Dempster looking forward to fresh start with Red Sox


Dempster looking forward to fresh start with Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ryan Dempster left one last-place team for another this winter, but he's not concerned that the losing he experience in Chicago will continue with the Red Sox.

"I think anything that happened last year, no matter what team you're on, that kind of goes out the door," said Dempster. "You can look at different teams, teams maybe that have won it and don't end up getting back there, or maybe not even make the playoffs. It's amazing how fast things can change.

"And vice versa. OK, (the Red Sox) finished last past year. But things can turn around in a heartbeat. You look at the type of players we brought in, and guys being healthy. We just have to go out there and stay healthy through spring training, then be prepared when the season starts to go out and get after it.

"I think anytime spring training starts, there's always that determination. You have that fresh new outlook on a season. You can put last year behind you, whether it was good or bad. You learn from it and you learn from your successes and your failures and you go out there and try to improve on that."

Dempster has pitched almost exclusively in the National League in his career, but made his A.L. debut last August when he was traded from the Cubs to the Texas Rangers.

"If anybody says, 'Oh, it's no different (in the A.L.) . . .' It is different. You're not facing a pitcher, you're facing a (DH like) David Ortiz or you're facing a Mark Teixeira. You have somebody plugged into that spot who's a bona fide middle-of-the-order hitter. It does change.

"But at the same time, your goal as a pitcher is to go out and execute as many quality pitches as possible. If you throw 100 pitches in a game and you execute 90 of those, you're going to have success. The (fewer) pitches you execute, no matter who you're facing, you're not going to have as much success. I think it comes down to preparing, practicing to do it and then maintaining your focus, never letting up."

Beyond facing a DH instead of a pitcher, Dempster noticed other changes between the leagues.

"I think AL teams make adjustments very fast,'' he said. "They're a lot more patient. But I think that comes from team to team. I faced some really good teams last year, some really good hitting teams. Facing them one through nine, you just have to be prepared. It's about making pitches. Ultimately, if you do that, if you execute your pitches and put them where you want, 7 12 times out of 10, you're going to get the job done."

Dempster has pitched just under 1,000 innings in the last five years, evidence of how durable he's been. He hopes that continues to be the case.

"I like to provide consistency," said Dempster. "I think that's probably something, over the course of my career, that I take the biggest pride in. I try to take the ball every fifth day, as long as I can and go out there and give it my best effort. Be prepared - I think that's really important. That's something that, over the course of my career, from watching guys, is be prepared as you can to go out there and have success."

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