Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daisuke Progresses...Beltre's Defense

The Boston Globe's EXTRA BASES was interesting this morning, very interesting. First up, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who threw 54 pitches on the practice field and looked and felt really good. He's nowhere near where he will be in a few weeks but the important thing is this. He has no pain anywhere. His back and his neck are just fine, thank you. Let's hear from the Boston Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell...

“No restrictions, no hesitation, he feels good about himself,’’ Farrell said. “How he feels about himself is a huge component at this point, and all those are positive signs. We don’t want to skip any steps along the way here. We want to be sure that he has ample time, and we provide him ample time, to build a foundation that’s going to endure an entire season.’’

And up next, Daisuke Matsuzaka...

“I think I had good life on my fastball and I also felt I had good break and good command on my breaking ball, although there is some work to be done there."

Good news all around but I want to stress this. I expect Timmy Wakefield to be in the starting five at the beginning of the regular season, along with Clay Buchholz. The Sox just might hold Matsuzaka back a little. Being cautious sometimes is the smartest and safest way to go. But a healthy Daisuke will only help this pitching-rich ball club.

Adrian Beltre's defense at third base has everybody talking. Take yesterday's game, for instance. Lackey, who has yet to allow
a run this spring, was hit in the foot by a batted ball hit by none other than old friend Alex Cora. Lacks ran after it but Mr. Beltre waved him off and while he was falling, he bare handed the ball and winged it to first base, nailing Cora. "WOW" was the reaction of all who witnessed the play but Beltre is known for his ability to race in on balls hit in front of him and wing it (literally) to first. You hit a slow roller to Adrian, you're going to be OUT! I can't wait to see him play in a couple weeks. With Scutaro, the left side of the infield will be as solid as the right. Beltre said this after the game...

“I just react to it,’’ Beltre said. “I don’t think about how I’m going to throw it, where I’m going to throw it. I try to get to the ball ’cause I CAN get it, and throw hard where I can. And try to make a good throw. That’s probably my favorite play. I love to make those plays, especially when it’s supposed to be a base hit,” he said. “It’s always nice to know that I can still do that. I hadn’t done it this year yet.”

Yo Adrian, you made a jaw dropping play. The Red Sox skipper, Terry "Tito" Francona, then said this...

“Defensively he’s pretty special. That’s a reactionary play, that’s a great play. He’s got a good arm. If he keeps his feet under him, that’s certainly better. You can tell he’s been throwing the baseball all his life. It’s a natural thing. He can throw it from a lot of angles.’’

OK, to sum up, the biggest question right now surrounding the Boston Red Sox is this. Which five guys will make up the eventual five man rotation? Remember this, though. There will be NO need for a fifth starter until the middle of April. There are off days galore at the start of this 2010 season of baseball. Terry Francona and his coaching staff will have plenty of time to sort out the pieces of the puzzle. Three things are for certain...Beckett, Lester and Lackey. Oh, the Red Sox MUST sign Beckett BEFORE the season begins. The Boston Red Sox without Josh Beckett are just not the same team they are with him pitching every five days. Mr. Henry, GET YOUR WALLET OUT! In March! NOW!!

That's it for this soon-to-be-warm Thursday. Enjoy your day, click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

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