|03.07.10 at 4:49 pm ET|
Top pitching prospect Casey Kelly returned to his hometown of Sarasota, Fla., and earned the win by pitching two shutout innings in the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Orioles Sunday afternoon.
Kelly didn’t allow a hit, struck out one and walked one in pitching the seventh and eighth innings for the Sox. The Red Sox were able to come back for the win thanks to three runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth.
Catcher Mark Wagner went deep for the Sox in the ninth — proving to be the game-winner — while Jed Lowrie chipped in with two hits. Also pitching for the Sox were Clay Buchholz (2IP, 5H, 3R), Scott Atchison (IP, H), Boof Bonser (2IP, H), Daniel Bard (IP, 2H, R) and Robert Manuel, who pitched a scoreless/hitless ninth, striking out a pair, in earning the save.
|03.07.10 at 4:07 pm ET|
After his first spring training outing, Sunday in Sarasota against the Orioles, Clay Buchholz addressed the challenges that are going with vying for a spot in the Red Sox’ rotation, which would appear to have six pitchers going for five spots.
“It would be awkward for anybody,” he told reporters. “I guess there’s four guys, regardless what happens, that will be on the staff. The other two, three guys, yeah it’s awkward. Got to basically do what I did last spring, do what I did to finish the season last year, and I think everything will take care of itself… I can’t do anything about it regardless of what I think so I might as well not think about it, and put any added pressure, added stress.
“I’d rather win a spot than let it be given to me. It’s whatever. I knew regardless of how I pitch in spring training I have to do good, I have to show them during the season I can pitch under pressure in Boston, all that stuff. I’m going to be as relaxed as I can be.”
Buchholz ran into some trouble in his two-inning stint, giving up three runs on five hits, striking out one and walking two. The righty was, however, encouraged by the progress he has made throughout his time in spring training thus far.
“Whenever I needed to put a ball on the ground, I thought I did a good job, just a couple found holes, scored a couple more runs off of that,” he told reporters. “Things I’ve been working on the side, throwing bullpens, slowly coming together. Like I said, first outing of the spring, a little jumpy on a couple of pitches. Other than than that felt like I had good stuff, good movement on the two-seamer. The changeups, when I threw them right, were good. And I threw a couple of good curveballs. Just have to put it all together. It’s really early in the spring for me. I’ve got a couple more outings before we think it’s anything bad.”
Here are some more quotes from Buchholz following his outing:
“For most part I was down, the home run was up and I think the single – second hit of second inning – was a little up. Felt good with most of location. That’s basically all I’ve been doing, putting it down in the zone and work both sides of the plate with it.”
“It’s any pitcher, it’s easier to work from down up, then it is up to down, especially with a fastball. Everything you throw comes off your fastball, so if your arm slot and release point is good with your fastball, it’s going to be good with your other pitches also. It’s the first pitch that you have to put your trust in and know where your throwing it and pick good locations to throw it.”
“I feel heavier. Not necessarily stronger. I feel better.”
“I’ve always set the bar high, regardless if it’s spring training or in season. I want to do good job every time I go out. I know you’re going to have rough days, sub-par days and really good days. Have to shift them, mix them in. not necessarily concerned with the pressure right now, I want to go out there and do good, I don’t want to show them that I’m not trying. I’m going ot go out every inning and try to do the things I’ve been working on and dow well.”
“That first game, always good to go out there and get them out of the way regardless if it’s good or bad. I felt fine with it – the two walks, like I said, I didn’t care much for those things. Other than that, I felt good.’’
|03.07.10 at 12:26 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters prior to his team’s spring training game against the Orioles in Sarasota that the rough estimate is to have pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch in a game for the first time this spring on March 18. The date is an off day for the Red Sox, so Matsuzaka would be most likely facing hitters at the minor league training facility if that schedule does hold up.
Jason Varitek has also been away from the team with an excused absence, tending to a personal matter. “We just told him to handle what he needs to and we’ll make adjustments,” Francona told reporters. “He knows he has our blessing to do what he needs to do.”
Mike Lowell, who visited with surgeon Dr. Michael Kelly, may have a plan mapped out for his integration into spring training games by Monday. Francona was scheduled to meet with trainer Mike Reinold regarding the matter.
|03.07.10 at 12:13 pm ET|
If you thought Michael Bowden’s delivery looked different this season, there’s a reason: It is. And Alex Speier points out in his column today exactly how the pitcher went about altering the execution. Here is a snippet from the piece:
That delivery has always made talent evaluators do a double take. Because it has appeared somewhat robotic, it has led to heightened skepticism about his skills.
One talent evaluator, for instance, suggested over the offseason that his mechanics would leave teams skeptical about his results until he proves that he can translate his minor league success to the big leagues. Certainly, the perception of Bowden took a step backwards last year. Evaluators described him as anything from a No. 4 starter to a likely bullpen candidate.
