Results tagged ‘ Josh Beckett ’

Varitek wowed by Beckett

Jason Varitek isn’t prone to hyberbole. If anything, he is usually pretty guarded with praise, just like he is with criticism. So it means something when he is as impressed as he was with Josh Beckett’s performance on Sunday night against the Yankees.

Where did the performance rate in terms of pure stuff?

“Best I’ve seen him. As far as complete, absolutely,” said Varitek.

Beckett is at his best when his power can be off-set with his non-power stuff. He had all that stuff going against the Yankees.

“Very good,” Varitek said. “He had a good feel for his curveball. I think the power on his four-seamer set all that up.”

Did Varitek see a game like this coming?

“Some outings, you saw the power out of him in spring,” Varitek said. “It was no secret he was making some adjustments, making some mechanical adjustments and doing things. It’s not always an adjustment you can snap your fingers and make overnight. It’s a very good lineup. They were one man down [Alex Rodriguez], but the guy who took his place is pretty good himself. It was a very big start for us.”

Of course, with Varitek behind the plate for Beckett’s masterpiece, there will probably be public obsession now with whether the captain should handle all of Beckett’s starts. But manager Terry Francona doesn’t seem inclined to go in that direction. Instead, he will work in whatever direction gives him the best matchups, and also provides the most rest for the starting catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Road trip shifts to Cleveland with new lineup

Here we are in Cleveland, where the Red Sox, after a month and a half in Fort Myers and then a weekend in Texas, are now faced with cold weather for the first time.

Josh Beckett is on the mound, taking the ball at this field for the first time since he saved a championship season for the Red Sox in Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS.

At gametime, it is expected to be 42 degrees, but weather.com says that it will “feel like 35″.

At any rate, manager Terry Francona has made another adjustment to the lineup.

Carl Crawford will bat second and Dustin Pedroia moves to the three-hole.

Here is the new entire alignment:

Ellsbury CF

Crawford LF

Pedroia 2B

Gonzalez 1B

Youkilis 3B

Ortiz DH

Drew RF

Saltalamacchia C

Scutaro SS

Beckett SP

The season will open with Lester

The news is hardly surprising, but it is fitting. Jon Lester, Boston’s best starting pitcher and one of the best in baseball, will pitch Opening Day on April 1 against the Rangers in Arlington.

Josh Beckett pitched Opening Day for the Red Sox the last two years, but Lester has been Boston’s most productive starting pitcher since 2008.

Still just 27 years old, you wonder how many Opening Day starts are in Lester’s career. Quite a few, I’m sure.

Last season, Lester became an All-Star for the first time. He finished 2009 with a 19-9 record and a 3.25 ERA. Lester has notched 225 strikeouts in each of the last two seasons.

He has been a machine over the last three years, averaging 17 wins, 207 1/3 innings and a 3.30 ERA.

Since entering the Major Leagues in 2006, Lester is 61-25 in 124 games, all but one of those outings starts.

Lester’s rookie season came to an abrupt halt when he was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma. After undergoing six chemotherapy treatments, Lester was declared cancer free in Dec., 2006.

He fired a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals on May 19, 2008.

And now he can add an Opening Day start to the list of his already impressive accomplishments.

Friday Night Lights

You can finally see the Red Sox for yourselves on Friday night, when they travel to Tampa to play the Yankees. It will be the first NESN telecast of 2011.

With a split squad coming up on Saturday, the Sox won’t bring their “A” team to Tampa to play the Yankees.

Clay Buchholz draws the start, but none of the nine projected Opening Day starting position players will be on sight.

Jason Varitek will catch, and the infield will include Lars Anderson, Jose Iglesias and Jed Lowrie. The outfield will be represented by Ryan Kalish, Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava.

Before the club leaves for Tampa, Josh Beckett — recovered from his mild concussion symptoms — will throw three simulated innings in the bullpen. Adrian Gonzalez also might take live BP for the first time this spring.

Beckett: I feel better today

The day after suffering from mild concussion symptoms thanks to a batting-practice liner gone bad, he was back at City of Palms, but only to meet with the medical staff. Beckett was instructed to resist any physical activity today. There’s no word on his next start, but logic seems to dictate it will be pushed back at least a day or two.

