Results tagged ‘ John Smoltz ’

Back comes Buchholz

The talk show caller circuit will have to find a new topic of conversation to complain about, as Clay Buchholz is indeed coming back to the Boston rotation — just not in the way people expected.

Tim Wakefield is down with a lower back injury, so Buchholz is back, and he’ll pitch Wednesday night.

Fans have been salivating to see more of Buchholz, and rightfully so, given the way he has pitched this season. Now they will get a chance, as he will make at least two starts before Wakefield is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 2.

It’s interesting talking to Buchholz and seeing him interact with teammates. He is a completely different person than he was last year. He is completely self assured and feels like he belongs, where last year he had that deer in the headlights look from start to finish.

One peeve of mine is the knee-jerk fans who think John Smoltz is done because he’s been inconsistent his first five starts. John is still feeling his way back after missing more than a year with surgery. This guy is a Hall of Famer for a reason. I am of strong belief that Smoltz will play a very significant role down the stretch.His first five innings were terrific last night, and one bad inning shouldn’t erase that memory. The jury is still out, but give the guy a chance at least.

Checking in from … Boston

Sorry guys and gals, I did not make the trip to the land of the crab cakes. I’m home in Boston for some downtime. Figured I’d check in because a little birdie told me a new thread would be helpful for commenting purposes.

It looks from afar like Terry Francona has not lost his touch. A little lineup tweak and J.D. Drew, batting leadoff tonight with Dustin Pedroia to the two-hole, is in the midst of a big night.

Jon Lester putting up zeroes yet again.

I think John Smoltz’s start tomorrow night will be far more telling than the one against the Nats the other night when he had what I’m sure was an overpowering combination of rust, adrenaline and nerves.

As for Mike Lowell, the news seems good. Just the fact that they were able to drain all that fluid before the shot shows you there was cause to all the discomfort he has had of late. Best case scenario, Lowell returns to the lineup on Friday night at Fenway. Worst Case scenario, they put him on the DL and he returns for the first game after the All-Star break.

Anyway, talk to everyone soon.

Ian.

The return of John Smoltz

John Smoltz, the future Hall of Famer, formally begins his career with the Boston Red Sox tonight, pitching here in the Nation’s Capital. It should be good theater for sure, as evidenced by the sight of several national writers in the press box, including Gordon Edes of Yahoo!, Jack Curry of the New York Times and Ken Rosenthal of Fox and Foxports.com.

Meanwhile, Big Papi David Ortiz is back in the cleanup hole for the first time since 2005 on a night Kevin Youkilis is out of the lineup. Just a rest for Youk as manager Terry Francona adapts to National League rules. It will be interesting to see if Ortiz settles into the cleanup spot between Youkilis and Bay, to give them more of a right-left effect in the middle.

Jed Lowrie’s rehab has been set back a couple of days after he got belted in the knee earlier this week. Lowrie should be back in the PawSox lineup by Saturday.

What to do about Dice-K?

The Red Sox are in an extremely tricky spot here, as Dice-K got rocked yet again tonight. Now what do they do?

Smoltz is already slotted in to take Matsuzaka’s normal day, which is Thursday at Washington. Do you skip Matszuaka altogether for one turn in the rotation? Do you put him in the bullpen for a couple of weeks? Do you somehow convince him to waive his no Minor Leagues clause and go down to Triple-A so he can put himself back together?

This is one of the most delicate situations the Red Sox have had during the Terry Francona/Theo Epstein regime. How do they finesse this?

Obviously the organization has made a $103.1 million investment in this man. Though the results weren’t pretty, Matsuzaka seemed like a pretty good investment those first two years.

This season? They can’t even get a decent start out of him. Matsuzaka is now 0-for-8 in the quality starts department.

Smoltz will debut for Sox on June 25

Following one last Minor League rehab start on Wednesday for Pawtucket, John Smoltz will pitch for the Red Sox for the first time on June 25 at Washington D.C.

Rotation should align by Tuesday

The intrigue continues with the starting rotation, as manager Terry Francona said the Red Sox would get through Sunday’s game and then utilize Monday’s off-day to determine exactly how to get John Smoltz into the mix.

Smoltz said on Saturday one more abbreviated turn in the Minor Leagues was not out of the question. But Francona is clearly keeping all options open.

“We talked to Smoltzy last night,” Francona said. “We just want to get through the off-day and then we’ll … I think we can lay out the whole week. We just want to get through the off-day. Part of it is, we just don’t know how we’re going to get through today. We’ve got Wake again out in the bullpen as a reserve. We don’t want to use him, but we just want to protect ourselves. Until we get through it without using him, there’s no sense saying it and then undoing it.

“We’ll get through today and we’ll kind of map it out. We have mapped out various possibilities. There’s no sense in [doing it ahead of time], especially when it’s going to require a roster move. Those things come at their own pace.”

Wakefield, assuming the Red Sox don’t need him Sunday, will start Tuesday. Brad Penny is lined up for Wednesday, with Jon Lester likely on Thursday. That brings us to Friday, Daisuke Matsuzaka’s next scheduled turn.

Could it be time for Dice-K to take a little break to work out what ails him? Matsuzaka hasn’t gone as many as six innings in any of his seven starts. The overall numbers show a 7.50 ERA and an astounding 51 hits allowed in 31 innings by Matsuzaka. Opponents are hitting .372 against him.

“We’ve been pretty honest in our evaluations of him,” said Francona. “Like when people ask me, ‘What do you think of Dice-K?’ and I’d say ‘well he walked the bases loaded but got himself out of it. We’re not real comfortable with the first part of it but we’re happy with the second part.’”

