BALTIMORE -- Nobody has pitched in more games for the Red Sox the last three years than Junichi Tazawa, who has taken his post 203 times since 2013. However, the recently-struggling righty won't appear again for Boston until next season.
"Taz has been a warrior for the past three years," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "Over 70 appearances for two consecutive seasons, was on pace for that this year. It was just our way to pay him back, let him get a jumpstart on the offseason, recuperate, get strong and focus on 2016. I want to make this perfectly clear: There is no injury; there is nothing behind this other than us giving him a rest."
In Tazawa's last 15 appearances of the season, he went 0-4 with a 9.22 ERA. In the 46 games before that, Tazawa had a 2.61 ERA.
"I'm disappointed in myself that I have to shut down, that I brought it on myself that I can't pitch for the team for the rest of the year," Tazawa said. "But I think this will be a good thing for me to prepare for next season."
Tazawa wanted to make it clear he's healthy.
"I can pitch," Tazawa said. "I feel fine. I just feel grateful for the team that they thought it would be best for me to rest and get ready for next season."
It would be understandable for Tazawa to be experiencing some fatigue due to his collective workload. But he didn't want to make an excuse.
"That may be the case but I don't want to put it on the workload," Tazawa said. "I understand a lot of players go through this. I just want to take this as a good opportunity to rest up and get ready for next season."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.