|03.06.14 at 4:49 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, John Lackey and pitching coach Juan Nieves talked and Allen Webster listened. The pay off was a huge step back in the right direction for the young starter.
Webster rebounded from a rocky first spring training start to turn in three solid innings against the Marlins, allowing only one hit while striking out a batter in what resulted in an 0-0 tie between the Red Sox and Miami in Jupiter.
After the start, Webster explained the difference this time around was executing some adjustments suggested by members of the Red Sox starting and coaching staff.
“Between my last start and this start, I sat down and talked to Lackey, Lester and Buchholz pulled me over, and we looked at a little video, and they saw me drifting forward, and they pulled me aside and told me to stay back over the rubber and get more angle, get more downhill to the plate,” Webster told reporters. “It felt good in my bullpen.”
The video the group diagnosed was from the 2013 season, with the adjustments taking place a few days ago with Webster getting a chance to throw side-by-side with Lackey.
“It’s mainly right to the very last minute, right before I throw the ball, I pull sideways instead of pull down, and I get alongside the ball and tug the ball to the side or sail it up and away,” the righty explained.
It was a process — and result — that pleased Red Sox manager John Farrell.
“I think any time you’ve got a peer or a teammate, particularly with the success that they’ve had, that’s going to resonate, probably draw a little bit more confidence from the message being delivered,” Farrell told reporters. “To their credit, they take him under their wing and they’re trying to help in any way they can.”
Another encouraging sign was the second straight solid performance by Drake Britton, who threw two shutout innings (one hit) while following up Webster.
Shortstop Deven Marrero was the only member of the Red Sox to come away with multiple hits (singling twice). Marrero also continued to shine in the field.
“Not comparing him to Jose [Iglesias], but if the need were to arise based on what we showed last year, even in his first year of professional baseball and the way he goes about his drill work and what we see on the field, you’d be hard-pressed to find a shortstop that’s going to make better plays than that — and four or five types of plays inside a given game,” Farrell said. “He came into the draft or came to the draft with that carrying card, an elite defender, and he’s showing that.”
|03.06.14 at 9:42 am ET|
Hill relayed the information Thursday morning that Brooks passed away recently after being born with what Hill described as “multiple” health issues.
“We had a son on December 26 and he was born with multiple issues that we confronted and had to deal with, as we were moving through the last couple of months at Mass General,” Hill said. “Unfortunately he succumbed and he has passed. He taught us a lot of things, and unfortunately things didn’t work out. My wife has been extremely strong. Our son, who is 2 ½, is with us here down in Florida so we are going to enjoy our time here and obviously make the most of the opportunity that’s here to present itself to play baseball.”
The 33-year-old Hill, who is in camp on a minor league deal after making 63 appearances for the Indians in 2013, explained that the family issues were an impetus for identifying the Red Sox as a landing spot this offseason.
“It was a strong correlation there,” Hill said. “Fortunately I had the opportunity to come back. The Red Sox have been tremendous with this whole part of our life.
“I fully feel that the opportunity is here. I think that was also with a blend of the opportunity that is here and obviously with our family situation that we had. With the opportunity that is here, for myself to make the most of it and do everything I can on daily basis to perform.”
Hill was unsure of what his pitching progression will be, but did note how pleased he was to be back in a baseball clubhouse. The lefty had pitched with the Red Sox from 2010-12.
“I’m absolutely excited to be here and be playing baseball again, to get back into the normalcy of my profession and to be around a great group of guys,” he said. “Just to take that next step, a one day at a time approach. That’s where we’re at. Just really enjoy every day.”
|03.05.14 at 6:37 pm ET|
Between the performances of both Capuano and Ranaudo (who consistently pitched behind in the count), three errors committed by the Sox (one each by Will Middlebrooks, Heiker Meneses and Deven Marrero) along with a passed ball by catcher Christian Vazquez, it was a sloppy performance for the Sox. Manager John Farrell told reporters that his team needs to tighten up its play.
“Tough day. No doubt. Tough day defensively. We’ve got work to do, let’s face it,” Farrell told reporters in Jupiter, Fla. “We’re a week into the game schedule but we’ve got a lot of work to do as a team. It was a tough for Will to defensively but in addition to that it was compounded by pitching behind in the count. And I think overall we’ve got to do a much better job of commanding the strike zone, much better than we have so far. … I think in general, as a staff, what we’ve shown through the first six days of games, we’ve got to pitch better in terms of controlling the count.”
The game featured the Red Sox‘ first umpire replay of the spring, as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny challenged a ruling that the Red Sox had successfully turned an inning-ending double play to conclude the eight. The ruling on the field was upheld.
|03.05.14 at 12:38 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Speaking after his 38-pitch outing against minor-leaguers at JetBlue Park Wednesday, Jon Lester explained that there is nothing to report regarding any contract extension.
“I’m sure you guys will know before I do on anything that happens,” he said. “But nothing has gone on recently.”
Lester’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, were in town last week, presenting the foundation for talks regarding a deal for the pitcher.
Asked if he believed something could be worked out, Lester said, “I don’t know. Like I said, I just play baseball, I let those guys talk and handle all that stuff. Those are the guys with more answers than me. If you guys want to get more answers from Seth or Sam or Ben [Cherington] or any of those guys, I think they’ll be able to answer it better than I will in this whole deal right now.”
