New drill's a hit for Red Sox infielders

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New drill's a hit for Red Sox infielders

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Visitors to spring training this month have noticed that, under new manager Bobby Valentine, Red Sox players -- not just staff members and coaches -- are hitting grounders to teammates during infield practice.

It's not a case of Valentine attempting to humble players by doing the chore. Rather, it's all about being more efficient and getting more out of the drill.

"Because we have infielders there and there's 11 of them,'' said Valentine, ''and we have two coaches to work with them and that would mean nine guys stand and doing nothing while two guys stand and catch the ball, I devised a system to have four guys not fielding and have just those seven guys fielding so they have more repetition and, at times, get a ball that actually hit from a bat that will have proper top spin, rather than backspin.

"It's a way of keeping those guys active. And it's also some simulation of real-life spin on a grounder.''

Valentine corrected a reporter who asked about players hitting fungoes, noting that they were using standard bats and not fungo bats (thinner and tapered from handle to barrel). He then added this caveat:

"Just for the record,'' began Valentine, "if we get off to a slow start and someone says it's because they were hitting fungos -- which they weren't hitting; they were hitting grounder -- and got into bad habits . . . I'm calling (baloney) on that right now, OK? Just for the record."

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

QUOTES:

"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.

 

NOTES:

* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.

STARS:

1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.