Atchison gives Sox the best relief in baseball

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Atchison gives Sox the best relief in baseball

BOSTON -- Scott Atchison isn't getting many headlines. But he is getting plenty of work and doing the most with his appearances.
Atchison, who pitched one third of an inning in the Red Sox' 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers Tuesday night, has thrown more relief innings -- 29 13 -- than any pitcher in baseball. He also sports a 0.92 ERA, fourth best among qualifying relievers in the big leagues.
Atchison, in fact, went into Wednesday's game with a chance to go the entire month of May without allowing a run. The last run he allowed came on April 29. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 outings, covering 17 23 innings.
The latter represents the longest current scorleess streak of any pitcher in the majors.
Opposing righthanded hitters have hit just .189 against him while lefties have hit just .212.
"He's an efficient thrower,'' said Bobby Valentine. "His 90 (mph) reads more than that, obviously, because the hitter doesn't see 90; they see something more than that. He's got late rotation and the short arm stroke behind him and he's able to move the ball side-to-side and do it with efficiency.
"Before the ball leaves his hand, you can see where the catcher is and know where the ball is going to be most all of the time. Then, all he you need is a plan and he works his plan against hitters.''
Atchison has had to overcome numerous trips back and forth to the minors and the perception that he's not overpowering.
"He's evolved into a very good pitcher,'' said Valentine. '"But because he doesn't throw 95 mph, as soon as he gets hits, people are going to say, 'It was all smoke and mirrors from the beginning.' It's kind of a weird thing.''

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


 

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.