|Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Vicente Padilla and Andrew Bailey take on some Rays minor leaguers||03.28.12 at 6:26 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With no game scheduled Wednesday, the Red Sox used minor league games at the back fields at JetBlue Park to allow Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Vicente Padilla and Andrew Bailey to continue their progression through spring training. Other than Jose Iglesias blasting a three-run homer in one of the games, the highlight of the day all four pitchers coming away with their health, and optimism, staying intact.
Here is a breakdown of each hurler’s performance:
The righty allowed two home runs — one to Tampa Bay big leaguer Reid Brignac — while throwing 89 pitches over six innings. Buchholz finished having allowed five runs on six hits, reporting that all systems are go with just one start (the exhibition game in Washington) left.
“My first deal was to go out there and throw a lot of changeups. If I missed with it, throw it again. Unfortunately I did that a couple of times back to back and threw both balls behind in the count and first inning, felt really good,” he said. “Felt like everything was going as planned. Then had a couple of long outings after that. The way I finished, I felt really good about it.”
Buchholz reiterated how much better he feels heading into this regular season than last year at this time.
“Yeah, just being able to do all the work in between and not having any ill-effects from last year has helped out a lot and knowing that each one of my pitches has been good at least one or two days throughout the spring,” he said. “I feel like the pitches are there. It’s just repetition now and getting it to where I can throw the changeup in any count just like I have the last couple of seasons. Once I get to that point, I think everything else sort of falls into place.”
The sinkerballer continued to impress, allowing one run on five hits while inducing 11 ground balls. Cook, who threw 68 pitches, said he hasn’t heard what his next step is, and that nobody has broached the subject of relieving to him. The right-hander has a May 1 opt-out clause in his minor-league deal.
“See where it takes me. I can only control what I can control, and that’s going out there pitching,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing things I need to do and I feel like I’m making it a tough decision for them.”
Padilla continued to work his way into the mindset of a reliever, going three innings, allowing a hit over 41 pitches. After the outing he said through a translator that his preference would currently be to stay with the Red Sox as a member of the bullpen rather than seek a chance in another team’s rotation.
“I see that the red sox are giving me an opportunity so I’d like to stay here and continue with the relief pitching,” he said.
The closer needed 26 pitches (21 strikes) to get through 1 2/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits while striking out three.
Also of note was the work done by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill, who each pitched in simulated games while continuing their comeback from Tommy John surgery. Matsuzaka threw 18 of his 22 pitches for strikes. Hill remains on target to make his minor league debut on April 9 with Single-A Greenville.
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