|Catching up with the Red Sox’ GM||04.01.10 at 1:13 pm ET|
(On Scott Atchison) ‘Atchison, we’ve known for a while that he’s made the club. He’s done a really good job. He’ll be the 11th pitcher and we’re still working on the last spot. ‘
‘He’s pitched really well from the first day of camp, before we even got into games, he’s been impressive. We’ve developed some trust in him pretty quickly. He always brings the same stuff to the mound. Hasn’t really had execution percentage ‘ has weapons for righties and lefties. Has an ability, with that cutter, to always get off the barrel, even if he’s behind in the count. He’s had an impressive spring. He’s a great guy. We think we can help us so we feel really good about having him in our pen.’
(On Junichi Tazawa’s recovery time) ‘Typical Tommy John time-line. You’re looking at 10 to 12 months, but we’re usually a little conservative. If he does it soon enough, there’s a chance he could have a Spring Training next year and pitch next season … Sprain means tear. I gave away our secret. It could mean a small tear.’
(On scouting Atchison) ‘We followed him. Jon Deeble, Craig Shipley, both those guys did a real good job with Atchison. I just read Deeble’s report again a couple of weeks ago and it’s exactly what we see now. I think he learned a lot in Japan too. I think he learned how to vary the break on his breaking ball a little bit. Tightened up, can get it in on lefties. Spread it out a little bit against righties with swings and misses. He was one of the better relievers in all of Japan last year. at the time, we signed him, we were excited. We thought it was coup to be able to sign him for basically the league minimum with some options. Despite his age and his strange journey, we thought he could be a useful guy. We probably anticipated him being a guy who would start in Pawtucket and then come up but he was so sharp right from the get-go and he emerged out of that group.’
|Atchison ready for his first Opening Day||04.01.10 at 12:46 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Scott Atchison has only been to Fenway Park once, visiting as a member of Wareham of the Cape Cod League in 1996. That, however, is one more major league Opening Day he has attended as a big league pitcher.
Sunday night, Atchison will not only double his trips to Fenway, but breaking his Opening Day drought, as well, having been told he will break camp as a member of the Red Sox’ bullpen.
“I think as a player that’s the goal,” said Atchison, who was officially informed he made the club Thursday morning. “I’ve been up multiple times but it’s not the same feeling as it is breaking with the team. You’re with them all spring, you get to know them and then you go to Triple A and maybe join back up later. But I feel like I’m part of the team like this. We’ll do the ceremonies and I’m sure for the first day it will be a little different and exciting and and being a part of it, but after that it’s just playing baseball again.”
Other commentary from Atchison prior to the Sox’ game against the Twins at City of Palms Park:
(When he found out) “I kind of had an idea. He’s like, ‘It’s not final, but things are looking good.’ I had a little bit of an idea going into today, but when you’ve never made one until you’ve made one for sure it’s hard to believe. It was a good spring and I felt like I showed them what I can do and I’m glad I have this opportunity. Now I have to go do my thing up there if I’m going to stay there.”
(The biggest change he made since last time in the big leagues) “My slider is the biggest adjustment I made from when I was here to going over there and coming back. I really had been constantly working on that pitch. It’s a pitch I’m comfortable with and I feel I can throw on any count, even behind in the count. It gives me something else to throw besides a fastball. That’s what you have to do, especially with quality hitters. That’s the biggest change from before I was here and then coming back.”
“Most of the teams were doing the minor league invite, but Boston just jumped ahead and said, ‘We want you. We really want you. What are you looking for?’ They made a good deal and they offered me what I felt was the best opportunity to make the team and in my case if you don’t make the team where are going to get a chance to get called up at. This is a team that is always in the playoff race, because if sometimes teams aren’t they aren’t going to bring up an older guy like me so I want to make sure I was in the situation where you know you’re going to be in the race and get an opportunity if you don’t make it. They expressed there would be a good chance to make the team and that was a big thing for me.”
(On his role) “I’m happy to be here. If they call down I’m happy to be here. If they call down me and want me to get up it doesn’t matter what the situation is, I’ll go in and give everything I’ve got.”
