Merloni: Farrell will have big impact on pitching staff

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Merloni: Farrell will have big impact on pitching staff

Lou Merloni is live from Fort Myers, FL for Red Sox Spring Training and joins Mike Felger on Sports Tonight to talk about the Sox pitching staff.

The staff was a disaster last year, but the hope is that new Sox manager, and former Sox pitching coach, John Farrell can change things. Merloni is on board with that way of thinking.

"I think he can have a big impact. Listen, the last time he saw these guys, a lot of them were on top of their game. Whatever liberties they took with Terry Francona, and the last couple of pitching coaches, I think that does go away. There was that fear factor with John Farrell; he does have that presence."

Merloni and Felger also tackle the news that John Lackey has arrived in camp having lost a ton of weight. Merloni doesn't seem to care much, but Felger thinks it's a good signs.

The two do agree on Jon Lester's recent comments regarding another "level" he can reach as a pitcher.

Check out the video.

Tanaka outduels Sale and Yankees beat Red Sox, 3-0

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Tanaka outduels Sale and Yankees beat Red Sox, 3-0

BOSTON - Masahiro Tanaka pitched a three-hitter to outduel Chris Sale and earn his first shutout since 2014, and the New York Yankees beat Boston 3-0 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory over the rival Red Sox.

Tanaka (3-1) struck out three and threw only 97 pitches for his fifth career complete game and his 10th win in 11 decisions dating to last season. Aaron Hicks had two hits and scored twice, and Matt Holliday had two hits and two RBIs.

Tanaka retired the last 14 batters he faced and only allowed one runner to reach second base.

Sale (1-2) allowed three runs - two earned - and eight hits in eight innings, striking out 10 and walking none. He joined Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Jon Lester as Red Sox pitchers with 10 or more strikeouts in four straight starts.

The Red Sox have scored four runs total in his five starts this season. Boston, which scored the most runs in baseball last season, has scored 13 total over its last seven games, losing five and getting shut out three times.

Sale matched Tanaka until the fourth, when Hicks singled, took second on a groundout, third on a passed ball and scored on Holliday's sacrifice fly. The Yankees chased Sale when Hicks, Chase Headley and Holliday all singled to start the ninth and score another run.

Heath Hembree gave up a single to Starlin Castro to make it 3-0 before Aaron Judge popped out to the catcher and Chris Carter grounded into a double play.

 

BUNTS

Sale is 4-2 with a 1.31 ERA in eight career starts against Yankees. ... Jacoby Ellsbury of the Yankees did not reach base for the first time in 26 games stretching to the end of the 2016 season. ... The starters are the top two on the all-time list for strikeout-to-walk ratio since 1900 among pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched. Tanaka had a 4.94 K/BB ratio entering the game, and Sale's was 4.83.

 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: INF Didi Gregorious was the designated hitter in a 10:15 a.m. intrasquad game in Tampa. He got four at-bats: two groundouts and a lineout before homering to right off RHP Juan De Paula in his last at-bat.

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia returned after missing three games and a rainout after being spiked in the left leg by Baltimore's Manny Machado.

 

UP NEXT

Yankees: Return home to open a three-game series against the Orioles. CC Sabathia (2-1) pitches for New York against Baltimore's Kevin Gausman (1-2).

Red Sox: Welcome the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to Fenway Park for the first time since 2014. Drew Pomeranz (1-1) will face Jake Arrieta (3-0).

Carson Smith 'had to take a step back' in recovery from Tommy John

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Carson Smith 'had to take a step back' in recovery from Tommy John

Neither set-up man the Red Sox traded for under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith, is throwing off a mound presently.

Smith, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, felt soreness after throwing a bullpen session and is back to doing long toss. 

"He’s had to slow down," Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday. "Once he got on the mound with some aggression and good intensity, was throwing the ball well. And as a result there’s been some soreness that has kind of reared its head. So have had to back him off, back into long toss, he’s thrown out to about 110 feet here today. We’re hopeful that in the very near future that mound progression resumes.

"The unique thing about Tommy John recovery is that every situation is going to be different. In this case, we’ve had to take a step back a little bit and get back to flat ground."

Smith is in Boston as part of a previously scheduled meet-up with the team, Farrell said. When the season began, Smith was rehabbing in Florida. He was put on the 60-day disabled list on Thursday, a formality that opened up a 40-man roster spot for new acquisition Chase d'Arnaud.

Smith was put on the disabled list on April 3, so he can return June 2 at the earliest, but may now need more time.

Thornburg (right shoulder impingement) is building up his long-toss distance.

In other injury news, Brock Holt (vertigo) may begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday or Saturday, Farrell said.