Results tagged ‘ Casey Kelly ’

Tito still plotting lineup

What will the Red Sox’s starting lineup be on Opening Night — which is one week from today — against the Yankees? Well, the nine players are a given, but manager Terry Francona said he is still trying to figure out the exact order.

One “A” lineup the Sox have had out there a few times this spring is Ellsbury-Pedroia-Martinez-Youkilis-Ortiz-Drew-Beltre-Cameron-Scutaro. But the one dilemma with that alignment is that the five-six spots are back-to-back lefties and the last three spots are all righties.

Francona said he recently had assistant director of baseball operations Zach Scott do some statistical research for him, so he is waiting for some answers on that.

“Tthere’s probably going to be some things in our lineup where either you’re going to set it up for the beginning or the end. I don’t know that there’s a way to set it up where it works perfect. We have a few more right-handers then we’ve had in the past,” Francona said. “They may line up together. I don’t know. We’ll see. That lineup we’ve used so far this year, we’ve had 7-8-9 have been right-handed, five and six have been right-handed. I don’t know that that sounds perfect.

“At the same time, there’s other things we’re trying to account for also so we’ll see. The one thing I don’t want to do is put a lineup out there for Opening Night because it’s [CC] Sabathia that’s not our lineup. I think sometimes that can get overdone. We’ll see.”

Marco Scutaro has the ability to hit at the top or bottom of the order, and Francona has enjoyed the shortstop’s attitude.

“He’s really good about it,” Francona said. “He goes, ‘just put me out there, I’ll play.’ He’s really good about that.”

In other news:

Phenom Casey Kelly will make a one-day return to Major League camp on Tuedsay when he starts against the Rays in Port Charlotte. Tim Wakefield will stay back in Fort Myers that day and throw three innings in a Minor League game, and then come back on three days rest and start the exhibition game against the Nationals in D.C. on April 3.

Kelly’s workload is being monitored closely, similar to Jon Lester in 2006, because his innings will take a significant jump this year. At any rate, it will be fun to watch him pitch again.

“I think it will be a nice day to let him start,” Francona said. “It will be fun for us to get to watch. I think it will be a good experience for him.”

Kelly is expected to throw 60-65 pitches.

Corner infielder Mike Lowell dodged a bullet with that foul ball he nailed off his left knee on Friday. Lowell seemed to be moving around well before Sunday’s game and should play third base on either Monday or Tuesday.

Monday will be a busy day for Francona and his staff. Boof Bonser, Manny Declarmen and Daisuke Matsuzaka will all pitch in the Minors in the afternoon, and Josh Beckett, Scott Schoeneweis and Alan Embree are all on tap that night at home against the Rays.

Outfielder Jeremy Hermida is fine, a day after tweaking his right hamstring. He should return soon.

Big game today, as the Red Sox can clinch the vaunted Mayor’s Cup Trophy with a win against the cross-town Twins.

Kelly sharp in intrasquad game

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The fans were largely gone, the scoreboard was off and it won’t be recorded in any stat book, but Red Sox 2008 first-rounder Casey Kelly was pretty sharp during his three-inning intrasquad outing on Saturday afternoon.

The only blemish was a long home run off the bat of catcher Luis Exposito. The nature of the game had Expo batting every inning. Kelly struck him out in one outing. The next time, Kelly got a little too much of the plate with a fastball and Exposition crushed it over the left-field wall.

“If you’re going to give up a home run, you might as well make it like that,” Kelly joked after his outing. “That won’t be the last home run I give up in my career. It was hard having to face him every inning. I’ve only got three pitches.”

He was able to mix those pitches pretty well as he continued to work on improving his secondary pitches — his curve and changeup. Overall, Kelly feels those offerings are coming along nicely. As he prepares for his first full season as a pitcher-only, he couldn’t say enough good things about what he’ll take with him whenever his time in big-league camp comes to an end. With innings a bit at a premium, he understands that might be in the not-too-distant future.

“If they sent me down tomorrow, [I'd be happy],” Kelly said. “Just being around all these pitchers, I’ve definitely grown as a pitcher the last couple of weeks.”

 – Jonathan Mayo

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.

Sunday in Sarasota

As we wait for Clay Buchholz to make his Grapefruit League debut and Casey Kelly to pitch against Major League hitters for the first time in his hometown to boot, here are some quick hits from this morning:

There could be a schedule of progression for third baseman Mike Lowell by tomorrow. Lowell was expected to huddle with trainer Mike Reinold today in Fort Myers to map things out as far as when he might be game ready.

