|Beckett explains grimace||03.17.09 at 3:17 pm ET|
Josh Beckett grimaced a bit after attempting to field Carlos Gomez’s leadoff bunt in the fourth inning, causing Red Sox trainer Paul Lessard and manager Terry Francona to make a visit to the mound. As it turns out the reason for the discomfort wasn’t an ankle injury — as was first thought in this space — but rather a cut on his toe that was aggravated.
“The inning before I had a callous on my toe. You get a little sweaty, calouses get soft and it’s almost like a rip or a cut on my toe where the callous is,” he said. “I could make some adjustments when I was pitching because it was more under control, but whenever you have to go after a ball like it kind of makes it worse.”
Beckett, who threw 60 pitches, tossed 20 extra throws in the bullpen after the game to keep building on his stamina.
“I think I’ve only seen one ball hit over a batter’s eye in my whole life and that was on a minor league field,” Beckett said. “Jason Bay really got into that one.”
The other such moon-shot Beckett witnessed? Rob Stratton.
|Brewers claim Wes Littleton||03.17.09 at 1:42 pm ET|
As first reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Brewers have claimed reliever Wes Littleton off of waivers for the Red Sox. The right-handed sidearmer struggled with the Red Sox this spring, posting an 18.56 ERA while giving up seven walks and eight hits in 5.1 innings. He is perhaps best known in these parts as a pitcher whose glove had the name “Wes Littleone” stitched into it. His candidacy to make the Boston bullpen went from a longshot to a no-shot, resulting in an apparent (and now unsuccessful) effort to ship him to the minors through waivers. Littleton is out of minor-league options.
|Beckett pitches, Red Sox hit homers||03.17.09 at 1:35 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Josh Beckett finished his four-inning stint, giving up three runs on six hits against the Twins at City of Palms Park. He had somewhat of a scare in the fourth when fielding a Carlos Gomez bunt on the second pitch of the frame seemingly rolling his left ankle a bit. Trainer Paul Lessard and manager Terry Francona both came out to check on the pitcher, who stayed in to finish the fourth.
Beckett ran into his worst inning of the spring in the second, surrendering three runs. They were the first runs he had yielded in 10 previous innings of spring training work. He threw 60 pitches, 39 strikes.
Before the game Sox pitcher Brad Penny (who is slated to throw in a minor league game Wednesday) talked about the difference he has witnessed in Beckett from when the two pitched together in the Marlins’ rotation.
“He’s grown up,” Penny said. “He takes his job serious. I think he understands the importance of getting his work done. For me to see that is impressive, seeing how hard he works. It trickles down to the other guys. Just watching him, I noticed it.”
What you can also notice (thanks to this video) is that I can’t fish, Beckett can, and some of the pitcher’s philosophies when it comes to living life as an ace in Boston.
Also of note during today’s game is the Red Sox’ power display, with Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jason Bay all hitting home runs. Varitek’s homer came as a lefty hitter, Ellsbury’s came on the first pitch, and homers from Ortiz and Bay were mammoth shots. Bay’s home run was a rarity, a shot that cleared the center field backdrop.
Varitek also added a single for his first multi-hit game of the spring. He had two multi-hit games from the left side of the plate in the last 68 games of the regular season in 2008.
|Veteran Rotations for the Twins and Red Sox||03.17.09 at 1:16 pm ET|
Minnesota’s Opening Day starter, Scott Baker, is on the bump for the Twins today. At 27 years old, Baker is the graybeard of a Minnesota staff that will also feature Francisco Liriano (25), Kevin Slowey (24), Glen Perkins (26) and Nick Blackburn (26).
By the standards of most major-league clubs – particularly playoff contenders (non-Tampa Bay version), it is an incredibly young rotation, particularly given that none of the starters has even three years of major-league experience. Yet by Twins standards, the rotation can be considered almost ancient.
In all likelihood, this season will mark the first time since the 2005 campaign that the Twins have not featured at least three pitchers who made 10 or more starts at the age of 25 or younger. The team has had at least three pitchers who hadn’t yet eclipsed 25 make at least 10 starts seven times in the nine years this decade, and in 14 of the past 19 seasons dating to 1990.
