Results tagged ‘ Alan Embree ’

Atchison on team; Tazawa to undergo Tommy John

Manager Terry Francona informed righty reliever Scott Atchison this morning that he is on the team. It is a feel-good story of sorts, as Atchision returned to the U.S. after pitching the last two years in Japan, hoping he’d be able to win a spot in the Majors.

The final spot on the roster is between lefty reliever Scott Schoeneweis — who will pitch today — and righty Joe Nelson. Either way, Nelson will travel with the team to Washington. The Red Sox are hoping to have a better read on Schoeneweis by the end of the day.

Alan Embree, the club has determined, is not ready for Opening Day. They’ve asked the lefty to pitch on a rehab program, which would consist of several outings in the Minors. Embree is going to mull it over and talk to his family. He has an opt-out clause in his contract on April 15.

And Junichi Tazawa, the Japanese prospect, will undergo Tommy John ligament transfer surgery on his elbow. Tazawa will be operated on by the renowned Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. on Tuesday. The righty won’t pitch at all this season, but given the normal time-table of Tommy John recovery, he could be ready by the early portion of the 2011 season.

Beckett ready to go; Lefties not quite

Ace Josh Beckett made it clear Monday night that he’s good to go for Opening Day. The righty was sharp in his 94-pitch outing, scattering six hits and two earned runs and striking out eight.

“I thought he was strong,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I didn’t think he was quite down as much as he was last outing. I thought he threw some real good changeups. I thought as he got into the game, he started throwing his breaking ball. I think he feels good about himself. He should. He looks strong — he looks ready to go.”

Beckett accomplished what he set out to do this spring, despite a bad cold/flu that weakened him for about two weeks.

“You want to progressively get better. I felt like I did that,” said Beckett.

Mike Lowell made a solid return to the lineup, lacing two singles to right over his three at-bats. It was Lowell’s first game since Friday, when he pounded a foul ball off his left knee.

Meanwhile, the battle in the bullpen is still going. Scott Schoeneweis, signed on Saturday, made his first appearance with the Red Sox. It started just fine, with two strikeouts. But then things worsened. The lefty gave up two hits and two runs over 2/3 of an inning, walking two.

“I thought Schoeneweis — I thought he was a little too amped up,” Francona said. “He’s had a week off. The ball was moving all over the place, but not necessarily in the strike zone. First two hitters struck out and then things kind of got away from us a little bit.”

Alan Embree, another veteran lefty who was signed on March 20. Unlike Schoeneweis, who had a full camp for the Brewers, Embree wasn’t pitching for anyone until he got that call from the Sox.

For the second time in as many outings, he struggled, giving up two hits and four runs — three earned — over 2/3 of an inning. Embree walked two, but felt it was better than his first outing two days earlier.

“Alan just didn’t command very well from the very first pitch,” Francona said. “He was kind of up, down, so we’ve got some things to work on.  It’s been coming quick but he’ll come back Wednesday. Just trying to get him enough work and not too much.”

After giving up a leadoff walk, Embree was trying to get groundballs.

“Threw five groundballs. Leadoff walk is just a leadoff walk, flat out. Settled in, tried to get double play balls. Tried to get them to hit it on the ground. Made the pitches to make them hit it on the ground,” said Embree. “Most of the time I’ll take those groundballs. Tonight it didn’t seem to fall the right way.’

Embree and Schoeneweis will both pitch again on Wednesday in Sarasota against the Orioles.

Saturday subjects

Jeremy Hermida left todays’ game with right hamstring tightness. Will follow up with more when I get more.

Back in Fort Myers this morning, Scott Schoeneweis arrived, Kevin Frandsen arrived, and Mike Lowell discussed the foul ball that nailed him in the left knee and knocked him out of Friday’s game.

Manager Terry Francona said it’s hard to know just when Lowell will be ready for a return to action.

“He’s tender, but not horrible,” said Francona. “Pretty tender. He kind of popped his head in before we left. I don’t know when he’ll play. We’ll see. I guess not as bad as it could have been but again, I kind of come back to what I told you guys – you guys saw the same thing I did. It was painful.”

“When I saw that yesterday, he went down in a hurry. You know he wanted to play. We’ll just keep an eye on him. He’s in there today and he’ll do what he can do.”

As for Schoeneweis, he is fully into his spring routine, having just been released by the Brewers a few days ago. The Red Sox will try to get a quick read on him and determine if he is a fit.

“We’ll see, we’ll just try to cover everything,” Francona said. “We have Alan [Embree] here. We know it’s going to be kind of a short look. That’s why we’re trying not to mess around and prolong it. We want him to be able to get out there and pitch a few times so we can make some good decisions.”

MLB.com’s Maureen Mullen was among the reporters who spoke with the lefty in Fort Myers this morning.

Schoeneweis is excited that the Red Sox have given him a chance. He has gone through a lot in the last year, with his wife dying suddenly last May. His kids will spend time with him in Florida this week.