(Team in Japan try to keep you) “They definitely did. With family issues, and I still felt like this is where I wanted to play and felt like I could play and play at this level. I wanted to take that shot again. With my daughter and different things, that was definitely part of it. We’re very excited to be back and I’m glad it’s all worked out. I’m ready to get the season started and show what I can do.”
|Atchison told he is officially a Red Sox||04.01.10 at 10:30 am ET|
Atchison, who turned 34 Monday, impressed the Sox with his ability to throw strikes throughout spring training. He pitched in 10 games this spring, giving up two earned runs, striking out six and walking a pair in 12 innings of work.
“We like his strike-throwing ability. Three different pitches. Change speeds. His regular season started about a month ago and he knew it but he did a good job. He attacked the strike zone with all his pitches,” said Francona of Atchison, who will pitch in a minor league game Thursday. “I don’t think we see that changing … I think right from the get-go he was certainly on our radar. He just pitched so well, and it was fun to watch that. I think we felt we had a guy who had a chance to make our club.”
As for the final spot in the bullpen, Joe Nelson was told he will be going with the team to Washington D.C. for its exhibition game Saturday against the Nationals, but there is no definitive commitment for the righty to make the Sox.
“He’s still deep in the mix, we just can’t tell him something we don’t know yet,” said Francona of Nelson.
The team will also take another took at lefty Scott Schoeneweis in its game with the Twins Thursday to evaluate him in a Red Sox uniform. Schoeneweis has pitched in two games with the Sox, allowing three runs in 1 2/3 innings.
“We’ll try and get as much of a look at him as we can in our camp and being respectful of the fact that we’re leaving tomorrow,” said Francona, who also announced the reassignment of pitcher Fernando Cabrera to minor league camp. “(Schoeneweis) is a veteran … try and make some decisions.”
As for the fourth reliever in the mix, Alan Embree, Red Sox are trying to arrange for more of a look at the 40-year-old, who has allowed 10 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings with the Sox after getting a late start. Both Embree and Schoeneweis has opt-out clauses that would allow them to become free agents if they aren’t on the major league roster on April 15. Nelson’s opt-out is June 1.
Atchison had spent the last two seasons in Japan pitching for the Hanshin Tigers. He had signed a deal with the Red Sox in early December, 2007 before deciding to go overseas a few weeks later. Although some believed his performance in Japan could have led him to a pay day of close to $3 million a year, he chose to return the United States (where he will make $430,000 this season), in large part to ensure medical treatment for his daughter.
Callie Atchison was born with a rare condition called ‘TAR’ (Thrombocytopenia-absent radius), which is characterized by the absence of the radius bone in the forearm, along with a dramatically reduced platelet count. It is a problem that promises to improve, but also requires specialized medical attention at this stage.
‘We feel more comfortable over here,’ the 6-foot-2 righty said in Februrary (click here for the story). ‘The medical stuff over there was good but it’s not the same.
‘She’s done really done well, never had a problem with her platelet. She uses her hands great. It’s unbelievable to see the things she does. She still needs to work on different things and it really is restricted because the radius is the inside bone so the thumb is very weak. They get better. She will always have a little different use of her hands compared to the person with normal hands. It’s nothing major, but we just felt a little more comfortable being over here.’
Besides his ability throw strikes, Atchison points to the evolution of his slider as a big reason for his recent success.
“I was curious to see how it was going to translate this (spring) because when I went over (to Japan) my slider was my third-best pitch. It was improving over here and getting to the pitch I wanted it to be. But over there it took off,” Atchison explained earlier this week. “I feel like so far this spring I’ve been able to use it the way I wanted to use it.
|Tazawa scheduled for Tommy John surgery||04.01.10 at 10:15 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘ Red Sox pitcher Junichi Tazawa will have Tommy John surgery on his elbow, manager Terry Francona announced Thursday morning from spring training. Tazawa, who suffered a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament, met with renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews, who will perform the surgery Tuesday at his facility in Birmingham, Ala. The 23-year-old Tazawa was called up to the Sox last August and went 2-3 with a 7.46 ERA.
|Beltre didn’t expect Lowell trade||04.01.10 at 9:21 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Adrian Beltre said Wednesday that he didn’t expect Mike Lowell would be traded in spring training despite the Red Sox‘ perceived logjam at third base. “It’s not easy to trade somebody in spring training,” Beltre said. “You don’t see that a lot. I had an idea that we would start the season together with this team, and whatever happens from there happens. The main thing was for him to get healthy and whatever happens happens. I wish Mike the best.”