Here are his thoughts:

“”How do I feel? I feel all right. I feel better today. I felt like I got hit in the head. I think getting rid of some of the headache stuff I had yesterday is probably good. No activity I guess today.”

“You go through a bunch of different emotions. At first, you’re [mad] because you don’t know what happened. Then, I tried to walk and I got real dizzy and just kind of took a knee. You just kind of go through everything. I really didn’t even know what happened. I didn’t know if I got hit by a ball from another field or what. “

“It was a little bit behind my temple.I mean, I’ve got swelling all over right there but it was just right above the ear, basically.”

Next start? “I don’t know, like I said, it’s the second day after that happened, it’s kind of hard to say. They’re not even letting me go outside at all today. I think it’s all going to be up to them.”

What did the doctors say? “I just got checked. I’m definitely better today than I was yesterday. Those were encouraging things. I don’t know where we go from here.”

A noted creature of habit, Beckett is confident this mishap won’t have a significant impact on his spring schedule. “I’ll just hope so, yeah. if I have to miss Thursday, I don’t think it will be Wednesday when I pitch. It will definitely be before then. If they push me back, they push me back.”

Batting practice coach Ino Guerrero feels bad about hitting a fungo back to the infield and hitting Beckett, rather than just throwing it back. “Yeah, he feels terrible. I didn’t want to make things worse. Like I said, at first I was [peeved]. I knew he didn’t do it on purpose. It was one of those deals, I mean, was it stupid? Yes. It was very stupid. I think he realizes that now. Like I said, no sense making him feel worse than he already does.”

Youk ready to tackle third

The first baseman, at least for the last five years, is now ready to get back to third.

“I mean, there’s some stuff — you have to charge the ball a little bit more,” Youkilis said. “You get used to that right away. I think that’s one of the things you recognize and work on. I think, for me, from playing there a little bit last year in a couple of games, it just comes to you naturally when you play that position, you can’t sit back. When that’s in your mind already, I think, when you’re playing first base, you kind of get a little lazy, whereas at third base, you prepare. I knew that coming into spring training that I’d have to go get balls more. Mentally that’s already put in and taking groundballs yesterday that’s already come in.”

Youkilis has gotten to know Adrian Gonzalez a little the last few days, and looks forward to more interaction throughout the spring.

Mainly Boston’s cleanup man since Manny Ramirez was traded on July 31, 2008, Youkilis isn’t sure where he’ll wind up in this loaded lineup. He doesn’t much care either. “Anywhere second through ninth.”

The thumb injury that ended his 2010 season on Aug. 2? It’s no longer an issue.

“I feel great, my body is feeling good, my hand is feeling good. Just got in good shape like normal and I’m ready to play third base this year,” said Youkilis.

The Red Sox are holding their first pitchers and catchers workout as we speak. Josh Beckett will hold a press conference after the workout.

Who is ready for Fort Sunshine?

As I get ready to snowblow my driveway and sidewalk for the 900th time this winter, I thought all of you might be in the mood for some Red Sox fodder.

Theo Epstein and Terry Francona both provided updates on several areas of the team at Monday night’s town hall event.

How is Dustin Pedroia doing? “Pretty good,” Epstein said. “He went through a period where he was having some pain in a slightly different part of his foot, and doctors determined it was basically a result of having the foot immobile for so long. That was reassuring. It didn’t have anything to do with the fracture or the surgery.  He’s healing really well, working out. He’s not wearing cleats yet, but we’re going to be smart about it. We don’t expect him to be limited by the time the season starts.”

The reports on Beckett have been positive: “Very positive,” Epstein said. “He’s been attacking the offseason, working really hard, getting in good shape, doing workouts. He has a personal trainer that he hired. The trainer and Mike Reinold have been in very frequent contact. Mike made a visit recently to see him, as he does with some of the other pitchers. He’s raring to go.”

On the Rays after adding two guys you might have heard of — Manny and Damon. ” Good moves,” Epstein said. “Those are guys that can probably still hit a little bit, to say the least. It makes for some interesting head-to-head matchups. But those guys, the demise of the Rays has been greatly exaggerated. Even before those moves, we never erased them at all from our radar. They’re uniquely positioned to lose some really good players and stay and keep their status as one of the best teams in baseball given the strength of their farm system. They lose Garza, they have Hellickson ready to step in. They lose Crawford, they have Jennings and Joyce ready to step in. They’re going to be really tough.”

