Buchholz feels good during easygoing spring training


Buchholz feels good during easygoing spring training

By MaureenMullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. In past spring trainings, right-hander Clay Buchholz has been the guy whos had to prove himself, showing that he deserved a spot in the starting rotation. At times even that wasnt enough to secure a spot.

Thats in the past. This spring he has none of those worries. After going 17-7 -- his 2.33 ERA was second-best in the American League -- and earning his first All-Star berth, Buchholz has established himself.

It feels good, he said. Im not going to say spring training is stress-free, because theres always things that you know you can get better on and you dont do them as good as you think you should. But going in, having a little bit of confidence, and knowing the team has a little bit of confidence in me, its definitely a different feeling this spring.

Against the Twins Sunday night at Hammond County Stadium, Buchholz went two scoreless innings in the Red Sox 8-4 loss.

It went pretty well, he said. I got to mix in. The only pitch I didnt throw today was the cutter and that was sort of what I was wanting to do going into it. Threw a couple of breaking balls, and majority of fastball, changeup, two-seam, and felt good. First time out, and on the right road, so far.

Buchholz faced six batters, striking out catcher Drew Butera to open the third inning.

Buck looked great, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Just downward angle from the beginning. Kept the ball down, mixed his pitches up, just lights out. Looked good.

Although Buchholz and Saltalamacchia worked together just once last season, Saltalamacchia sees no reason why Buchholz wont improve in 2011.

I dont see any reason why any of our guys wont improve, he said. They all got great stuff, and Buck, hes got four pitches. He can get you out. So, a guy like that makes it easy to sit back and call the game, for sure.

Buchholz likes what he sees from his new catcher, too.

Good, he said of their first Grapefruit League game together. Hes a big target. We got two catchers this year that are just huge targets. Its easier to throw to a guy thats wider than the plate than a guy thats sitting back there. Even with Victor Martinez last year, its the same case. Its definitely good.

"Saltalamacchia's got his things that he does and hes made sure hes come by everybody and asked if its alright. The little leg thing he does (the Tony Pena-style squat with his right leg out). But hes a big target, can call a game, knows what hes doing. Thats what it takes to be a good catcher, from that point of view. So hes doing a real good job.

Buchholz entered the game in the third inning, relieving starter Josh Beckett, giving Buchholz a slightly different feel. He hasnt entered a regular-season game from the bullpen since 2008. Its just part of the early spring training routine.

"I knew that it was basically going out there and getting my work done, he said. So it wasnt like a game in October or anything. No, I tried to do the same routine I do when Im starting. But it went pretty smooth out there.

Buchholz is expected to start against the Yankees on Friday in Tampa.

Sweet, he said when informed of his next opponent.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”