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Sox to boost bullpen

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This late in the West Coast League season, when teams are looking to pick up players for the stretch run they can't be too picky.

After all, if a currently unattached player isn't already playing, there's gotta be a reason for it.

Usually you see guys like Curtis Van Wyck, who Sox manager Ed Knaggs snapped up after two seasons at Edmonds Community College, jump in mid-season.

Van Wyck wound up leading the WCL in batting average and helping the Sox to the playoffs.

That's why the case of Tony Bryant is all the more interesting, and some might say lucky, for Knaggs and the AppleSox.

Bryant was a highly-touted recruit out of Kennewick High, and in his sophomore year at Oregon State, was an all Pac-10 closer after recording 12 saves with a 1.52 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Beavers.

After a summer with the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League, Bryant was nearly as good as a junior for the Beavers, which advanced to the Baton Rouge regional.

Bryant went 6-2 with a 3.54 ERA and nine saves as a junior, and was slated to pitch in the Cape Cod League this summer.

But something didn't work out, and he's been in Corvallis working out since classes ended.

Enter Knaggs and the AppleSox, already searching for another bullpen arm that would allow he and pitching coach Rob Hippi to move current setup guy Drew Jacobs into the starting rotation.

When Knaggs texted OS assistant coach Pat Bailey asking if he knew of any reasonably good arms still looking to pitch this summer, the text he got back was, "Tony Bryant???"

"I started to type yes in all caps, but I figured I'd just call Coach Bailey," Knaggs said, clearly giddy with his good fortune. "He could be a great fit for us."

An AppleSox bullpen that seems pretty loaded already, this week notwithstanding, would seem pretty daunting for opposing teams with thoughts of late-inning runs, especially when Bryant joins the team when the Sox play the Corvallis Knights this Monday-Wednesday.

Tyler Kane has been pretty lights-out as the closer thus far -- a WCL-best seven saves -- but his UW coaches want him to start this summer in preparation for taking on that role for the Huskies in 2013.

Maybe he throws an inning out of the bullpen one day, then starts three days later, a la Owen Jones of 2011, with Bryant working the ninth in between.

These are the problems you wrestle with when you have a loaded pitching staff.