It was learned Wednesday that the Rangers’ interest in Lowell had been tempered by the fact they weren’t prepared to allocate a substantial amount of money for a player filling a back-up role.
Beltre, whose locker throughout spring training has been next to Lowell’s, said that he has learned a lot from his time with the 36-year-old infielder and has enjoyed their time together this spring training.
“He’s a guy you can learn a lot from,” Beltre said. “I’m really surprised that somebody can handle this type of situation the way he does. Knowing that I don’t think there’s any problem with us being so close. I like being next to him.”
For more on how the dynamic of Beltre and Lowell has been through spring training click here.
|Sources: Beckett talks gaining momentum||03.31.10 at 10:07 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the Red Sox and Josh Beckett are getting closer to an agreement regarding a contract extension for the pitcher. One source confirmed that the annual value of the deal would be $17 million per season, a figure first reported by the Boston Herald.
While the sides appear to have the framework for an agreement, there is a possibility that the discussions could last beyond Sunday night’s opener. SI.com first reported that the team and pitcher were nearing a four-year deal.
On Tuesday, Beckett told WEEI.com that he had not heard from agent Michael Moye about a potential extension. While he said that he wasn’t allowing contract talks to enter his thinking, Beckett did reiterate his interest in remaining with the Red Sox.
“I’m not too concerned with [negotations],” said Beckett. “If it’s meant to be and the Red Sox want me to be here then I’ll stay here because I enjoy playing in Boston. Playing in front of those fans. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. They do everything they can to make us successful as possible and I don’t think there are a whole lot of organizations that do that.”
If Beckett and the Sox do reach an agreement, waiting until after Opening Day to announce it would be beneficial to the Sox in assessing the competitive balance tax. In the past, the Sox have announced extensions with players such as Coco Crisp and David Ortiz shortly after the start of the regular season.
|Lowell belts two doubles, deal still not likely||03.31.10 at 5:47 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Lowell took a few steps toward building his trade value Wednesday, although the impact doesn’t figure to be immediate.
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox and Rangers aren’t close to a deal that would send Lowell to Texas to serve as a back-up for third baseman Michael Young, first baseman Chris Davis, and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero. The main issue continues to be Texas’ reluctance to allocate the kind of money the Red Sox would be looking for the Rangers to absorb out of the $12 million the infielder is scheduled to be paid this season.
Despite the likelihood that nothing is going to get done prior to Opening Day, Texas has shown the most interest of any team in acquiring Lowell.
Lowell did his part in impressing prospective trade partners Wednesday in Sarasota against the Orioles in the Red Sox’ 14-6 win, rifling doubles to left and center field, respectively. He now stands at 5-for-17 (.294), having notched four hits in his last two games. After playing third base against Baltimore, he figures to play first base against the Twins Thursday.
Asked after the game if he is coming to the realization that he is going to be on the Red Sox come Opening Day, Lowell told reporters, “I don’t know? Am I. I don’t dwell on it, I’ll tell you that. But I really don’t know. I just don’t.”
Other news from Sarasota included:
– Jon Lester turned a solid outing in his final spring training appearance, allowing just one run on three hits over seven innings, walking three and striking out three. He will next pitch Tuesday at Fenway Park against the Yankees. Lester finishes his spring with a 3.12 ERA, having struck out 22 and walked 10 in 26 innings of work.
– Neither Scott Schoeneweis or Alan Embree distinguished themselves in the battle for one of the bullpen’s final spots. Schoeneweis, pithing the eighth inning, allowed a run, while Embree surrendered a three-run homer on the way to giving up four runs in one inning of work (pushing his spring training ERA to 38.57 in three appearances).
|Lowell likely to stay with Red Sox||03.31.10 at 7:41 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Despite the fact the Rangers will again have a scout in attendance to watch Mike Lowell at the Red Sox‘ spring training game against the Orioles in Sarasota Wednesday, sources familiar with the situation indicate that any interest Texas may have in acquiring Lowell is tempered by their reluctance to allocate any substantial amount of money to a player who would be filling a reserve role.
Whereas Texas viewed it worth the $3 million and a young player (Max Ramirez) to occupy a designated hitter/first base spot on its roster before the Sox’ infielder failed the Rangers’ physical, the acquisition of Vladimir Guerrero negated that dynamic. What would be left for Lowell if acquired by the Rangers is a back-up role, which would include insurance/mentoring for young first baseman Chris Davis, leading to the Rangers to ask the Red Sox to potentially pick up almost all of the 36-year-old’s $12.5 million this season. According to a source, despite their hesitations, the Rangers still have more interest in Lowell than any of the other 28 teams.
