Results tagged ‘ Clay Buchholz ’

Red Sox getting into dangerous territory

The Red Sox arrived here in Anaheim tonight at the point in their season where they simply cannot fall any further back then they are in the standings if October is going to be any kind of realistic possibility.

Before even taking the field today, the Red Sox lost a half-game in the standings to both the Rays, who got a Matt Garza no-hitter against the Tigers and the Yankees, who notched a 3-2 win over Cleveland.

A loss tonight would drop the Sox nine games behind the Yankees in the American League East and six in back of the Rays in the Wild Card. In other words, they DESPERATELY need Clay Buchholz to out-duel Dan Haren in this one.

As for other news of the day:

One clear positive note was the return of Victor Martinez, who batted sixth . Another? Jacoby Ellsbury started his rehab in the Minors. Dustin Pedroia did some running before the game, and it didn’t go as well as he hoped. Still no word on exactly when Pedroia will return. A big part of it will be how his CT-scan goes in Boston on Friday.

But you have to wonder: Will the Red Sox still be within striking distance in the race(s) when they get all their big guns back?

At this hour, that is a very tough question to answer. 

Lowell, others getting healthier

Dustin Pedroia is still a few weeks away. Same with Jason Varitek. Same probably for Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie and Victor Martinez. But some other bodies are getting healthy.

Manny Delcarmen returned to the mix tonight after being down for two weeks with a forearm strain. Clay Buchholz gets back Wednesday when he pitches in Oakland. Josh Beckett could well be the next day in Seattle.

And there was even a Mike Lowell update today. The 3B/1B/DH will have a cortisone shot on his right hip on Monday and be back playing in a Minor League rehab assignment by Thursday. The question for Lowell is, when he does come back, will it be for the Red Sox or another team?

The Rangers are interested again, though they are monitoring all available corner infielders.

“I think there’s been rumors since the Winter Meetings of last year,” said Lowell. “If something happens, I don’t think that changes the way I feel about my teammates or the city or the fans. Those are all positives for me. I love Miami too. So, I don’t see why it changes, or it’s always a bad thing. I do know I enjoy playing baseball and I’m doing that less this year than I ever have. I don’t know. I’ve heard talks, but I’ve heard talks for eight months. I have no idea. I don’t know the situations other teams are in, whether it’s a need or what, I don’t really care to know either. I think you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to break down every team. I just want to be in a position where I can play.”

All-Star Monday with a M*A*S*H update

The Red Sox, as is their annual custom, took up an entire corner of the room at the All-Star media Monday.

Some interesting nuggets.

It has been assumed that Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz would return to the rotation and pitch on Friday night at Fenway against the Rangers. That is no longer a safe assumption. Buchholz said he will pitch Monday, but it’s not certain to be in Boston.

A Minor League rehab assignment is possible, especially since lefty Felix Doubront, who filled in for Buchholz in his last start, is still on the roster. Pawtucket plays at Syracuse on Friday night, so that wouldn’t be a particularly long road trip.

“I’m ready to go,” said Buchholz. “I’ve gotten a whole lot better in the last couple of days, too. Definitely feeling ready to go. I don’t know where I’ll be pitching for sure on Friday but they definitely said I was pitching Friday.”

Asked about the possibility of the Minors, Buchholz said,  “It could be. It’s three weeks off. It  would sort of be hard to throw me right into the fire. I think I’m going to feel strong just throwing the couple of bullpens I’ve already gthrown. I feel good, I feel strong”

The original hope for catcher Victor Martinez is that he would be back shortly after the All-Star break. But the fractured tip of Martinez’s left thumb isn’t healing as quickly as originally hoped.

“As soon as the pain goes down, I’m going to at least be able to put my glove in there and be able to go out and play,” said Martinez. “Unfortunately I just can’t put my hand in the glove. That’s the thing. It’s painful. I tried. It’s tough.”

Dustin Pedroia hopes to take a positive step forward on Friday when he gets a follow-up CT-scan on his fractured left foot.

