Aceves feels 'strong' after two-inning start vs. Rays

Aceves feels 'strong' after two-inning start vs. Rays
February 25, 2013, 6:15 pm
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.  --  Most starting pitchers in spring training get in their innings, get out of the game, get iced, and get going. Not Alfredo Aceves, at least not this time. The enigmatic right-hander pitched two innings, watched the game from the dugout for a couple more innings, then trotted off to the Red Sox clubhouse in right field.  But rather than showering and maybe catching an early ride back to Fort Myers, Aceves returned to the dugout to watch all nine innings of the team’s 6-3 loss to the Rays Monday afternoon.
 
“I want us to win,” Aceves said. “I want the best for us. Whatever I can do to help, they’re going to get that from me.”
 
Anyone waiting for any other oddities from Aceves today would have been disappointed.
 
Aceves, who was not involved in the decision, went two innings, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks. He threw 29 pitches, fastballs and curveballs, 14 for strikes, facing 10 batters.
 
But he struggled with his command.
 
“Heavy dose of fastballs, mostly 90-94, with erratic command,” said one scout in attendance. “Fair at best.”
 
With one out in the first, Aceves walked Desmond Jennings. Then, after going 0-and-2 he walked Matt Joyce, before giving up a 2-and-0 double to left to Yunel Escobar. He then retired Luke Scott and Kelly Johnson on groundballs to Mike Carp at first base.
 
In the second, Aceves gave up just a one-out single to James Loney.
                                               
“Felt pretty strong,” Aceves said after his first Grapefruit League outing. “First game of spring training. I missed a pitch down the middle that cost me two runs.
 
“It’s early in spring training. I felt really strong. I had a bad inning one bad pitch, walked two guys, they got me two hits.
 
“Whatever the team needs I’m going to do it. I’m OK with that. I didn’t get tired. I was maintaining my endurance. I feel I have endurance. They wanted me to throw two innings. I’m OK with that.”
 
But, he seemed to have trouble getting on the same page with catcher David Ross.
 
“This was the first time we threw,” Aceves said. “He’s a good catcher. He’s going to help the pitchers. He’s spent a lot of time in baseball. Talks about how to go against the hitters and go after the hitters and go after the outs.”
 
Ross, who joined the Sox this offseason as a free agent, said it’s part of learning to work with a new staff.
 
“It’s early,” he said. “It’s one of the things that stink as a catcher. You feel like you ruin a guy’s rhythm sometimes when you’re not on the same page, because I got to know what’s coming and where they want me to set up, where they want the pitches thrown, signs. It’s one of those things, it’s just frustrating for me because I know it’s me. When I’m just not on the same page I got to get right with him. It comes with time. But it’s just one of those things. I’m new and just got to figure out the things they like me to do. That’s every pitcher.”
 
But overall Ross was pleased with Aceves’ outing.   
 
“Good,” Ross said. “I think early on I think a lot of these guys are just working on fastball command. They’re flipping breaking stuff in there. But when in doubt we’re throwing fastballs and trying to get ahead of hitters, and work down in the zone. So  you’re seeing a lot of fastball counts guys getting free. That’s why you see a lot of balls getting hit hard. But it’s just kind of making us throw strike one. The one thing I would say we need to work on is throwing strike one. It’s still early but we got to get ahead, throw strike one down in the zone and we can be aggressive.”
 
Aceves will be leaving by March 3 to join Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He has no concerns about being out of camp for an extended period.
 
“No, whatever,” he said. “I’ll do whatever I’m doing right now as far as spring training. But I’ve been active in all offseason with my hometown Banditos team [in the Mexican winter league]. Having a lot of fun there. In first place. I pitched the last game for Banditos and I was a DH every Sunday. Threw five innings before I came here.”
 
Yes, he served as the designated hitter, and nearly homered.
 
“They called foul ball,” he said. “Should have been a home run.”
 
Aceves expects to get one more start before leaving for the WBC.

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