Pitchers and Catchers Reporting for Duty
Today, Sunday, February 10th, Pitchers and Catchers arrive for spring training. Yes, if the Super Bowl is over, the Major League Baseball Season is approaching.
The Boston Red Sox are eager to get last season behind them. A disappointing performance by their pitching staff was at the heart of a 69-93 season, placing them last in the division. Only two pitchers had more than ten wins, Buchholz, with an 11-9 record, and Doubront at 11-10. But, with ERA’s of 4.56, and 4.86, they were virtually ineffective.
Second year general manager Ben Cherington accepts full responsibility for last season’s fiasco. He is optimistic about their new manager John Farrell. “I think everyone is excited to get to Spring Training for exactly that reason,” Cherington said. “We’re trying to put 2012 behind us and try and move forward and talk about something new — which we’ve been trying to do all winter. I’ve said it before, it’s a collective failure, but I take more responsibility than anyone for it. Last year, we were a long way from living up to what we should be on the field and off the field. It’s up to us to make the Red Sox what they should be again. Some of that started and will continue here in Spring Training.”
Assisting the pitching staff will be the man who was undoubtedly the best pitcher to ever put on a Boston uniform, Pedro Martinez. His official title is “special assistant to the general manager”, and his function will be to analyze motion and technique. Manager John Farrell is notably excited about having Martinez aboard. This is what he said he is expecting from him : “To provide his experience,” Farrell said. “To lend a watchful eye. He’s got some connection obviously with Rubby [De La Rosa], pre-existing before even coming in here. For any young pitcher, regardless of where they come from, to be able to sit and have a conversation with Pedro, to tap into those experiences, can only be beneficial.”
Thursday the rest of the players will arrive at camp. In addition to players already on the roster, 19 other players have been invited to participate. Leading the group is the Red Sox first draft pick in 2012, shortstop Deven Marrero. Only the second draft pick to be brought directly into camp, these were the general manager’s remarks: “We looked at it and talked about it,” Cherington said. “We haven’t taken a college position player that high in a while, and he’s a kid that we’ve known for so long — back to high school. Typically, it’s not something we do very much, bringing a draftee from the previous year into camp.”
“We felt like, in this case, we knew him well enough because we had scouted him all the way back to high school, and he’d been through a lot and played a lot of baseball at a high level — college, Team USA — and played a premium position. We just wanted to get him exposed to the Major League staff, and felt like it was appropriate to do in this case.”
Asked if he felt the team would show a marked improvement from last season, and if he had contingency plans in place. Cherington remarked: “Yeah, I didn’t do a good enough job last year in that area,” Cherington said. “I don’t think it’s something that happens in one offseason. You can do some things in the offseason, but it really has to happen over time. Starting-pitching depth can’t just come from free agency or one area; it has to come from every avenue. We have to develop pitchers; we have to sign the right guys; we have to trade for the right guys.”
Columnist-The Guardian Express