Keith Foulke will finally be activated on Thursday. But don't get too excited yet. Coming off his recent rehab stint, the former bullpen anchor sounds a lot less than convinced, and therefore less than convincing, about his current status.
Speaking of his two outings in Lowell, Foulke said, "Velocity was down, command wasn't as sharp as I want it to be. I'm not out there to fool myself. Saturday didn't go very well. I wasn't happy with that at all. (Sunday) I went out and made some major adjustments, and was a lot closer to where I want to be."
And Foulke sounds as mystified as everyone else about the decline in his velocity to the mid 80s this year.
''Maybe I'm just getting old. I don't know what the deal is. A few years back I was a 90-93 guy, consistently. That's when I was dominating. That's where I want to be. Hopefully, over the next month or so we can get back there and keep working toward next year."
Next year? What about this year? There is no next year right now! All we've got is this year. We're in the middle of a pennant race for goodness sake!
''I got plenty to prove. ''The day I have nothing left to prove you will never see me again."
If he doesn't prove that he can still be an effective big league closer, we might not see him in a Sox uniform again after this season.
If anyone expects him to be the solution to the bullpen's continuing woes, Foukle sought to limit expectations. ''I'm not a savior. I'm just a part of the puzzle." Not the kind of words that inspire confidence.
In the meantime, the Sox claimed Houston reliever Chad Harville on waivers. Harville was 0-2 with a 4.46 ERA in 37 games for the Astros. It's curious that a playoff contender would release a pitcher at this point in the season, and it begs the question, why? The good news is that in his last 13 appearances he allowed just two earned runs in 15 1/3 innings, resulting in a meager 1.17 ERA.
Let's hope he works out better than Mike Remlinger did. If we're lucky, Houston's loss could be the Red Sox gain. We can only hope.
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