Red Sox notes: After off-night, night off for Joel Hanrahan
|04.11.13 at 6:21 pm ET|
One night removed from his first blown save as a member of the Red Sox, Joel Hanrahan will not be available to the Red Sox barring an extreme circumstance such as a marathon game. However, the fact that Hanrahan will not be considered for relief duty tonight reflects on his 31-pitch workload on Wednesday night rather than on his struggle through a five-run yield in just 2/3 of an inning. Even so, manager John Farrell made clear to the two-time All-Star — who has struggled out of the gate to an 11.57 ERA — that will not be ceding his job.
“We talked more about going forward and he’s our closer,” said Farrell. “[But] regardless of the outcome of last night, we’ve got to consider recovery time and that type of thing. I think Joel is well aware of what took place last night.”
Farrell suggested that Hanrahan has been, perhaps, overly aggressive, losing some command while trying to throw pitches at maximum velocity. Pitching coach Juan Nieves echoed that theory.
“You have great stuff, but you have to hit the mitt a lot of those times. There has to be a purpose with every pitch, and we’re going to talk about it today,” said Nieves. “To me, location is the most important thing. His stuff is good enough. He throws 99 mph with the great slider. The consistency of that has to be a little better. Big-league hitters feed off poorly located fastballs and poorly located breaking balls. That’s why they get paid a lot of money, that’s why he gets paid a lot of money. Basically, it’s the challenge of seeing the glove and hitting the glove more often than not.”
Still, Nieves made clear that there are no significant concerns with Hanrahan. The closer is, according to the pitching coach, completely healthy, with the stuff that will allow him to excel in his role.
“I feel the same way I did two days ago like I feel today. There are no big issues on anything. It might happen again, you never know,” said Nieves. “It’s part of the game. The other guys, they make a lot of money too because they’re a great-hitting team. I’m not concerned. It’s just get ready for today, and we’ll attack accordingly.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– In spring training, Farrell suggested that the team might use Shane Victorino (who has been a better right-handed hitter than left-handed hitter) as its No. 2 hitter against lefties, with Daniel Nava serving in the two-hole against righties. However, Farrell has instead elected to use Victorino as his No. 2 hitter on a consistent basis, something that is a reflection of the fact that Victorino has been been hitting well against righties. To date, the switch-hitter is 6-for-17 with a double in 18 plate appearances while batting left-handed against right-handers, good for a .353 average and .333 OBP (a sac fly and an absence of walks explains why the OBP is lower than the average).
Meanwhile, with Nava driving the ball on a consistent basis while also providing on-base ability, he’s represented a strong presence in the middle third of the batting order against righties — helping to explain his presence in the sixth spot in the batting order in the last four games.
“I think once we started the season, his at-bats from the left side of the plate have been consistent, they’ve been fairly equal to the right side,” said Farrell. “What Daniel has done with providing protection behind [Will Middlebrooks] and really in the short run, almost a middle of the order type of bat, whether it’s getting an inning started with a walk or an extra base hit, it gives us the ability to lengthen out the lineup a little bit and protection in that middle of the order.”
– Farrell suggested that Alfredo Aceves, starting in place of John Lackey on Thursday night, is stretched out to the point where the team wouldn’t rule out having him pitch into the sixth inning.
– Farrell said that right-hander Koji Uehara might be a consideration to pitch on Thursday. Even though Uehara had nine shutout appearances last year when pitching in back-to-back games, however, the manager wants to be careful about managing his workload. He also said that Uehara is strictly a one-inning option.
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