Buchholz pitches four simulated innings


Buchholz pitches four simulated innings

FORT MYERS, Fla. While the main squad was traveling to Tampa to face the Yankees Tuesday night, Clay Buchholz pitched four simulated innings Tuesday afternoon at the teams complex against Red Sox big leaguers, including Nick Punto, and minor leaguers.

Buchholz recorded 11 outs over four scoreless innings, throwing 59 pitches, 33 for strikes. He gave up five hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Punto went 2-for-2 against Buchholz.Catcher Max St. Pierre was the other player from big league camp to face Buchholz. He went 1-for-4.

Pitching in a simulated game can be a challenge.

The atmosphere is different, Buchholz said. You have to go out there and know youre working on certain things and try not to get too frustrated if some things dont go your way. Its different, but you still have to get your work in.

They asked me a couple of days ago if its something I wanted to do to be in a controlled environment and not having to worry about whos on deck or whos on second.

Buchholz used his full repertoire of pitches.

I was a little rough around the edges he said. I dont think I threw a changeup for a strike. Little too quick on some pitches.

Tried to mix all of them. The feel wasnt there for all the off-speed pitches today. The changeup was up more than it was down and curve ball, I was pulling off it a little bit.

He picked Punto off first base, a move hes been working on.

It felt good, Buchholz said. I like to peak over to first a lot. Ive always done it. Its neat especially against a base stealer like Punto who can run catching him between steps makes you feel good.

Buchholz season was done after his June 16 outing against the Rays, when he left after five innings. A stress fracture in his lower back sidelined him for the rest of the season.

I came from here (the Sox instructional league in Fort Myers) and threw six or seven innings and I pitched without any stress and strain and I went into the offseason knowing I could throw at max effort in a game situation. So Im pretty much over that fact. It eased my mind to take a month off and then got
back into it.

But he tries not to think about last season.

I dont think it would be healthy to go out there and worry about things that could happen, he said. My focus and goals are on getting through spring and throwing innings that I need to throw to get prepared for the first start they have me slotted for.

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.

Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers


Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers

A quick look at the information you need to know about today's Patriots-Steelers game:

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 5-1, Steelers 4- 2

GAME TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST


TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson


NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Larry Kahn, Mark Carrier and Troy West

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak


LAST MEETING: Patriots 28, Steelers 21 on Sept. 10, 2015 at Gillette Stadium

* * * *
-- The Patriots are 8-11 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in their history, but are 4-2 at Heinz Field. Included in those four Heinz Field victories are two in AFC Championship Games (in the 2001 and 2004 seasons).

-- Tom Brady is 8-2 against the Steelers in his career.

-- The last time Brady played the Steelers, in 2015, he set a Patriots franchise record with 19 consecutive pass completions.

-- The Patriots are 108-70 (.607) in road games since 1994, the best record in the NFL over that span. The Steelers (97- 82, .542) are second.

-- The Patriots have yet to throw an interception in 2016, setting a team record for consecutive games without an interception at the start of a season (6). The NFL record for consecutive games at the start of a season without a pick is 9, set by the 1960 Browns. The Patriots' franchise record for overall consecutive games with no interceptions is 8, set in 2010.

* * * *
-- Rob Gronkowski has 67 overall touchdowns and needs one to tie Stanley Morgan (68) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 66 receiving touchdowns and needs one to tie Morgan (67) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 22 100-yard receiving games, including two in 2016, and is tied with Jackie Smith for the third-most among all NFL tight ends. The only TEs who have more are Kellen Winslow (24) and Tony Gonzalez (31).