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What’s New with the Red Sox: Tuesday

03.10.10 at 8:49 am ET

Nothing fancy, just the facts.

Fort Myers was placid on Tuesday, as most of the Red Sox regulars had an abbreviated day working out at City of Palms Park while a traveling squad comprised largely of role players and a couple pitchers of note made the cross-state journey to Jupiter, Fla., for the exhibition game against the Marlins. Most notable among the performances was Tim Wakefield‘s continued strong work this spring. The 43-year-old tossed three scoreless innings, and continues to show few ill effects of the lower-back surgery that he had at the start of the offseason.

“He threw a couple of fastballs, and threw a lot of knuckleballs in the zone that were moving. It’s a nice combination,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “Age hasn’t caught up with him.”

Age and pitching mortality were not just topics for Wakefield on Tuesday:

– Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was asked to reflect on the news that Twins closer Joe Nathan has a torn ulnar collateral ligament that may require Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox closer acknowledged that the news that a colleague (statistically, the only pitcher who has been as dominant as Papelbon over the last four years) had suffered a significant injury hit home.

Even so, Papelbon insisted that a) a single injury was not, to his mind, evidence that closers represent greater health risks than other positions and b) that hearing about an injury such as Nathan’s back in the spring of 2007, when he said that he wanted to be a closer and not a starter, would not have changed his career path. From Rob Bradford’s story:

“It wouldn’t have affected my decision,” Papelbon explained. “I made my decision solely based on the contentment of my heart and what I want to show up every day and do. Not on everybody else’s experiences from it, based on only my own experiences from it, and that’s how I made my decision, period, end of story.

“I had everybody and their mother, agents included, saying ‘You need to be a starter. Oh, you’re going to make more money. Oh, you’ve got to stay healthy. This, that or the other thing.’ Right now it looks like I’m making the right decision. Who knows four years ago if I would have been on four All-Star rosters and won a World Series with team in ’07 if I wouldn’t have. So it looks like right now ‘Cinco Ocho’ is right and everybody else is wrong.”

– While Papelbon was discussing the shelf life of a closer, Daisuke Matsuzaka was considering the durability of starters. The right-hander, as he enters his fourth season in Major League Baseball after a storied career in Japan, said that he would like to pitch for another decade in the U.S., noting that his pitching role model as a child was Nolan Ryan.

Of course, Matsuzaka has gone about the notion that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery in a unique fashion, since he and Ryan are two of the three pitchers in MLB history to record a season of 18+ wins, a sub-3.00 ERA and at least five walks per nine innings.

– For the second straight year, Josh Reddick is killing the ball in spring training. He went 3-for-4 on Tuesday and is now hitting .471 with five extra-base hits. On the other hand, he has yet to walk in his 18 plate appearances.

Dustin Pedroia has the highest interleague average of all time. That and more revealing stats about the Sox second baseman are in the latest edition of Nuggetpalooza.

– The Red Sox have called a press conference for 10:30 am on Wednesday, but while the subject has yet to be disclosed, it is not expected to be related to Josh Beckett or Mike Lowell.

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dustin Pedroia, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon
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