Lester, who is in the final year of his current deal, is viewed as one of the top two pitchers in next offeseason’s free agent class (joining Detroit’s Max Scherzer).
|03.05.14 at 10:40 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester got through his first spring training appearance without incident, throwing 38 pitches over 2 2/3 innings on a back field at JetBlue Park against five minor league hitters.
With Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves and some members of the team’s front office looking on, Lester participated in the controlled exercise with minor league fielders. The lefty would allow four hits, while being victimized by a pair of errors. Lester was also hit in the heel by a Justin Henry grounder, which he showed no ill effects from.
“I thought he looked great,” Nieves said. “Of course it’s tough competition with those kids. You can’t set them up, they’re seeing strikes so it’s quite a challenge. As we were talking in the dugout, you can’t really set them up with anything. It’s tough when a big league pitcher pitches against young competition because they’re very excited and they’re swinging the bats.
“I thought the ball came out very well. Fastball, cutter, curveball. He threw no changeups, but the spin of the breaking ball is really sharp, very good. He felt great. The bottom line is as long as they walk off of that mound healthy, not grabbing anything or not touching anything they’re fine.”
Nieves pointed out that Lester will next throw in the Red Sox‘ Monday tilt against Tampa Bay, most likely going a pair of innings.
The five minor-leaguers hitting against Lester were Carlos Rivero, Manuel Margot, Jesus Loya, Kendrick Perkins and Henry.
Margot (who doubled) is the most highly-touted of the bunch, most likely slated to start 2014 in Single-A Greenville. Perkins — who came away with a pair of hits — is a sixth-round pick fro the 2010 draft who chose to sign with the Sox instead of playing football at the University of Texas.
|03.05.14 at 10:01 am ET|
Lawyers for NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy are due in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing regarding who will get custody of the 5-year-old girl whose mother allegedly was killed by Remy’s son, Jared, last summer. The case is due to go to trial March 25 in Middlesex Probate and Family Court in Cambridge.
Remy and his wife, Phoebe, are fighting for custody of their granddaughter, Arianna. The parents of Arianna’s late mother, Jennifer Martel, also are pushing for custody. According to a Boston Herald report, Brian and Patricia Martel moved to Massachusetts from Virginia in order to be closer to Arianna, who is in the custody of the state’s Department of Children and Families. Jennifer’s brother and his wife also have relocated to the Bay State.
Brian Martel’s brother, Richard, who lives in Fall River, told the Herald his sibling’s family would be a more suitable home for the girl.
“You’ve got to bring up a baby with love, not with cash,” he said, adding: “[Remy's] not going to be there. He’s going to be away all the time.”
Added Richard Martel: “It’s been going on long enough. My brother and his wife … would be perfect for that baby. That would be the right decision.”
Remy, whose three children all have had run-ins with police, returned to the broadcast booth Sunday after taking off the last two months last season following his son’s arrest. He appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Monday and talked about his decision to return but did not discuss the custody case then or with the Herald.
Said his attorney, Sandy Durland: “I know that Phoebe and Jerry are focused on continuing to provide support and love for their granddaughter. I think that’s going to be their focus now, and I think it will be their focus in the future.”
|03.04.14 at 5:49 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Another spring training game, another step in the right direction for Grady Sizemore.
Playing in his third game of the exhibition season, Sizemore executed a variety of tasks in the Red Sox‘ 8-0 loss to the Rays at JetBlue Park. The center fielder finished the day having played five innings in the field, going 0-for-2 with a walk.
Thus far he not only has had no setbacks — this time leading him to play again on Friday. And while performing there has been little signs of rust.
“I’m happy with how things are feeling from a body standpoint,” he said. “Just not noticing anything out there. Not having any pain. Not coming in feeling worse the next day. So it’s as good as I could have hoped for.”
Sizemore looks to have no hesitation both on the basepaths and in the field. And while he bemoaned the fact the timing at the plate still doesn’t quite feel right, Red Sox manager John Farrell has come away impressed.
“Yeah, you know he’s getting down the line well,” Farrell said. “The one thing that continues to impress given his time off is that his timing in the box looks not like a guy that’s missed two years. He’s running well, he’s responding to the workloads, and as we continue to ramp it up he’ll be back on the field Friday.”
Sizemore explained that he typically spends an hour to 1 1/2 hours with the medical staff each day, on top of his individual workouts. As he puts it, it is a process that encompasses from “head to toe.”
Yet, even with the solid early returns, the outfielder understands the end-game is a ways off.
“It’s weird. I don’t feel bad but at times I feel like my body is not catching up with my brain,” Sizemore said. “I want to go faster, but it’s not quite there. Or I want to move in this direction, but your legs won’t let you. It probably doesn’t look it from the outside, but I can tell things are still a little off.”
As for one of the last hurdles — attempting a stolen base — Farrell said that will have to wait.
“We’re holding that in check right now,” said the manager regarding Sizemore’s running game. “We just want to make sure we gradually build through the game situations. There will be a point in time in spring where we want to take that off him but for now we want to continue to build some positives.”
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