BOSTON — One week ago, Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta took issue when a reporter asked him if he thought he was auditioning to remain in Boston’s rotation. After being informed he was being demoted to the bullpen Wednesday, Pivetta took a much more accepting — and subdued — approach.

A pitcher who had repeatedly bristled at the suggestion he might be headed to the bullpen when Boston’s rotation got healthy was suddenly ready to embrace his new role. So much so, in fact, that despite being unavailable to pitch after throwing 98 pitches Tuesday, Pivetta spent the entirety of the Wednesday’s blowout win with the rest of the relief corps in the home bullpen at Fenway Park.

“I just got moved to the bullpen so that’s where I belong and that’s where I am,” Pivetta said. “I’m going to show up there for my teammates out there and go out and do my job.

“I’m going to focus on helping the team achieve our goals. I’m going to go out there and do my job and throw up zeroes and help this team win.”

Dating back to spring training, Pivetta – who led the team with 33 starts in 2022 – had both publicly and privately scoffed at the notion that he could pitch in relief despite the fact the Red Sox have seven starters and only five spots. With Chris Sale, James Paxton, Corey Kluber, Brayan Bello and Tanner Houck all healthy and Garrett Whitlock close to returning, Pivetta was the odd man out after posting a 6.30 ERA in his first eight starts. The Red Sox envision him taking on a multi-inning role similar to the ones Josh Winckowski and Kutter Crawford have filled throughout the early part of the season.

Pivetta has been adamant about viewing himself as a starter and still could return to the rotation if someone else gets hurt. For now, though, he has no choice but to make the most out of his new role in the bullpen.


“I just don’t think I make this about me,” he said. “I just go out and focus. I’ve got to pitch better. I’ve got to go and start and do that right there. The better I do out of the bullpen, the more I can help the team win and move us to our overall goal of winning the World Series. I think that’s what’s most important.”

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Manager Alex Cora sat down with Pivetta and informed him of the team’s decision earlier Wednesday. Bloom said Pivetta took the news well and said he had no concerns about the righty buying in to his new reality.

“He cares a lot,” Bloom said. “Obviously, it’s no secret that he, like a lot of guys, prefers to start. But he knows he can help us out there. He cares about his role but he really cares about winning and dominating hitters.

“He’s a competitor. He likes to compete. He knows he can have success out there.”

Questions about Boston’s rotation crunch have been looming over the team for the better part of a couple weeks with Paxton returning Friday and Whitlock, who is set to make his final rehab start with the WooSox on Sunday, getting closer. A simple math equation (seven healthy starters for five spots) led to difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations. In the end, though, the team, not the player, determines roles. It’s a reality Cora dealt with during his 13-year career as well.

“I mean, I actually didn’t like my utility role to be honest with you,’’ he said. “But I had to buy into it. This is what you get. Obviously, it’s a tough conversation. Certain guys, I can tell you about – Garrett (Richards) and Martin (Perez) in ‘21 (who were shifted to the bullpen in the second half of the season). And they did a good job. They understood. They didn’t like it. But it’s still the big leagues, you’re part of the team.


“At the end, you have to accept it and go out there and do your job because if you don’t do your job, you’re not helping your cause in the future,” Cora said.

ROSTER MOVES: Before leaving for San Diego late Wednesday night, the Red Sox made a couple roster moves related to their pitching staff.

As expected, right-hander Kutter Crawford will be activated from the 15-day injured list from Friday’s game. To make room for Crawford on the 26-man roster, lefty Ryan Sherriff was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, according to a source.

Crawford has been out since May 3 with a left hamstring strain and made a rehab appearance Tuesday in Worcester, allowing one run and three hits, striking out four in three innings. He will return to a multi-inning bullpen role along with Josh Winckowski and Pivetta.

Crawford is 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA in 25 2/3 innings, including a 1.08 ERA (two earned runs in 16 2/3 innings) out of the bullpen.

Sherriff was selected to the roster Tuesday and tossed scoreless innings in each of the last two games against the Mariners. The lefty has a career 3.50 ERA in 46 major league appearanecs with St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Boston.

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