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Hansen will get with the program at Double A

Craig Hansen has the best pure fastball in the Red Sox system.
Craig Hansen has the best pure fastball in the Red Sox system. (Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In optioning Craig Hansen to Pawtucket earlier this week, the Red Sox said the 22-year-old would adhere to a structured program that would force him to become a better all-around pitcher rather than simply turning him loose to overpower hitters. What the club didn't mention was he would adhere to that program in Double A Portland.

''Given what he's working on and given the structured program, the most appropriate environment is Double A," general manager Theo Epstein said yesterday. ''One, it's more of a comfortable level. He's pitched there before. Two, Double A is better equipped to handle a structured environment. At Triple A, there's more traditional usage."

Drafted last June and signed to a major league contract (four years, $4 million) in July, Hansen pitched only 12 2/3 innings in the minors before being rushed to the majors to help a bullpen hemorrhaging runs. He made four big league appearances, allowing two runs. This spring, Hansen didn't allow a run in 10 2/3 innings.

At Portland, Epstein said, Hansen will pitch multiple innings out of the pen every fourth day with a side session in between to work on mechanics. Epstein also said Hansen won't pitch under these guidelines for the whole year.

''He's shown in his big league spring training that ability-wise he can make a strong argument that he's ready now," Epstein said. ''But there are elements of a pitcher's development you can only get by being on a structured program, such as learning how to get into and out of jams, how to go through a lineup more than once, the ability to work in the bullpen with side sessions.

''We expect him to move to Triple A at some point, and we won't rule out the majors."

Arroyo sharp
Bronson Arroyo, returning as a Red yesterday, submitted the most impressive performance of the spring by an opposing pitcher. He went seven shutout innings, allowed only three hits, struck out nine, and walked one. He fanned Trot Nixon and Manny Ramírez twice apiece, in the first and fourth innings, and struck out the side in the fourth.

Arroyo cited familiarity as the reason he was able to blow Nixon and Ramírez away with fastballs the first time around, then got them on breaking balls in the fourth. Comparing facing Ramírez to Mark Loretta or Mike Lowell, Arroyo said, ''I had a better insight into how Manny's brain works." He paused, laughed, and added, ''At least at the plate."

Arroyo said he's renting his Boston townhouse to David Wells and intends to keep the place for the three years he'll spend in Cincinnati.

Schilling for defense
Curt Schilling told the Associated Press he feels bad for Barry Bonds after publication of ''Game of Shadows," although Schilling said if a player gets caught using steroids, his achievements during that period should be wiped out . . . In yesterday's New York Times, former Sox reliever Mike Myers said he'd like to pitch long enough to pass Jesse Orosco for the all-time record for appearances. The Yankee sidearmer estimated he'd need eight more seasons, taking him to age 46. ''He might be able to do that," said Tim Wakefield, who allowed a run on two hits over four innings yesterday. Could Wakefield go that long? ''I probably could," said Wakefield, who turns 40 this summer. ''We'll see. That'd put me, at what, 47. I'll get past 41 and see what happens." Wakefield went 1-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 18 spring innings . . . Former White Sox Willie Harris plans to attend the World Series ring ceremony in Chicago April 4, then report to Pawtucket for the April 6 opener . . . Dustan Mohr has agreed to join the PawSox. He has an out clause in his contract but said that isn't something he wants to exercise yet . . . Jonathan Papelbon, in his second relief appearance, allowed one hit and struck out three in one inning . . . Keith Foulke, scheduled to pitch an inning yesterday, didn't because of what manager Terry Francona called ''an intestinal problem." Foulke has made three major league appearances, spanning three scoreless innings this spring. He'll pitch once more, tomorrow at Philadelphia, before the regular season opens . . . Hee Seop Choi (left hamstring) will remain behind in extended spring training, Francona said . . . The Sox finished the spring at 9-18-1 in the Adams Division, err, Grapefruit League . . . The club will work out at 11:30 this morning, then travel to Philadelphia for two exhibition games . . . In 17 spring home games, the Sox drew 128,001 fans. They have sold out 47 consecutive home spring training games.

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