“They have spring break next week and they’re going to come out and hang out at the beach,” Schoeneweis said. “That takes the sting of having to be this far away. Most guys would rather be without their family in Spring Training. My situation’s a little different. I feel much better with them around. So it took the sting out of having to leave so suddenly, and come out here to Florida. So it’ll be fun for everybody.”

He has thrived throughout his career at Fenway, and used to attend games there as a kid.

“It’s a special [place] for me,” he said.  “Came to Fenway as a little guy, all through my life growing up. It’s always been a special palace. I’ve always pitched well there, and I think it’s just because I love it so much. I’m an East Coast guy,anyway. I enjoyed my time in New York [with the Mets], bought a house in Connecticut. I like the weather in Arizona, but with everything else I’m an East Coast guy. So, this should be pretty special.”

The Red Sox will do as much evaluating as they can over the next few days. With that in mind, they will break up their pitching on Monday. Boof Bonser, who had a minor groin injury during his last start, will pitch in the Minors that day, and so will Daisuke Matsuzaka. Josh Beckett will start the Monday night game, with both Embree and Schoeneweis pitching out of the bullpen that night.

After breaking camp on Friday, the Red Sox will play one exhibition game on Saturday afternoon in the nation’s capital against the Nats. Tim Wakefield and Dice-K are expected to pitch in that one.

Embree has solid Minors outing

Lefty Alan Embree, at least judging by the linescore, had no detectable rust in his first game action of 2010.

Embree pitched in a Minor League game against the Orioles’ Triple-A squad today, reeling off a 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout, a groundout and a popout. He threw 12 pitches, 11 for strikes.

The next step for the 40-year-old Embree will likely be a Major League game on Saturday against the Orioles in Sarasota.

Aside from the good news on Dustin Pedroia’s negative X-ray, not much else in the news department.

Manager Terry Francona did express confidence in Clay Buchholz, despite his rough outing on Tuesday night.

“Two innings in Fort Myers in the middle of March,” said Francona. “I would rather take those nine starts that he [made late last year]. Again, that’s kind of what I’ve been saying. I know we have to make decisions on when guys pitch and things like that early in the season and that can get overblown. As far as we feel about Buck, he’s good. He’s gonna be good.”

Meanwhile, Manny Delcarmen threw a 1-2-3 inning against the Twins on Tuesday, but he hasn’t found his groove yet. The issue? Delivery tweaks.

“He and [pitching coach] John [Farrell] are going back and forth and it’s not like they’re butting heads.” said Francona. “They’re just trying to get to a point where he comes to balance and he can drive off that mound and have everything in sync. I don’t think we’re there yet. I’m just being honest.”

Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his long-awaited Grapefruit League debut for Thursday, when he comes on in relief of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Bonser takes a breather; Embree set for Wednesday

Boof Bonser set that he felt his groin tighten up during the last batter he faced on Monday, so he was in no way using that as an excuse for a shaky performance against the Rays. The Red Sox held Bonser back from baseball activities on Tuesday, but the injury is not believed to be serious.

“It was only the last hitter I faced, like the fourth pitch,” said Bonser. “They want to make sure this is completely gone and we’ll go from there.”

Will Bonser do baseball activities soon?

“I’m hoping so,” said Bonser. “I wanted to do it today but they said, ‘don’t do anything stupid and just take the day off’.”

Bonser is on the bubble to make the team, so he obviously doesn’t want to be held back by this injury. At the same time, the Red Sox don’t want him to push it too fast, mindful of the fact he had rotator cuff and labrum surgery 13 months ago.

In other news, lefty Alan Embree is all set to pitch in a Minors game on Wednedsay, representing his first game pitch of any kind since his right leg was broken on a line drive last July. Embree was signed to a Minor League deal by the Sox on Saturday. This marks his return to the team he pitched for from 2002-05.

Jed Lowrie? He is still sapped from mono, and not doing much of anything.

Any update?

“Unfortunately there really isn’t,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “The update is that he doesn’t feel that well. He doesn’t feel well enough to do a lot besides, really, walking. He’s kind of got on the bike for short stretches. That’s kind of where we’re at. The problem with this is not only what he’s going through but probably trying to regain when he comes back. You know how you lose so much when you’re just laying around. That’s just how he feels. He’s kind of stuck in neutral.”

Is Francona worried about the potential lack of depth at shortstop come Opening Day? Despite Bill Hall making two errors there on Monday, Francona sounds confident he can do the job there when needed.

“I think Billy has really embraced going out there. He likes it, he enjoys it,” Francona said. “Just, again, the more reps he gets, the better off he’ll be. And he’s getting his at-bats all over the place but a lot lately we’ve played him at short because there’s been at-bats there. I think it’s been good for him.”

Meanwhile, the roster size continues to shrink. Michael Bowden, Aaron Bates and Ramon A. Ramirez were optioned to Pawtucket today and Jorge Sosa was re-assigned to Minors camp. That leaves 40 players in Major League camp, 39 if you consider that Dice-K is all but certain to begin the season on the disabled list.

