Results tagged ‘ John Farrell ’

Friday tidbits from Bradenton

Daisuke Matsuzaka has returned to Fort Myers today after witnessing the birth of his third child — a daughter — in Boston last night. Matsuzaka will pitch in a Minor League game on either Sunday or Monday.

Jacoby Ellsbury, ill the last few days, will return to the lineup for Saturday’s home game.

Utilityman Gil Velazquez, likely ticketed for Pawtucket anyway, has a chipped bone in his left thumb and won’t play for several weeks. Add that to the fact that Jed Lowrie has mono, and Francona is finding himself light on backup shortstops. Bill Hall is getting the start there today in Bradenton, as Tito and the staff want to see if he is still capable of playing that position well enough to warrant regular-season action there.

Mike Lowell is not in Bradenton, but he was at the Minor League complex in Fort Myers, getting some at-bats. He went 2-for-4 with a homer, a walk and three RBIs. Lowell will make his first Grapefruit League start at the hot corner on Sunday, but not sure yet if he’s at home or with the split squad in Dunedin. I’m guessing it will be in the home game.

One player to continue to keep an eye on is Junichi Tazawa, who has great versatility.

“Very interesting,” Francona said. “He can do different things. he can relieve, he can start, he holds runners. He’s another guy who has come a long way in a year. last year, looking at him, all the history there of coming out of the industrial league. Now he’s a guy that should not only be in a fight maybe to make our team ,but someone we really think highly of. He can be useful as a reliever. He throws strikes, he holds runners. You don’t want to write off a guy being a starter. Depending on what our needs are, he could always be a reliever. Having guys that have the ability to throw maybe 180-200 innings is pretty important.”

Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell gets to see his son Jeremy play up close today. Jeremy Farrell is a Minor Leaguer with the Pirates, and the Bucs summoned young Jeremy as an extra for today’s game. Classy move.

Pitching practice

Yes, it is, for some reason, referred to as live batting practice. But that’s hardly what was taking place on Friday morning, as John Lackey, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz all took turns devouring most of the hitters that stood in the box against them. It was the first round of live BP for all of Boston’s starting pitchers with the exception of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will likely get off the mound early next week.

Let the record show that the first batter John Lackey faced while wearing a Red Sox uniform was Jed Lowrie. The first pitch was a strike on the outside corner.

“Incrementally, it was another step, increase in intensity,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “I thought he threw the ball with good downhill angle. His two-seamer had very good life to his arm side. He spun some curveballs for strikes which at this point in camp that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not looking for the swing-and-miss type, the putaway. It’s getting a feel for a hitter in the box and how they’re reacting to the stuff that each one of our guys is delivering to the plate. The amount of volume picks up a little bit more today with a full eight or 10 minute bullpen, in addition to the 40 pitches of BP. He’s handling the volume well and executing from pitch to pitch thus far.”

Lackey is the type of professional who doesn’t need much hands-on supervision during Spring Training.

“He has a clear understanding of what Spring Training is about and what he’ll need to get ready for games,” said Farrell. “Certainly there’s been a lot fo dialogue, but we’re trying to get an idea of what he likes, what his preferecnes are. We’ll get more of that when games begin. There’s an internal clock there you can see at work. He’s taking a very solid approach to getting ready for games. The last couple of springs have probalby given him some information on when to pick it up a notch. He’s going about it the absolute right way.”

Wakefield continues to impress and shows no ill effects from back surgery. David Ortiz did not enjoy the experience of trying to hit Wakefield’s knuckleball. As a matter of fact, Ortiz was demonstrative in his disbelief of how much some of Wakefield’s knucklers moved.

“We’re all encouraged,” Farrell said of Wakefield. “These first 10 days on the Minor League complex, there’s a lot of volume guys are going through. Not just the bullpens, but all the other activity we’re going through. And he’s respnoded each day, and each day he’ gone out a  little more refined and with more arm strength, which was evident with the quality of pitches through the length of a typical bullpen session.”

Wake and MDC

Here are some leftovers from the Boston Baseball Writers DInner.

Tim Wakefield? It doesn’t sound like the Red Sox envision him for a relief role, despite having six starters for five spots at the moment.

“I haven’t thought about that a lot. He’s a starter,”Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I think what we need to do is … for the last three or four years we haven’t had him at the end of the year. It’s probably hard for Wake to understand. He sees us signing guys and probably that’s a normal human reaction. What we’re trying to do is have our guys stay healthy and productive. You hear us say that all the time, all year. I think this is the best way we can do that. How that slots out, we really don’t know yet.”