There is also still a desire among teams to get a better look at Lowell, who only has 13 spring training at-bats. One scout said that while he was encouraged by watching Lowell go the other way for two hits Monday (all 3 of his hits have been to right field), there is a desire to see him start turning on and driving balls. The scout also hoped to get a better gauge of Lowell’s effectiveness playing third base, where he has had limited chances thus far in the spring.
Prior to the Red Sox’ game with Tampa Bay Tuesday, Red Sox manager Terry Francona hinted that Lowell wouldn’t begin the season on the disabled list, a possibility the infielder talked about Monday.
‘I don’t know what they think are quality at-bats. Maybe yes, maybe no. I honestly have no idea. I don’t know what they feel is adequate or not. It’s the organization’s call, not mine,’ Lowell said. ‘To go to Boston to not play? Same thing, right? If I go it’s not like I’m going to play right away and if I don’t go it’s not like I’m not going to play right away. I’m not playing either way, so it’s all up to them.’
The Rangers did also show interest in Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie before he contracted mononucleosis, and Texas acquired Andres Blanco from the Cubs to become its utility infielder.
|Red Sox come to terms with Cuban outfielder||03.30.10 at 9:34 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have come to terms with Cuban outfielder Jorge Padron to a minor league contract that will include a signing bonus of $350,000. The signing was first reported by the El Nuevo Herald. The 22-year-old Padron, who left Cuba, following Cuba’s 2009 season.
According to the Web site ScoutingBook.com is “a stocky contact bat who hits from the left side.” The left-handed hitting Padron is reportedly a spray hitter who is tough on right-handed pitching. He had been playing left field for Pinar del Rio, manning the team’s leadoff spot for the 2007-08 seasons.
|Beckett: Shoulder, contract not concerns||03.30.10 at 4:35 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Speaking after his Tuesday morning workout at City of Palms Park, Josh Beckett said that he has not heard from his agent, Michael Moye, that any agreement on a contract extension is imminent. The Red Sox‘ Opening Day pitcher explained that he has put a system in place throughout negotiations that doesn’t allow Moye to weigh the hurler down with information regarding talks unless information is needed or a deal is imminent.
Beckett said as of Tuesday early afternoon he was unaware of many of the specifics cited in an ESPN report stated a deal might be a nearing, or other reports that the suggest the Sox have offered the hurler a four-year deal and that the team was wary of offering a fifth year due to concerns regarding his right shoulder.
“It forces me not to speculate. I let other people speculate. I don’t speculate. I go off of what I know and I don’t know anything,” Beckett said. “I move forward with today.
“(The contract negotiations) really haven’t entered my mind at all. I’m not too concerned with it. If it’s meant to be and the Red Sox want me to be here then I’ll stay here because I enjoy playing in Boston. Playing in front of those fans. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. They do everything they can to make us successful as possible and I don’t think there are a whole lot of organizations that do that. It’s not a knock on them, but it’s a testament to how the Red Sox treat their players.”
As for the shoulder, Beckett explained that the only time his performance on the field has been affected by the body part was back in 2000 when Dr. James Andrews instructed the then-20-year-old not to have labrum surgery after another medical team had recommended an operation. The most recent sign that Beckett’s shoulder is holding up came last month when he passed both the team’s and an insurance company’s physicals on the way to getting a policy he was denied following the 2005 season.
“It’s a non-issue for me as far as my shoulder goes,” he said. “It’s not something that I lay in bed and worry about. I’m very blessed to have already pitched eight years in the big leagues and here I am going into my ninth full season. Yeah, I’ve had some bumps in the road with my shoulder but I only remember one bump in the road that caused me to miss significant time with my shoulder and that was in the minor leagues.
“As far as my shoulder goes I think I’m in a good spot with the way I prepare myself to where I know I’ve done the work that not only helps me be successful on the mound, but also be successful in staying healthy with my shoulder. If you go up and down this row of lockers, everybody in here that pitches, they’ve all got nicks in their shoulders and elbows. It’s part of the business. What you’re looking for is try to get a basis. You do an MRI every other year of some sort to see if there are some changes, and for me I don’t think that there are many changes since 2000.”
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