Lackey stretches out in Minors game

The Red Sox pretty much know what they are going to get from John Lackey this season, and they know how professional he is about getting his work in. So it was without hesitation that they had him make Monday’s start in a Minor League Intrasquad game down the road, rather than at City of Palms Park, where an “A” game was taking place against the Rays.

At this point, the key for Lackey is just to continue the process of getting stretched out. He did that on Monday, going five innings and allowing three hits and one run.

Lackey, who hasn’t allowed a run in his first three Grapefruit League starts, walked none and struck out six. He threw 68 pitches, 46 for strikes.

“It sounded like he threw a bunch of strikes,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I think he had six strikeouts, gave up one home run. Sounded like he had a pretty good day though.”

Two members of the Boston media — Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe and Alex Speier of WEEI.com — took the trek down Edision Avenue to watch Lackey pitch instead of staying for the Major League game.

There were, of course, not just less media, but far less fans than normal for Lackey’s performance.

“It’s different, for sure,” Lackey said to Benjamin and Speier. “The adrenaline is not quite flowing like a normal game. I felt like I got my work in, located the ball pretty good. Got to the pitch count I needed to get to. Got it accomplished.”

After starting the last two seasons on the disabled list, Lackey is keeping a closer eye on himeslf this spring so there are no bumps in the road.

“I’ve definitely scaled back a few things,” Lackey said. “I haven’t thrown quite so much this Spring Training between starts. I’m kind of saving a few bullets. But I definitely feel like I’m where I need to be for right now. Got to the pitch count, so keep moving forward. I was more happy with my breaking stuff today than I have been in the past. I got a few more swings and misses going for a couple strikeouts that I got. There are definitely some times in games when you’ve got to go get one, and I was able to do that.”

In other news, veteran reliever Alan Embree, who was signed for a second stint in a Boston uniform a few days ago, threw in the bullpen before Monday’s game. Embree will pitch in a Minor League game on Wednesday.

“Then we’ll kind of go from there,” said Francona. “He just hasn’t been outside a lot. He’s champing at the bit, we’d like to get a look at him. But going too fast doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

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.”

Embree, one of those 25, is back

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox fans are always happy to get some reminders of 2004, and today they have one. Alan Embree, who you might remember as the man who got the last out in Game 7 of that American League Championship Series against the Yankees, is back on a Minor League contract with a Major League invite.

“He was obviously a very huge part of a very good bullpen for us,” said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. “He’s
got deception, he’s got experience, he’s got some power. I don’t know
where he’s at time-wise right now, but he’ll be a very welcomed
addition.”

Obviously Embree, who is 40, could be a a factor on the Major League team this year, or the Red Sox wouldn’t have signed him at this late point in camp. Hideki Okajima is the only other lefty reliever sure to make the team. Brian Shouse, more of a pure situational lefty than Embree, is also in camp, trying to make the team. Shouse is 41. Keep in mind that Embree, because of his late arrival, doesn’t figure to be ready for the start of the season. Then again, the Sox are keeping all their options open.

“Well, Alan is signed to a Minor League contract and today we’ll go out and kind of see where he is,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He says he’s almost game-ready. That’s encouraging for us. At the same time, we’re not going to go do something like that. We’ll go out and let him do his stretching. Whether that takes him to a bullpen or not is going to kind of depend on how he and John see fit. We’ll try to estimate where he is in his progression and then we’ll try to get him ready to get in games.”

The lefty reliever had his 2009 season with the Rockies end abruptly when his right leg was broken on a line drive.

Embree was acquired by the Sox in June of 2002 and was a key contributor as a setup man through the end of that memorable ’04 season.

In 2005, however, it all fell apart (1-4, 7.65 ERA) for Embree, to the point where he was released shortly after the All-Star  break. He hooked on with the Yankees for the end of that season, but rediscovered his form in San Diego (2006) and Oakland (2007-08). Embree had a 5.84 ERA with the Rockies last year before taking the line drive.

The 40-year-old Embree will try to regain his form for the Red Sox. He is here this morning and will address the media in a bit.

Embree has pitched 882 times in his Major League career, going 39-45 with a 4.59 ERA. In 774 innings, he has 691 strikeouts. Opponents have hit .254 against him in his career. He pitched 211 times for the Red Sox, posting a 4.69 ERA.

He came up big for the Sox in the 2003 and ’04 postseasons. In ’03, he didn’t allow a run in eight outings. If you remember, manager Grady Little was criticized for not bringing on Embree to face Hideki Matsui when Pedro Martinez faltered in that infamous eighth inning. Embree was called on 11 times by manager Terry Francona in the October ’04 run to the title, posting a 2.45 ERA.

“He seemed to have the ability kind of mix a little more his secondary pitches when he was in Oakland — that was the last time we saw him,” said Varitek. “But he was still powerful. I don’t know where he’s at right now, but he’s very welcomed. It’s a nice face to see.”

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