Hansack valued member of bullpen
Righty makes 2008 debut, provides rest for fellow relievers
BOSTON -- Devern Hansack quietly and effectively made his 2008 debut with the Red Sox on Saturday during an 8-1 afternoon loss to Toronto, proving to be one of the lone bright spots in a difficult defeat to the Jays.
Hansack, 30, is in his third season with the Sox's organization. Spending the majority of the last two years with Triple-A Pawtucket, Hansack made his sixth Major League appearance on Saturday and made the most of it -- hurling three hitless innings while striking out three.
"I thought he pitched well," manager Terry Francona said. "I think all along we've envisioned him being able to do multiple roles, whether he starts, relieves."
Hansack was 6-10 with a 4.70 ERA with the PawSox in 2008, and was called up on Sept. 7. He proved rather helpful on Saturday -- in the midst of a doubleheader following Wednesday's 14-inning marathon, Hansack's rested arm provided much-needed relief after starter Paul Byrd made an early exit against the Jays.
"I come up here and try to help this club win some games," Hansack said. "I'll do whatever I can do to play hard."
At the big league level, Hansack is a 1-2 lifetime pitcher with a 3.05 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. His role with the 2008 Sox is presumably just that -- taking up innings to rest the arms that have been in the bullpen all season.
"When you get into a September situation, and you've played a whole year with guys, changing roles is difficult," Francona said. "I think he threw the ball really well, and I think there's been talk that at some point this kid would have a spot on our ballclub."
Hansack understands his role, and he's relishing the opportunity to be part of this September dash toward the postseason.
His impact didn't go without notice. By eating up three innings in the 8-1 drubbing, Hansack saved the arms of regular relievers like Javier Lopez and Justin Masterson, who subsequently made appearances in the Game 2, 7-5 win Saturday evening.
When starter Bartolo Colon left after six innings and allowing five runs, Lopez and Masterson held Toronto scoreless while the Sox mounted a late-inning comeback that resulted in victory.
That's the type of work a September callup is on the roster to do, and that's exactly what Hansack provided.
He seems to be living up to his role admirably.
"That's what I'm here for," Hansack said. "I'm trying to go out there and give my 100 percent."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.