Notes: Varitek forced to catch Wakefield

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Notes: Varitek forced to catch Wakefield

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- It had been six long seasons since Jason Varitek last caught a game by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Wednesday night, after Wakefield got the win in a 11-6 Red Sox victory over the New York Yankees, Varitek pronounced himself mostly satisfied.

"I hadn't caught him (for an extended period) in a long time,'' said Varitek. "You need reps with Wake and I had no opportunity to prepare. No side work. It was a grind.''

Varitek caught Wakefield for multiple innings in the spring out of the bullpen, and also handled him for several side sessions.

But even then, Varitek said, he estimated it had been "a few weeks'' since he had caught Wakefield at all. The Sox have mostly paired Wakefield with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was unavailable Wednesday night with a stomach virus.

"The tough part today,'' said Varitek, "was he'd throw one and it would spin. Then he would throw another and it woudld be a double-breaker, left and right.''

Varitek said he learned a lot watching former teammate Doug Mirabelli catch Wakefield for several seasons. Catching instructor Gary Tuck also incorporated some things to help Varitek.

"I was pretty happy,'' concluded Varitek of the night.

The Red Sox got some good news on another catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Saltalamacchia was violently ill Tuesday night and again Wednesday, and for a while late Wednesday afternoon, the Sox were concerned that Saltalamacchia might be suffering from appendicitis and would require a surgical procedure.

But after tests conducted at a New York hospital, it was determined that Saltalamacchia was suffering from what Terry Francona termed "intestinal turmoil.''

Saltalamacchia was in the clubhouse for a while Wednesday night before returning to the team hotel. He wasn't scheduled to catch the series finale with Josh Beckett and probably won't be available until Friday -- at the earliest -- when the Sox begin a weekend series in Toronto.

The Sox were able to summon Luis Exposito on short notice from Pawtucket. He arrived at Yankee Stadium about an hour before game time.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.