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John Lackey rebounds, allows one run on 20 pitches in spring debut 02.23.13 at 2:18 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Well John Lackey has the art of getting out of a big jam down so far in spring training.

In his first 10 pitches Saturday against the Rays at JetBlue Park, he walked Ben Zobrist on five pitches, allowed a first-pitch single to Desmond Jennings and hit Matt Joyce on the fourth pitch of the at-bat to load the bases with none out.

Lackey rebounded to strike out Jack Cust swinging on four pitches, one of his two swing-and-miss offerings on the day. Ryan Roberts drove a 1-0 pitch to right field for a sacrifice fly to score Zobrist.

Lackey completed his comeback, getting Sean Rodriguez to fly out to right for the final out.

His line: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K and 1 HBP on 20 pitches, 10 strikes.

His pitch-by-pitch went like this:

Zobrist: BBBLB
Jennings: X (single to left)
Joyce: BFBX(hit by pitch)
Cust: BLLS
Roberts: BX(Sac fly to right)
Rodriguez: SBLX (fly to right)

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, john lackey, MLB
Clay Buchholz: ‘No restrictions’ in simulated game as hamstring comes through fine at 1:22 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz said he felt good after throwing 37 pitches in Saturday morning’s simulated game outside JetBlue Park. Buchholz says he still needs to work on his delivery from the stretch but other than that felt good with his command and his secondary pitches. Buchholz said he felt no ill effects from a very minor right hamstring strain in the first week of camp.

Buchholz threw his whole arsenal of pitches from the windup and stretch, struggling a little bit with his secondary pitches from the stretch in the second inning of his two-inning simulation.

“There’s no restrictions here. I felt really good,” Buchholz said. “The one thing that I definitely need to work on that I haven’t had the chance to is work out of the stretch. Didn’t really go in-depth with it. There were definitely some kinks in the delivery. Other than that, I felt strong. First and foremost, the arm feels really good. The hamstring is sort of secondary to that to me.

“There were no issues. I’ve been running the last couple of days, sprint stuff and I haven’t had anything holding me back so that felt good.”

Buchholz tweaked his right hamstring bending over to pick up a grounder in PFP drills on the first day of camp on Feb. 12. He fielded a high chop on the final pitch to Mike Carp on Saturday but he acknowledged that he hasn’t tested it full yet in game speed.

“I’ve done a little bit of that, too,” Buchholz said of fielding drills. “I haven’t gone completely full speed with that but it can’t be that far away I feel, just keep treating it and go from there.

“They told me four days ago if it was midseason and I needed to pitch, I could pitch. We’re basically treating this as we have two extra weeks here in spring training. There’s no rush for me to get back. I’m still going to have six, maybe seven outings in spring before we head north. I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to be holding me back in the next few days.”

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, MLB
Red Sox Saturday morning notes: Clay Buchholz throws 37 pitches in simulated game at 11:17 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz threw his first simulated game Saturday morning on the training fields outside JetBlue Park as the Red Sox prepared to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in the main park in the official Grapefruit League opener.

Buchholz threw a majority of off-speed and breaking pitches in the two-inning simulation with minor league outfielder Juan Carlos Linares and Mike Carp standing in and taking occasional swings against the Red Sox.

Buchholz threw a live batting practice session on Wednesday prior to Saturday’s test on the practice field beyond left field. Saturday’s starter John Lackey, Ryan Dempster, John Farrell and GM Ben Cherington all stood behind the batting cage watching as Buchholz completed his session. Franklin Morales also threw a simulated game Saturday morning, while Buchholz took a 10-minute break.

In other notes, Farrell confirmed that star infield prospect Xander Bogaerts will leave Saturday night for Taiwan to train with the Netherlands for the upcoming WBC tournament.

Mike Napoli and David Ortiz did some light running on the bases during Saturday morning’s batting practice on the main field but Napoli will go through a more formal base-running drill on Sunday before getting cleared for game action, likely in the middle-to-latter part of next week. Ortiz, meanwhile, is still behind Napoli but Farrell and the Red Sox have not outlined a specific timetable for his return to game action.

Farrell also said Saturday morning that the only way Napoli will be used as a catcher this season is in an emergency situation late in a game when Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross are unavailable.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz
Red Sox lineup features mostly regulars for Grapefruit League opener at 9:19 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox will sport a lineup of mostly regulars for the debut of John Lackey in the 1:35 p.m. game against the Rays at JetBlue Park.

Here is the starting lineup for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
RF Shane Victorino
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
LF Jonny Gomes
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks
1B Lyle Overbay
DH Ryan Sweeney

P John Lackey

The Rays will be sending a back-up unit of players as most of their regulars will stay behind for a split-squad game against the Pirates in Port Charlotte.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, john lackey, MLB
Mike Carp: ‘To put on a Red Sox uniform is definitely going to mean a lot’ 02.22.13 at 9:39 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — In the middle of his physical Friday morning at JetBlue Park, Mike Carp spoke about what it would mean to actually make the Red Sox‘ 25-man roster to open the season, one year after a shoulder injury he suffered in the MLB opener in Japan.

