|Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen (right) was ejected in the sixth, then he received a sendoff from Sox manager Bobby Valentine. (Charles krupa/Associated Press)|
Rest a changeup for Beckett
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Josh Beckett is adjusting to pitching on three days’ rest and said his arm is finally coming around to the new schedule, which he said he’s experienced only one other time in spring training.
“Arm is getting better. It was definitely an adjustment you have to make,’’ he said.
Beckett went four innings and threw 55 pitches, allowing just one run in a 5-3 win over the Miami Marlins Monday in his third start of the spring.
Beckett, who has allowed one run in nine spring innings, recalls only one time - as a young pitcher with the Marlins - when he pitched on the fourth day.
“Yeah, one year Jack McKeon did it. I don’t think it was for three starts, just the first two,’’ Beckett recalled.
Beckett usually uses spring training to work on secondary pitch command. He was trying to snap off a few breaking balls Monday and wound up hitting two batters in the first inning, when the Marlins scored their only run against him.
“I had a pretty good feel for it,’’ Beckett said of his curve. “I hit a guy with one. The ones I bounced, I’m trying to bounce them. You actually have to have more arm strength to spin a breaking ball than to throw a fastball because you’re powering the outside of the ball. I think that’s why a lot of times when you come to spring training, you don’t have a real good feel for your curveball. Building up arm strength and stuff like that is key to spinning the ball.’’
Beckett thought the results were good, although the main thing is how his body feels.
“Especially for me now pitching [with] every three days [of rest] instead of every four days it can take its toll,’’ he said. “Today was the first time when I got done in the bullpen I felt like loose and ready to go. I tried to throw breaking balls early in the count. In my last few starts, I’ve been focused on changeups.’’
Bobby Valentine will be pumped and jacked Tuesday night for his first Red Sox-Yankees game.
“I won’t be able to sleep tonight. This will be a big one,’’ he said.
How important is it to win?
“We want to set the tone tomorrow. We really want to let them know who we are, send a message.’’
Does the lineup reflect that sentiment? “Oh, who’s playing? [Dustin] Pedroia’s going. [Jacoby] Ellsbury’s going? Geez, the bombers.’’
Valentine has been having his infielders go way out to take relays because his outfielders do not have strong arms. Ellsbury’s cutoff man was positioned near second base. First base coach Alex Ochoa, who had a great arm, told Valentine the only plus arm in the outfield belongs to Che-Hsuan Lin, who likely will start the season at Pawtucket. Valentine probably will have the same cutoff situation with Carl Crawford, whose arm is considered weaker than Ellsbury’s . . . Valentine said Crawford is ready to progress from a sore left wrist that has kept him sidelined for a week. “Crawford will throw 90 feet with the trainer and [be] ready to progress midweek with monitored swings,’’ Valentine said . . . Valentine said shortstop Jose Iglesias, who is nursing a sore right groin, “is going to do some of the drills but none of the quick-action drills. We’ll be ultra conservative and hopefully get him back on the 15th with no ill effects of his right groin.’’. . . Right fielder Ryan Sweeney suffered a left quad strain and came out of the game in the third inning in favor of Che-Hsuan. Valentine said if Crawford starts the season on the DL, Sweeney will play right and Cody Ross will play left.
Cook off pace
It doesn’t appear Aaron Cook will break camp with the team.
“Will he get enough innings to start in the major leagues at the beginning of the season? I doubt it,’’ Valentine said. “Seems like he’s on a pace for 17-18 innings if all goes well. If we have the innings to give him, maybe, but I doubt it.’’
Could Cook assume a role in the bullpen?
“I’d like him to be a starter,’’ Valentine said. “He seems like a pitcher to me. If he has that sinker that he had [two innings, two walks, one strikeout Sunday] consistently he will contribute eventually at our place.’’
Andrew Miller threw a bullpen and appears to be on track to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Gone but not forgotten
Ozzie Guillen was ejected in the sixth inning of Monday’s game for disputing a foul ball, and the Marlins manager got a wave goodbye from Valentine, who said “See ya,’’ as Guillen exited.
Asked by the Associated Press if he’d been tossed from a spring training game, Valentine said, “I certainly hope not. Probably.’’
“It was lesson time,’’ Valentine told the AP. “Ozzie was telling the first base umpire it wasn’t his call because the ball was in front of the bag. And he didn’t want to hear that.’’
Guillen did not see Valentine wave to him. If he had noticed, Guillen said he would have sent a response in Valentine’s direction.
Start and finish
Second baseman Nate Spears started the 10th inning with a bunt single to third base. “A rally starter, wasn’t it?’’ Valentine said. Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, hitting .545, ended the game with a walkoff homer. “I’m very impressed,’’ said Valentine. “[Ciriaco’s] stolen bases when he’s been asked to steal. He’s made the plays defensively. He’s bunted extremely well for base hits. He hit and run. And today he hits a home run to win the game. So there’s nothing else that he can do to impress people. He had like one bad at-bat since he’s been here.’’ . . . Ross Ohlendorf gave the Sox two scoreless innings (one hit) in his first appearance. Ohlendorf said he was able to throw all of his pitches and Valentine was impressed with the outing . . . Ross made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in the fourth to rob the Marlins’ Chris Coghlan of a hit. Valentine said Ross practiced that catch before the game with Ochoa . . . Clay Buchholz will pitch against Sox minor leaguers Tuesday in an intrasquad game at the minor league complex.