Red Sox

Rough outing not concerning for Dice-K

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Rough outing not concerning for Dice-K

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. He was just working on something. The results were not concerning. After focusing on his fastball in his first outing, Daisuke Matsuzaka wanted to concentrate more on his cutter and his off-speed pitches. His pitching line was secondary to the work he was doing.

Its always ideal to get both results and what I want to do. At the same time, this time it wasnt going that way. Personally, I dont care about the results today because I was doing something I wanted to do, Matsuzaka said through a team interpreter.

I had different homework from last time to today. I went to what I wanted to do and there was good and bad. Doing homework, the stuff I wanted to improve on, was pretty much done the last two outings. From the next time, Im going to approach it as the regular season.

Still he could not have been pleased by his results, getting roughed up by the Marlins over three innings, as the Red Sox lost, 11-2, at City of Palms Park. He gave up seven runs (five earned) on six hits, including a Dewayne Wise second-inning two-run homer, and two walks with one strikeout. He faced 17 batters, throwing 55 pitches, 33 for strikes. In the first inning, he faced seven batters, giving up three runs.

Matsuzaka said there was good and bad in his outing.

Its not about good and bad on the kind of pitches, he said. Its about how you approach for each kind of pitch I wanted to throw. I tried to find out what is the best delivery form for the cutter or whats the best for the changeup. Thats what I was trying to do.

He got ahead OK, but he certainly didn't put anybody away and he got deep counts, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. He wanted to throw some cutters today -- which he did and changeups, a couple of good ones. A couple of breaking balls he left up, one to Wise that he wanted to wrap around his ankle and he leaves it over the plate. Wise hits it a long way. We struggled to get out of the first inning, don't get an out, and those are the things you hope happen in spring training and not during the season. It gives us something to talk to him about.

Matsuzaka has been battling a virus in his right eye for the past few days.

It still bothers me, he said. But it will be OK for next time. I was taking medicine and it was working. So it wasnt bothering me too much.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught Matsuzaka in a game for the first time this spring.

He threw well, changeups, fastballs, what he wanted to work on, Saltalamacchia said. We were doing changeups and cutters. Biggest thing for him is just throwing strikes early, getting them to swing the bat, and with his stuff, theres no reason why he cant do that. But, I think he was working on something there and I think he accomplished it.

Saltalamacchia has been working on his communication with Matsuzaka. Hes caught several bullpen sessions with him, and before the game he sat with the pitcher and his interpreter, in the clubhouse in front of Matsuzakas locker.

Its been fine, Saltalamacchia said. He understands and he knows what hes got to do. Its not his first time up.

Francona said he would like to see Matsuzaka, as well as all his pitchers, pounding the strike zone at this point in the spring.

If you throw strikes, generally you're going to probably do OK, Francona said. The work ahead really changes the game and that's with all our pitchers: getting them to work quick, throw strikes, and keep the ball down.

Matsuzaka said he would treat his next outing like a regular season game. That should be taken to mean his line will be just as important as his work on the mound. He is also planning to adjust his approach this season.

Ill definitely be more aggressive in pounding the strike zone, he said. I want to use different pitches inside the strike zone to be effective in my performance. Im going to try to keep the balls in the strike zone to be effective.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Werner: Red Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees, Astros

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Werner: Red Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees, Astros

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may not be looking closely at the Yankees' and Astros' rosters, but chairman Tom Werner was on Friday.

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“Sure there’s pressure,” Werner said at Winter Weekend when asked about the Yankees’ pick-up of Giancarlo Stanton and the Astros’ addition of Gerrit Cole.  “Houston was formidable last year. I thought we played them competitively in Fenway Park. They’ve obviously improved. But if we have the kind of performances I expect from some of our players this year — obviously we’re looking for some more improvement from certain players. Hopefully, a healthy David Price will be very important to that. 

"I think we have an excellent team, but anything can happen in a short series. The Yankees have improved, there’s no question about it. They have a deep bullpen and a great offense. But I like our chances.”

