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He’s grateful to be left alone

Schoeneweis gets to stay in bullpen

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / May 2, 2010

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BALTIMORE — As he does prior to most games, Scott Schoeneweis wrapped a white tube sock around his unruly mass of hair before going to work out yesterday afternoon. The lefthanded reliever was still a member of the Red Sox.

“At least for another day,’’ he said.

With Daisuke Matsuzaka coming off the disabled list to face the Baltimore Orioles last night, the Sox needed a roster spot and decided to keep Schoeneweis instead of Alan Embree, who was designated for assignment.

Embree got the news Friday night while Schoeneweis waited patiently by his locker for reporters to finish an interview. He then hugged Embree and wished him well.

“Us lefthanded old specialists, we run into each so often. We respect each other for what we’ve done,’’ Schoeneweis said. “It’s just a shame that the both of us were on the same team. We were joking around that you’ve got to spread the love a little bit. We shouldn’t be competing for the same job.’’

The question now becomes whether Schoeneweis, 36, can justify the faith the Sox have shown in him. He went into last night’s game with a 3.72 ERA over 10 appearances. He had allowed 11 hits (two of them home runs) and five walks over 9 2/3 innings, while striking out eight.

Unexpectedly, righthanded batters are hitting .222 against Schoeneweis while lefthanders are 7 of 20 (.350) with a double and a home run. He has allowed four of nine inherited runners to score.

Schoeneweis had a rough outing against Toronto last Monday. He came into the game with two outs and runners on first and second and allowed an RBI single by Adam Lind, a lefty.

Lyle Overbay, another lefty, homered off Schoeneweis in the sixth inning.

“I feel like I’ve been pitching pretty good,’’ said Schoeneweis. “Aside from the outing in Toronto, I’ve done what I’ve asked to do and probably done a little bit more than they expected as far as extended outings.

“As they get to know me any more, they’ll have more confidence to lean on me in certain situations.’’

Manager Terry Francona said the decision to keep Schoeneweis instead of Embree was consistent with the evaluations made in spring training.

“I don’t think those really changed,’’ the manager said. “The progression was a little peculiar.’’

Francona then explained why the Sox wanted to keep Schoeneweis.

“He can pitch multiple days [in a row],’’ said Francona. “I know the last [few] lefties he’s faced, it hasn’t gone the way we want it to. [But] with the movement, he’s got the breaking ball that he can sweep away from them. Hopefully the two-seamer down and in to them. We think he can help us.’’

Embree, who was signed late in spring training, pitched well for Pawtucket and was called up Wednesday in Toronto. He was on the roster for two days, but did not get in a game.

“I would have liked to have pitched him,’’ Francona said. “I don’t know if that changes anything.’’

Schoeneweis was released by the Brewers during spring training and signed with the Sox March 26.

“When this all started, I set out to do something, and I feel like I accomplished that, just coming back and showing that I can pitch and get people out,’’ Schoeneweis said. “Whatever happens outside of that is outside my control.

“I really do believe in myself and my ability. I know what I’m capable of doing.’’

The Sox have alternatives in Pawtucket, including 26-year-old lefty Dustin Richardson, a fifth-round draft pick in 2006 who moved to the bullpen last year.

But Schoeneweis believes his experience can make a difference.

“I can do a lot of things. I can pitch in every type of situation you think of, every type of inning, and every type of game. That’s good to have,’’ he said.

“If you have versatile guys in the bullpen, they can pitch in the fifth, they can pitch in the ninth, they can pitch in a tie game, they can pitch in a game when you’re down five runs or when you’re up five runs.

“That’s what you need, and I’m willing do whatever that is.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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