Workman struggles in Red Sox' 7-6 loss to Pirates

Workman struggles in Red Sox' 7-6 loss to Pirates
March 3, 2014, 5:00 pm
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Brandon Workman's second outing of the spring -- and first against a major-league team -- was full of ups and downs.

The good? He struck out four of the first nine hitters and his fastball was explosive at times.

The bad? He was tagged for two two-run homers and five runs overall in 2 1/3 innings of work in a 7-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I thought there were definitely two sides to it,'' said Workman. "At times, I was throwing the ball really well and got some good hitters out, with quite a few swings-and-misses, but then I made some mistakes and they jumped all over those.''

Pedro Alvarez jumped on a pitch that "ran back over the plate'' in the first, and in the third, Russell Martin drove a cutter "that was up; I didn't get it down where I needed to be and he put a good swing on it."

McKechnie Field is notorious for its winds which help a ball carry. But Workman wasn’t looking for any excuses.

"When I got the ball where it needed to be,'' said Workman, "I felt like I was having success. But when I made mistakes, they were on them today. I felt like I was letting some pitches sail. I tightened that back up in the second (for a 1-2-3 inning).''

"I thought he showed good definition on three different pitches,''  said John Farrell. "When he mislocated and elevated a couple of times, they made him pay for it. But we got him out for the start of the third inning and got him out to 45 or so pitches. It was a solid work day even though the results, maybe, aren't what we anticipate.''

Given who the Sox have set in their rotation and bullpen, it's doubtful Workman will begin the year in the big leagues. But he's still mindful that he wants to make a good impression, which is why the five runs allowed are difficult to shake off.

"For me, I'm a competitive person,'' he said. "So if it's not about results, they wouldn't have a scoreboard. There is a bigger picture in spring training, to sharpen up and get ready for the season and all that sort of thing. But I feel like anybody with a competitive nature is going to want to have success.

''It's nice to be working on things while you're getting outs and  not giving up runs, too.''

After contributing out of the bullpen last year, Workman is back to working as a starter, a transition for him. But at this point, he's no different than any other starter, trying to build up arm strength.

"I don't feel like being a reliever a last year has anything to do with it,'' he said. "All pitchers are stair-stepping up their innings and building up and I'm definitely in the process of doing that well.''