Tito on whether Saltalamacchia is finished with boot camp with catching instructor extraordinaire Gary  Tuck:

“I think it’s the other way around. Camp Tuck may have finished him. DeMarlo said he went down to check on him, say hi to the Tuckster, wanted to see Salty. He thought it would be running through the motions, but after two hours, he felt bad for Salty. They’ve done a terrific job. I’m really proud of them, both of them. How many guys do you see do that? It’ll be interesting to see where he’s at because obviously it’s an important position for us. We’re showing an awful lot of confidence in him. At the same time, I think it’s kind of neat that Tek’s worked to be at the point he is where we feel good about this. Tek’s probably going to catch more than an average backup catcher does.”

Young optimistic on Beckett

New Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young is in town this week for Rookie Development Camp, and some other events. While he won’t speak specifically about adjustments he will make with Josh Beckett until he works side-by-side with the righty, Young did sound optimistic about where the righty is at going into Spring Training.

“In talking to Josh, he’s a really interesting guy, very possessed on what he does and I’m really looking forward to working with Josh,” Young said. “The main thing is health and it seems to be that he’s very healthy and really looking forward to the start of this year.”

Saltalamacchia latest to catch injury bug

Is there any end to the injury barrage? Today’s news is that Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been placed on the disabled list with a lower right leg infection. Dusty Brown will take his place on the roster. Saltalamacchia is currently at Massachusetts General Hospital getting treated, and the hope is that they can knock this infection out within a few days.

Meanwhile, Josh Beckett made big news by getting shelled in his last two starts. But he was dominant in his first three starts off the DL so perhaps it’s not quite panic city yet. That said, the Sox desperately need Beckett to come up big tonight.

The Tigers didn’t do the Red Sox any favors in the Bronx. They are about to get swept by the Yankees.The Rays start a West Coast trip in Oakland tonight.

Beckett is back, others might not be far behind

Things are officially looking up for the Red Sox, as Josh Beckett’s first start since May 18 is currently in progress.

Returns to the active roster could become commonplace over the next couple of weeks.

* The next to be back in the lineup? Most likely Victor Martinez. The catcher will work with Clay Buchholz in the bullpen before tomorrow’s game and if he doesn’t feel any discomfort in his fractured thumb, that is a sign that he could return soon, maybe even in Anaheim.

“I mean, if I feel like I felt yesterday, I’m just days away. We’ll see what happens,” Martinez said.

* Then there is Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman will have his fractured left foot checked out by a doctor while the team is in Anaheim, but is unlikely to have clearance to remove his walking boot until a week from today, when he gets a CT-scan in Boston. Don’t talk to Pedroia about a Minor League rehab assignment. He is simply not interested.

“I’ll talk to Theo and Tito, everybody, but it depends how we’re doing as a team,” said Pedroia. “We’re trying to get everybody back as fast as possible and I think the Red Sox need us more than the PawSox do.”

* As for Pedroia’s replacements at second, Jed Lowrie was the one who got the start Friday. But Francona said not to take that as a slight at Bill Hall, who made two errors on Thursday and played in left tonight.

“I actually think he’s done a pretty good job,” Francona said. “He’s made some errors. Last night, that play for me was bang bang, I think he has to [throw it]. I don’t see how he eats that ball. If he eats it, everybody’s going to say, what the hell … The throw is off line and it’s costly. That happens. When you lose Pedroia, you can’t replace Pedroia with Pedroia. That’s not how it works. I think he’s done a really good job for us. But against the left-hander, I wanted Jed to play tonight so I guess the best way to do it was to play him at second.”

* Michael Bowden got caught in a roster crunch today as the Sox needed to send someone down to make room for Beckett. It was no slight at how he pitched.

“I’m obviously disappointed, but I had a feeling that this was going to happen,” Bowden said. “But I also have a feeling that I’ll be back sooner rather than later. Every time out there, I got a little more comfortable, a little more relaxed. I think it’s just about getting more repetitions, more appearances, so I can really feel 100 percent comfortable out there and do my job.”  

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