March 26, 2007
NOT YOUR FATHER'S SOX:
New 'swing' looks good: Beckett pays off with delivery (Jeff Horrigan, 3/26/07, Boston Herald)
Beckett said his new delivery adds an element of deception. Instead of raring back to throw and surging forward to release the ball with the same relative speed in the motion, he is beginning the windup at a much more deliberate pace, adding quickness to the arm action only before releasing the ball. Beckett said it's a return to his former style, which he gradually got away from over the past few years.
"I think I'm going slower at the beginning and not rushing through the delivery," he said. "It helps me throw the ball late. All my power is like a golf swing. Your power is the last three feet of your swing. It's the same thing with pitching. The last foot and a half of my arm slot will dictate how hard I'm going to throw the ball and where I'm going to throw it."
Beckett, who is 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in five Grapefruit League starts, also is throwing more curves, preventing batters from sitting on his fastball. Last year, partly in an effort to avoid the finger blisters that have hampered him throughout his career, Beckett cut way back on the number of breaking balls he threw, relying on a much higher percentage of fastballs.
Pineiro set up for potential trade (Jeff Horrigan, 3/26/07, Boston Herald)
If the Red Sox [team stats] want to deal Joel Pineiro now that he is no longer in the picture to serve as closer, they are not going to have difficulty finding a trading partner.
Scouts from several teams have been monitoring the right-hander, whose role was shifted to middle or set-up innings following Jonathan Papelbon's recent return to closer. The Cincinnati Reds, who are leaning toward selecting Dustin Hermanson as closer from a pool of journeyman relievers, may be the best fit. Signed for only one year at $4 million (plus the possibility of an additional $2 million in incentives based on games finished), Pineiro most likely would fit into Cincinnati's tight budget.
Club decides Hansack should start season in minors (Jeff Horrigan, 3/26/07, Boston Herald)
Believing that sitting for long stretches in the bullpen could hamper Devern Hansack in the long term, the Red Sox reached the difficult decision to option the right-hander to Triple-A Pawtucket. [...]
"We felt he was very capable of doing this, but it was nice to see," Francona said. "We just don't want a kid like that to come here and not pitch, because that would hurt his development, and we don't want to do that."
Hansack was visibly crestfallen by the news. He politely declined to comment.
"We tried to make sure Hansack understood that last year at this time, he wasn't even in camp, and this year there's disappointment he didn't make the club, so that's an unbelievable jump," Francona said. "He did a fantastic job. He has a bright future. We've tried to make sure he understands that."
Strange to say, but with Coco Crisp still nursing the same hand problems that limited him last year, Jason Varitek now a black hole in the lineup, and Dustin Pedroia sometimes looking overmatched, the offense looks rather mediocre while the pitching is easily the best in baseball, even down to the lower levels of the minors. Posted by Orrin Judd at March 26, 2007 12:00 AM