The 2023 Major League Baseball season always was going to be somewhat of a “prove-it” season for Brayan Bello, and the Red Sox right-hander received an extra dose of motivation very early in the campaign.
Bello, who was not on Boston’s Opening Day roster due to injury, made two April starts for the Red Sox before he was optioned to Triple-A a week after he was activated to the big leagues. Bello was outspokenly disappointed about Boston’s roster decision, but his latest Worcester stint only lastest a few days due to Garrett Whitlock’s elbow injury.
The 23-year-old proceeded to make the most of his latest opportunity, allowing two runs or less across five innings or more in each of his first three starts after his promotion. The latest sharp outing was in Atlanta on Wednesday when Bello only allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts across six innings against the Braves, who boast arguably the best lineup in all of baseball.
Speaking with the media after Boston’s 5-2 win at Truist Park, Bello admitted the early-season option only inspired him more to succeed at the top flight.
“I think it definitely lit a spark under me being sent down,” Bello told reporters, per The Boston Globe. “And now facing a team like the Braves, that’s so good, if they’re good, I consider myself to be pretty good myself. And I showed it tonight.”
With James Paxton set to make his Red Sox debut Friday and Whitlock’s return on the horizon, Alex Cora eventually is going to have some tough decisions to make about his starters. But if Bello keeps pitching as he has since rejoining Boston, the young righty will make it impossible for his manager to take him out of the rotation.