Pedroia not thinking about captaincy

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Pedroia not thinking about captaincy

FORT MYERS, Fla. Dustin Pedroia was asked if he would like to be team captain, given Jason Variteks unlikely return to the team.

I dont even think about that stuff, Pedroia said. Its Day One for me. I just want to have a good practice and help the team.

Which is probably a good thing. Manager Bobby Valentine is not sold on the concept of team captain, citing the 2011 World Series champion and captain-less St. Louis Cardinals.

Pedroia, who was very close to former manager Terry Francona, is starting his first big league season with a new manager.

Its different. Its the only thing Ive known, Pedroia said. Things change. Its tough to see him go especially the way it ended. Hell always be a close friend whatever he chooses to do forward. Im pulling for him.

He is still getting to know Valentine. The two talked a couple of times in the offseason, and had dinner together in Arizona.

I dont know, Pedroia said. Ive been here a day and half. Ive met him a couple of times. From what I hear he is thinking about baseball nonstop and thinking about fundamentals and getting this team where it needs to be. Its going to be exciting.

Valentine is just one of many new faces in camp. How does Pedroia see the team developing the necessary chemistry to win?

It takes time, he said. dont know these guys that well. The guys who do know each other stick together and the more your relationship builds with the new guys it will be that much stronger.

We got some guys who have been here a while. Well play hard. Thats what we do.

Like most of those teammates who were here last season, Pedroia is eager to put 2011 and the September collapse behind him, focusing on a fresh start for this season.

Im excited to go play again, he said. Last year the end was tough but we have to regroup together and come out and play good baseball all year long.

Play the game the right way Thats basically it. I dont have answers to what went on last year. Last year is over. It was tough. Theres not a day that goes by that I dont think about it. You have to try to turn the page and not think about it and play well and play for your teammates.

It remains to be seen, though, with whom Pedroia will be turning double plays. Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, and Jose Iglesias are candidates, after Marco Scutaros trade to Colorado in January.

Its going to be fine, Pedroia said. Scoot did a great job but we have Mike and Nick to step up and play good ball for us. Well be fine.

On Jacoby Ellsburys 2011 season, finishing second in American League MVP voting, Pedroia said:

He had an unbelievable year. We need him to do the same thing. I get on him all the time and tell him anybody can do it once. Hell be fine. Hes motivated, trust me.

Should the Patriots be Super Bowl favorites?

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Should the Patriots be Super Bowl favorites?

Jeff Howe joins Arbella Early Edition to discuss the New England Patriots still being Super Bowl favorites with Tom Brady being suspended four games.

Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

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Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

NEW YORK -- Following a six-walk effort Thursday in Chicago, Henry Owens found himself optioned back to Pawtucket Friday, removed from the Red Sox rotation after three sub-par starts.

Owens lasted just three-plus innings Thursday, and allowed two runs. In three starts since being promoted to replace Joe Kelly in the Red Sox rotation, Owens walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing 13 hits for a ghastly 2.108 WHIP and a 5.11 ERA.

"Henry needs to go back and learn to command his fastball with more consistency,'' said John Farrell. "He's got an outstanding changeup that can get him back in some counts and get him away from some damage. But the strike-throwing is a priority here.''

In addition to wildness, Owens saw his velocity dip, with his fastball topping out at 90 mph most times.

But Farrell insisted there isn't a physical issue with the lefty.

"One thing that we can for sure rule out is health,'' said Farrell. "There's no health issues at play here. I think when a pitcher's delivery is not in sync, he's not getting the most power out of it (in terms of velocity). And then, with the strike throwing, it becomes a confidence factor. I don't want to say he was tentative or it was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you're feeling for pitches to try to get them in the strike zone, there might be a tentativeness that takes over.''

Owens has a quality changeup that can throw off hitters' timing and get weak contact, as happened Thursday night. But that pitch is only effective when he can set it up more with his fastball.

"That creates a little more margin for error,'' said Farrell of the changeup as a weapon, "but you've got to be in the strike zone first.''

Owens seemed to regress some from last year, when he was 4-4 in 11 starts with a 4.57 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning in three straight starts in September.

"It's the second time he's been in the big leagues with us,'' said Farrell. "When the opportunity presents, you take it and run with it. I felt last year, he pitched effectively. He pitched very good at times. There were a couple of starts where he didn't have his best stuff, but he found his way into the sixth or into the seventh inning. That was (what we were hoping for) last year. OK, he's battling but he's finding a way to get through it.

"As far as his opportunity, I'm sure he'll back to us at some point.''

Asked if the Red Sox had expected more from Owens, Farrell didn't mince words.

"Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,'' said Farrell.

Owens was replaced on the roster by Sean O'Sullivan, who was with the club here Friday afternoon and in the bullpen, at least temporarily.

He could take Owens's spot in the rotation Tuesday.

"He's a candidates, yes,'' said Farrell.

O'Sullivan is with his fifth different organization, having pitched with the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies.

He signed with the Red Sox last winter as a free agent, in part attracted by the presence of pitching coordinator Brian Bannister, a one-time teammate of O'Sullivan with the Royals. Bannister has taken an innovative, analytical approach to pitching and has already helped O'Sullivan.

"When he was in (spring training) camp,'' said Farrell, "he showed more arm strength than anticipated. The strike-throwing has been above-average for him. A veteran guy who's pitched at this level for extended outings. We felt like that dependability and durability were also a factor in getting him here.''

Farrell credited an improved cutter and "more consistent location down in the strike one,'' accounting for O'Sullivan's improved results at Triple A.

O'Sullivan wasn't on the 40-man roster until Friday, when he was added. The Sox shifted third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the 60-day DL to make room.