Once a player gets a taste of the Major Leagues, he obviously tries to stay there. But if you wind up being one of the guys who shuttles back and forth to the Minors, the only clear way to keep getting chances in the bigs is to dominate at Triple-A.
Thad Weber, who's already had a couple of cups of coffee this year, took care of that second part on Saturday night.
The veteran right-hander pitched seven hitless innings, striking out eight batters and walking just one, as Triple-A Buffalo held on for a 2-1 victory at Pawtucket.
"Anytime I have success, whether it's this good or any other time, I think it's due to me having a good mix and throwing strikes early in the count. And that was the case tonight," Weber said. "It's a lot of fun [to pitch like that] in a tight ballgame, especially, where you really need the win. That's what you're out there for, competing at its best. So it was a good night and a good team win."
Weber (1-0) has made four different stops this season, first with Triple-A Tucson, then a brief stint with San Diego before he was claimed off waivers by Toronto late last month. He started with Buffalo, got a handful of appearances in the Majors with the Blue Jays and returned to the Bisons at the beginning of June.
In each new setting, the 28-year-old has experienced some success.
Between his two trips to the big leagues, he's recorded a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings in seven relief appearances. In 50 2/3 innings at Triple-A, he's notched a 3.38 ERA with 41 strikeouts against only six walks.
"[All the moving around] is definitely new for me. It's certainly been a learning experience," Weber said. "Just trying to adjust to new players, new staffs, new cities, all that kind of stuff, but I'm enjoying it. Anytime you get a chance to pitch in the big leagues and compete up there, I'm gonna take it.
"Would I want to stay up there? Obviously, anyone who pitches in the big leagues wants to stay there. But right now my role is to go back and forth and hopefully, yeah, I get a chance to get up to the big club and stay and help them. But right now I need to do the best I can to get in a routine and just put myself in a position to do well on the mound."
That routine has been made more difficult as Weber shifts between cities and levels and starting and relieving. It's another thing he said he's just happy to do, if asked.
"I've started almost my entire pro career, but I enjoy pitching out of the bullpen, too. I've done that every time in the big leagues and I like it," he said. "In the end, I prefer to start, but any opportunity I get to pitch in the big leagues, I'm gonna take it."
Facing a lineup that features the Red Sox's top three offensive prospects, Weber retired the first 11 batters. After walking Ryan Lavarnway with two outs in the fourth, he set down 10 in a row before handing the no-hitter off to Buddy Carlyle.
Making his first appearance since Tuesday, Carlyle recorded two outs before giving up a solo homer to Alex Hassan. It turned out to be the PawSox's only hit of the game.
Eugenio Velez homered and scored both runs for the Bisons.
Brandon Workman took the tough-luck loss in his second Triple-A start. The Red Sox's No. 12 prospect gave up two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and three walks while tying a season high with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.