Delcarmen getting closer
It was interesting that the Red Sox sent Manny Delcarmen to the Minor League complex for two innings on Monday so he could work on physical and mental aspects of his game. The righty is an important piece to Boston’s bullpen when he is going well, but he struggled mightily in the second of last season.
Delcarmen is a perfect example of how Spring Training statistics mean almost nothing to the way the club evaluates a player. In Delcarmen’s case, he has a 1.35 ERA in eight games, but the club has noticed him laboring.
Monday’s exercise seemed to do Delcarmen some good. But he is still a bit of a wrok in progress.
“He was better,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “I thought there was better consistency to the command, and the location of the fastball was not down in the zone as much as we’d like to see. That’s more fundamental or delivery-related. There was more of a willingness and an intensity to his two innings of work here and the whole idea today was to allow him to go through 35 to 40 pitches of work, granted, the atmosphere and the intensity is not what we’re going to see of him or what he’s going to be involved with.”
Delcarmen was pitching through shoulder pain duiring his second half struggles, and might have lost some of his swagger. Farrell is trying to get Delcarmen to pitch with more confidence.
The righty will pitch his final Grapefruit League game on Thursday against the Twins.
“Talking to Farrell, he wants me to go out there and get that
attitude like, ‘you’re going out there and nobody can touch you.’ I took
that approach a little bit today, just threw some pitches inside and
like I said, I felt great,” Delcarmen said. “Hopefully this carries on to the next time I
throw and I’ll just keep going and attacking. John said, ‘I want you to get that fiery attitude back that you used to have.”‘
Delcarmen is one of Boston’s more versatile relievers in this sense: He can go multi-innings in the middle of a game or he can pitch later in the game for a batter or an inning. He can also get lefties out. If anything, Delcarmen said, he needs to get back to the point where he is dominating righties. Lefties hit .221 against Delcarmen last year. Righties hit .322.
“I’ve heard Tito say it a bunch this spring. I know from my numbers
last year, I felt like I couldn’t get a righty out for my life toward
the end,” Delcarmen said. “I kept getting lefties out. He said, ‘Manny has that ability
to get lefties out and when he’s on top, downhill, he can get righties
out.’ I see that as a plus, just stay healthy and whenever he needs me,
be ready to go. I definitely want to attack righties more.”
There are also some delivery adjustments that should help Delcarmen.
“hen he separates his hands, when he’s on time in his delivery, he’s going to leverage the ball downhill with some giddy-up on it, with some life through the zone,” Delcarmen said. “I think he understands it better. You could see it today. he was trying to get it out there and get it done. When he does it, it’s good. I think it’s still a little bit sporadic. He threw some good changeups today. I think the two innings helps. He’ll go two innings again Thursday, which I think will help.”