Results tagged ‘ Clay Buchholz ’

A line drive finale for Lowell

Yes, Terry Francona did say before the game that “Mikey is going to get two at-bats today and DH.”

As it turns out, Lowell wanted a chance to run out of the box, which he didn’t get while striking out and popping up in his first at-bats.

The final at-bat, taken in the bottom of the seventh inning was far more successful. Lowell watched a ball, then looked at a strike before raking a hard, clean, line single over the head of the shortstop and into center field.

FYI, Buchholz was absolutely lights out today, three perfect innings.

 

The return of Mike Lowell

Yes, Mike Lowell is in the Boston batting order for the first time since Game 3 of last October’s Division Series against the Angels. He will be batting fifth, serving as the  DH.

Last time we all saw Lowell play a game, he was hobbled, and a shell of his normal self.

I’ll give you pitch-by-pitch updates of Lowell’s at-bats for those of you who can’t watch live.

Also, I’ll fill you in on Clay Buchholz‘s start and any other interesting happenings of the game.

Looking for a Mr. Camp? The early nominee is Nick Green. The 29-year-old veteran journeyman — who has 275 games of Major League experience and a lot of service time in the Minor Leagues — is hitting .478 with two homers and five RBIs over 23 at-bats.

Unfortunately for Green, it’s hard to imagine a roster spot will be open to him unless there is a trade of a certain veteran shortstop, which is highly unlikely.

Buchholz and crisis management; Pap breaks out slider

While the star of the day was top prospect Daniel Bard and his 100-mph fastball (I’m not sure poor Mike Aviles ever saw it), Clay Buchholz and Jonathan Papelbon also had interesting outings against Puerto Rico.

Buchholz got into jams in both of his innings, and got out of them. This is significant because this is the same type of thing that would just sink him last year, be it in Spring Training or the regular season.

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First inning, two
guys on, nobody out. Last year, it would have just snowballed and there would
have maybe been three runs at the least,” Buchholz said. “My thought process was alright, make a
pitch right here, get a groundball. I struck somebody out and then pop fly,
nobody advances. Last guy I struck out. That first inning made me go in the
dugout and just take a deep breath and say, OK, once again, I’ve been in that
position and I knew how to do it more [now].


“And second inning, right off the
bat, bases loaded, nobody out. From then on, my mindset was minimize and get a
groundball or get a flyball and I came out lucky and got a double play and then
ended up getting out of it with just one run.”

As for Papelbon, he is making a concerted effort to integrate the slider into his mix this season. Of course, Papelbon already has that lethal fastball and split, but the slider can give him a new wrinkle.

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Papelbon said he hasn’t thrown it much since converting to reliever for good in 2006.

“Today, I felt
like I wanted to go out there and throw my slider more and I was able to do
that well,” Papelbon said. “Just because,
for me, I feel like it’s time to kind of give those hitters something else to
look at. For me, adding another pitch will just, I feel like, make me better. I
felt really good today and I’m really pleased about it.”

Grapefruit League rotation; Ortiz returns to practice

We have a pitching order, at least for the first few games.

Ace Josh Beckett will be the first Boston pitcher to take the mound in Spring Training, when he faces Boston College at City of Palms Park on Wednesday afternoon. Tim Wakefield pitches that night at the Twins’ complex.

Jon Lester pitches at home against the Pirates on Thursday, followed by Michael Bowden at Port Charlotte against the Rays on Friday. Lefty Kris Johnson, a Minor Leaguer, starts against Northeastern on Saturday afternoon, and Clay Buchholz pitches that night at City of Palms against the Reds.

And to come back in and answer Julia’s question. David Ortiz’s shoulder is fine. He was back out there taking BP today after missing two days of workouts.

Papi stays inside

For the second straight day, David Ortiz did not participate in outdoor drills with his teammates. Is it Papi’s knee that was surgically repaired after the 2007 season? Is it that left wrist that kept him out for seven weeks last year?

Relax, you Red Sox Nationers. It’s nothing of that sort. Ortiz merely had a bit of a sore shoulder and will be back out there for a full day of drills on Saturday.

