Breslow hasn't pitched yet, says he'll be ready

Breslow hasn't pitched yet, says he'll be ready
March 20, 2014, 6:15 pm
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Lefty reliever Craig Breslow, battling some shoulder weakness, has yet to face hitters in camp.

(AP Photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Craig Breslow has yet to appear in a game this spring. In fact, he's yet to so much as throw to hitters. Still, the veteran reliever believes there's still time to get ready for the March 31 season opener.

"I think I'll be ready,'' said Breslow, "but I don't make the final decision, obviously. I feel good, I feel strong. We talked about from the beginning that I don't need a ton of games, I just need some repetitions and that was something I could kind of do on the side, throwing bullpens etc.

"So I feel like we're in good shape. The volume of my throws is probably more than some of [other pitchers] in here; it just hasn't been in games.''

Last spring, Breslow also began slowly, though then, he was battling some shoulder weakness. This year, he and the Red Sox both insist, there's no injury.

"This is different,'' he said. "Last year, I was injured and hurting when I was throwing and this was just a kind of a drawn-out plan to make sure that some of the things I dealt with last year didn't happen again. We had the luxury of bringing me along slowly and so we utilized that.''

''I feel good. But the fact that I feel good is the result of not having gotten here and immediately jumped into games.''

Breslow, 33, made 61 appearances totaling 59 2/3 innings last season, then made another 10 appearances in the postseason and the Sox thought it best to ease him into 2014 after his workload last year.

"I think there's a recognition that coming off some heavier seasons in my career,'' he said, "I've dealt with fatigue, weakness and going into spring training, we saw that I was battling some things last year. Ultimately going through the process and going at a little slower pace [last spring] than the rest of the guys, I was able to go through a full healthy season and a sucessful season, there was no reason to not try and replicate that.''

If Breslow pitches Monday in Sarasota against the Orioles, he said he'd need "two or three more games'' to get ready.

"As far I'm concerned,'' he said, "my plan is to get ready to pitch in Baltimore on Opening Day. I don't know what's in play from their side, but I'm getting ready for Opening Day.''

Should Breslow be held out some, the Sox will likely start the season with Brandon Workman taking his spot in the bullpen. The Sox will have two other lefties (Andrew Miller and Chris Capuano) available, and the team believes that the four righties -- Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Burke Badenhop and Edward Mujica -- can all get lefties out.

Workman will be stretched out enough, too, to help provide multiple innings early, at a time when starters aren't yet prepared to go deep into games.