Red Sox Notebook

Miller keeps things simple

Anderson’s swing shows more pop

ANDREW MILLER Spot in rotation? ANDREW MILLER Spot in rotation?
By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / March 5, 2012
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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Two players who continue to stand out in Red Sox camp are Andrew Miller and Lars Anderson.

Miller threw two scoreless innings and struck out the side in his first inning after a leadoff walk in an 8-3 win over the Twins Sunday at JetBlue Park.

While everyone has tried to change Miller’s complicated delivery (he’s 6 feet 7 inches), Sox pitching coach Bob McClure has told Miller to go back to pitching like he did at North Carolina.

“Obviously he was pretty good then and not too mechanical and more just competing,’’ McClure said. “Keep him more simple rather than try to change a couple of things. Whatever he’s able to do well, just do that. Hopefully that clears his thought process.’’

McClure is one of several pitching coaches who have suggested all sorts of things to Miller.

“To his credit, he’s tried to get better by doing different things,’’ McClure said. “The ability to sift through the information that works for you and [ignore] the rest, is very important. Your sift mechanism has to work. The best ones are the ones [who are] committed and listen to other things.

“I have faith in Andrew and I think he does, too,’’ said McClure, who was a teammate in Montreal of Randy Johnson, another tall lefty.

While neither McClure nor Bobby Valentine knows what role he’s best suited for, Valentine said he’d prefer Miller in the rotation if he can show he can win the job. He’s competing with lefty Felix Doubront and righty Aaron Cook for the fifth spot.

Miller topped off at 96 miles per hour on the radar gun against the Twins, but was mostly at 93.

As for Anderson, he looks like the power hitter everyone thought he would be.

He hit a hanging breaking ball on a 2-and-1 pitch from Jason Bulger for a home run in the seventh inning.

Asked about Anderson’s swing, Valentine quipped, “Adrian who?’’

Anderson is obviously stuck behind Adrian Gonzalez at first base and appears to be major trade bait for the Red Sox. Of course, with David Ortiz perhaps entering his final year, there might be a chance the Sox could work Anderson in as a DH.

Anderson credits a power-oriented offseason workout for creating more power in his swing.

“In BP this year, I feel a lot stronger,’’ he said. “I can attribute that to my offseason. I feel I worked really smart and my training helped me a ton. I could see the ball jumping more than years past and I’m getting older.’’

A deal that would have sent Anderson to Oakland last season for Rich Harden fell through when it was thought Harden couldn’t pass a Boston physical.

Lost in translation

A year ago, Valentine warned Twins shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka - who played for Valentine with the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan - that he would break his leg if he didn’t learn to get out of the way on the inside slide.

Sure enough, Nishioka broke his leg on a takeout slide by Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher on April 7.

“He played second base for me the first year,’’ Valentine said. “I had him as a baby in Japan. I had him when he was one of the worst players on the field and I had him when he was one of the best players on the field. And sometimes it was within the same season.’’

Nishioka was Sunday’s starting shortstop for the Twins and went 0 for 5.

Matsuzaka throws

The Japanese media is here in large numbers again, because Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to make strides in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Matsuzaka had a very impressive bullpen session Sunday morning, throwing hard and also throwing his secondary pitches.

Interestingly, Matsuzaka was being watched by a few Red Sox personnel, but most notably Luis Tiant, who was offering suggestions to him between innings.

It’s a possibility that Matsuzaka could be ready to pitch in June.

Check on Crawford

Valentine said Carl Crawford (wrist) is to be examined Monday and could be cleared to resume his normal baseball activities . . . Valentine said Josh Beckett likely will have to get used to different catchers now that Jason Varitek is gone. Valentine would not guarantee that Jarrod Saltalamacchia would catch all of Beckett’s games. Valentine has frowned upon the “personal catcher’’ arrangement that some pitchers have. Valentine did say the pitcher-catcher relationship is being emphasized in camp. He expects catching coach Gary Tuck and McClure will get their catchers and pitchers on the same page and thinking the same way, but he feels it will be a season-long process . . . Valentine said that while Ortiz saw time at first base and handled seven chances against Boston College Saturday, he also will use Nick Punto there. He also said he may have some other players work out at first, but not necessarily play there in games. One of them could be Saltalamacchia, who has experience as a first baseman . . . Daniel Bard had a slightly sore back, Valentine said, but nothing major . . . Jacoby Ellsbury made a terrific catch in center in the wind . . . Valentine praised Tony Pena Jr.’s pickoff play of Darin Mastroianni between third and home as one of the keys to the game . . . Shortstop Mike Aviles went 2 for 2 with two RBIs. Second baseman Oscar Tejeda, one of Boston’s top prospects, knocked in a run with a triple in the eighth inning . . . Lefty Jason Thomas continues to impress, striking out two batters in one inning . . . Carl Yastrzemski has begun working with Sox minor league hitters, as has Dwight Evans.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.

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