Righty Barnes showing 'premium stuff' early in camp

Prospect to likely start for Triple-A, but he could be considered for Red Sox bullpen

Righty Barnes showing 'premium stuff' early in camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- While Matt Barnes projects as a front-line starter at Triple-A Pawtucket to start the season, the power righty continues to give the Red Sox something to think about with the way he is throwing in Spring Training.

For the second time in two outings, Barnes dazzled. In fact, his Monday linescore (two innings, one hit, three strikeouts) against the Cardinals was exactly the same as it was against the Twins four days earlier.

Barnes, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the club's No. 10 prospect, could at least pitch himself into the competition for a bullpen spot, where, unlike the rotation, the Red Sox do have some openings.

"Yeah, I mean, how can you not like the stuff?" said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It's premium stuff that he's shown in two outings. He got his first taste of pitching out of the bullpen last September, and that's not to say we're looking to change his role and how we view him. We'll take it as it comes right now."

Barnes will continue to be stretched out as a starter even if the performances come in relief.

"He's obviously a starter and [working] multiple innings," said Farrell. "We're taking a two-inning look right now. [He'll] probably go in a five-day rotation from here on out."

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.