March 19, 2009

Despite Lack Of Hits, Varitek Pleased With Stance

Jason Varitek is hitting only .160 (4-for-25) this spring -- and two of those four hits came on Tuesday -- but he's pleased with how his work on his left-hand hitting stance with hitting coach Dave Magadan has gone.
Can't let the results change the process right now. ... You have triggers and timing mechanisms and those things; well, we've changed my timing mechanism. We're still trying to figure this out, what's what and how it's all going to work together ... My plate coverage is much better in BP and [I have] the ability to drive the ball to different parts of the field and use some of my strength ... Foundationally, my legs are underneath me a lot more now than they have [been]. I have a tendency to run in and out of the box, to be literal. ... I've done certain things for a long time. Hopefully, the changes that we're making, if I can get there, will allow me to be more consistent. We're not there yet.
Brad Penny threw his fastball consistently at 93 yesterday, even touching 95 a few times, though he was more concerned with his command. Facing a group of Twins' A hitters, Penny threw 30 of his 41 pitches for strikes and allowed one hit over three innings. He may start against the Tigers -- three innings, 45-50 pitches -- on Monday. (Good quotes from John Farrell here.)

Sean McAdam, on Kevin Youkilis's injury:
While the club issued a statement saying he was also suffering from a mild ankle sprain, a source close to Youkilis said the issue was solely [tendinitis of the left] Achilles. There was no structural damage to the ankle or surrounding area, and Youkilis will wear a protective boot through the end of the week as a precautionary measure ... and he is expected to miss 5-7 days with the Sox.
There is some thought at SoSH that Yook may have hurt himself during the on-field celebration after the US's walk-off win against Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Likely back-up catcher George Kottaras will catch Tim Wakefield this afternoon in a game at the minor-league complex. Theo Epstein, on Kottaras:
He's got a strong throwing arm. He's got really good hands. He's got some life in his bat, good knowledge of the strike zone. He's not going to hit for a high average. But, between his walks and his power, he still manages to bring something to the table offensively. ... Once he showed he could handle Wake, we decided that was the direction we were probably going to go in.
Kottaras got plenty of experience catching knuckleballer Charlie Zink at Pawtucket last season.

Jon Lester will start tonight against the Reds, with Manny Delcarmen and Daniel Bard coming out of the pen.

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