Red Sox Booser Baseball

Pitcher Cam Booser throws was called up by the Red Sox on Friday, continuing his comeback after a short retirement in 2017. Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Cam Booser thought he was done with baseball seven years ago.

Turns out, baseball wasn’t done with him.

The left-handed pitcher walked away from the game in 2017, discouraged by a string of injuries from Tommy John surgery to a broken back sustained when he was hit by a car while riding his bike, and self-inflicted wounds like a 50-game drug suspension.

He returned home to Seattle and poured himself into carpentry, working on acoustical ceilings. He was good at it, just not as good as the guys he worked alongside, and he knew it.

All the while, the game he’d dedicated his life to never really left his mind. He’d find himself thinking about it daily during a retirement that turned out to merely be a sabbatical.

By 2021, Booser was back on the mound and pain free. That first throwing session turned into another. Then another. His velocity returned. The discomfort Booser long associated with pitching did not.


And on Friday, Booser’s comeback took another unexpected turn, one he never saw coming during his extended break: a spot in the major leagues.

The Boston Red Sox called up the 31-year-old Booser from Triple-A Worcester, a destination Booser admits he never considered until the moment it happened.

“Yeah, the first part of my career was, by my own doing, pretty bad,” Booser told reporters inside the visiting clubhouse at PNC Park before the Red Sox began a three-game interleague series in Pittsburgh. “I made a few mistakes. But I think when I was able to come back and get a better head on my shoulders, things were a lot more clear.”

Talent has rarely been the issue for Booser, whose fastball regularly clocks in the upper 90s. Control, however, was another matter. He spent four summers toiling around in the low minors for Minnesota, never rising higher than Class A. The Twins tried briefly to convert him into a position player. That didn’t take, either.

Finally, in 2017, Booser walked away. Yet it wasn’t just his mind that couldn’t let go. A friend couldn’t either, pushing Booser to hire a trainer. The trainer began posting video of Booser on social media. The Chicago Dogs, an independent minor-league team, saw enough to offer him a shot in 2021.

The Arizona Diamondbacks took a flier on Booser and put him at Double-A in 2022.


It didn’t take.

Booser was released in July and signed with another independent team before landing in the Red Sox organization in 2023. About midway through last season, something flipped.

The ball went where Booser threw it more often than not, and hitters couldn’t seem to hit it more often than not. Booser was lights out in spring training and even better for Worcester, striking out 15 against just one walk in 6 2/3 innings before he walked into Worcester Manager Chad Tracy’s office on Thursday.

Tracy asked Booser if he was ready to throw. Booser said of course and only semi-jokingly volunteered to start. Tracy had another idea. How about pitching in Pittsburgh?

At first, it didn’t compute.

“It didn’t resonate with him, right?” said Red Sox Manager Alex Cora, who was listening in. “Like, ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, for Alex in Pittsburgh’ and that’s when he let the emotions go.”


Cora thinks Booser has evolved into more than a lefty-on-lefty specialist. While Cora isn’t sure Booser will be able to maintain his “crazy” strikeout rate in the majors, he’s not worried about Booser’s stuff being effective.

“We expect him to do big things,” Cora said.

And if Booser’s arrival provides a reminder to the rest of the roster about the importance of perseverance and faith, all the better.

“To make it to the big leagues, there’s different ways right, different journeys,” Cora said. “And his is a lot different than a lot of people.”

Brewers Gutierrez Baseball

The Red Sox acquired Vladimir Gutierrez, show here pitching for the Reds in 2022, in a trade with the Brewers. Aaron Doster/Associated Press

• The Red Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez from the Milwaukee Brewers for cash and optioned him to their Triple-A Worcester affiliate on Thursday.

Milwaukee designated Gutierrez for assignment Wednesday. The Red Sox made room for Gutierrez on their 40-man roster by transferring shortstop Trevor Story to the 60-day injured list.


Gutierrez, 28, didn’t appear in any games for the Brewers this season, but allowed three runs over four innings for the Miami Marlins in a 9-7, 10-inning loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 31. That was his first major league appearance since 2022.

The Marlins designated him for assignment on April 1 and the Brewers claimed him off waivers. He pitched two games for the Brewers’ Triple-A Nashville affiliate and allowed seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.

Gutierrez went 9-6 with a 4.74 ERA in 22 starts for the Cincinnati Reds in 2021. He was 1-6 with a 7.61 ERA for the Reds the next year before undergoing Tommy John surgery. After recovering from the injury, Gutierrez pitched in five minor league games last season.

RANGERS: Rookie right-hander Jack Leiter was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, one day after allowing seven runs in his major league debut.

The Rangers recalled right-hander Owen White from Round Rock to provide bullpen depth for the start of their weekend series against the Atlanta Braves.

Leiter, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in Thursday’s 9-7 win at the Detroit Tigers. He walked three and struck out three.


Leiter, the son of Al Leiter, who won 162 games in 19 major league seasons, was promoted after he went 1-1 with 25 strikeouts and three walks in 14 innings over three appearances for Round Rock.

ROCKIES: Pitcher Kyle Freeland is expected to miss between one month and six weeks because of a strained left elbow and says the pitch clock may have been a factor.

Freeland said the elbow issue is not related to a right shoulder injury sustained this week during a collision at home plate as a pinch runner.

Atlanta’s Spencer Strider and Cleveland’s Shane Bieber are among the pitchers who will miss the season following elbow injuries.

“There has been a lot of talk about pitch clock and sticky stuff and how all that is correlating to this,” Freeland said. “I’m a firm believer that there is something that correlates with pitch clock and pitchers. We are exerting our bodies at 100% every 15 to 18 seconds. You do that, it’s tough. You do that in Colorado, even tougher.”

Freeland said he worked over the offseason to gain velocity. His fastball this season averaged 90.2 mph, the same as last year but higher than in his previous six seasons.



CUBS 8, MARLINS 3: Jameson Taillon had a solid first start, Nico Hoerner doubled twice and the Cubs rolled past Miami in Chicago.

Taillon (1-0), reinstated from the injured list a day earlier, retired the first 10 Miami batters before Bryan De La Cruz smacked his fourth homer of the season. By then, the Cubs had a six-run cushion.

They’ve won two straight and five of six.

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