Clearly, Minnesota has a different operating model than the Red Sox. How different? Read the rest of this entry »
|Gang Green||03.17.09 at 12:04 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Greetings and Happy Green Day from Fort Myers. The Red Sox are rocking the green and white unis in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, a tradition that dates (in both urban legend and the Red Sox pre-game notes) to 1990, when Roger Clemens purchased green caps and stirrups for the entire team. That is what qualified for excitement in the days of yore in Winter Haven. Worth noting: Clemens (a No. 2 seed) is running neck-and-neck with Dave Stewart (No. 15) in the Pitchers’ Bracket Challenge over on 38Pitches – if you haven’t, check it out.
A couple noteworthy elements to the St. Patty’s uniforms: Nick Green is, appropriately enough, in the starting lineup, and Jason Varitek is wearing green catcher’s gear that will be auctioned at www.redsox.com to benefit Children’s Hospital. The bases are also green, and seem all but certain to be auctioned for some noble purpose or other.
The Sox are 6-2-1 on St. Patrick’s Day this decade, though winless (0-2-1) in the last three springs.
Against the emerald backdrop, the Red Sox and Twins will play Game 3 of the best-of-five Mayor’s Cup. The teams have split the first two games. In case you were curious, the Mayor of Fort Myers does indeed attend the Mayor’s Cup tilts.
Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Crede, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Jose Morales, C
Brendan Harris, SS
Scott Baker, SP
Josh Beckett, SP
|Lugo will be sidelined through Opening Day||03.17.09 at 9:10 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that shortstop Julio Lugo underwent a successful arthroscopy on his right knee this morning to repair his torn meniscus. He will remain in Boston for the next five to seven days. The shortstop is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks. With Opening Day just under three weeks away, math is working against Lugo’s ability to play when the curtain lifts on the regular season on April 6.
“It looks like he’s certainly not going to be ready to start the season,” said Francona. “That’s stating the obvious.”
That leaves the door open to the group of Nick Green, Angel Chavez, Ivan Ochoa and Gil Velazquez in the competition to serve as a backup middle infielder behind Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie, who will now serve as the season-opening double-play combination.
|Prospects Lars Anderson, Josh Reddick among cuts||03.17.09 at 8:29 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Big-league spring training camp is beginning to thin out a bit. With players returning from the World Baseball Classic and the start of the regular season now less than three weeks away, the Sox have re-assigned some of their younger prospects to minor-league camp. Among the first to head down Edison Ave. are the team’s top two position prospects, first baseman Lars Anderson and outfielder Josh Reddick.
Both players could cite elements of their first major-league camp that proved satisfying. Reddick put up impressive numbers, hitting .500 and, he noted, even working a couple of walks, a point of emphasis for a hitter whose success has been the result of a unique ability to make hard contact on pitches all over (and sometimes outside of) the strike zone, a tendency that is often exploited at the upper levels of professional ball.
“I was actually impressed by myself,” said Reddick. “I went back to one of my old batting stances that helped me see pitches a little bit better. I was actually surprised that I did see pitches like I did. I got two walks, which is pretty good in about 30 plate appearances for me. I worked counts pretty well, saw pitches pretty well and just didn’t try to do too much, didn’t try to go out there and hit it 500 feet every time. I just put the ball in play, and it ended up working out for me.”
- Red Sox ink veteran lefty Rafael Perez to minor league deal
- Cup of Coffee: Vazquez nearly hits for cycle in Portland’s walk-off win
- Players of the Week, May 13-19: Mookie Betts and Matt Price
- Cup of Coffee: Montas strikes out eight in Greenville loss
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #34
- ESPNBoston: De La Rosa finding his way in Pawtucket
- Cup of Coffee: Bradley, Holt shine in PawSox loss
- Xander Bogaerts, Portland to headline Futures at Fenway
- SoxProspects Video of the Week: Matt Barnes
- Cup of Coffee: Henry, Diaz propel Pawtucket to blowout victory