“He’s a little better,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“Actually, a lot better. We held him back one more day. I think he probably just overdid
it the other day a little bit. He’s not a guy that’s probably done a ton of
throwing coming into camp. We go out there and he does the groundballs with
everybody and then he went home and fell asleep on it but I think tomorrow he’ll
be fine. It’s his left shoulder. It’s sore. It’s nothing that anybody has had
any concerns about.”

To give you an idea of how slow camp has been the last few days, Ortiz actually drew a crowd at his locker to talk about the nagging shoulder. He completely downplayed it, saying that he was fine and that he expects to be back on the field tomorrow.

“It’s just the kind of thing that happens and you have to do what you have to do, you know?” Ortiz said.

After the workout, Ortiz, still in workout shorts and a Red Sox sweatshirt, could be seen sitting in the drivers seat of his red ferrari. Nice ride!

In other news, Josh Beckett threw his first live BP of the spring and looked pretty impressive in doing so.

“Thought Beckett
did well,” Francona said. “[He] kept the ball down and stayed in his delivery.”

Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Justin Masterson were some of the other significant pitchers to face hitters.

Stay tuned Saturday, as Francona will unveil his early Grapefruit League pitching rotation at that time. I know, it doesn’t quite compare to the Kevin Garnett knee injury in terms of news value, but interesting to pent-up Sox fans nonetheless. 

Buchholz working on the mental game

Nobody has ever questioned the gift that Clay Buchholz has in his right arm, from the mid 90s fastball to that sweeping curveball to the changeup that freezes hitters. But obviously something led to his 2-9 record and 6.75 ERA last year, during his stints in the Major Leagues. It was the mental side, which Buchholz acknowledged in a session with the media on Thursday, official reporting day here at Spring Training.

“You live and learn, and I learned a lot from last year,” Buchholz said. “It’s definitely
mental. Physically I worked pretty hard this offseason, throwing a lot more. I
feel like I’m in better shape. The mental side of it, I’ve always heard, it’s
90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. I know have the athletic ability to
do it but if you don’t have the right frame of mind to go about it, I don’t
think you’ll succeed so that was a big part of it this offseason.”

To get a handle on the mental aspect, Buchholz met with former Major Leaguer Bob Tewksbury, who is the sports psychology coach for the Red Sox.

“I
had a couple of meetings with Mr. Tewksbury, and he just helped me on some
little things to go out there and think about,” Buchholz said. “If you have negative thoughts
going through your head when you’re on the mound during a game, you sort of
have to step off the mound, take a breath and try to make a pitch instead of
worrying about the next batter the inning before. That was my deal last year.”

What will Buchholz’s deal be this year? The Red Sox have Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and Brad Penny slated for the rotation and John Smoltz pegged for a spot once he is given medical clearance.

Buchholz isn’t thinking about that right now. He’s just thinking about getting his own game back on track. Last year was an utter nightmare. It’s hard to forget the sight of Buchholz just completely losing it at Camden Yards that night in August in what proved to be his final Major League start of the season. From there, he went to Double-A, and then to the Arizona Fall League. This from the kid who tossed a no-hitter the previous September.

 “I’d get in a jam last year and I’d try to make a pitch perfect instead of just
making a pitch and that’s where I got behind in the count all of last year.
that was exactly my mindset in the bullpen that I just threw. Really easy and
try to hit the third of the plate, instead of right on the black, and that’s how
I’m going to go about it.”

In other news, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield held court with the media this morning and expressed optimism about working with Josh Bard again.

“I
said that three years ago that I never had somebody work as hard as he did to
try to catch me and do the right things,” Wakefield said. “He was truly a professional — his attitude
and his preparation for the way he went about his work and I look forward to
working with him again.”

Theo Epstein and Terry Francona will do their annual opening of camp address to the media at noon. It won’t be the same this year without the annual question of asking whether Manny is expected to arrive in camp on time.

Lastly, please e-mail me a few more questions at ian.browne@mlb.com. I’m hoping to post an in-box — formerly known as mailbag — by tomorrow.

All for now.

Ian.

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