|Joel Hanrahan, Daniel Bard lead shutout of Northeastern||02.21.13 at 4:28 pm ET|
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.
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.
|Lyle Overbay on Mike Carp competition: ‘It’s not that big of a deal’||02.20.13 at 3:14 pm ET|
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.”
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 »
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.
|John Farrell: Monday reunion with Tim Wakefield in Dunedin||02.19.13 at 8:55 pm ET|
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 »
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The irony of the situation was rich Tuesday.
Jason Varitek, the former Red Sox captain, was in front of the pitcher’s mound on Field ’2′ throwing pitches to catchers, observing how they called defensive signals, received the ball and threw to second and third base. Manager John Farrell and new bullpen coach Dana LeVangie was a close observer.
For 14 years, from 1998-2011, Varitek was the backbone of the Red Sox battery as its primary catcher. Now he wants to impart wisdom.
“It feels good, having a guy like him that you respected growing up and got to play with him,” Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Tuesday. “It’s nice having him out there because he’s a guy that I’ve gone to in the past and I can still go to him. He’s there but you don’t feel like he’s stepping on anybody’s toes. He’s there for them, which is special.”
Saltalamacchia joined Varitek on the bench as Ryan Lavarnway was the starting catcher for the last game of Varitek’s career, Sept. 28, 2011, when the Red Sox lost their season finale and their season in Baltimore.
After taking 2012 off to spend time with his family, Varitek is back as a “special assistant” to general manager Ben Cherington. On Monday it was Pedro Martinez – another “special assistant” – showing his willingness to give back to Red Sox Nation. On Tuesday, Varitek appeared on the practice fields.
“I would say it’s very similar,” Farrell said. “You’ve got two very successful players who have been leaders in their own right at their respective positions. They’ve achieved team success as much as anybody has ever played in this game, particularly in this uniform. They’re both so well respected and I think they’re so respective of the city of Boston, the organization, they want to give back. They have a great opportunity to do just that. I know that Tek, even in his last couple of years, Salty would pick his brain a lot. And now Tek has the ability to do that on a broader scale. Most importantly, they both want to give back, and I think it’s a great thing.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The way Red Sox manager John Farrell looks at his catching situation, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross is not a platoon situation. It’s much better.
Still, Farrell made it clear on Tuesday, two days before the Red Sox begin playing games, that Saltalamacchia is still his choice as the No. 1 catcher on the roster, with Ross providing a very capable back-up.
There has been some talk this spring that a platoon could develop with the pair, as the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia has 50 of his 64 career home runs from the left-handed side of the plate.
“The majority of his home runs came left-handed and again, I want to be careful, I’m not outlining a platoon,” Farrell said. “Salty would be our lead catcher right now. But we know that we have a very capable No. 2 guy, and I think the one thing we’ve always viewed the catching position as a two-man situation, knowing that there’s a lead guy, and that would be Salty.
“We’re fortunate to have the flexibility in the addition of Ross but I can’t see a drastic rededuction in the number of at-bats from Salty.”
Ross, meanwhile, has 54 of his 84 career homers against left-handed pitching. As for the catching duties and comfort levels between the pitchers and the Red Sox catching duo, Farrell will let that play itself out over the spring and into the season.
“I haven’t gotten to the point where he’s going to handle one guy in the five, every five-day rotation. There’ll be a natural break to it, day game after a night game. Certainly, that will come into play but if there are favorable match-ups, we’ll certainly take advantage of that.
“The one thing we knew going into this year is that David is more capable than a traditional back-up catcher, where it’s 35, 40 games. There’s more there. There isn’t a number of games earmarked or ‘X’ number of a games per week.”
“We’ll see how that unfolds, if certain guys work better because of rapport. The one thing I don’t want to create is [reliance on a single catcher]. We want all our pitchers to throw to both catchers, and don’t want that to be a reason as to not go out and perform to the best of their abilities. So, we’ll see how that unfolds and the rapport that is generated.”
Farrell made it very clear he plans to communicate frequently with his catchers to keep both fresh over the course of 162 games. Read the rest of this entry »
- Castellanos designated for assignment with Napoli signing official
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- Michael Almanzar selected in Rule 5 draft
- Preliminary 'New Stars for Young Stars' lineup announced
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season