By Jerry Del Priore and Team Reports
It may have taken more time than Marcus Walden hoped for, but the Boston Red Sox have placed former Lancaster Barnstormer closer on its Opening Day roster–his first trip to “The Show” after ten seasons of professional baseball.
Boston signed the right-hander pitcher as a minor league free agent last year, and assigned him to Class AAA Pawtucket, where he posted a 10-6 record and 3.92 ERA in a variety of roles. His performance was enough to earn Walden an invitation to spring training this year.
The 29-year-old Fresno, California, native made the most of his opportunity, allowing only one earned run on six hits over 13 innings of work while fanning 15 batters.
Walden appeared in 48 games for the Barnstormers in 2015 after joining the club in May. He posted a 2-4 mark with 15 saves and a 2.95 ERA. He set a Barnstormer franchise record by firing 26 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings of relief that season.
He signed with the Minnesota Twins the following off-season and split the 2016 campaign between Class AA Chattanooga and Class AAA Rochester. In 42 total appearances, the right-hander was 1-1 with six saves and a 2.40 ERA.
Walden becomes the eleventh player in Barnstormer history to advance to the Major League level following his time in Lancaster and the fourth to make his big league debut after playing with the ‘Stormers. Six of those promotions have occurred since the beginning of the 2016 season.
“I couldn’t be happier for Marcus,” said current Lancaster manager Ross Peeples on the Barnstormers’ website. “He works his tail off, and just goes out there and competes. You can’t help but pull for guys like that.”
Boston opens its 2018 season today against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida.