Red Sox notes: Aceves looking to get some work

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Red Sox notes: Aceves looking to get some work

SEATTLE -- Going into Saturday night's game here with the Mariners, closer Alfredo Aceves hadn't pitched since Tuesday and manager Bobby Valentine vowed to try to change that.

Aceves is the rare closer who actually wants to pitch in non-save situations, believing that it enables him to stay sharp. While other relievers carefully monitor their workload, Aceves thrives with more work.

"I'd like to get Alfredo in a game,'' said Valentine. "He loves to pitch, which is a good thing. I think the more he pitches, the better he is. He was definitely pitching (Friday night) until we had what we had (with starter Aaron Cook shutting out the Mariners with a very low pitch count).''

As much as Valentine would like Aceves to work more, he's fearful of giving him work for the sake of it, then finding he has save situations in the next three straight games.

"We had that situation once (earlier in the season),'' said Valentine. "He pitched just to pitch one game, then he ended up pitching five in a row, I think. But he wants to be sharp when he goes out there and so do I.''

Aceves is something of an oddity, since most pitchers who benefit from extra work are more sinker-slider types whose stuff gets better when they're somewhat tired.

By contrast, Aceves is more of a power arm who just happens to like pitching as much as possible.

"I don't think it's his stuff; it's his being,'' said Valentine. "He's a highly-conditioned athlete who loves his job, loves to throw. He's continuously tweaking and trying to make himself a little better and the only way for him to do it is to face hitters.''

According to a source, one of the things that saved Clayton Mortensen from being returned to Pawtucket to create a roster spot for Josh Beckett was the fact that Valentine wanted another weapon to face lefties earlier in the game.

With Rich Hill on the DL and Franklin Morales in the rotation, a bullpen that once featured three lefties now has just one -- Andrew Miller.

Mortensen has limited opposing lefties to just four hits in 25 at-bats this season (.160) with an OPS of just .400.

The Sox have announced their starting pitchers through the end of the current road trip, with Felix Doubront going Sunday in the series finale here, followed by Daisuke Matsuzaka (Monday), Jon Lester (Tuesday) and Franklin Morales (Wednesday) in Oakland.

Beyond that, however, the Sox haven't revealed their plans for the weekend series with the Yankees at Fenway.

There's an off-day Thursday. If the Sox stayed on schedule, they would go with Aaron Cook Friday, Beckett and Doubront in Saturday's doubleheader and Matsuzaka in the final game of the first half Sunday.

"We're discussing it but we don't really have to set it yet,'' said Valentine. "You have the day off, so you can be a little more flexible on that last (series). I'd like to get through Oakland, win some games between now and then and see where we are.''

Scott's taste of big-league life with Red Sox has him hungering for more

Scott's taste of big-league life with Red Sox has him hungering for more

CHESNUT HILL -- The Red Sox Rookie Development Program is designed to help young players prepare for what playing at the major-league level is like,. That can be valuable for a prospect like Rafael Devers, who hasn’t even made it to Double-A.

But of the eight-man cast at the workout this year, there’s one guy who actually has major-league experience.

Robby Scott joined the Red Sox as a September call-up last season and turned some heads, holding opponents scoreless over six innings of work.

Now the lefty is back working with younger guys to prepare himself for spring training -- something he’s itching to get started.

“It’s one thing that we always talk about,” the left-handed reliever told CSNNE.com “It’s a tough road to get there, but it’s an even tougher and harder road to stay there. And having that taste in September last year was incredible to be a part of it.”

That taste Scott had last fall has only made the desire to rejoin Boston greater.

“Yeah, because now you know what it’s like,” Scott said CSNNE.com. “You see it and you’re there and you’re a part of it. And it’s like, ‘Man, I wanna be there.’ You’re a little bit more hungry.”

And his hunger to pitch with the Red Sox only becomes greater at an event like this where he’s the only one with MLB time.

“They ask on a consistent basis,” Scott started, “ ‘What’s it like?’ ‘What was it like getting there the first day?’ ‘How did the guys react?’ ‘What was it like dealing with the media?’

“That’s what this program is here for, just to kind of gives these guys a little taste of what it is like and get familiar with the circumstances.

While the experience and constant discussion invites players to try to do more in the offseason or change their routine, the 27-year-old has stayed the course, trusting what’s gotten him there.

“The offseason training stays the same, nothing really changes on that side of things,” Scott said. “Nothing changes. Go about my business the way I have the last six, seven years.”

Red Sox prospect Sam Travis 'not at all' worried about knee

Red Sox prospect Sam Travis 'not at all' worried about knee

CHESNUT HILL -- Kyle Schwarber made his triumphant return to the Cubs lineup in the 2016 World Series after missing the regular season with a torn ACL. Only months after the Cubs outfielder tore his ACL, Schwarber’s teammate from Indiana University -- and Red Sox prospect -- Sam Travis suffered the very same injury, missing the end of 2016.

“I actually talked to [Schwarber] quite a bit,” Travis said following the group training session. “He was one step ahead of me at all times . . . He gave me the lowdown, told me that it was like.

“With this kind of injury and the activity we do on a daily basis, it’s going to be something you take care of the rest of your life. Whether it’s treatment or the training room, you’re going to get to 100 percent. But you’re still going to have to take care of it."

Now the first baseman is back on his feet and was even healthy enough to join his teammates in lateral movement drills at the Red Sox rookie development program at Boston College.

If you didn’t know any better while watching him, you’d think the injury never happened. And that’s how Travis is approaching it.

“Not at all [worried about it],” Travis told CSNNE.com. “It’s one of those things you kind of pretend it’s just like your normal knee. You don’t do anything different because that may injury something else. You don’t want to try to prevent something from happening because you my pull your hip or something like that.

“You’ve just gotta go about it and trust yourself.”

That’s a great sign for Travis in his climb to joining the big league club. Getting over the physical portion of an injury takes time, but there’s usually a proven system set in place.

The mental side is another animal entirely and varies from player to player.

Luckily for the Red Sox, Travis doesn’t overthink much of anything.

“Nah, I’m a pretty simple guy,” he said.