The Red Sox are nosediving out of playoff contention, in part because their pitching staff has imploded. Boston made a minor move Monday in an attempt to bolster its bullpen, acquiring Mike Burns from the Reds for Tim Bausher and cash in an exchange of Triple-A righthanders.
Burns, 28, was added to Boston's major league roster on Tuesday. He signed with the Astros as a 30th-round pick out of Cal State Los Angeles in 2000, and the Reds claimed him on waivers last November. They designated him for assignment last Monday. Burns had an 8.78 ERA in 11 games with Cincinnati this year, and has spent most of the season at Louisville, where he went 6-1, 1.75 in 40 games (two starts). He had a 52-12 K-BB ratio in 57 innings, while opponents batted .226 with three homers against him. Burns' strong suits are his control and his slider, and he also throws an 89-92 mph fastball that lacks life and an erratic curveball. His career record in the majors is 0-0, 6.09 in 38 games.
Bausher, 27, originally signed with the Mariners as a 21st-round pick out of Kutztown State (Pa.) in 2001. Released the next year after injuring his shoulder, he since has pitched in the independent Northeast League and in the Brewers, Rockies and Red Sox organizations. He's a power pitcher who goes after hitters with a fastball that has been clocked in the mid-90s, as well as a hard slider. At Pawtucket this year, he has gone 4-3, 4.91 in 37 games (two starts). In 70 innings, he has a 40-37 K-BB ratio, .284 opponent average and four homers allowed.