Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Déjà Drew

In the middle of February, manager Terry Francona was quoted as saying, "He said he feels fine and he’s ready to go. That’s really all I can tell you," when asked about his starting right fielder, JD Drew.

While Francona refrained from sounding too alarmed with his words, he kept the same mindset on Tuesday when the The Boston Globe caught up with the manager to get his thoughts after word had gotten out that Drew boarded a plane to Boston. Once in Boston, the outfielder was given an injection in his back that was earlier described as “fine”.

Still being careful with his words, Francona told the media that, "The reason we did it was kind of -- I want to explain this right -- kind of precautionary.

Francona elaborated by saying, "We have some time right now because it's so early in March, and J.D., through getting looked at by some different people, though this could be a benefit to him. If it worked, we think we thought OK, good. If it didn't seem to do anything, OK, well it's March 3 or March 2. I just think we kind of did to, if we run into a problem later this year, maybe we know a little bit quicker where to go.

Drew is scheduled to return with the team by tomorrow and will be set to take batting practice on Thursday, before being inserted in the lineup this Friday.

To add the to list of misconstrued quotes, let’s talk about how Brad Penny told us, “I feel 100 percent.” Pitchers at 100% normally don’t have to cut their bullpen sessions short due to “shoulder fatigue.

This past Sunday, Brad Penny did not complete his scheduled bullpen session due to soreness in his shoulder. Penny was on schedule to be making his first start of Spring Training this Thursday, however, it looks as if though that start is quite unrealistic.

"I don’t think the shoulder strength was quite where it needed to be yet for the work load I was doing," Penny told WEEI. com. "It’s better to take it easy right now than to get out there in the first week of April and have it flare up on me. I’m just stay on the shoulder program, play catch and try to get my shoulder strength to where I need it to be.

The Boston Herald is reporting that Julio Lugo will be scratched from the lineup on Tuesday due to food poisoning, though he is expected to return to action this Thursday.
Sounds like Jed Lowrie got to the Red Sox’ cafeteria way before Lugo, huh? (joking)

The Red Sox pitching staff remains as being the strongpoint this spring. On Sunday, Josh Beckett made his first start—that wasn’t against College kids—against the Minnesota Twins. Beckett, once again, hurled two perfect innings. The Boston ace has yet to give up a hit or walk a batter in his four innings of work down in Fort Myers.

With Brad Penny’s health now in question, Justin Masterson is getting the same workload that starters are this spring, as opposed to relievers. On Monday, Masterson threw two scoreless innings to keep his spring ERA at 0.00. While the Red Sox would likely prefer having Masterson setting up Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth inning, the shoulder of Brad Penny could lead to the Red Sox needing some help in the rotation. Boston will more than likely insert Masterson into the rotation before Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden.

If, however, Penny can rebound and remain healthy enough to stay in the rotation, the Red Sox bullpen would be stacked.

With an array of right-handed and left-handed pitching that can get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out, the Sox’ bullpen has the potential to be the most devastating force to close out a ballgame in all of baseball. With the likes of Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez and Hideki Okajima in the earlier innings, your options only get juicier as the game gets closer to the ninth. Takashi Saito, (my personal favorite) Ramon Ramirez, and Justin Masterson to patrol the eighth, all with one goal in mind; get the ball with the lead to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.

Keeping up with old friends:

Pedro Martinez, now 37-years-old, is now nine years removed from the season in which he capped off his second straight year of winning a Cy Young award here in Boston. With the New York Mets seemingly geared up and ready to go as far as pitching is concerned, the three-time Cy Young award winner is without a job.

In his prime, his fastball clocked consistently around 95-97 MPH. Now? Not so much. Martinez has expressed that if he is to play in the Majors next season, it will most likely be in the National League. His reasoning? He has already won a World Series with an American League team. Pedro, I love you and all, but we all know that your reasoning is because the American League offense is way tougher than the National League.

When asked if returning to Queens was out of the question, Martinez responded by saying, "I don’t know really.

The eight-time All Star elaborated, "The season hasn’t started. I’m not really worried about what they do. I’m just getting ready. For sure I’ll be ready. If I’m healthy, anybody would have a bargain—if I’m healthy. If I’m not, well, I’ll go home fishing. My boat is waiting for me.

Speaking of former Red Sox All Stars with questionable health issues, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that our old pal, Nomah Garciaparra, is close to signing a deal with the Oakland A’s. Garciaparra’s role would consist of being a utility infielder to back up both first and third base, while getting some extra at bats at the DH position.

If the one-year deal gets signed, Garciaparra will join former Red Sox shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, out in Oakland. Cabrera was brought on board on Monday as the team’s primary shortstop and it will be the very first time that Garciaparra has played on the same team as the man that he was traded for back in July of 2004. Certainly Red Sox fans wish the best of luck to them both out west.