Even the Sox have had their concerns about his delivery in the past. The team sent Bowden to the American Sports Medicine Institute (headed by Dr. James Andrews) in Birmingham, Ala., after he entered their system to make sure that the pitcher’s unorthodox delivery wasn’t putting undue stress on his arm. They determined that he wasn’t, but even so, the way in which he got the ball to the plate was abnormal.
Of course, there is a reason for Bowden’s unorthodox delivery.
“My first pitching coach was in my first full season in Greenville,” said Bowden. “I never had money to work on mechanics growing up, my family didn’t have that money. So it was all natural, whatever felt natural for me.”
This offseason, Bowden worked with Farrell and minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel to make his delivery more fluid. The three watched video of other pitchers, with Bowden identifying elements that he can incorporate into his delivery. The pitcher then went to Boston during the offseason to work with Treuel and Farrell, who seemed pleased with the results.
Now, in games, the difference is apparent. Bowden has looked like a different pitcher in two spring outings of work, one against Boston College, and also in his two shutout innings against the Twins in which he fanned a couple.
The extra hitch in his leg lift is gone. His drop step has gotten better direction to the plate, the result of his upper and lower body working in greater concert. While he is using the same release point that has made it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball from his hand, his arm swing to get to that release point is now longer and less halting.
“There’s a lot more movement in my windup to get more rhythm and fluidity. That was my main goal this offseason. I just wanted to relax, look more fluid, be more natural,” Bowden explained. “Now it’s more one motion.”
|03.07.10 at 10:31 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A year ago at this time, the Red Sox were working to finalize a five-year, $30 million deal with pitcher Jon Lester. He joined Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis as players who had reached long-term deals with the club in a span of less than four months.
Lester and Pedroia both had a bit more than two years of service time before they reached deals that bought out all of their arbitration years as well as the first year of their eligibility for free agency. That made it natural to wonder whether the Sox might approach outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury — who, like Lester and Pedroia after the 2008 season, has accumulated just over two years of big-league service time, but is not yet arbitration-eligible — with a similar proposal.
But Ellsbury said that he had had no such conversations with the Sox to this point. Asked whether he and agent Scott Boras had any conversations with the Sox about a long-term deal, Ellsbury said that there had been no such talks.
The 26-year-old did not rule out a willingness to consider a long-term deal, but he also made clear that he will not be concerned about whether he goes year-to-year in his contract, or whether he might sign a long-term deal.
“I’m going to play this year. When the Red Sox talk with my agent, I guess that’s when that ball starts rolling. As a ballplayer, you don’t want to get caught up in the numbers right now,” said Ellsbury. “I think it’s fine [that there have been no long-term talks]. I’d like to get one more year under my belt, but if they come with something tomorrow, then it’s a totally different ballgame. But I’m not really worried about that right now.”
Ellsbury hit .301/.355/.415/.770 while stealing a major league leading 70 bases in 2009.
|03.07.10 at 3:16 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nothing fancy, just the facts.
Or at least mostly the facts, with no more than a bit of fancy.
–John Lackey, in his first exhibition game in a Red Sox uniform, was certainly a just-the-facts-and-no-fancy type of pitcher. He motored through an efficient 20-pitch outing, throwing 12 strikes and retiring all six batters whom he faced. He used primary four- and two-seam fastballs, mixing in a couple of curveballs. He also worked tremendously quickly, taking little time between pitches, a fact that was helped by the fact that he was able to work exclusively out of the windup without having to deal with any baserunners.
“Solid start. Commanded the baseball, had the ball down in the zone, mixed in his secondary pitch. I thought he was real good,” said bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who was acting as the manager of the Sox’ split squad team against the Twins. “I think defensively when you’re playing behind a pitcher like that, that’s going to dictate the pace, it’s positive for your defense. You look to see it and most guys like to play behind pitchers like that.”
For Lackey’s thoughts on the outing, click here.
–Two pitchers who are likely to give the Sox starting major-league depth in Pawtucket submitted sharp outings. Read the rest of this entry »
|03.07.10 at 2:52 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Kevin Youkilis is making his Opening Day facial hair a matter of public choice. Fans who donate at least $1 to his “Hits for Kids” charitable foundation can weigh in on whether he should sport a goatee, mustache, fu manchu or clean shaven look on April 3. (Click here for details.)
“If I have to look like Magnum, P.I., to raise some money for kids, I’ll do it,” said Youkilis.
Youkilis has already posed for his official team photo this year, sporting a goatee. Thus, there will be no repeat of the “Youk-Fu” look that graced scoreboards across the majors in 2009. In retrospect, Youkilis harbors no regrets about his facial hair in that photo, but he was chagrined about the fact that the photo made it appear as if he was sleepwalking.
“Everyone kept saying, ‘Man, what were you doing?’” he chuckled. “I just said, ’7:30 in the morning.’ It looked like I was in a bad spot. I looked like I was a biker.”
- Preliminary 'New Stars for Young Stars' lineup announced
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Attention shifts to Caribbean, Jerez shining in Venezuela
- Luis Ortega traded to Brewers for reliever Burke Badenhop
- Red Sox re-sign infielder Brandon Snyder