As for Jacoby Ellsbury, his agent Scott Boras wanted to make it clear that the outfielder was not trying to disassociate himself from the team when he trained at the Athletes Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz. over the last month.

“There’s a lot of people, certain journalists, who just don’t have the right facts,” Boras said. “The cooperation has been great with the organization. I spoke with Terry [Francona] four or five times and Theo [Epstein] many times. We’ve been on the same page throughout. These are decisions of Jacoby’s medical care and his physical therapy, all these thigns were made mutually. It’s been a very cooperative environment. Good communication with everybody and we knew what was going on and why and it was all by agreement.”

“I think Jacoby described the set of circumstances he was operating under and the information he was operating under. I think that accurately potrays what occurred and the key thing is that I’m just telling you, responsibly between Theo and myself and and Jacoby and Terry, it’s all been very fluid, it’s all been very understood. There’s been no question about what he should or shouldn’t do. The team in fact chose where Jacoby would train in Arizona. That was not anything we suggested. That was a group they’re comfortable with and Jacoby was comfortable with. It was a very cooperate effort.”

Six Sox Stars and one (sort of) snub

The Red Sox got plenty of respect from players around Major League Baseball as no fewer than six Boston players were slected to the All-Star Game via the player voting.

But just as newsy as Adrian Beltre, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez being named to the squad was the news that Kevin Youkilis did not make the cut.

Youkilis is one of the five AL players eligible for the Final Vote ballot, so Red Sox fans should go to http://www.mlb.com or http://www.redsox.com and vote if they want to support the gritty first baseman.

“I’m not a self promoter,” said Youkilis. “I’m not going to tell anyone to vote for me. I hope my family and friends vote for me. but it’s going to take more than that. For me, I’m going to go out and play baseball and not worry about it. I’ts out of my hands. You just go out and try to win a ballgame.”

Beltre seemed to be the guy that Sox players were the happiest for.

“No question, man,” said Ortiz. “If there’s one guy in this clubhouse who should be part of the All-Star Game, it’s Adrian. Adrian has been doing an unbelievable job for this ballclub and I think he’s earned it.”

Clay Buchholz has come the furthest in the shortest amount of time. Remember two years ago when he was so despondent and lost and posted a 6.75 ERA in 16 starts?

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs to get to this point. Being able to be named with the guys that are on, that’s awesome,” said Buchholz. “It’s something that I dreamed about growing up. I dreamed about just playing in the big leagues. I’m as happy as can be.”

Though Jon Lester has pitched like an All-Star since May of 2008, this is his first time officially being one.

“It’s obviously big,” said Lester. “It’s something you grow up watching as a kid, the home-run derby and everything. You see a lot of great players playing that game. It’s definitely an honor. Like I said before, I’m going to try to do my best to represent the Red Sox and hopefully do well out there.”

For Ortiz, this All-Star berth has to be particuarly gratifying, considering the number of people who were on the verge of giving up on him back in April.

“That’s a tough first month,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He said all along, ‘It’s a long year, stay with me.’ There’s probably days when he was irritated with me and probably days where he was more than irritated with some of you. He’s right. He’s been a terrific player and continues to be, and I think it’s great that he was recognized for that.”

At least outwardly, Ortiz took the news in stride.

“I really appreciate it, man, what the players think about a guy like myself,” Ortiz said. “Like I say, I’m a guy that I try to respect everyone and play the game the way it’s supposed to be. I think when you get voted in by the players, it’s just because pretty much everyone agrees with what you’re doing, so, I’d say I really appreciate that.”

For Pedroia, the All-Star nod has to be bittersweet since he currently is walking with crutches and obviously won’t be able to play in the game.

“It’s still a great honor,” Pedroia said. “I’m really excited. The players voted me in? That’s pretty cool. Pretty special. I’m excited about it.”

As for Youkilis, Ortiz said to get out there and vote.

