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January 27, 2013

Webster, De La Rosa could make impact in Boston this year

Everybody talks about the terrific sink on Red Sox prospect Allen Webster’s fastball. It’s been compared to Derek Lowe’s sink. But Webster’s best pitch might just be his change-up.

Webster spent 2010 playing for the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate Great Lakes, where he was teammates with pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, who also now is with the Red Sox.

“Never in my life have I seen like a perfect change-up,” De La Rosa said about Webster’s pitch. “He can throw it any count. He has really commanded that pitch any count.”

The Red Sox received righthanders Webster and De La Rosa from Los Angeles for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.

Both are on the 40-man roster and have a chance to make Boston’s starting rotation at some point this year if someone else falters or suffers an injury. De La Rosa is more seasoned. He already has major league experience. So he probably will get his shot in Boston much sooner than Webster, who hasn’t yet advanced past Double-A.

But Webster, who will turn 23 in February, has the ability to move up to Boston later in ‘13 if he pitches well early. He actually is considered the better prospect.

De La Rosa, who will turn 24 in March, is someone to be excited about, too. His fastball averaged 96.0 mph in 13 outings, 10 starts, for the Dodgers in 2011. The fireballer also features a change-up and slider.

“He’s got great stuff — plus, plus stuff all the way around,” Webster said.

The Red Sox hope De La Rosa and Webster will help fans forget about losing prospects Anthony Rizzo and Casey Kelly in the deal that originally sent Gonzalez from San Diego to Boston.

Webster working on command

Before being traded to Boston last year, Webster posted a 3.55 ERA in 27 games, 22 starts, for Double-A Chattanooga.

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