Late-bloomer Layne emerging as key piece of 'pen

Boston lefty delivering in pressure situations, leaving impression on Farrell

Late-bloomer Layne emerging as key piece of 'pen

BOSTON -- With Andrew Miller now with the Orioles and Craig Breslow continuing to struggle, lefty Tommy Layne has gotten a chance to emerge from relative anonymity to become a key member of Red Sox manager John Farrell's bullpen.

In a big spot Friday night, Layne struck out two straight batters.

A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Layne has a 1.23 ERA in nine outings for the Red Sox while limiting opponents to an .083 average.

"The biggest thing is he's thrown consistent strikes," said Farrell. "In a matchup like [Friday] night, even though there's a couple of men on base, he's responded, whether it's been at home, whether it's been on the road in some tight spots, so in short order, he's earned our trust and continues to execute. Our experience with him, which goes back to the start of Spring Training, has been very consistent and productive throughout."

Layne could be one of those late-bloomer types. Though he's 29, he pitched just 40 games in the Majors before this season.

"Well, it's been an opportunity that's been presented to him and he's made the most of it any time we have that matchup situation," Farrell said. "He's a guy that we personally have not been reluctant to go to and he continues to execute."

A team always needs a useful lefty reliever, and Layne might create an opportunity to be in Boston's plans for next season.

"Well with each passing outing, he puts another notch in it to say that he's answered the question or he's answered the opportunity, and he's making a strong case for himself as we look to see what's currently here and what we may come across being available in the offseason," said Farrell.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.