Sox pitchers get old-school advice from Jim Kaat

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Sox pitchers get old-school advice from Jim Kaat

FORT MYERS, Fla -- Jim Kaat, who pitched 25 years in the big leagues, was on hand Monday to talk to Red Sox pitchers and offer some ideas.

"I think he just brought some of his wisdom,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "The guy had 283 wins and Hall of Fame credentials. I'm sure any time a pitcher can talk to a pitcher with those kind of kind of credentials, it's a good thing. I'm glad that he was here. Honored.

"If guys who have been through it and want to take the time to share some of their thoughts . . . You can't teach experience, but you can spread wisdom. It's a good thing. Having Luis Tiant around is a great resource, Jimmy Rice coming around. If he says one thing every once in a while, it's beneficial."

Kaat is friendly with Philip Morse, one of the Red Sox limited partners and he's also neighbors with new pitching coach Bob McClure.

"I watched the demise last September,'' said Kaat, "and I thought, 'Maybe they could use some old-school, simplified ideas to go along with all the modern technology that they have available.'

"Turns out, Ben Cherington listened to me do games and he liked my ideas on pitching and you add to that my relationship with Bob McClure and they said, 'Wanna come over for a couple of days and just tell them the things you learned from Warren Spahn, Eddie Lopat and Johnny Sain?' So, that's why I did.''

Kaat talked to the pitchers as a group Monday and emphasized the "mental part of pitching -- trust yourself, throw strikes and things that worked for me.

"It was more or less simple ideas. I got nice feedback from some of the pitchers to that effect. Sometimes, you're so bogged down with scouting reports that you forget to use your own strengths and let the hitters worry about the pitchers rather than worrying so much about them."

Kaat, who was known as one of the best fielding pitchers in the modern era, plans to address fielding the position and holding baserunners Tuesday.

"I'm honored that they wanted me to come over here and share,'' said Kaat. "As former players, we appreciate being able to share the things that guys before us helped with and maybe we can pass on something that can help them."

McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

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McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

BOSTON -- If you think John Farrell's decision to hit Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff for one night is the reason Bradley's 29-game hit streak came to an end, I've got some swamp land you might be interested in buying.

Such silly talk first surfaced mid-afternoon when the lineup was announced. With Mookie Betts getting his first day off this season, somebody had to hit leadoff. Farrell went with the guy who was leading the league in hitting.

That sounds reasonable. But not to some, who cried that putting Bradley at the top was (take your pick) disrupting Bradley's routine, putting him in a place with which he wasn't familiar, or asking him to change his approach.

Of course, none of those made much sense.

First of all, Thursday night marked the sixth (SIXTH!) different spot that Bradley has hit during the hitting streak. He had hit second, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth. So the notion that any change was disruptive was absurd.

As for the notion that Bradley would treat his at-bats differently because he was leading off? Also wrong. Bradley's major adjustment since spring training has been being aggressive early in the count. So, do you know how many pitches Bradley saw in four at-bats as the leadoff hitter? Eight.

Does that sound like someone who was being forced to be more patient for the night, or someone changing their approach by working the count more?

Finally, Bradley hit two balls on the screws -- one to the warning track in right, just in front of the bullpen in his first at-bat and another in front of the center field door, some 400 or so feet away, in his third.

Streaks come to an end, even when hitters belt the ball hard. Twice.