Daisuke Matsuzaka had his first true bullpen session of camp this morning, meaning that the catcher was in a full crouch the entire time. Pitching coach John Farrell told manager Terry Francona that March 18 could be a rough estimate of when Dice-K is ready to pitch in games. The Red Sox don’t play on March 18 — the team’s only off-day of Spring Training — so perhaps that won’t be the date. Or there’s always a B game. 

Farrell said that Dice will throw another bullpen in two to three days, and then batting practice by Friday or Saturday. If all goes well, he could pitch a Minor League game after that instead of a second BP session.

Wondering why Jason Varitek hasn’t been in a game since Wednesday night? The catcher has been tending to a personal matter, and the Red Sox have given him their blessing to prioritize that and return when he is ready.

“We just told him to handle what he needs to and we’ll make adjustments. He knows he has our blessing to do what he needs to do,” Francona said.

There hasn’t been much buzz about prospect Michael Bowden lately, perhaps because he got rocked in limited opportunities with the big league team last year. But there has been progress in his development.

“I’ve got to go back a little ways. A couple years ago, he went to that API in Florida, and he got strong. He got big. Now, he’s slimmed down a little bit, but he didn’t sacrifice strength,” Francona said. “We don’t really want him to do that. But he’s had so many adjustments in his delivery – as you can tell, you see him every few months, there’s a little bit different
delivery. We want him to be a little bit more relaxed and fluid in his delivery. I see him every day in that weight room, in the mirror, which is good. We’re just trying to have, I think that’s the right word, a little bit less tight.”

Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury, who gets a start in center today with Mike Cameron not on the trip, is vying for the early team leader in bus rides, at least among the established players.

“Jacoby needs to pull for another wave of young guys – because he’s making some tough trips. He’s the youngest guy, he’s going to get [the brunt of it],” laughed Francona. “I hate to tell him that.”

One game in the books — and Ino is 0-for-2

The 2010 Red Sox have officially played a game. OK, it’s not quite official. In fact, it doesn’t even count as a Grapefruit League game. But it was a 15-0 victory over Northeastern.

There was a sequence in this game you might never see again. Ino Guerrero, wearing No. 34, hit for the team’s other No. 34 — a guy named Big Papi.

Who is Ino Guerrero? His official title is “Major League staff”. Mainly, he is a batting practice pitcher. When Manny Ramirez played for the Red Sox, Ino threw just about all of his BP sessions. He still throws to David Ortiz all the time. The Red Sox had fun with his two at-bats, which resulted in two soft groundouts. Red Sox veterans heckled Guerrero from the top step of the dugout as he battled against Northeastern. Guerrero, pictured below by Brita Meng Outzen, grounded out so weakly in his second at-bat, that he didn’t even bother running out of
the box.
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“We’ve had a couple [of highlights] — the ’04 and ’07 [titles] are definitely at the top, but the Ino at-bats are right there. I never have caught myself rooting against our people,” Francona said, laughing. “That’s hard to say. But it’s one of the highlights, man. We’re playing Northeastern and every player from the next game is on the rail watching, pulling for a pulled hamstring. He warmed up for six innings!”

Ortiz, already dressed and ready to go home, checked out his BP pitcher from the dugout in amusement.
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Before the game turned into pure fun, Ortiz belted a two-run homer to right, a good sign for the Sox even if it was a windy (blowing out) type of day against college competition.

“David put good swings on the ball, and had good at-bats,” said Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez. “That’s a pretty good sign for this early in the camp.”

Meanwhile, Casey Kelly experienced his first taste of pitching for the Red Sox, firing 10 pitches in a scoreless first inning that also included two strikeouts.

While the Red Sox were tuning up with Northeastern — with a nightcap soon to start against Boston College — Clay Buchholz got two innings in over at the Minor League complex.

One Red Sox prospect you don’t hear as much about as some of the others is Che-Hsuan Lin, a speedy center fielder from Taiwan. You right remember Lin being named MVP of the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium two years ago. Lin started the Northeastern game and went 2-for-4.

“He smacked the ball,” said Francona. “It’s a nice way for a young kid to get his first chance to swing a bat in this atmosphere. I’m sure he probably had a little heartbeat going.”