Carp dove for a fly ball in left field and injured his right shoulder in the opener against Oakland at the Tokyo Dome.

“You have 55,000 people over in Japan. I’m not coming out of that game,” Carp said Friday morning. “It’s the first game of the season. I’ve waited my whole life to make an opening day roster.”

He spent two stints on the disabled list trying to heal it while also battling a groin injury. One year after hitting .276 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 79 games for the Mariners in 2011, he fell to .213 in 59 games with just five home runs.

Now, following this week’s trade that sent him to Boston for a player to be named, he is competing for a big league roster spot on the Red Sox.

“I had a lot of expectations coming into last year,” Carp said. “Had a big 2011, finally getting an opportunity to play. Just one of those tough luck plays. It’s opening night. You can’t really write a better story than getting hurt opening night I guess. I think it’s going to make mentally tough and definitely kept me hungry for this year. I’m excited to be healthy for a full season.

(Click here to listen to Mike Carp talk Friday morning about joining the Red Sox.)

“[Healing the shoulder] took some time because it was a pretty significant injury but towards the end of the season, that second stint on the DL really helped. We went through the whole rehab process and have been feeling normal ever since. Nothing crazy, just had to wait for it to heal. Just banged up more than anything. No surgery or anything like that.

“I’m excited to be healthy. Going to out and perform the best I can and we’ll see what happens at the end of spring.”

Carp said he spent the last two weeks staying in shape and trying to be ready for whatever deal might come after being designated for assignment. He was traded to Boston and immediately placed on Boston’s 40-man roster since he has no options remaining.

“Just hanging out and kind of limbo and don’t want to do too much,” Carp said. “Obviously, stay in shape, doing light baseball stuff but didn’t want to go too crazy out there. Heard some rumors. To put on a Red Sox uniform is definitely going to mean a lot.”

The 26-year-old Carp is convinced that Boston is a good fit for him.

“Rebuilding, getting back at it, and winning ballclub,” Carp said. “We’re here to win. It’s not like the Mariners how you start from the bottom and try to work our way up. I’m excited to help out any way I can, play first, left, DH maybe. Get some opportunities and hopefully, take advantage of them.”

He knows he’s been brought in to compete with 36-year-old Lyle Overbay and Daniel Nava as a left-handed batting first base/outfield option.
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, daniel nava, Lyle Overbay
Joel Hanrahan, Daniel Bard lead shutout of Northeastern 02.21.13 at 4:28 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Daniel Bard threw 18 pitches in the second inning of Thursday’€™s 3-0 win over Northeastern as the Red Sox began spring training games at JetBlue Park. The right-hander struggled with fastball command early, turning to his slider.

He allowed a bloop single to Connor Lyons to open the inning but then, with a mid 90s fastball and a sharp slider, came right back to strike out the next three batters. Joel Hanrahan allowed a single, hit a batter and struck out 2 in his 17-pitch first inning.

“Joel really looked good,” Hanrahan’s catcher David Ross said. “I thought Joel’s ball was down, and his fastball was really jumping out of his hand. Early on you don’t want to do anything to speed up the college guys’ bats, but you also want to get work in. It’s kind of a tough thing calling a guy like that, but I thought Joel looked really nice.”

Offensively, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled home the first run and walked twice while Dustin Pedroia was caught looking for a strikeout in the first and hit into a 5-4-3 double play in the third. The double by Saltalamacchia was the only extra-base hit for the Red Sox in the game, as they finished with five hits. Despite holding the Huskies scoreless for seven innings, the Red Sox allowed Northeastern to take the field in the bottom of the seventh and scored twice more but those runs did not count in the box score.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Daniel Bard, joel hanrahan
Jason Varitek ‘learning a lot’ as Red Sox catching instructor at 7:59 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek spoke Wednesday about what it means to him to be back in the organization as a catching instructor. Varitek is serving as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, working with major-league and minor league catchers during spring training.

Read More: 2013 spring training, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Jason Varitek
Lyle Overbay on Mike Carp competition: ‘It’s not that big of a deal’ 02.20.13 at 3:14 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — From the moment he signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox on Jan. 31, Lyle Overbay knew this was coming. The Red Sox mentioned to him then that they would likely be bringing in others to compete for the job of a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder to provide more roster depth.

So when he was spoken to by John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington Wednesday, he was hardly caught off guard when told the Red Sox acquired left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp from Seattle for a player to be named.

“I think that’s big; that shows you how respectful they are,” Overbay said. “Ben was the same way. Those type things are just something you are very, very welcome and thankful they’re able to do that.”