At the Boston baseball writers awards dinner on Thursday, Sox president Sam Kennedy cracked a joke about Dombrowski presenting Yankees general manager Brian Cashman with an Apple Watch as a gift.

“I’m sure that when Judge and Stanton come to Fenway Park this year, it’ll be electric,” Werner said.

It’s not exactly an offseason punch-for-punch dynamic with the Sox and Yankees, though, as it was circa 2003-04.

“Not specifically,” Werner said of countering Stanton. “It’s important for us to be competitive with them, but we’re not trying to play chess with them.”

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Red Sox notes: Yawkey Way cannot be named for living person

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Red Sox notes: Yawkey Way cannot be named for living person

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Yawkey Way will not become David Ortiz Way, for those who may have been holding out hope for the street to be renamed after him, or any other recent star.

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“We’ve talked about several different names,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said on Friday evening at Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “There’s been talk about the possibility of returning to what the original name was, which was Jersey Street. It’s been made clear in our research and due diligence that you can’t currently petition for a living person when there’s other property owners on the street. There’s a provision that allows you to petition for a name of a living person if there aren’t other property abbuters on the street. So living person is out of the question. So we’ve had a few different ideas, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Kennedy said the Sox are in conversations with the city and neighboring property owners on Yawkey Way about renaming the street. 

“We have to have a sponsor of our petition, so we’re engaged in those discussions right now and would anticipate a petition being filed,” Kennedy said. “The mayor has been terrific and his staff understand our desire to formally petition, but we’ve got to get a resolution on a few logistical items — like a name, for one — that we’re going to formally petition for.”

A next step could come within a couple weeks, although Kennedy wasn’t firm about that timeline.

“But I’ve said that before, and it’s just a lot of behind the scenes steps that you have to take getting formal approvals from property owners and elected officials,” Kennedy said. “The club can petition for the name and then ultimately as John Henry said back in August, [it’s] a public process. … it’s our decision to request a name.”

• More netting is coming to Fenway to protect fans from batted balls and such.

“Before 2016, we expanded to the inside wall of the dugouts and we’re going to beyond that in 2018,” Kennedy said. “All the way down to about Field Box 79 down the left field line, and then all the way down to almost canvas alley in the Field Box 9 area. So we’re still finalizing the exact dimensions, but it will be a dramatic expansion of our netting … beyond the dugout down the third base line and the first base line.”

  • Sox chairman Tom Werner supports pace of play initiatives, and said he’s heard from Red Sox players who support it as well — even though the players union decided to shoot down a proposal from the league, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. MLB can unilaterally make changes but ideally, the union and league would come to an agreement together.
     

“As you know the commissioner is having ongoing talks with Tony Clark and the union,” Werner said. “I think it’s pretty clear that there’s too much dead time in the game. And as I’ve said, it’s really not about pace of play but like trying to have less dead time. Last year the average game, the time was higher than it’s ever been in history. And I think we have talked about some common sense ideas. We’re not the only league as you know who is looking at dead time. 

“But just for an example, I think that to have the managers or the catchers go up, or the second baseman just be able to talk to the pitcher whenever they want, we should address that. So we’ve addressed a pitch clock in the minor leagues. I think it’s working. But I’m hopeful certainly that the union and owners will come together on this. Because I think it’s something that the fans are expecting.”

  • Sox ticket sales are not doing quite as well as they were a year ago, Kennedy said. 
     

"We’re very healthy and humbled by the fan support,” Kennedy said. “We sold [out Winter Weekend] faster than ever before, about three weeks. There will be between 6,000 and 7,000 people here, which is really a testament to Red Sox fans. You’ve got an unbelievable sports market as we all know with the Patriots and what they’re doing, the Bruins and Celtics at the top of their games. 

“We’ve got people buying tickets [for games] at a pace consistent with 2015 and 2016. We are slightly down from last year, I think there was a big bump from Chris Sale, understandably, so about 6 percent down from last year, which is understandable given it’s been a very slow moving offseason in terms of baseball news. But we continue to be grateful and humbled by the support we get.”

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