Opening Day lineups set (in a way)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — OK, so it’s not really Opening Day, per se, but it is the first game of the 2010 season (never mind the fact that it doesn’t count, and it’s a doubleheader against two college programs). Anyway, the Red Sox finalized the lineup for that Wednesday exhibition-opening doubleheader at City of Palms Park. Victor Martinez will bat third in the opener, and captain Jason Varitek will make his spring debut in the nightcap.
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Here it is …
Against Northeastern (1:05 p.m. ET)
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Bill Hall, 3B
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Jed Lowrie, SS
Lars Anderson, 1B
Darnell McDonald, RF
Che-Hsuan Lin, CF
Gil Velazquez, 2B
SP: Casey Kelly
Against Boston College (6:05 p.m.)
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Tug Hulett, DH
Josh Reddick, CF
Ryan Kalish, CF
SP: Boof Bonser
By the way, I’m filling in for Ian Browne on Red Sox duty today. Follow along if you’re on Twitter (@Alden_Gonzalez), and feel free to drop me a line via e-mail (Alden.Gonzalez@mlb.com).
– Alden Gonzalez

Cameron injury minor; Sctuaro earns rave reviews

Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron came off the field early in Sunday’s workout with tightness in his left groin, but it is the definition of a nagging Spring Training injury.

“Because we were getting pretty active with the relays, I told him to come in and get treatment,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I don’t think it’s anything. He tested it out, his strength was good, his range of motion was good. But it’s not something we want to make worse now.”

Though Cameron, pictured below by photographer Brita Meng Outzen conferring with trainers, might not be back in time for game action on Wednesday, when the Sox open their exhibition slate with a day-night doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College, he had no concern whatsoever.

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“I’ll be fine. If I had to play a game, I could play a game,” said Cameron. “I just didn’t want to push it you know with the body just starting to get shocked and starting to do a lot, didn’t want to get too far behind and get tired and really hurt something. It’s precautionary, we jumped on things quickly. It’s kind of good to sit back and let the body catch up with the mind and listen to it for a change.”

One player who seems to be winning everyone over early in camp is diminutive shortstop Marco Scutaro. Yes, you can already count Dustin Pedroia as a huge fan of his new double-play partner. Here they are below walking off the field together today.

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“He’s real steady over there. He’s a baseball player. He makes all the plays. He’s going to make my job real easy,” said Pedroia. “Everyone I’ve talked to who I’ve asked about Marco, they say the same thing. What a great teammate he is, great guy. So we’re excited to have him. I can see why everyone loves him. He works hard. He’s going to be a huge help to this team.”

Pedroia also had some praise for top prospect Casey Kelly, who he faced during batting practice.

“The command, his presence, he’s got a real good idea of what he wants to do and you never really see that at that age,” said Pedroia. “There’s a reason why he’s talked about a lot. A lot of teams want him. He’s got good stuff.”

In other newws, Daisuke Matsuzaka played catch at about 150 feet. Still no precise word on wehther he will ramp up to a bullpen session. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is Tuesday or Wednesday.

The first workout

There were about 900 fans there — and surely many more watching the live coverage at home on NESN — for Saturday’s first official Red Sox workout of Spring Training.

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester threw on the side at the same time. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie took some hacks.  Terry Francona pelted line drives at his pitchers — called the rag ball drill — to make sure the reflexes were sharp.

And after that, there were press conferences galore. Wakefield and Jason Varitek talked about their expectations this spring. Francona and Theo Epstein gave their state of camp address, as captured below by photographer Brita Meng Outzen.

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The offense? Don’t worry about the offense, urges Epstein. Look at the big picture, he says.

“I think we still have a chance to be a really good offensive club,” said Epstein. “I think there’s been a lot of skepticism out there about our offense. I think we still feel like we can be one of the top handful of offenses in the league. What we’re really striving for is balance.

“We want to do be one of the best pitching teams in the league. We want to be one of the best defensive clubs in the league. We want to be one of the best offensive clubs in the league. The years that we’ve accomplished that are the years that we tend to do better. 2004, by the end of the year, we had accomplished that. 2007 we had accomplished that. We’re really looking to be well rounded. Looking back at last year’s club, we were one of the better pitching clubs, we were one of the better offensive clubs. We were sub-par defensively. The goal this year is for us to achieve better balance.”

Two of the players who figure most prominently in this year’s offense? Ellsbury and Pedroia, shown here by Brita from today’s workout.

