What started with a modest mind-blowing $2.75 million one-year contract, and devolved into an abysmal Spring Training, has finally ended with Okajima getting sent down to Pawtucket.
Hideki Okajima will start the season in Triple-A along with fellow reliever Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein announced Monday morning. Epstein divulged the team’s final roster moves in preparation for Friday’s season opener at Texas.
The assignments of Okajima and Aceves to Pawtucket makes room in the Boston bullpen for left-hander Dennys Reyes and righty Matt Albers. Reyes and Albers are on major league contracts (after the Sox purchased Reyes’ contract Saturday) and do not have options.
I'm a little disappointed that Aceves didn't make the cut. Like Wakefield, he gives us a ton of flexibility and can be incredibly effective as a spot-starter. But the excitement of not having to watch Okajima pitch far outweigh any negatives.
However, the door isn't completely closed on any of the dropped pitchers from making appearances at Fenway this season. Since 2007, according to WEEI, the Sox have used 15, 15, 17 and 19 relief pitchers over the course of the season. So our long, Okajima-induced National nightmare may not be quite over.
*Sorry for the juvenile, slightly misleading title. This is just really really ridiculously great news.