Red Sox Notes: Buchholz hasn't had it easy

Red Sox Notes: Buchholz hasn't had it easy
March 5, 2011, 12:42 am
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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