Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’
For the second time in three days, Mike Lowell, a career third baseman, spent time at first base during Boston’s workouts.
Lowell is trying to gain comfort at first this spring, which could help his market value and also make him more viable to the Red Sox if he stays with the club.
Manager Terry Francona said that Lowell seemed to make the transition to the other side of the diamond “pretty good”. Here he is taking a grounder down the line, in a photo by Brita Meng Outzen.
“For everybody, it’s different,” Francona said. “From my standpoint, you’re seeing the ball off the bat from a completely different angle. It’s like left field, right field. I think as you get comfortable, if you can play third, you’re going to be able to catch the ball at first. But when it’s not to you at third, you can stand there. When it’s not hit to you at first, you better get to first. It’s just different real estate. But once you get comfortable over there, then the natural instincts take over.”
The Red Sox managed to get all their work in on Saturday, despite a downpour that started almost immediately when they came off the field.
“Everything, which was very fortunate,” Francona said. “Right when Pap took the mound, the groundskeeper came out and said, ‘you’ve got 10 more minutes’ which would have been a little different. But no, we got everything in. It wasn’t the best day ever but we got everything in. Guys got their throwing in, guys got their hitting and we’re OK.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to climb back to full health in his recovery from a minor back injury.
“Dice-K today, he threw off the mound — just tossed off the mound. Today was kind of his down day because tomorrow is going to be 150 feet,” Francona said. “But he did it off the mound so he could at least be at that angle. He wasn’t throwing hard but just so he could get the feel of that angle because you can’t do that off the flatground. Tomorrow will be a pretty aggressive day, probably out to 140 or 150.”
Matuzaka should have a full-out bullpen session by early next week, perhaps Tuesday.
In case you missed it, the here is how the pitching lines up for the exhibition games.
Wednesday vs. Northeastern and Boston College — Casey Kelly and Boof Bonser.
Thursday at home vs. the Twins. Josh Beckett; Friday at the Twins complex. Jon Lester, piggybacked by Tim Wakefield. Saturday split squad at home vs. the Twins. John Lackey. Saturday on the road split squad. Felix Doubront; Sunday at Sarasota vs. the Orioles. Clay Buchholz.
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.”
Sorry about the delay between blog posts. There’s been a whole lot of nothing going on with the Red Sox of late, so there hasn’t been a whole lot to post about. It’s just that time of year.
I must confess that several Red Sox players have beaten me to Fort Myers. Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon have all been cited on the premises this week. The official reporting date is Feb. 18, and that’s just for pitchers and catchers.
My good friend Jonny Miller of WBZ-Radio AM caught up with some of these guys this week and here is a sampling.
Delcarmen on his poor finish last year: “A little disappointed. I felt like I was a little banged up and probably should have said something earlier. I just want to go out there and get the ball all the time and Tito knows that. For the most part, I’m excited to come down here early and get ready for the season because I definitely want to start off and finish stronger than I did last year.”
He looks a little leaner this year.
“I lost a little weight. A lot more cardio than last offseason. So I just wanted to come to Florida and show that I was ready.”
Without a doubt, the way last year ended was a bitter pill for the Red Sox to swallow.
“It was tough,” Youkilis said. “Walking away from the season like that. We had a good season. Won 95 games. We made the playoffs nad came up short and got beat by a team that was better than us at the time. For us, this year, I think we have a pretty good team and hopefully we can get to the playoffs again and go further than the first round.”
That said, Jon Lester said it was best not to let the loss fester for too long.
“I thought about it for a day,” said Lester. “Your offseason comes around and you move on. You can’t sit there and wallow in it and say, ‘pitiful me, we got swept.’ You get in the offseason and you get home and you move on, you watch a couple of playoff games and a couple of world series games and see who wins. I really didn’t think about it at all. I think this team is pretty much determined every year to come in and win a World Series. I don’t think our goals are any less than that. We’re going to work hard in Spring Training to get to that goal.”
The players are not minimizing the loss of Jason Bay.
“Jason, we’re going to miss him for his personality and his overall character. He’s a great guy, a great teammate,” Youkilis said. “He really loved Boston. It was very sad that it had to go the way it did. Baseball, it’s a business in a lot of senses. It’s a sad thing sometimes but it is a business. Guys come and go. It’s one of those things where you stay in touch and wish them the best but you also have to accept another guy coming in Mike Cameron that will try to help this team win a World Series. We’re excited to see Mike. I hear he’s a great guy, a great teammate. That’s all you ask for, for guys to give 100 percent on the field.”
Meanwhile, Mike Lowell, who remains in limbo, figures to be a topic of conversation as long as he is still with the Red Sox.
“He’s a great ballplayer,” Youkilis said. “His numbers and accolades speak for themselves. He’s probably one of the best third basemen defensively to play the game. He’s on this team right now. I don’t know if he’s going to be traded or on this team for the year. You never know. If there’s a place for him to play every day, they’re going to try to do that for him. If he’s healthy, he’s a guy that can help a team out.”
