February 27, 2009

Impressive Outings For Lester And Saito

Like Josh Beckett, Jon Lester is working on his changeup this spring:
This year, I feel more comfortable with my fastball and my command. I feel that I can spend the time in the bullpen working on other pitches than just my fastball. ... I don't think you ever master a pitch. It's something you have feel for and you have command. That's really all we're trying to get. I'm not trying to have the best changeup in the league. I'm just trying to get a changeup that's effective or one that I can throw behind in the count when we need to.
Terry Francona explained why:
The idea is twofold. One is to incorporate the changeup more and give him another weapon. And in the meantime, staying away from the cutter early in camp helps with arm strength and saves some wear and tear. [The cutter] is a weapon and then all of sudden, it's a very effective weapon. You go to it, you go to it and all of a sudden, your fastball [loses velocity]. ... We understand how good a pitch it can be, but you can lose some of your fastball with it.
Tito was also impressed with Takashi Saito, who allowed one hit and struck out two in his inning of work.
I didn't expect to quite see that out of him today. ... here comes 93 [mph] with a pretty good breaking ball. That was nice to see. The ball came out of his hand real nice. He had good spin on the breaking ball.
Saito has high praise for one of Boston's newest pitchers, 22-year-old Junichi Tazawa:
I think that he is going to become the type of person that's going to change what it means to be a Japanese baseball player. ... I look at Tazawa and I think of when I was 23 years old and I was a rookie. I certainly wasn't that calm and collected. He's here in a camp surrounded by all these famous, major league ballplayers. ... I think he's got it together really well.
Jonathan Papelbon (now scheduled to pitch on Sunday) and Brad Penny each threw 40 pitches of live batting practice. ... Penny will start next Thursday against the Puerto Rico WBC team. ... Francona says Mike Lowell is running at 75-80%.

On the MFY front, Alex Rodriguez has been told by management to keep Cousin Yuri (who picked Slappy up from practice two days ago) away from the team at all times. ... What kind of contract is Manny Ramirez waiting for? He turned down the Dodgers' fourth offer -- $25 million for 2009 and a $20 million player option for 2010. That's amazingly (or insanely) generous.

Baseball's biggest rivalry continues this afternoon as the Red Sox travel to Port Charlotte to play the Rays at 1 PM. Michael Bowden will start. Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay and Rocco Baldelli (he'll DH) will be in the lineup.

22 comments:

Benjamin said...

I keep waiting for Saito to spontaneously combust on the mound. I just can't believe he's actually healthy AND the market's that inefficient.

redsock said...

Saito's most similar comp stats-wise? Bot. It's true.

If he's healthy, it'll be one of the steals of the season.

Benjamin said...

And vice versa.

Joba is Saito's #4 but Pap's #10. I'm assuming the relative rankings aren't meaningful there, given the range.

Patrick said...

I really like how I've heard Saito is very personal and can help bridge the gap between the Japanese and non-Japanese players.

Just another example of Theo finding good players who are also good teammates.

redsock said...

BOS - 000
TBR - 145

yikes.

Patrick said...

reading the extra bases blog, the writer wrote twice that someones double was "right over the glove of Bay".

I hope this doesn't come up as often as "past a diving Jeter".

Benjamin said...

Ouch. Spring training, though.

Half an hour left on the Dodgers' lets-call-it-a-deadline, and Boras is playing chicken as usual.

accudart said...

Not looking at thr first three innings below, if the Sox pitching stays healthy it could be really impressive.

Jere said...

It's now either 10-4, 10-3, or 10-5. This Rays announcer is not big on "telling us what's going on" or when he does, "doing it in a timely fashion." (It's not Staats, just one guy solo.)

I agree that Saito is awesome. He's basically either great or injured. So if he's healthy, we're gold.

Patrick said...

I spoke too soon. The writer wrote shortly after that all of the outfielders are having a lot of trouble with the sun.

Benjamin said...

Chances are if it's "right over the glove of Bay" in the regular season, it's off the Monster.

Benjamin said...

Stop hitting our batters, please.

redsock said...

10-3 in the 5th -- we're comin' back. Shades of Game 5.

Jere said...

"High fly ball...and that'll turn into a line drive..."

I've never heard that one before. This guy also has trouble with the letter E. "Devren" Hansack, Chip "Ambers," Jon Van "Avery"...

Zink is in. Hansack did well.

Jere said...

I do like how this guy's talking about being a kid and dreaming of Florida in March--was hoping he'd mention Winter Haven, which he did, even bringing up ol' Chain-o-Lakes Park. Talking about buying baseball cards and getting your glove ready for the season. All good stuff I can relate to---but today's modern terms accidentally snuck into his language:

"If you live in New England, 'Fort Myers' has an exotic ringtone to it."

Benjamin said...

MFY - 210 000 0
MIN - 000 101

Is there anything sadder than out-of-town scoreboard watching during ST?

Jere said...

"Is there anything sadder than out-of-town scoreboard watching during ST?"

Yeah, not paying attention till April! Or in the case of some fans, October. Of course, I'd prefer if your update included Yankee injuries/illnesses.

Jere said...

Canadian pitcher Steve Green in for Boston.

Benjamin said...

It's surreal looking at GDGD and seeing Steve Green (Orioles cap) pitching to Morgan Ensberg (MFY cap) in a Sox/Rays game.

Jere said...

Sparkling water/girl not named Tessie/Sorrow to the World

Benjamin said...

MFY - 210 000 00
MIN - 000 101 12

Benjamin said...

MFY - 210 000 001
MIN - 000 101 12X