Brandon Workman enters the 2014 season knowing that he’ll trot out of the home dugout at Fenway Park and pick up his World Series ring on a crisp April afternoon.

And that’s where the assurances end for the 25-year-old Boston Red Sox righthander.

One of the late-arriving heroes to play a central role in the Sox’s third banner in 10 years, Workman can be relatively certain he is part of the franchise’s future plans. For now, however there’s a traffic jam in both lanes that merge into Boston’s pitching staff.

Even with Ryan Dempster’s surprise semi-retirement, the Sox rotation — Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy — is etched in stone, barring injury.

With Koji Uehara entrenched as closer after his magical 2013, and Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Edward Mujica all experienced in the set-up role, there isn’t much elbow room in the bullpen, either.

“I’m just kind of trying to get ready to throw and let the chips fall how they do,” Workman said earlier this winter, during an appearance at the Portland Sea Dogs’ annual Hot Stove Dinner.

Workman’s 2013 began with frosty fingertips at Hadlock Field and ended with a champagne shower at Fenway.

A starter his entire life, Workman was called up to Boston in July and immediately flexed his top-of-the-rotation potential. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Oakland in his first big-league start, then backed it up with two additional strong performances.

The Sox traded for Peavy at the deadline. That move, coinciding with Andrew Miller’s season-ending foot injury, thrust Workman into a set-up role.

His half-season totals (6-3, 4.97 ERA, 47 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings) were dwarfed by an out-of-this-world October. Workman made seven appearances without allowing an earned run, capped by his 1-2-3 eighth inning before handing the ball to Uehara in World Series-clinching Game 6 against St. Louis.

“Definitely I dreamed that I would be up there, but playing in the World Series and all that, it was just icing on the cake,” Workman said. “It couldn’t have gone any better for me. It was a great experience and really special. To be able to contribute some throughout the playoffs and then the World Series, it was really awesome.”

There are still earmarks of being a glorified rookie.

Workman reported to 2014 spring training in Fort Myers — his first, since he was not officially invited a year ago — and once again put on jersey No. 67. Yes, typically players who are expected to hang with the major-league club are assigned more traditional numbers.

And then there is the uncertainty of his role. With Dempster’s departure, Workman steps onto Dempster’s rung of the ladder as spot starter. As such, his first two appearances were starts. Shaky ones, with an 11.12 ERA.

As the Sox enter the final two weeks of spring training, Workman’s stints could become shorter and more frequent, just in case he is needed on shorter notice as March morphs into April and May.

“I’ve just been trying to prepare myself,” Workman said. “Getting my body ready to go. Ready to put myself in as good a position as possible. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it is a new year. There are new things to prove and the whole nine yards. That’s how I’m taking it.”

From a distance, the Sox clubhouse culture in 2013 appeared to be a dream environment for a rookie receiving the midseason call-up.

Workman confirmed that the veterans were a welcoming lot, easing his adjustment into the unfamiliar job description.

“The guys were really good to me when I got called up. Some guys kind of showed me the ropes,” he said. “I took advice from guys who had been relievers for longer on what I needed to do to prepare and be able to throw every day instead of once every five days.”

It was as much a mental adjustment as physical.

“But I tried my best not to make it one,” Workman said. “Just keep it simple and try to make pitches, the same as I would as a starter. It’s definitely different, but I tried to keep it as familiar as possible.”

The stellar debut made it unlikely that Workman ever will be seen again in Portland, where he was a combined 8-2 in 2012 and ’13.

A native of Bowie, Texas — he was a 2010 second-round pick out of the University of Texas — Workman made fast friends in Maine. He has stayed in touch with many of them, he said.

“The beginning of last year was freezing, but it ended pretty good for me,” Workman said. “It was something I’ve worked for and continue to work to stay there, but it was a dream to get called up and to put on a major league jersey. That’s why everybody’s playing. It’s what everybody wants to do.”


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