Notes: Farrell, scouts impressed by Sox' Webster

Notes: Farrell, scouts impressed by Sox' Webster
March 12, 2013, 8:15 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Allen Webster continues to impress in his first spring training with the Red Sox. The right-hander, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the August blockbuster trade, went three innings in Tuesday afternoon’s 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. He gave up one unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts.
“He’s pretty damn good,” manager John Farrell summed up after the game.
And the raves for the 23-year-old aren’t only from within the Red Sox organization.
“Very impressive,” said a scout from another team who was in attendance Tuesday. “94-98 [mph fastball] with a swing-and-miss changeup. Slider showed potential. Top-of-rotation-type stuff.”
In four Grapefruit League games this spring, Webster has elicited similar reactions. Spanning 11 innings, he has given up three runs, two earned runs, for a 1.64 ERA, on nine hits with just one walk and 14 strikeouts.
“To have the kind of secondary weapons that he has, and what’s been impressive is young pitchers that are able to throw that changeup in a 3-2 count,” said Farrell. “He’s showing the ability to throw breaking ball to both sides of the plate in addition to a live fastball, heavy sink. He’s done a very good job.
“He’s got a lot of confidence, particularly in that changeup. And he should. It’s a well-above-average changeup for him. It’s great to see that [he doesn’t] feel confined, that in a certain count I’m going to eliminate my other pitches…But any time they  have that feel for that changeup they execute it with conviction.
“I think he has such trust in it. He knows, probably in his mind, getting to know him, he would probably rate his changeup as probably his second-best pitch. And when he’s been in trouble, even in the minor leagues when we got him, his willingness to use that pitch to slow hitters down is evident. And I think it speaks to some maturity of the guy on the mound.”
The strikeout-to-walk ratio, now at 14.00, is unlike anything he has posted so far in his career, in which he has averaged 2.27. An 18th-round pick in 2008 out of McMichael High in Madison, NC, he posted his best mark of 4.28 in 2009, between High-A and Double-A.
“I think the one thing he’s grasping is with his stuff and the action to his two-seamer he doesn’t have to pitch to a third of the plate,” Farrell said. “He can be more aggressive on the white part of the plate. And it’s allowed him to pitch, at least execute strike one with a higher rate. And it just opens up so many other options for him. But I think in a nutshell it’s his ability to attack the strike zone, strike one.”

The Sox made an additional roster move after the game, reassigning right-hander Pedro Beato to minor league camp. Beato had been on the list of pitchers scheduled to appear against the Blue Jays but did not get into the game.
The Sox now have 51 players in big league camp, including 37 players from the 40-man roster, one on 60-day disabled list, and 13 non-roster invitees.

Playing in back-to-back games for the first time this spring, first baseman Mike Napoli went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a strikeout. In six games he is batting .429, going 6-for-14 with a double, two home runs, and six RBI.


Starting in right field then moving to left in the seventh inning, Daniel Nava went 2-for-4 with a run scored.  


Pedro Ciriaco, starting at shortstop for the third time this spring, made a nice diving catch on Andy LaRoche’s liner to end the second inning.
“He’s a great athlete, man,” said Clay Buchholz, the beneficiary of the catch. “He does that. If he’s playing every day, that’s going to happen a lot. He’s a really good athlete and knows the game and plays the game right; plays hard. He can play anywhere on the infield. It’s definitely a plus to have a guy like that.”