When Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Albers was informed that he made the Opening Day roster for the Boston Red Sox, he let out a sigh of relief that could be heard across the clubhouse at City of Palms Park.
However, Albers knows that being the last man standing has its drawbacks as well, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that he stays on that roster.
Albers, signed to a minor league deal by the Sox during the offseason after spending three years in Baltimore, knew he was up against stiff competition vying for two available spots in the bullpen.
Hideki Okajima, Dennys Reyes, Alfredo Aceves and Albers were duking it out all spring for the coveted spots, and Albers and Reyes were the ones still standing at the end of the day.
It also helped that Albers was out of minor league options, and both Okajima and Aceves had options left, however Albers still impressed during spring training, posting a 2.84 ERA and striking out 13 in 12.2 innings.
“It wasn’t just about working on stuff down here, there was intensity to these games,” Albers told Ron Chimelis of The Republican.
Albers also told NESN that he wasn’t worried about what other pitchers were doing, he needed to focus on himself.
I just tried to focus on what I could do,” Albers said. “I know what they brought me over here to do, and I knew if I threw well I thought that I’d have a spot in the bullpen and I was able to do that.”
As long as Albers keeps throwing and keeps his focus, he can continue to excel and help the Sox bullpen to improve on a dismal 2010 season.
For continuing coverage of the Boston Red Sox, follow us on Twitter @chowdaheadz.