Nelson understands the situation
So Alan Embree walked in this morning, heating up the competition in the bullpen. Among those on the bubble are Joe Nelson, Scott Atchison and Brian Shouse. As manager Terry Francona mentioned, some of the pitchers’ “radars might have gone up a bit”.
But Nelson, the well-traveled vet, knows by now he can’t stress about such things. After throwing a shutout ninth inning against the Orioles, the righty spoke openly about the situation.
“Theo owes it to the people that own the team, to Red Sox Nation, to everyone, to exhaust every possible avenue,” Nelson said. “That’s their job and that’s why they’re good at what they do. They’ll bring in a truck driver if he says he can throw 90-mph and can throw a splitter. If they check it out for themselves and he can, they’ll probably keep him around for a while. They have to exhaust every avenue.
“I expect that from the organization. I’m not rooting against Shouse or Atch or Embree for that matter. We can only do what we’re capable of. The decisions are going to be made behind closed doors besides what we do on the field and even that, you can say, what do I need to do, throw nine perfect innings? And even that may not be enough. They’re looking for a certain person, a certain spot, chemistry is involved, your ability to pitch is involved. It’s more than just, ‘we’re taking this guy, he’s got the best numbers.’
“I’ve been on teams where I had a better spring than guys and they didn’t go that way. The Red Sox as a front office owe everyone to try to exhaust every possible reserouce. Alan is a 17-year veteran. He’s had tremendous success. I know he hasn’t pitched in a while and I know from experience how hard it is to come back. We’re going to see in a couple of days how far along he is. You don’t forget how to throw overnight so I’m sure he’ll do just fine.
“If it ends up he’s the guy, then that’s the way it is. Shousey, Atch and myself, we’re putting a good foot forward. We all think we’re going to pitch in the big leagues. It may not be on our time-table because we all want to be there April 4 and that’s probably not going to happen. Now, I’m trying to make the team. If I don’t make it, I’m going to try to be the first guy to call when something goes wrong. I don’t try to think about the second one too much.”
What excited Nelson on Saturday was some refined mechanics that he felt led to his best pitching since the middle of the 2008 season.
“I’m focused on what I’m doing right now, which is every time I get the ball to go out and work on some things. I’m excited,” said Nelson. “I feel good. I can honestly say that’s the best I’ve felt in 16 months, since 2008. Last year I went thorugh mechanical just cluster. I tried eveyr different thing in the world. Thursday I threw a pen on the off-day and me and John [Farrell] looked at my stride and it was really short. I got home and saw one glaring omission in the last two years of trying to throw the baseball. Today I felt good. I was just excited to be able to throw. I felt like I could have thrown 15 changeups in a row.”