Curt Schilling had a good 60-pitch long-toss session yesterday, but it was merely a tune-up for Wednesday, when he'll throw a three-inning simulated game. Terry Francona: It's "a pretty big day for him, effort-wise. He could throw Wednesday and have a great session. If he doesn't, we kind of stay at the same pace."
In three spring starts (all against the Twins), Matt Clement has allowed five runs and 12 hits in nine innings. The good news is that he has not walked anyone. "This time of spring I'm not usually the sharpest, but I'm throwing a lot of strikes. Maybe that's the reason I'm giving up a few more hits right now."
Clement's main concern is minimizing how often he throws his slider, so he's using his other pitches -- cut fastball, sinker, changeup -- in situations he wouldn't usually. ... Getting his walk rate down would be a huge boon for Clement, because, as Tony Massarotti notes, over the last three seasons, Clement has held opposing hitters to a .223 average, 6th in MLB behind Johan Santana, Jason Schmidt, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Kerry Wood.
Evan at Firebrand is also high on Clement. He "has a very good chance to be our ace the entire season. ... [I]f Jason Varitek can work his magic and he can sustain Act One of his 2004 Cubs season for the Red Sox, we're talking Cy Young. We're talking 25 wins."
Tito talks about managing this season and says he'd have no problem putting John Halama in the rotation for a few weeks, if necessary. Tito hoped Halama could go three or four innings today against Baltimore, but he lasted only two frames as Boston lost 5-3, its fourth straight defeat. ... Francona says he'll probably start the season with 11 pitchers. ... The first round of cuts will come today; Abe Alvarez is already at the minor league complex.
Mindful of the recent losses, Boston Dirt Dog Steve Silva warns: "It's only spring and the games don't mean a thing, but your world champion Boston Red Sox need to start playing some inspired baseball one of these days or run the risk of heading to New York for Sunday Night Live as the real not-ready-for-prime-time players." He's got to be kidding.
Elsewhere: Randy Johnson pitched four scoreless innings, allowing three hits in the Yankees' 8-2 victory over Houston. ... Jeremy Giambi told the Kansas City Star that he used steroids. ... Yankees special assistant Dwight Gooden was arrested Sunday for allegedly punching his ex-wife in the face.
Blogs: Brian M has a blog called Friendly Fenway. In an early entry, he wrote: "I would push my own mother down a flight of stairs if the Sox could somehow get a win out of it." That's the spirit. ... Five female Sox bloggers have begun a campaign: Bring Back The Bullpen Car! They should print up shirts with that logo!