Results tagged ‘ Drake Britton ’
The Red Sox played their first road game of Spring Training today, albeit just a few minutes up the road to play the Twins. Here were the significant events.
Nava drills one from the right side: Daniel Nava hadn’t faced a live pitcher since the World Series last year when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat on Saturday. It ended with the left fielder pummeling a homer over the wall in left against Scott Diamond. The most significant thing about it was that it came from the right side. Nava has been a far superior left-handed hitter over the years, so it could make him an even more valuable player if he can start contributing as a right.
Last season, he hit .322 with 10 homers, a .411 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage against righties. Against lefties, he hit .252 with two homers and a .311 on-base percentage and .336 slugging percentage.
“I’ll take any of them — left-handed, right-handed — it doesn’t matter,” Nava said. “But, obviously, I know I have work to do from the right side. Any time I can put together a good at-bat, whether the result is a home run or not, that for me is what I’m trying to allow one of the things of Spring Training to be about.”
Britton looks like he belongs: Drake Britton looks like he means business this spring. In his first outing on Saturday, he punched out the first three hitters he faced, and four out of seven, giving up just one hit. Assuming Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow and Chris Capuano are all on the team, whch seems likely, that leaves Britton without a roster spot.
However, the Red Sox don’t want him thinking about that.
“Do just what I’ve been doing,” Britton said. “I’ve been told, ‘Don’t change a thing,’ just keep doing what I’m doing, and that’s what I’m focused on.”
Pierzynski even booed in Spring Training: The one thing the Red Sox haven’t had in recent years is a player who gets booed all the time on the road. Don’t be surprised to see A.J. Pierzynski get his share of jeers. As has been well-chronicled, he is one of those players the opponent loves to hate. Pierzynski even heard it from the fans at Hammond Stadium on Saturday as he stepped in for his first at-bat. Pierzynski played along, tipping his cap..
“Whatever,” said Pierzynski. “It’s fine … [I] expect nothing less. It’s fine, just one of those funny moments. It’s good.”
Webster still trying to prove himself: When Allen Webster arrived last spring, he dazzled everyone by throwing in the upper 90s. However, he might have set himself back. Webster was trying to impress his new team, so he sacrificed command for velocity. Today, Webster still looked like he was trying to find himself, displaying some of that same spotty location that marked his abbreviated stints with the Red Sox last year.
It could just be a case of Webster trying to refine some of his new mechanics.
“Delivery-wise, he was a guy who went over his head with his hands and was a little bit stagnant with his movement, where he’d begin his delivery and pause at the top with his hands at the top of his delivery,” said Farrell.
And how will that adjustment help him?
“It takes the tension out of his shoulders and, in some ways, it’s comparable to when Clay [Buchholz] made the adjustment, as well,” said Farrell. “You would see Clay begin a game — every pitcher — as they’re trying to get into the flow of the game, there’s anxiety and there’s some uncertainty — and that translates to some tension.
“The key with Clay was, let’s work to get the first ground ball on the infield. Then, you could see the tension come out. This is taking it out naturally by the adjustment in delivery. It just feels more loose and fluid.”
Grady gets a hit: Grady Sizemore played for the second time in three days, and belted a single to right and the last of this three at-bats. The plan is for Sizemore to get two down days and then resume action on Tuesday. However, Farrell said Sizemore could then get another break from game action after that game. The Red Sox are obviously trying to find the right balance to keep Sizemore healthy.
Quip of the day: Johnny Manziel — A K A Johnny Football — paid a visit to Red Sox camp in the morning as part of a sponsorship appearance.
“Maybe he’ll come take over for Tom Brady,” said A.J. Pierzynski, who then added, “I’m joking, I’m joking!!
Sunday’s activity: Felix Doubront makes his first start on Sunday. Edward Mujica, who could be a key man in the bullpen, makes his debut. Regulars Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Jonny Gomes should all see action.
Pedro Martinez is one of the few former Red Sox players who can great a buzz simply by arriving at camp. Today was his first day and he talked about a bunch of different stuff. Here is a sampling:
On going into the Red Sox Hall of Fame: “To me, it’s a great honor to actually go into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. I don’t have enough words to thank the organization and I’m extremely proud to have been chosen to go into the hall of fame. Really happy. I think, this once again makes me more of a Bostonian than ever. I keep saying I’m a Bostonian. Now, I can’t go away.”
How about the baseball Hall of Fame, which Pedro is eligible for in 2015? “I’m looking forward to that. There’s only so much I can do. As of now, I’m just like you, hoping and waiting to get another chance to actually get another chance to actually make it back-to-back years. Boston, then the Hall of Game.”
Does he think he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer? “I think I should have a shot but it’s not up to me. Like I said, it’s not up to me. I can only hope and wait.”
How about going into the Red Sox Hall of Fame with Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra? “It’s a great honor to go with two of the guys that symbolize the Red Sox and have done so much for the game and for the whole Boston area and the Red Sox. I’m extremely honored to share that moment with them. Just happy to be right with them.”
What does he love so much about his current role with the Red Sox? “It’s just that I think I have so much to offer, stuff that I’m not going to put into use anymore. I might as well pass it along. I’m trying to do that. I’m trying to get involved more in baseball and more with the young players and the veteran players. Whoever needs me. I would just love to pass everything I know, all my knowledge, all of my experience to some of those guys nad hopefully get some good results out of every one of them.”
