Notes: Red Sox announce weekend starters


Notes: Red Sox announce weekend starters

By SeanMcAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox announced Tuesday some scheduled pitchers for the first three days of exhibition games.

Stolmy Pimentel will start Saturday's afternoon contest with Boston College, followed by Michael Bowden and Jason Rice. Against Northeastern Saturday night, the Sox will go with Kyle Weiland, Alex Wilson and Rich Hill.

In the Grapefruit League opener Sunday night against the Minnesota Twins, Josh Beckett will start, with Clay Buchholz to follow. On Monday, also against Minnesota, Daisuke Matsuzaka will start.

Junichi Tazawa, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last spring, threw his first full bullpen session Tuesday morning.

Tazawa had thrown a shorter distance Sunday. On Tuesday, he threw the normal distance, though he concentrated solely on fastballs.

"It's getting gradually better and better,'' said Tazawa through a translator. "I still have a little bit of anxiety about throwing, but it went well.''

It's unlikely that Tazawa will be ready for the start of the minor-league season in early April.

"I don't know the timetable that far ahead,'' he said. "Currently, I've only been given a week at a time, so I only know that.''

Tazawa said he could feel some "tension'' in his right shoulder, but added: "There's no problem at all with the elbow.''

When cleared, Tazawa is slated to be part of the Pawtucket rotation, providing some starting depth for the major league team.

The Red Sox had a morning meeting with umpiring supervisors Larry Young and Joe Garagiola Jr. to go over issues and answer questions from staff and players.

"It was actually a good meeting,'' said Terry Francona. "They told us what they feel they needed to tell us and then guys were allowed to ask questions. They're good listeners. I think they made some good points. I thought it was a good meeting.''

J.D. Drew, who complained last season about inconsistency with the strike zone, said he did not speak up during the meeting.

"I don't want to reflect back on my complaints too much, because it doesn't do me any good,'' said Drew. "I just want to get back to being more patient at the plate, regardless of the situation. There might be a lot of called strike threes against me that I'll still have questions about, but I've got to learn to not expand the strike zone, regardless.''

Adrian Gonzalez took another 30 swings off a tee Tuesday morning. Gonzalez has been given the option of repeating the work Wednesday or taking a day off and resuming swings Thursday . . . Jonathan Papelbon, still battling the flu, remained inside and didn't participate in the workout for the second time in the last three days . . . Jason Bergmann, who was sidelined with shoulder weakness last week is improving but still hasn't been cleared to throw.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment


David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels


Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.