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September 15, 2013

Large division lead gives Sox chance to experiment

BOSTON — Why on Earth has Allen Webster been on the Red Sox roster the past seven days instead of helping Triple-A Pawtucket in the International League playoffs?

After all, the righty has not pitched in a single game since being promoted Sept. 8.

Webster, one of the organization’s top prospects, obviously is here as a relief pitcher. But do the Red Sox plan to give him a tryout in high-leverage, late-inning situations for a shot to make the postseason roster if he does succeed?

“You know as well as I do,” Webster said about how Boston plans to use him. “Yeah, I don’t know.”

With the playoffs a few weeks away and with an AL East championship nearly locked up — Boston’s magic number dropped to six right after its 5-1 victory over New York yesterday — it is a perfect time for manager John Farrell to experiment with pitchers other than just Brandon Workman during the late innings.

Webster, Workman and Franklin Morales should all be receiving a tryout in this role. Rubby De La Rosa also could be given more of a chance but what he’s shown so far has been unimpressive.

Drake Britton, meanwhile, should be used more as a situational lefty, especially with southpaw Matt Thornton allowing a lot of base runners recently.

Working Webster into the mix might seem far-fetched considering he struggled with his command so much in six starts with Boston earlier this season.

But taking into account Webster’s mid-90s fastball and the way he pitched in Pawtucket during the final month and a half there, he should be receiving some of the relief situations down the stretch when Boston can afford to experiment — and must experiment.

Experimentation is a necessity because the Red Sox must identify another reliable reliever beyond Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow to set up dominant closer Koji Uehara.

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