Former UConn star Matt Barnes to make first-career start with Red Sox Monday

Boston Red Sox' Matt Barnes throws in relief of starter Joe Kelly against the Minnesota Twins in the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 25, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(WTNH)–Former UConn baseball star Matt Barnes will make his first start in the major leagues on Monday, as the Boston Red Sox have him slated to go against Danny Salazar and the Cleveland Indians.

The 25-year-old righthander had been appearing exclusively out of the bullpen for the Sox this season, and had struggled, pitching to a 5.64 ERA in 21.3 innings.

But after starter Steven Wright went on the disabled list with a concussion after being hit by a fly ball in practice earlier this week, the Red Sox turned to Barnes, who had been pitching in Triple-A Pawtucket since early July.

“We’ve asked a lot of him, moving back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, but he’s very capable of that,” Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo told reporters before Saturday’s game against the Mariners. “The last start he had, the word we got from player development was that it was aggressive. He was throwing a lot of his pitches in the zone and doing a good job.”

Barnes has a 4.17 ERA in 16 appearances in Pawtucket.

“He’s been a proven starter at the minor-league level,” Lovullo said. “Player development has recommended that this is a guy that could be a very qualified major league starting pitcher, but out of necessity, we had to move him to the bullpen.”

The Bethel native has a 3-2 record with the Red Sox this season, racking up 22 strikeouts.

He was selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft after going 11-5 with a 1.93 ERA as a senior at UConn.

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