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The pitching? Yes, that looks loaded. But Epstein preaches caution.

“Ask that in about eight months,” Epstein said. “On paper, I think we have a chance to be as solid a 1-5 pitching staff as we’ve been here and a chance to be pretty top heavy too if things go right. You’ll have guys vying to be called the number one on this staff, some pretty talented pitchers. It’s all theoretical this time of year. It doesn’t’ really matter how it looks on paper until we go out and do it.

“Just keeping a single pitcher healthy and effective from this point through September and hopefully through October in the American League East is a chore, let alone doing it with five guys or 11 or 12 on the pitching staff so we know we have our work cut out for us. Certainly there are some guys here who’ve had very effective seasons before in this league and if we can have them all do that at the same time, we could go pretty far.”

One pitcher who will be one of those five at some point, probably within a couple of years, is phenom Casey Kelly, who is experiencing his first spring at Major League camp.

“I’d actually like to be a little bit guarded in that,” Francona said. “The reason I say that, he just turned 20 years old. This kid is in a major league camp and we don’t want him to try to do more than he needs to. What we really want him to be is a sponge and soak up everything he can. He’s got a great feel for a young kid. Watch the way Beckett and Lester and those guys do things and just soak up as much as he can. He needs to prepare for his year, wherever that ends up being. Just have a real good experience and see how we do things here in our Major League camp.”

Daily Dice-K update? The righty is doing just fine, and his back injury is anything but significant. Matsuzaka will start playing catch again on Saturday.

“Dice will start playing catch tomorrow. Sixty feet,” Francona said. “Again, now, because of some of the downtime, we need build a base as we’re going to do with everybody. He was looked at by Dr. Gill, we got a very productive report through that, so now we’re going to start back up again and get him strong.”

The Wave of the future

The next batch of Red Sox prospects is in town for the team’s annual Rookie Development program, a group that includes Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Kalish, Junichi Tazawa and Luis Exposito.

We had some media availability in the bubbled practice facility at Boston College on Wednesday. Here are some snippets we gleaned.

Casey Kelly is now just a pitcher and happy about that. It makes training for the season a little more straightforward.

“It’s a lot easier than last year trying to train for two positions, but this year has been great. Knowing what position I’m going to be playing throughout the season has helped my training. Been training hard, started throwing program a couple of weeks ago. So I’m ready to get the season going,” Kelly said

Where is Kelly in his development?

“He’s going to compete for a spot in the Portland rotation. The criteria that we hold in terms of progressing players through the system, especially a starting pitcher, which is repeating your delivery, throwing your fastball to both sides of the plate and throwing your secondary pitches for strikes, Casey demonstrates a lot of those things already,” said director of player development Mike Hazen. “We feel pretty good that, if everything continues to progress, he could move pretty quickly. It wasn’t so much of a sell as a decision that we sat down and talked about. We didn’t feel like we had to sell him on this. We just felt like we needed to sit down at the end of the year and talk about what we felt like was going to be in the best interests of Casey moving forward, then hear what he had to say about what would be in the best interests of Casey moving forward, then putting it all together and coming to a joint decision. If Casey wouldn’t have bought into pitching, this wouldn’t work. It was very much how we hope all of our relationships with players is – it’s a partnership.”

Hazen had one very noteworthy quote on Exposito, the big catcher.

“He’s got tremendous raw power. He might have the best right-handed raw power in the system,” Hazen said.

As for Iglesias, he is learning the culture as much as he is trying to figure out what it takes to get to the highest level of baseball. He is working hard to learn English, even taking in American movies. His favorite thus far? “Avatar”.

There you have it.

Casey on the mound

While the Red Sox eased their way into the Winter Meetings on Monday, they did have one formal announcement that could play a big role in their future. Casey Kelly, perhaps the top prospect in the organization, has officially decided to be a pitcher instead of a shortstop. The right-hander did both this past season and will put all his attention toward pitching in 2010. He will be invited to Major League camp.

“I think he saw himself more as a hitter coming into the Draft but again, I watched him pitch this year and he looks like a pitcher when he’s pitching,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “He’s got a lot of ability as a position player too but I think once he saw what he’s capable of on the mound and what the organization thinks of him as a pitcher, there’s a lot of mutual trust in this relationship. The meeting was important – to exchange information, to see how we see things, how he sees things. he just took all that information and made a decision.”

Kelly was 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA on the mound in 2009.

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