Once Brandon Workman assumed the traditional closer role for the Red Sox last summer, he flourished. Workman earned 16 saves and posted an ERA of 1.88. He allowed an incredible 3.6 hits per nine innings and averaged 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
But if there was one area that needs improvement, it was his control. Workman issued 45 walks in 71.3 innings for an average of 5.7 per nine innings.
"There were a lot of unintentional-intentional walks last year, if you will,'' said Workman, "where maybe there was a man on second and two outs and I was just flat-out not going to give in to a hitter and walk a guy. But there were also times where I walked guys where that wasn't the case, where I walked guys that I didn't need to walk. And I would love to cut back on those walks.
"So I think it was a little bit of both -- some of those were by design and others need to be cleaned up, in my opinion.''
Workman was unsure whether the "bad'' walks were more the result of issues with his mechanics or being unable to command a certain pitch.
"I mean, honestly, sometimes you just walk people,'' he said. "That's just the way it is. Everybody walks people when they don't want to sometimes. It's something that every single pitcher would like to cut back on. I don't know if it was losing my mechanics for a batter in there or whatever, just missing some spots. But there are some that need to be cut back.''
Lefty Matt Hall was sharp in a simulated game (no fielders) and is a candidate to fill one of the "bulk'' roles following an opener.