Pitching for a spot
While Clay Buchholz (two innings, five hits, three runs, two walks, 37 pitches) had a somewhat forgettable day, he is past the point in his career where he needs to be measured by Spring Training stats. Yet there is still one little problem: The Red Sox have more Major League-worthy starters (six) than spots (five).
Buchholz can add. He knows this. Is it a little awkward?
“It would be awkward for anybody. I guess there’s four guys regardless what happens will be on the staff,” Buchholz said. “The other two, three guys, yeah it’s awkward. Got to basically do what I did last spring, do what I did to finish he season last year, and I think everything will take care of itself.”
It was a pretty good deay for a couple of other guys trying to make the team in the bullpen. Scott Atchison had a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
Boof Bonser looked extremely sharp for the second outing in a row, striking out three and giving up one hit over two innings. Bonser is being stretched out like a starter, but has the inside track on a spot in the bullpen.
“He’s got a nice, clean delivery,” said Francona. “For a guy who has gone through some things with his shoulder, he likes to pitch. He doesn’t look scared. He’s a really interesting guy. We’ll try to build him up and see where it will take him. I think as he builds up and gets some of that velocity back, he gets a little bit more interesting.”
Atchison, meanwhile, is competing with Joe Nelson, Brian Shouse and some others for what would probably be the 12th slot on the staff.
The big story of the day was the hometown kid, Casey Kelly, firing off two shutout innings. It was Kelly’s first time back at Ed Smith Stadium since he led Sarasota High School to a state championship in 2007.
Even veteran umpire John Hirschbeck was taken aback that Kelly is only 20.
“Even the umpire, between innings, was like, how old is that kid?” Francona said.
In other news, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, citing a source familiar with the talks, says that early discussions between Josh Beckett and the Red Sox have been amicable, perhaps creating optimism that the ace will never get to free agency at the end of the season. It should be noted that it is still very early in the process.