“You try to get him to pound the zone and a couple of times that he really has, he’s left the ball in the middle,” Francona said. “We’re kind of trying to walk the line of being aggressive and getting him out of his game. There’s constant dialogue back and forth so we can get this as good as we can. It’s still a work in progress. It’s sometimes hard to figure. He can go out there for an inning and look unhittable and go out and it’s inconsistent, I guess is the word. He gave up some hard-hit balls yesterday in the third and fourth inning. Then he can turn around another inning and hits his spots and throws that changeup. I’ll tell you one thing, the cutter has power. It didn’t earlier in the year. He’s starting to get some power behind that cutter, which will really help.”

For those who wonder if Matsuzaka is having health problems, the righty emphatically stated Saturday night that is not the case.

“I feel fine,” Matsuzaka said. “I don’t have any problems with my shoulder or elbow and I think that makes it all the more irritating for me right now and I’d say that’s where my stress is coming from right now, even though I feel good.”


Smoltz in holding pattern

John Smoltz is Major League ready. Now the Red Sox just need to find a rotation spot for him. The future Hall of Famer expects to pitch Thursday — but he doesn’t know if it will be for the Red Sox or one more outing for Pawtucket.

He couldn’t be any more on board with the program and is actually excited to be on a team so deep that it’s this hard to figure out where he fits in.

“We’re going to leave those options open for the next week and see what happens,” said Smoltz. “There’s a lot of off-days. And I’m tickled to death to be at this point vs. struggling, having to figure out when I was going to return.”


More later.

Smoltz speaks out on behalf of Glavine

DETROIT — When you think of Tom Glavine, the first two names that come to mind are John Smoltz and Greg Maddux. The three of them formed one of the best rotations of all-time throughout the 1990s. So when Glavine was abruptly released by the Braves on Wednesday, it was unsurprising for reporters to swarm Smoltz for his opinion. The right-hander — now with the Boston Red Sox — delivered, pulling few punches.

Did Smoltz speak with Glavine after the news broke?

“I did [talk to him],” Smoltz said. “Like a lot of things lately, they handled it, let me just say, in a very interesting way. One that leaves you scratching your head. It’s unfortunate for Tommy. Obviously, you know, I’m using a very soft word of disappointed because that ain’t right. To go that far and to rehab and then right before the time, you know, do that. That’s not my problem anymore. I just feel bad for a teammate of mine that I had for a long time.”

Was the move financially motivated?

“I know too much,” Smoltz said. “Let’s just put it that way.”

Smoltz appeared to be as upset at the Braves over this, as he was back in January, when he signed with the Red Sox after getting what he felt was a low-ball offer from his former employers.

The righty seemed sincerly stung by what happened to Glavine.

“That’s just not how you treat people. He didn’t have a chance to fail at that level, if that was the issue or concern,” Smoltz said. “It’s just not how you go about it. They’re in control and they made those decisions. They’ve made a lot of them lately.”

On the situation in general, Smoltz said, “They’re going to go on and Tommy’s going to go on and do whatever he decides to do. It’s just too bad for a guy that, first time working his way back, and then pitched fairly well. To talk about his velocity is kind of funny. No one has ever talked about his velocity before.”

Does Smoltz think Glavine will pitch again this season?

 “I don’t know,” Smoltz said. “I think he’s at a point in his career where this was probably going to be the only situation that he would have gone and worked this hard to try to come back. I don’t know. I just know he didn’t retire.”

Smoltz is expected to debut with the Red Sox during the series against the Florida Marlins June 16-18. The way the schedule is set up, Smoltz could face the Braves twice in June. The teams play at Fenway June 19-21, and in Atlanta June 26-28.

Ian Browne

Day Two in the Motor City

First of all, I am truly stunned by the news that the Braves have released the great Tom Glavine. I know he had a roster bonus or whatever, but seriously, this guy is an icon. A 305-game winner and just a class act.

I will attempt to get John Smoltz’s reaction to this stunning move following tonight’s game.

There continue to be no answers for the slump that has gripped David Ortiz and turned him into a player nobody recognizes. On this trip, at least, Papi had gotten into a habit of putting together good at-bats his first couple of times up, but then staggering for the rest of the night.

“I think as the games progress, he’s still falling into a little bit of almost trying to go 3-for-1,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “You see guys do that a lot early in the game. He’s been doing it as the game progresses. Maybe he has time to sit around and think, maybe he watches at-bats. Because his more productive at-bats have been earlier in the game, and that’s a little bit hard to figure because normally with hitters when you have a good at-bat, that’s when you can start stringing together good games.”

For more updates during the game, as always, follow me on twitter. @IanMBrowne

Drew leading off; Youk, Ellsbury not playing

Definitely a different Red Sox lineup tonight as they open a five-game homestand at Fenway. J.D. Drew is leading off, Jason Varitek hitting sixth, Jeff Bailey batting seventh, Jonathan Van Every eighth and Nick Green ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who injured his right hamstring last night, should return to the mix tomorrow night. Manager Terry Francona seemed a little more iffy on when Kevin Youkilis might be back.

Rocco Baldelli is here at Fenway, but won’t be activated tonight. He was scheduled to have today off. There will be a decision on Rocco tomorrow.

Jed Lowrie was back with the team today for the first time since his surgery. His rehab is right on schedule. He should start swinging a bat in early June.

The team is in the process of deciding where Dice-K’s next rehab start will be. The choice is either for Pawtucket at Columbus, or home for Portland. If I was in Matsuzaka’s shoes, I’d beg for Portland so I could have the best lobster imaginable.

John Smoltz re-started his throwing program on the Fenway lawn, playing catch at a distance of 60 feet.

All for now.

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