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The curious case of Alfredo Aceves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 15, 2013 10:07 AM

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The news came via Twitter at 9:47 p.m. on Sunday night. "RHP Alfredo Aceves has been outrighted to Triple A Pawtucket."

That was it. No press release, no explanation. Just a sentence.

Of course there is more to it that. Being outrighted means Aceves was passed through waivers and taken off the 40-man roster. Every team passed on him.

The Red Sox could bring him back any time. But this is a sign they aren't much interested in doing that. He was expendable and now they have a roster spot they can use on somebody else.

You know the story with Aceves. He has pitched pretty well in his career (30-14, 3.69 in 194 games for the Yankees and Red Sox), but never really fit in. The Yankees cut him loose after the 2010 season, feeling he was unreliable.

The Red Sox picked him up and Aceves pitched very well in 2011. It has been a mess since. Aceves bickered with Bobby Valentine last season, to the point of suspension. He also challenged John Farrell's authority in spring training, earning a lecture. Catchers complained about how he shook off their calls and other teammates look askance at his odd behavior.

(Odd as in quirky. Aceves once made a bed out of towels in spring training and tried to sleep on the floor in front of his locker. Stuff like that.)

The Sox shipped him to the minors then brought him back for a series of spot starts that went well. But Aceves still operated outside the margins. He showed up when he felt like it, even before starts, and was difficult to communicate with.

Something happened in Seattle on Tuesday that was the last straw. Aceves threw 13 pitches in relief of Allen Webster in the third inning and didn't come out for the fourth.

Farrell said the pitcher wasn't hurt, but Aceves claimed he was to at least one reporter. It also was clear that Craig Breslow was kind of rushed into that game.

Aceves was optioned on Wednesday and now he's off the 40-man, too. It should be some sort of wake-up call that every team in baseball passed on him. But Aceves probably doesn't see it that way. He's landed on his feet before and probably will again.

But if he pitches again for the Red Sox, it'll be a surprise.

UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: Aceves is no longer with his agent, Tom O'Connell. According to the MLBPA, Aceves does not have an agent representing him as of today.

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