While it’s true the Red Sox didn’t go out and make a major bullpen addition this winter, pitching coach John Farrell made a very interesting point.

“One acquisition we made this offseason would be getting Many Delcarmen back to what he was for two and a half years prior to the second half of last season,” said Farrell. “He was one of the top four or five middle relievers in all of baseball and he’s a key part of our bullpen. Getting him back to the form he pitched at for a two and a half year stretch will go a long way toward putting him back in that category of performer that he was. A lot of times, most recent outings are the most fresh in guys minds and how they draw confidence from that. It’s important for us to get him in to a confident state as we start the games in spring training and continue to build on. I think there was some fatigue that set in with him toward the end of the season and kept him off the postseason roster. They weren’t to the extent of a major injury, but the result of certain outings. He didn’t have the need for any repair or anything like that. We expect and anticipate he’ll get back to that level.”

Lester: Enough is enough from Joba

While Jason Bay said all the right things about being plunked by Joba Chamberlain on Tuesday night, other members of the Red Sox are not amused by the hard-throwing righty continuing to go up and in on Boston hitters.

Joba has drilled Kevin Youkilis four times from August, 2007 to July, 2008. And two at-bats after Bay hit a three-run rocket on Tuesay, Chamberlain put one right at his numbers. This, on a night the righty was masterful over his final few innings, striking out a career-high 12 on the night.

Jon Lester was not pleased by what he saw at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

“It’s one of those deals where I’m all for throwing in, but there comes a point somebody, whether it be baseball or the opponent, has to step in and say enough is enough,” Lester told WEEI.com. “Balls have gone over guys heads and gone up too close. There’s a difference between throwing in and making a point and he definitely tries to make some points.

“I don’t know if he’s trying to him there or not, but he did and it looks bad because J-Bay did hit a home run off of him, along with the history with us and other players. He always comes back and says the ball slipped, I wasn’t trying to hit anybody. One time you can fool us, two times you can maybe say OK, but it’s gotten old. In baseball it’s one of those deals where you can’t really think there’s a punishment necessary. It’s one of those deals where we might have to police it ourselves a little bit more, I don’t know.”

Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell expressed similar sentiments on a radio interview with WEEI earlier today.

“Speaking specifically about [Tuesday] night: [Chamberlain] strikes out 12 guys, doesn’t seemingly have too many command issues, and if there was a purpose or an intent to throw up and in — or even if the intent was even further than that, to send a clear-cut message — you can disguise it a little bit more than making it very obvious with the first pitch in the middle of the back to Jason Bay,” said Farrell to hosts Dale Arnold and Michael Holley.

“Those things aren’t forgotten. We know there is a history there between the pitcher in New York and our guys here. Not to say that he was specifically out to do that, but I think history speaks for itself and we’ve got a number of games left with these guys.”

The Red Sox face the Yankees next on June 9.

In other news, shortstop Jed Lowrie was back at Fenway for the
first time since his surgery on April 21 left wrist surgery. He remains
on target to start swinging a bat in early June and still hopes to
return to the lineup before the All-Star break.

And in an unrelated but important note, Brownie Points wishes a speedy and heartfelt recovery to NESN analyst Jerry Remy, who is taking an indefinite leave of absence to fully recover from the cancer surgery he had late last year. It won’t be the same around Fenway the next few weeks without the Rem Dawg, who has become as much a part of Red Sox culture as the Green Monster.

Dice-K checks back in — sort of

Daisuke Matsuzaka made his way to City of Palms Park today for the first time this spring, but it was on an off-day for the team. Matsuzaka, back from another successful stint at the World Baseball Classic, had his requisite physical that the rest of the pitchers went through on reporting day.

Matsuzaka threw on flat-ground in preparation for what is expected to be about a 50-pitch side session, after which the righty will speak to the Boston media for the first time since the end of 2008.

According to pitching coach John Farrell, Matsuzaka will throw about five innings against the Braves in DisneyWorld on Monday. No word yet if Mickey Mouse will be in attendance.

Otherwise, a quiet day. Justin Masterson reeled off 4 2/3 innings in a Minor League start and Rocco Baldelli got a bunch of at-bats in that same game.

Home game against the Cardinals on Friday, with Beckett on the hill.

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