Valentine: Buchholz 'hasn't hit his stride yet'

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Valentine: Buchholz 'hasn't hit his stride yet'

BOSTON Despite being one of just two starting Red Sox pitchers (with Felix Doubront) with a winning record, Clay Buchholz (2-1, 8.87 ERA) has struggled through most of his four starts this season. He earned a win in his last start, April 25 in Minnesota, when he went 5 13 innings, giving up five runs on 10 hits. He left with the bases loaded with all three runs eventually scoring.

Manager Bobby Valentine has seen progress.

Ive seen constant improvement, Valentine said. You know, step by step. He had a couple of bullpens between starts where he looked real sharp. I think hes ready to do what he can do consistently. Hes had all his pitches. He hasnt really strung them together like he can.

Valentine, though, is still getting to know each of Buchholz, so its difficult for him to judge the right-handers progress by his pitches.

Its hard for me to tell, Valentine said. Im not judging against what Ive seen in the past so Im just going pitch by pitch and game by game. It seems to me he has a changeup and hes throwing his changeup down and being able to throw that when hes behind in the count to get some outs and ground balls. I think that could be a plus. Hes a good pitcher. He hasn't hit his stride yet.

In five career starts against Oakland, Buchholz has a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 7.84 and opponents average of .354, both marks are his highest against any opponent. He made two starts against the As in 2011, going 1-0 (5.40). He threw a total of 10 innings, allowing six earned runs. The last time he faced Oakland was June 3 at Fenway. He did not factor into the decisions, going 4 23 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits with two strikeouts.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Hanley Ramirez's shoulder already a concern for Red Sox heading into WBC

Hanley Ramirez's shoulder already a concern for Red Sox heading into WBC

Another year, another injury concern for Hanley Ramirez. This time, though, it's a bit more complicated.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told the media Monday that Ramirez hadn't played any first base during spring training yet due to discomfort in his right throwing shoulder.

“Well, we’re working through ramping up his throwing program,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. “That has taken a little bit more time than anticipated coming in so we’ve got to kind of take that day to day how much we can increase the intensity with the throwing. He’s just working through some soreness with the throwing.”

As Bradford points out, Ramirez and the Red Sox went through the same process last year. Where it differs this time around is Ramirez's scheduled participation in the World Baseball Classic: He's expected to report to Team Domincan Republic on Friday, which means the Red Sox won't be monitoring his every move on the field (though the two training staffs will be communicating daily, also per Bradford).

Ramirez isn't the only first baseman on the roster, with the Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana there as well. So will Ramirez be jumping into game action anytime soon?

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. They haven’t told me anything,” Ramirez told WEEI.com “I’m just going to go there and see.”