Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Notes: Buchholz hasn't had it easy

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Red Sox Notes: Buchholz hasn't had it easy

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

TAMPA -- Clay Buchholz hasn't had the luxury of easing into spring training.

In his first start, he faced a stacked Minnesota Twins lineup. Then, Friday night, he drew a Yankee lineup that featured Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada.

"I looked at (the lineup card),'' said Buchholz, "and I was like, 'Man, another All-Star team.' But I think it's good. It's good facing guys like this is definitely not fun if you don't have your stuff or you're not locating.

"But it definitely makes you better, because this is the time to get better and work on your pitches.''

Buchholz rose to the early-spring challenge with three scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and two walks and struck out two.

"I worked hard coming into spring training,'' he said. "I wanted to come in, throwing three or four bullpens or live BP sessions. It's been about a month in the making before spring training. I feel good. I feel like the pitches are there. I just have to work on the command of a couple of pitches and try to stay in my delivery a little better.''

As the schedule sits, Buchholz is in line to pitch Monday, March 14, but the Sox will have him pitch a camp game rather than face a division rival two times before the season begins.

"I like facing these lineups, '' said Buchholz of the challenge, "but obviously, we face them a lot during the season. Right now, this means nothing so I'd rather face them during the season, when we have to play them for real.''

Still, Buchholz didn't hold back Friday, throwing his full repertoire of pitches.

"I wanted to try and throw all of my pitches,'' he said. "I think they're out there working, too.''

The Red Sox were encouraged by Josh Beckett's three-inning simulated game and expect him to make his next scheduled start, Tuesday, at City of Palms Park.

"He did well,'' said manager Terry Francona. "The ball came out of his hand well. I think he felt good about it. It's not like you look out there and think, 'OK, he's coming back from anything.' It was a regular day.''

Beckett will probably throw three innings Tuesday, a split-squad day for the Red Sox. They'll host Houston at home, where Beckett will throw.

Using a lineup without a single player expected to be in the Opening Day, the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 5-3 at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

In the seventh, Juan Carlos Linares put the Sox ahead with a single and infield prospect Oscar Tejeda followed with a two-run triple, scoring Che-Hsuan Lin and Linares.

The Sox had broken a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when Daniel Nava smacked a run-scoring single.

The Yankees managed a run off reliever Brandon Duckworth in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI-double from Robinson Cano. They added two more off Tony Pena Jr in the bottom of the ninth.

Adrian Gonzalez took his first swings against the pitching machine Friday and will intensify his workload each day.

"He did the normal progression (with balls off the tee and soft tosses), said Francona, "and then he finished up with 10 swings off the machine and he felt pretty good about it. I think he finished up with about 80 swings and felt really good. He's pretty excited.''

Francona said "intensity and amount,'' will increase daily for Gonzalez, with an eye toward taking his first live batting practice later next week before graduating to game action the week after.

"He's doing well,'' said Francona. "But (the timetable) will all go on how he feels.''

Jed Lowrie got his first pro start at first base Friday night. As the team's likely lone utility infielder, he needs some playing time in case he gets thrown into a game in the event of an injury to Adrian Gonzalez during the season.

"He's a shortstop by trade, so he certainly is not going to have a tough time catching the ball,'' said Francona. "His reactions (at first), when the ball's hit, I still think he has to think his way through it. At second, short and third, it's more instinctual for him. So the more he's over at first, the better that will be.''

The Sox have received permission from all of their National League road opponents this spring to use the DH in those games...Francona watched David Wells, obviously slimmer, throw batting practice to the Yankees. Told by a New York reporter that Wells hadn't eaten any carbs in two months, Francona cracked: "I wonder what else he's throwing in there, though.''

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

Drellich: Injuries for Betts, Pedroia, Nunez, unnerving in final week

Drellich: Injuries for Betts, Pedroia, Nunez, unnerving in final week

BOSTON — Even before Mookie Betts wrist flared up and Eduardo Nunez re-aggravated his knee Monday, the Red Sox’ health situation looked tenuous heading into the final week of the regular season. Particularly when it came to position players. Dustin Pedroia was out of the lineup Monday after a 1-for-26 road trip.

Now the scene turns scary. Consider that every other American League team that has clinched a postseason spot (or in the case of the Twins, is expected to) is one of the majors’ top five teams in runs scored per game: the Astros, Yankees, Indians and Twins. The Sox are 10th. 

The Sox lineup lacks firepower to begin with. Losing any more at this time of year is a recipe for a rough October.

"It sucks. It sucks," Nunez said. "Especially this time of year when it's close to the playoffs. It sucks."

The regular-season results show the Sox have adapted well overall when guys like Pedroia and Nunez have missed time. But that’s the regular season, and adding Betts to the mix is just disquieting.

MORE:

Nunez on Monday returned to the lineup for the first time in 16 days. Now he isn’t expected back until during the Astros series, his right knee injury re-aggravated

But there’s room for good news yet. Betts is to get his left wrist examined Tuesday. A positive prognosis there, and there should be a sense of a crisis averted. On Monday night, he expected to be fine, but he also didn't know what was going on. 

Farrell before the game made clear Nunez wasn’t exactly full go yet.

“[His return is] quicker than what it possibly could have been. You’re talking about a ligament damage to the PCL [posterior cruciate ligament] and I know it’s less severe than an ACL/MCL, but still it’s about pain tolerance,” Farrell said. “It’s about managing it. His body has to recondition to take care of that. His muscles have to respond in a different way. … If he feels a little bit of a zinger, that’s going to go away. He’s not putting himself at further risk.”

Farrell said after the game the feeling is Nunez didn’t do any new damage, but nonetheless, it’s easy to think now the Sox should have waited longer

Meanwhile, Pedroia’s been managing a left knee injury all season and didn’t play.

“When the knee starts to talk back to him a little bit, we’ve all got to listen to it and give him a down day,” Farrell said. “I would expect him to be back on the  field tomorrow.”

Farrell thought it reasonable to connect the knee to Pedroia’s recent poor performance hitting wise.

All year, resiliency has been a buzzword for Sox because of their propensity for late-inning comebacks. Sunday’s eighth-inning rally against the Reds was the latest example, leading to the Sox’ 42nd come-from-behind win. 

How they’ve dealt with a variety of health situations adds another layer to their reputation for handling adversity. Per spotrac.com, the Sox have had the fifth most disabled list days this season, 1,601. 

The Indians were doubted going into last year’s postseason because of health situations with their pitching. They did pretty well. But it’d also be foolish to minimize the importance of injuries to Pedroia, Nunez and Betts, and how they look heading into October.

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Mookie Betts to get left wrist examined Tuesday

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Mookie Betts to get left wrist examined Tuesday

BOSTON — First Mookie Betts right hand was bothering him. Now his left wrist is acting up to the point he was pulled from Monday's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays in the eighth inning and is headed for an exam to find out what's going on Monday.

"I’m not really that concerned. I think I’m  going to be fine," Betts said. "Just a couple days ago. I just took a swing and felt it. It’s just been kind of painful for swings, but that’s just the part of the season."

Betts felt it again on a swing Monday.

Betts, who's always a calm guy, didn't seem to be particularly worried. But when he was asked to describe the sensation, it sounded far from pleasant.

"Just like a sharp pain," Betts said. "I can’t really move my hand for a little bit, but I think, again, I don’t really know what’s going on. We’ll find out tomorrow."

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