How does Pedro teach heart? “You certainly don’t pass your heart but you pass some of the experiences you have that actually make you go out there with such a confidence and such a desire. Those are the things that I’m hoping to pass along to those kids, along with my experience, make them feel more comfortable so they can go out there like they have no fear.”
Who caught Pedro’s eye on his first day of camp? “Every one of them. You know what really caught my attention, to see everybody in such great shape. Everybody seems to be ready. Everybody seems to be so strong. I saw Lester today throwing on the side. My God, he looks great. he looks like he didn’t miss a beat. I also Uehara throw live BP. He looks like game-ready. It’s amazing. I know though, it hasn’t been too long since they were actually pitching. It’s amazing to see how they look game-ready already.”
Pedro’s relationship with Drake Britton: “Well, the first thing was I was honest to him. I will always be. I was straightforward with him and I told him exactly what I would probably love to hear if I was in the same situation. I talk about his stuff, trusting his stuff, about his personal life, how he should treat some of the things that were happening. How much of a battle he wanted to put up after things like that happened. I’m extremely proud of him, extremely proud to see him overcome all that and actually pay me back, pay me back. that’s all I wanted. I wanted to see him have success and to see him at the end of the year pitching so well and doing so well for the team, helping the team so much, it really made me like a proud father.”
Did he enjoy his work with TBS last fall? “I did. You know what guys, I have a lot more respect for you guys. I thought TV was just sit down and talk about baseball. Especially analyzing. I have to really tip my hat to some of you for the work you do. it’s so much searching and little details that you have to look at, game changing situations. It’s a lot more work than I thought but it’s really interesting and I had a great time, especially working with the guys I was working with. It was great. They were true professionals, guys that were really on top of the game. And not only that, they were trying to teach me every day how to become more comfortable.”
More TBS in Pedro’s future: “Yes I have one more year with TBS and who knows along the way? But I’ll remain in baseball. I don’t want to go away from baseball.”
Which other young pitchers has Pedro been impressed by? “I thought Ranaudo was going to get a chance [last year]. When I saw him I saw a guy that was completely different because of the history, with his arm problems. I think he was delayed a little bit more just to be cautious because that was the first full year he was pitching. Owens, he’s a natural. He’s a natural. I think it’s just a matter of keeping them healthy and before you know it they’re going to be up. Those guys are full of talent. I was really impressed with the material we have in the minor leagues.”
More strong young pitchers in the system than he’s seen in the past? “Yes. There is. A lot more than I was used to seeing. A lot more. A good collection of big guys, big guys, strong guys, hard-throwers. Amazing. And so young, so talented.”
Pedro thinks young pitchers are more protected now: “Well the way this organization is guiding each arm we have in the minor leagues, I think it’s a little bit different. Back in my days you had to pitch your way to the big leagues. Now they measure your way to the big leagues. And they hold you and they hold you. Even though you’re doing your job in the minor leagues, it doesn’t have anything to say with it. It’s the program they have to guide each player to the big leagues and hopefully keep him healthy. I think this organization is doing a great job of keeping everybody healthy and calling the right pieces at the right time. I don’t have anything against the way things are going. I would love to see those kids pitch and pitch and pitch and see them up to the big leagues. But given the history we’ve seen with young kids, young talent, it’s good to keep it safe. “
Are players intimidated by Pedro’s aura? “No. No. I make them feel comfortable. I run around like they are my teammates. I know that some of them might be a little shy, but they know I’m flexible to do anything. I don’t treat Lester like I wouldn’t treat Britton. They’re all the same. They’re my teammates, they’re my friends, they can talk to me any time.”
Pedro loved coming back to the Red Sox just in time for another championship. “I think that would be the highlight of last year. Yes, we won. Yes, Boston Strong after all those things that happened in Boston. It seemed like everything clicked for us. I think the entire city changed last year — the fans, the city after the Marathon, David’s words, all those things kind of came into play. The beards, the chemistry, everything. The group of people that came in, like me, like Wakey, Tek, those guys were able to communicate with all the players, come in and out between the players and management and everybody. I think everything worked perfectly. I think that chemistry that was around is long gone. I think you’re not going to see it anymore around here for a long time. “
Pedro now more comfortable in his new role. “This is just like the game. You learn as you go. You try to learn from each game. Hopefully I’ll keep learning how to compose myself around the field. Last year, there were times where I knew what to do but couldn’t do anything about it. I got a little antsy. But now I know. Now I can trust everybody to do what they’re going to do. I’m extremely happy that, in my first year when I got in, everything just clicked right.”
Has Pedro spoken to Curt Schilling since the former Sox righty announced he had cancer? “No. I sent a tweet to try to tell him that I’ll be praying for him and we’re going to keep him in our thoughts and prayers. I don’t have his phone number, but I could probably get it from Jack later on, reach out. It’s extremely sad, but I know Schill is a big-game pitcher, like I said in my tweet, and I hope that he competes the same way he did in big games.”
Pedro wants to be even more involved this year: “Yeah, definitely, I want to be more involved with the players. I would like to do a little bit less of the public appearances that they had me doing last year. Because when you get the results that I got when talking to Britton, De La Rosa, Workman, all those kids, Webby, you feel like a proud father and you want to be around your sons. I was just going blind, trying to touch in some places, but now I know that my influence can help a lot of those kids. I’d love to do it. I’d love to do it and spend more time with them this year.”