“Yeah man, all of you out there, you guys make sure that my boy Youk comes on this flight. You can’t play no better than that,” said Ortiz. “When I found out he wasn’t going, I was kind of upset. A guy that has put it together like Youk thorugh the years and especially this season, he really deserves to be out there. I know a lot of people will keep that in mind and make sure Youk is an all-star. He deserves to be in there.”

Sox seeking a Sunday split

After losing the first two games of this series, a gem by Clay Buchholz Saturday night has put the Sox in position to salvage a split of this four-game series. They have a decisive advantage today in the pitching matchup, with a red-hot Jon Lester taking on Bruce Chen.

Dustin Pedroia will not start today. Obviously the little second baseman is scuffling at the plate. Today’s off-day coincides with Monday’s team day off, which means a well-rested Pedroia can take the field on Tuesday night.

Victor Martinez will also take a breather today after playing the last two games on a badly bruised left toe.

Josh Beckett held court with the media a little while ago. He doesn’t seem overly concerned about his back injury, thinking he could experience great improvement at any time. If anything, Beckett feels the team was overly conservative not letting him throw the last two days. But as he said, “Everyone has to answer to somebody.”

Game 2 of 162

Encore, anyone? It will be hard to top Sunday for pageantry, drama and everything else.

But back they are, the Sox and the Yankees, for the second game of this series, and their second game of the season.

When you score nine runs like the Red Sox did on Sunday, don’t expect any lineup changes, and there aren’t any.

It was a great Opener offensively for manager Terry Francona’s nine.The only two guys who didn’t get hits were Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, so perhaps they will get their firsts out of the way. Maybe Ortiz will take Burnett deep tonight and hit home run No. 1 on April 6 instead of May 20, like he did last year. Ortiz has three career homers off Burnett.

Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, won’t pitch until Sunday in Kansas City, which is nine days removed from his last spring start. To shake off any potential rust, he will throw a simulated game at Fenway tomorrow for three innings.

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.

Washed away at Roger Dean

JUPITER, Fla. — This is Alden Gonzalez here, filling in for Ian Browne, and it looks like I brought some of that Miami-ish rain from home with me on Friday. Sorry about that.
DSC01617.jpgAnyway, it’s been raining all morning at Roger Dean Stadium — and the night before — so the game was postponed before 11 a.m. ET. Here’s how it affects the Red Sox:
* They’ll play their regularly scheduled game against the Pirates at home on Saturday, at 1:05 p.m. ET (weather permitting). They’ll then play a 5 1/2-inning ‘B’ game against some of the guys from Minor League camp. Clay Buchholz (Friday’s scheduled starter) will start the game against the Pirates, followed by Michael Bowden. 
* Pitching in the ‘B’ game will be Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Casey Kelly, Ramon Ramirez and others.

* Boston will now come back here to make this contest up on March 22 as part of a split-squad game. The other half of the squad will be back home playing the Rays. That will mark back-to-back split-squad doubleheaders on the schedule.
* Since the Marlins weren’t here on Friday (they were busy getting rained out in Sarasota, Fla.), Red Sox hitters were able to utilize the batting cages, and a few guys threw off the mound before they headed back to Fort Myers, Fla. 
* Mike Lowell (thumb) is still on track to play in his first exhibition game on Monday, against the Orioles. Daisuke Matsuzaka (upper back) is still scheduled to throw to hitters on Saturday. That will be at 11:30 a.m. in the backfields at City of Palms Park.
* Francona said his “best guess” would be that Jason Varitek, who missed a few days while attending to his ailing father, would play again against the Twins on Sunday, even though he’s itching to play tomorrow.
“I know he’s chomping at the bit, I just don’t think it makes any sense to rush and send him backwards,” Francona added.
* It’s too bad for Jupiter residents that the weather didn’t hold up. Even though Kevin Youkilis was the only everyday player in the lineup for the Red Sox, this contest was sold out.
“If I was the Cardinals, and I had a sellout, I would want to play the game, too,” said Francona, whose squad traveled 2 1/2 hours from Fort Myers. “I don’t blame them. If they want to pay for our dinner last night, we’ll accept it.” 

– Alden Gonzalez

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.”

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