March 10, 2004

Scary Good. Pedro Martinez was happy with his outing last night. "Right now just the fact that I feel fine, feel healthy, feel strong, that's good enough." Curt Schilling felt strong and sharp -- "scary good" even: "I don't remember a Spring Training game where I felt as good warming up as I did tonight. I did some things where it was more in-season-like ... the pattern, the pitch selection, the way all four pitches were working." And Schilling loves working with Jason Varitek: "A couple of things tonight bode well for the season, and that's one of them. I have a guy who is in command back there, in total control. I haven't had that the last five, seven years. A catcher back there who is into it as much as I am ... that's someone I always wanted, and now I have him."

The idea of slotting Tim Wakefield between Martinez and Schilling appeals to everyone. Pedro likes it: "Wakefield has had very good success pitching after me. Any time hitters see him after a hard-thrower, they have a big adjustment to make." Schilling likes it: "[W]hatever they think is best for us, I'm all for it. Following [Wakefield] probably wouldn't be a bad thing. ... I'm absolutely fine with it." And Francona likes it: "If everything works out OK, yeah, that's what we're looking at. It would be beneficial to all three. It'll help our staff just be more effective. I just think it makes the most sense. How we're going to do it is still up in the air. But we want to get there, at some point."

Pitching coach Dave Wallace has had several conversations with Martinez about pitch counts. Pedro: "I should pitch a complete game with 110 pitches, 115 pitches. There's no need to go any further than that. That's what the average starting pitcher should finish a game with. If anybody asks for more, damn! C'mon now, we're only human. ... 120, 130, you're looking for surgery at the end of the year." Some people may not like the Red Sox announcing this kind of stuff, but everyone must know by now Pedro is on a strict count, especially after last fall. And frankly, with the bullpen as currently staffed, none of the starters should have to go over 110 very often.

Yeah, This Again. Gordon Edes spoke with Jerry Narron (last year's bench coach). While Narron admitted he didn't know what was said among Little, Wallace and Martinez after the end of the 7th inning in Game 7, he had these comments: "But when Bernie [Williams] got a hit [in the eighth], Grady said to me, 'I know Petey is going to close the inning out.' And after he went out there and asked Petey how he was, he came back and said, 'He's going to get 'em out.' If he goes out there and Petey says, 'I'm OK' and he gets beat, then what would the reaction have been? ... Grady was prepared. He knew the numbers. He didn't always follow the numbers, but Grady was as prepared as any manager in baseball." ... Yes, I know I come back to this game with the fascination of picking at a scab. But I read Narron's defense of Gump as more of an indictment. Narron says that even before Gump went to the mound, he had planned to allow Pedro to finish the inning, because he knew in his gut Martinez would "get 'em out." And prepared? Please. The Grinning Jackass didn't hold a meeting with the hitters before the ALDS. All the scouting reports and files on the A's were left to gather dust on a shelf someplace.

Edes reports that the Sox have made offers to Martinez, Garciaparra and Varitek, with Nomar's believed to be 3 years plus an option. ... Trot Nixon received an epidural injection to relieve the pain in his left side and said it seemed to subside. ... Pokey Reese missed the Reds game with a bruised jaw: "I was stretching a little too close to (David) McCarty and McCarty's fist caught me right in the jaw. I couldn't even eat afterwards." X-rays were negative. ... Byung-Hyun Kim will start this afternoon against St. Louis; David Ortiz and Johnny Damon will be the only regulars making the trip. ... Francona plans to play Kapler at third base sometime this spring. ... Keith Foulke, who is experimenting with a split-fingered fastball, is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Dodgers.

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