Sounds like Red Sox manager Terry Francona is leaning heavily toward Jon Lester on three days rest in Game 4, followed by Josh Beckett in a potential winner-take-all Game 5.
Dice-K is available out of the bullpen again tonight.
Lineup is the same as last night, but the Red Sox hope to get much better results tonight.
Tito is feeling a lot better after yesterday’s horrific food poisoning experience in which he said players could hear him from the clubhouse, well, getting sick in his office bathroom.
As of now, all indications are that Jon Lester will make his start on Thursday against the Indians. The Red Sox will be cautious, but Lester wants the tune-up before his likely start in Game 1 of the ALDS.
“He’s doing pretty well,”Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Now, again, it’s pretty early this morning for guys to be doing much. Wake went in the cage and threw because of the weather. But I don’t know that that’s a necessity for [him to throw a side. He’s got 33 starts under his belt anyway. Sometimes you take something that could be a negative and turn it into a positive. Just maybe hold off on how much he throws a side, or if he throws a side. Then we’ll go from there.”
Lester did some work on the exercise bike on Saturday.
“He’s done good,” Francona said. “Before he goes and pitches, you can bet that we’re going to give him the twice-over. I actually think he’s going to be OK.”
Jon Lester pitched his way into the Red Sox record book on Tuesday night, notching nine strikeouts to give him a total of 196 on the season. That is now the record for a Boston left-hander, surpassing the record of 190 set by Bruce Hurst in 1987.
Lester was in line for his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season, but came out after 97 pitches because of some discomfort in his groin. It is nothing that will impact his next start.
“It’s alright,” said Lester. “Just a little precautionary thing. I don’t want to push it, especially this time of the year. I would have liked to have gone a little deeper.”
As for passing Hurst and working his way into the club annals, Lester was typically humble.
“It’s something that’s cool, something that’s nice,” said Lester. “But like I’ve said all along about strikeouts, I’d give strikeouts back for wins. That’s what we’re trying to do is win ballgames. If you strike out 100 guys a game, it doesn’t matter, as long as you win.”
Is manager Terry Francona surprised that Lester is on the verge of a 200-strikeout season?
“I don’t think we’re surprised. I know you guys don’t get invited into those pre-Spring Training meetings four or five years ago but I think there were a lot of people in the organization who thought that’s what he would be,” said Francona. “[A] workhorse who wouldlog innings. I think we’re seeing what we hoped we’d see.”
Lester is 11-7 on the season with a 3.58 ERA. He led the Red Sox to an 8-4 win over the Rays on Tuesday.
– Ian Browne
There was one somewhat surprising lineup development on Tuesday night, as it was Victor Martinez catching Jon Lester instead of Jason Varitek.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona had said last week he would try to pair ‘Tek with Lester and Josh Beckett as much as possible. So why Martinez on Tuesday? Part of the reason is that Beckett is pitching Wednesday.
“I wanted ‘Tek tomorrow,” Francona said. “Victor caught him the one time [in Toronto] and did pretty good. We’re just trying to mix and match and mix on the right nights with rest and all that. Just trying to put out the best lineups.”
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.
Hard to believe, isn’t it, that this is the first time Nomar Garciaparra has played against the Red Sox.
And as I sit here in the press box, they had just shown footage of Nomar’s first career homer, struck on Sept. 1, 1996, against these Oakland A’s here at the Coliseum. I kid you not, immediately after that highlight, Nomar ripped a solo shot into almost the exact same spot into the LF corner against Jon Lester. This was career jack No. 227 for Nomahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Kind of weird to see Nomar and Orlando Cabrera now teaming up on the left side of Oakland’s infield, isn’t it?
OK. How worried is eveyrone about Lester? Just two bad starts or is something else wrong?
I don’t think there will be any kind of letdown here tonight on the heels of Opening Day. How can there be when you have Scott Kazmir going against Jon Lester?
Consider that these two power arms were built within 17 days of each other in January, 1984. They could be linked for years to come, especially if they stay with their respective teams for the long haul.
These are two of the best young left-handers in the game. The 24-year-old Lester came in with a record of 27-8. Kazmir? He is 47-37. The Red Sox could have traded Lester to the Twins for Johan Santana, but passed it up. The Mets, of course, had the utter indignity of trading Kazmir to the Rays for the immortal Victor Zambrano, something they’ve regretted ever since.
I pity the poor hitters who have to face these two guys on this frigid night at Fenway.
Another interesting subplot tonight is Gabe Kapler vs. Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli, the former Ray, is making his debut for Boston. The opposite is true for Kapler, forever a favorite here at Fenway from his four years (2003-06) with the Sox.
In a shocker, Rocco got a big hand in his first at-bat. As my press box sidekick Lenny Megliola just said, “We ought to get the applause meter out — Rocco vs. Gabe.”