Sox young pitching on display in openers

Sox young pitching on display in openers
February 27, 2014, 7:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In the first two games of spring, the Red Sox showcased a number of their young pitching prospects, matched against two Boston-area college teams.

In the opener against Northeastern, a 5-2 victory for the Sox, Brandon Workman pitched two innings, allowing one hit while striking out two and facing the mininum number of hitters (six).

"First one of the year, I definitely had some adrenaline going,'' said Workman. "I'm excited to be back out there and get started again
for this year.''

Workman said his goal this spring is "to build off what I've been doing -- keep commanding my fastball and continuing to improve some of
my secondary pitches.''

In the second half of last season, Workman worked out of the bullpen, but this spring, is back to being stretched out as a starter.

"The preparation is a little bit different,'' he said, contrasting the two roles. But on the mound, I feel it's very similar -- it's still about attacking hitters, getting ahead in the count and executing pitches late in the count.''

Henry Owens followed Workman, and had some command issues, walking two. But he also struck out two in his only inning of work.

"I felt good,'' said Owens. "There were a lot of positives -- a few negatives, obviously. You have to get ahead in the count early rather than
fall behind and have to battle my way back into counts. You can't walk two guys in an inning and get away with it too often. So obviously, it's stil needs to be refined and hopefully, I can keep getting better.''

While fastball command is an ongoing project for the lanky lefty, much of what he's focusing on this spring is mental. Confidence is key.

"If you don't think you can do it, it's not going to happen,'' he said. "I think if everything falls into place, hopefully, I can get the opportunity (to contribute in the big leagues juste as Workman did last year).''

In the second game, also a 5-2 victory, Rubby De La Rosa looked sharp with two scoreless innings, allowing one hit while fanning two.

De La Rosa is in his second year with the organization, allowing him to be more comfortable and he's also another year removed from the Tommy
John surgery he underwent at the end of 2011.

"I feel amazing,'' De La Rosa said. "I feel like I did [before the surgery]. I feel free. I can throw any pitch on any count and I can
throw my gas easy and I don't feel nothing.''

Prior to the start of the spring, De La Rosa worked with countryman Pedro Martinez on refining his delivery and the smoother mechanics showed.

"His direction through the zone has been much more consistent,'' said manager John Farrell. "There's an effort level in his delivery that is comfortable and has allowed him to command the baseball and that's the one thing that stood out today - he looked relaxed on the mound.''

Finally, Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless inning against BC and flashed an impressive fastball.

"As a whole, I thought it was pretty good,'' said Barnes of the outing. "Everything I do is predicated on fastball command. That's really priority No 1, being able to locate that down in the zone, in-and-out, up-and-down, and then you can kind of work off of that.''