable arms outside the trio of Uehara, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa.

With Boston’s starting rotation crowded, Workman figures to be a reliever again, although he will likely be stretched out as a starter during spring training.

“I think that’s the plan,” Workman said.

His World Series excitement is less than three month’s old and he’s already looking to spring training in another month.

His short offseason included a public celebration of his efforts in his hometown of Bowie, Texas, four hours north of his current residence in Austin.

“I was able to see a lot of people I grew up with,” Workman said.

And those people can say they know a World Series champion.

They can talk about how he stood tall on the mound in the World Series.

As far as standing in the batting box … maybe that story is best not told.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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