What did Farrell and Cherington tell Overbay?

“Same thing. I knew coming in that they might make a trade,” Overbay said. “It’s the same thing. If I want to compete and compete and see. It’s early. It’s not like it’s a week from opening day. It’s early. It’s not that big of a deal.”

[Click here to listen to Lyle Overbay address his role on the Red Sox after the trade for Mike Carp.]

As reporters approached his locker Wednesday after workouts, he showed a sense of humor, asking very rhetorically, ‘What do you want to talk about?'”

The 36-year-old Overbay says he embraces the competition with the 26-year-old Carp.

“You bring guys in here to win games and to give options because you never know those unknowns. I think that was their biggest thing, was playing the outfield and first base [against right-handed pitching]. I think that’s why Nava is taking ground balls at first. I knew all that coming into it. It’s not that big of a surprise. I just do what I can and see if I fit. That’s all I can do.

“It’s got to all work out. I know some of the numbers [matter]. I know John has to feel comfortable with four outfielders if he goes with me, that kind of thing. Those are little things when it comes down to it. I have to show I can perform so it’s yes and no.”

Overbay says he’s not concerned that he signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, making his potential release relatively painless for the team. Additionally, Carp comes into camp automatically on the 40-man roster (Ryan Kalish was moved to 60-day DL to make room) while Overbay is simply on a minor league invite to big league camp with no 40-man spot guaranteed.

“I haven’t even thought about that really,” Overbay said. “I think it might. It just depends. I don’t want to sit here and say that yeah, ‘that works out for him.’ He’s got to come in here and prove it, too. I think it is [about] how it all works out and make sure everything works out. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Lyle Overbay, mike carp
Mostly Red Sox major leaguers against Northeastern, minor leaguers vs. BC at 9:24 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo posted player participation charts Wednesday morning for the college doubleheader on Thursday at JetBlue Park that kicks off a schedule of spring games.

Against Northeastern at 1:35 p.m., the Red Sox will sport primarily a major league roster, with regulars like Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia seeing playing time.

Joel Hanrahan will start the game against Northeastern followed by Daniel Bard and a host of other relievers in the seven-inning game.

In the second game, Koji Uehara will get the start in the seven-inning contest against Boston College at 4 p.m. That game will feature primarily minor league players. But there will be two players to keep a close eye on as Xander Bogaerts gets the start at third base while Jackie Bradley, Jr. is expected to start in center.

Mike Napoli (hips) and David Ortiz (Achilles) will not play in either game, as they are being held back while ramping up during the early portion of spring training. Farrell indicated Tuesday that Napoli was “making very good progress” and should be making his debut in game action in the early part of the game schedule.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston College, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz
John Farrell: Monday reunion with Tim Wakefield in Dunedin 02.19.13 at 8:55 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell will apparently have a reunion with Tim Wakefield on Monday in Dunedin as the former knuckleballer visits his former team and their current knuckleball prospect, Steven Wright.

“Right now, he’s tentatively scheduled to see him up in Dunedin on Monday, see him throw,” Farrell said Tuesday. “He’s coming off a family vacation but he has every intention of seeing that game and then be down here [in Fort Myers] the rest of the week.”

Farrell initially said he hadn’t decided whether or not to make that trip to Dunedin or the much shorter trip to Port Charlotte for the other split-squad game against the Rays, in which Alfredo Aceves will be pitching. Pressed on the matter, Farrell said with a smile, “I’ll see you in Dunedin.”

Another pitcher was under the microscope on Tuesday as Farrell raved about the work ethic of right-hander Junichi Tazawa, the 26-year-old right-hander who came back last season from Tommy John surgery to impress the Red Sox and those who watched him down the stretch, like Farrell when he was managing the Blue Jays.

“He’s come back with almost different stuff,” Farrell said. “When he first signed here, he was a guy who controlled the running game, could throw multiple pitches for strikes. But what’s most impressive since he came back from Tommy John is the increase in velocity. I don’t know if anyone projected him to be a mid-90s type of guy, and he’s been that, particularly in the second half of last year, and having not sacrificed command and location. You look at his strikeout-to-walk ratio totals are outstanding and he does all the little things inside the game that really show up in those later innings.”

Indeed, Tazawa struck out 45 batters while walking just five in 44 innings, while posting a 1.43 ERA in 37 games and a stunning 0.955 WHIP. Tazawa made the transition from starting pitcher in 2009 to reliever in 2011, after missing all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

“Combination of both [move to bullpen and usage pattern] but the strengthening he did throughout the rehab is one of the reasons the arm strength has continued,” Farrell said. “The adrenaline and he’s such a good athlete, he’s able to channel that adrenaline in such a good way that his stuff really played up. His lateness [in break] of the split, he really emerged as the season went on last year. He’s got weapons, very good pitcher. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, junichi tazawa
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