Tanner Houck wants to constantly improve in order to be a valuable member of the Boston Red Sox, particularly their starting rotation.
The right-hander is talented, yes, but his struggles are highlighted when he gets to an opponent’s third time through the batting order. Houck usually is done after five innings or gets pulled during that frame before the bullpen takes over.
Still, his mindset isn’t to just head to the bullpen and switch to a relief pitcher; it’s to get better and perfect his game.
“If I would have (moved into the bullpen), in my opinion, it would have been the easy way out,” Houck told The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “It wouldn’t have forced me to step up to the challenge and say, ‘No, I’m going to learn. I’m going to grow.’ It’s very easy nowadays to be like, ‘No, I’m good with what I have.’ It’s very easy to be complacent. But it’s hard to be uncomfortable and push yourself to be uncomfortable, and that’s what I’ve tried to do since day one, just put myself in uncomfortable positions to grow.”
For Houck, he sees himself as the underdog and uses that as motivation to grow from appearance to appearance.
“It’s not pressure it brings, but the excitement of having the hardest competition on a day-to-day basis,” Houck said, per Jennings. “I love that. I love having that kind of underdog mentality, going out there and fighting and saying, you can try to back me in a corner all you want, but it’s not going to happen.”
Houck has a chance to help the Red Sox win their series against the Seattle Mariners when he takes the mound Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. ET.
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