|02.13.14 at 5:45 pm ET|
It’s not that 2013 was a bad season for Felix Doubront. It’s simply that there was a sense that there could have been more.
The left-hander went 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 29 games (27 starts) spanning 162 1/3 innings in 2013 — decent enough numbers for a back-of-the-rotation pitcher. Yet he also showed considerable potential to be more than that, particularly during an 18-start stretch from late-May through the end of August in which Doubront went 7-5 with a 2.96 ERA while averaging just over six innings a start. That strong push, however, yielded to a season-ending skid in which Doubront staggered through a 17-run yield in 15 2/3 September innings (9.77 ERA), requiring a period of 16 days in which he didn’t pitch, the second straight year in which he was shut down in September.
While Doubront recovered to deliver some critical innings in the postseason (one run in seven innings), the memory of his inability to finish out the season guided his offseason program. Doubront — whose conditioning at the start of spring training in 2013 represented a source of concern for the Sox for the second time in three years — thus spent seven weeks of the offseason working out at the IMG facility in Sarasota, in preparation for what he suggested would be a step forward in his career.
“That was a big part of this offseason, to get stronger, so I can stay strong the whole season. That’s what I was focused on this offseason,” Doubront told reporters. “That’s the goal that I did this year … is to be strong the whole year and it’s a big year for me too. I’ll work hard for that. … That’s the main goal to go up to 200 innings. That’s the first goal I have, and to stay healthy the whole season.” Read the rest of this entry »
|02.12.14 at 2:29 pm ET|
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced in a statement on Facebook that he will retire after the 2014 season. Jeter, who will turn 40 in June, played just 17 games last season while battling through a variety of injuries.
“Last year was a tough one for me,” Jeter said in the statement. “As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.
“So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure.
“And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last season playing professional baseball.”
In 19 seasons with the Yankees, Jeter has compiled a .312 average, 3,316 hits, 256 home runs, 1,261 RBIs and 1,876 runs scored. He is a 13-time all-star and he’s finished in the top 10 in MVP voting eight times.
To read Jeter’s full statement on Facebook, click here.
|02.12.14 at 8:24 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – It didn’t take long for Shunsuke Watanabe to distinguish himself.
The 37-year-old Japanese pitcher strolled into camp Sunday morning, wearing workout clothes visible from across the JetBlue Park complex thanks to streaks of fluorescent orange on his shirt and shorts.
But that was just the beginning.
Watanabe, who is in camp on a minor-league deal with the Red Sox (and will be working out with the minor leaguers), is primarily known for having perhaps the lowest arm angle in the world. As he pointed out through a translator, his knuckles actually hit the ground “once or twice a season,” although never to the point of pain.
It is an arm motion that he began as a 14-year-old upon his father’s advice, and has served him well through 13 seasons as a starter for the Chiba Lotte Marines.
“It’s not that I’m trying to go lower, but I’m just trying to get the ball to hop,” the 5-foot-10 Watanabe said. “I’m not very tall and my specialty is my flexibility so in order to fully utilize that it was probably the best way to maximize my starts.”
Besides his pitching production (which also included an appearances in the 2006 and ‘09 World Baseball Classic tournaments), the arm action has also led to another bit of notoriety: Watanabe holds the Japanese record for skipping stones.
As it turns out, Watanabe appeared on a Japanese variety show (that former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine also happened to be making an guest spot on) when he was put to the stone-skipping test. A new record was soon discovered.
“Twenty-seven,” he said when asked what the mark was.
Watanabe can also offer something else of interest to Boston baseball fans. He has first-hand knowledge of the pitcher many view as one of the keys to the American League East race, Masahiro Tanaka.
“He’s very good. His physical strength is very impressive,” he said regarding Tanaka. “He might do as well as Darvish. But Darvish is the best I’ve seen. Every year he gets better.”
As for Watanabe’s chances, he is a long shot to make the Red Sox out of camp. The righty has done due diligence, working out with major league baseballs since October, while also coming to camp understanding he has to excel as a reliever (a new role for him) from Day 1.
“I’m ready to pitch now,” he said. “Whatever is needed.”
|02.11.14 at 1:56 pm ET|
|02.11.14 at 12:14 pm ET|
On Monday morning, Schilling’s daughter, Gabby, wrote: Dads surgery went really well! Now he’s in recovery. #GodBless
Dads surgery went really well! Now he’s in recovery #GodBless
‘ Gabby Schilling (@GabbyS_chilling) February 10, 2014
Schilling’s oldest son, Gehrig, tweeted a photo of his father in a hospital bed with the word “recovery.”
‘ Gehrig (@Gehrig438) February 10, 2014
Schilling announced last Wednesday that he has cancer, although he hasn’t revealed which type. On Friday he tweeted: Overwhelmed at the well wishes, and prayers. Bless all of you. No pity or sympathy needed, I’ve been beyond blessed. I’m ready for this.
Added Schilling: One more thing, the world goes on after you leave, change it while you’re here.
|02.10.14 at 12:06 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Following a light workout with Jon Lester and John Lackey at JetBlue Park Monday, Clay Buchholz said he is fully healthy but is taking a different approach toward spring training this time around.
Buchholz didn’t throw any bullpen sessions prior to arriving in camp, having heeded the advice of the medical staff after suffering through a shoulder issue all the way through the World Series run.
“Usually coming into camp I’ve thrown four or five bullpens and ready to go. This year I didn’t throw any bullpens,” he said. “So this year I’m using spring training for the purpose of spring training, that’s to get ready for the season this year.”
Buchholz explained that the advice given to him by Dr. James Andrews during the season — which suggested his ailment was only going to heal with rest — seems to be right on the money. The pitcher didn’t pick up a ball until December, and when he did the pain in the shoulder had dissipated.
“That’s what Dr. Andrews told me the day I went and saw him,” Buchholz explained. “He said it’s all rest. It’s like picking a scab, if you just try and keep throwing and fighting through it. So I took a full month off of not picking up a ball and not doing anything. Right when I started working out again I didn’t feel anything.”
The starter added, “This offseason has been a little bit different than in the past, not having the mound time off. In recent years I’ve gotten to spring training being basically in midseason form as far as being off the mound. Speaking with the training staff I needed to take a step back from that and make sure everything was fully recovered, not to push anything too far, too soon. It’s a different route than I’ve gone the last four or five years coming into camp, just playing catch and long-toss. But I feel a lot better by doing that rather than just jumping into the throwing program when I normally would do it.” Read the rest of this entry »
|02.10.14 at 11:10 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Even though the first official day of spring training isn’t slated for later this week (Saturday) — when pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report — plenty of participants were in attendance Monday at JetBlue Park.
The top of the Red Sox‘ starting rotation — Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz — walked out to the field as a group (along with Andrew Miller and Edward Mujica. The group did some long-toss before running a bit and then heading into the weight room.
Overseeing the operation was manager John Farrell, who just arrived in town after a whirlwind past week that included trips to Utah, Bristol, Conn., Boston and Clearwater.
Among the position players working out/hitting/fielding were Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Lavarnway, Grady Sizemore, Daniel Nava, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Sizemore and Bradley Jr. manned center field, while Nava took left.
For those wondering, Sizemore’s running/sprinting motions looked natural. After taking some fly balls he then conferred with director of sports medicine Dan Dyrek. In case you missed it, the outfielder said Sunday he doesn’t expect any limitations.
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