McClure applies light touch as Sox' new pitching coach


McClure applies light touch as Sox' new pitching coach

FORT MYERS, Fla. Bob McClure joined the Red Sox in November as a special assignment scoutinstructor. But in the teams offseason of shakeups, McClures job changed in December and he was named the pitching coach for new manager Bobby Valentine.

Now, McClure the third pitching coach in as many seasons for the Sox -- is spending his time in spring training learning about the 35 pitchers in camp.

Its more getting to know the Sox pitchers as people, what helps them, if I can be of any help to them, what kind of keeps them on line, what they need, said McClure, who spent the previous six seasons as the Royals pitching coach, and coached in the Rockies system for seven seasons before that. "A lot of them Ive already asked, What are some of your key points as far as your deliverys concerned? In the past, what are two or three points that need to be mentioned at times? if things arent going right for them from a mechanical standpoint. And so they write them down and give them to you and you kind of go from there.

McClure -- who spent 19 seasons in the big leagues and had a record of 68-57 with a 3.81 ERA and 52 saves - knows that sometimes, the off-field part of his job can be as important than spotting flaws in deliveries. In 2009, for example, he helped Zack Greinke, who suffered from social anxiety disorder and depression, win the American League Cy Young Award when both were with the Royals.

Its more learning, really, their personalities as far as which guys to leave alone and know when to leave alone, and which guys you need to get in there and dig a little bit, he said.

With a lot of guys, basically as pitching coaches, were not trying to reinvent the wheel. Were just trying to keep them pretty much on line. Its just little things. I think sometimes less is better, in my opinion.

"Thats the way we were brought through it. We didnt even have pitching coaches in the minor leagues. Shoot, our manager and pitching coach hardly even talked to us, really, and if they did, you knew you were either doing really good or you were in trouble. So if they kind of left you alone it was because you were going okay, which most times you know anyway."

And McClure -- the pitcher -- liked it that way.

"I didnt like a a pitching coach chirping in my ear all the time," he said. "I liked to kind of feel my body and let my mind figure out what its doing and fix it on the next pitch. And when someones always chirping in your ear in between innings, a lot of times you lose kind of your concentration on what just happened and then you got to regain it after the conversation. The next thing you know . . . youre going back to the mound and youre still thinking about that other inning. So theres a time there where youre processing, good inning or bad inning, what happened, and whos coming up. What you want to do.

"So a lot of times as a pitching coach you kind of just get out of the way.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps


Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.


Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy


Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
Danny Duffy LHP

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
David Price LHP

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority


Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.