Opening Day finally is upon us.
The Boston Red Sox are set to begin the 2023 campaign Thursday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles.
With Opening Day officially here, the Red Sox had to finalize their 26-man active roster Thursday morning and their final decision may surprise some fans.
Right-handed relief pitcher Kaleb Ort nabbed the final spot in Boston’s bullpen despite a rocky spring, according to MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
“Kaleb Ort has the final spot in the bullpen,” Browne said on Twitter.
Ort struggled throughout spring training and compiled a 9.58 ERA across nine appearances. The 30-year-old struck out nine batters across 10 1/3 innings pitched but also walked nine batters and allowed 16 hits.
On the bright side, Ort is a fireballer. He finished the 2022 season in the 88th percentile in fastball velocity and tops out at 100 miles per hour.
Although his command was inconsistent in Grapefruit League action, having someone who can throw that hard coming out of the bullpen could be a positive.
Ort may not stick around for long, though. Boston currently has three starting pitchers who are working their way back from injuries, but won’t be out for long in Garrett Whitlock, James Paxton, and Brayan Bello.
When any of the trio is ready to return, Boston will have to open up a spot on the active roster which could mean Ort loses the spot.
Also, Boston has Wyatt Mills and Joely Rodriguez currently out due to injuries right now and they will return at some point.
Hopefully Ort is able to put it all together and help the Red Sox out of the gate this season.
If his struggles continue, he may return to the minor leagues. He likely will make plenty of appearances with Boston this season so hopefully he is able to find his form.