PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — It’s odd by even spring training standards – two visits to the mound by the catcher to speak with his pitcher, including one after just three pitches into the game.
That was what happened Monday at Charlotte Sports Park as Alfredo Aceves  didn’t like what his catcher David Ross  was throwing down for signals. Aceves gave up two hits and two runs in the opening inning as part of a 29-pitch, 14-strike effort over two innings. He did not factor into the decision as the Red Sox  fell to the Rays, 6-3.
And to Ross’ credit, being the veteran he is, he took full responsibility for Aceves not feeling comfortable in the first inning of his first spring training start.
‘Yeah, it’s early. It’s early,” Ross said. “It’s one of the things that stink as a catcher when you feel like you ruin a guy’s rhythm sometimes when you’re not on the same page because I have to know what’s coming and know where they want me to set up and know where they want the pitches thrown and signs. It’s one of those things that’s really frustrating for me just because I know it’s me. When I’m just not on the same page, I have to get right with him. It comes with time. I’m new.
‘I say, ‘what do you want?’ If he’s shaking me off three or four times, and I can’t get it right, I just ask him what pitch he wants to throw and make sure we’re on the same page as far as what sign we’re going with. Sometimes I go through signs, I go fastball away, fastball in, and then curveball, slider, I may have forgotten changeup or maybe he wanted fastball up. It’s just me being still being new and messing with everybody’s rhythm around here. I’d rather him call me out there and get it right from the get-go. Sometimes, I think I hinder those guys and make them think too much and they’re not as comfortable. Today was a good learning process for me and next time will be a better outing.’
For his part, Aceves said he’s still getting familiar with Ross.
‘This is the first time that we’ve thrown,” Aceves said. “He’s a good catcher. For me he’s a good catcher, and he’s going to help a lot of pitchers. He’s got a lot of knowledge in baseball. Got a lot of time in baseball. So he knows about calling pitches, how to go against the hitters, go after them, go after the outs.’
Mixed signals or not, there was nothing wrong with Aceves’ arm, as he was sitting on 94 MPH when he was throwing his fastball, which was most of the time in his two-inning stint.
‘I didn’t know. I was kind of surprised. I was like, I’m throwing 94? I thank God I have the skills,” Aceves said. “I do the little things. As a team. I work out, I do my sprints, I do my stretches with the trainers. They’ve been good with us. They have our backs. They always say, you know, you’ve got the shoulder program, you’ve got mound, it helps a lot.’