by, 03-05-2012 at 01:54 PM (209 Views)
FORT MYERS — Andrew Miller often is described as an intriguing pitcher with high upside — perhaps more often than he even would like.
Yesterday, however, the 6-foot-7 left-hander flashed impressive reminders that both descriptions still hold true. With three strikeouts and only one walk in two hitless innings of relief, Miller set down the Minnesota Twins in the Red Sox [team stats]’ Grapefruit League-opening 8-3 victory at JetBlue [JBLU] Park.
The Sox want Miller, who largely has struggled since the Detroit Tigers selected him in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft, to revert back to the pitcher who dominated at North Carolina. To do that, they’ve used a simple approach to tinkering with his mechanics — mainly, don’t throw across your body.
“He had too many voices,” pitching coach Bob McClure said. “To his credit he tried to get better by trying different things.
“I have faith in Andrew.”
Manager Bobby Valentine noted improvement.
“Nothing in excess is good in life — he was excessively across his body,” Valentine said. “He found the happy medium in a little different place on the pitching rubber for direction, and I think now he’s in a comfortable place. I know he told a lot of the players he wanted to be across his body. He just is going to do it. That’s just what he does. And he probably told you guys the same thing. The way he was when he first came in was not functional. It’s much better now.”
Starter Josh Beckett [stats] needed 36 pitches (just 18 for strikes) to get through two innings against the Twins.
“I think he got his work in, you know,” Valentine said. “He said his spring training is to get his changeup ready. His changeup wasn’t ready today, but he threw some and he’s trying to get his arm speed up on his fastball. I thought he worked runners OK in the first inning and then he didn’t really care in the second inning, but he’s healthy. That’s a good thing. And he put up two zeros.”
First baseman Lars Anderson slugged a mammoth grand slam over the right field wall in the seventh inning. At 6-foot-4, the 24-year-old Anderson has yet to hit more than 18 home runs in any of his previous five pro seasons. But an offseason conditioning program dedicated to improving his core and lower-half strength without sacrificing agility and flexibility has left him feeling stronger than ever.
Crawford to be checked
Left fielder Carl Crawford will be checked out today by team doctors so the Red Sox can figure out the remainder of his hitting program this spring.
Crawford suffered a minor setback in his surgically repaired left wrist last week. A return by Opening Day has not been ruled out.
“If everything’s OK (today) he should at least be throwing and starting that T, swing work again,” Valentine said. “It (his workout regimen) was aggressive at the beginning. I think we all knew it was aggressive, and I was amazed it had progressed so far. He’s OK.”
Closer Andrew Bailey (lat) had a “very good bullpen,” according to Valentine. The manager, though, doesn’t know when Bailey will be ready to pitch in a Grapefruit League contest.
It is nice to finally watch baseball and also to read baseball reporting that is based on baseball activity. If I hear or read anymore about chicken gate or what ever the heck our hard working Boston media wants to call it I may lose my lunch. Yes, Miller has made some adjustments and I thought he looked super. It must be frustrating to be Lars Anderson, he knows that no matter how well he plays he is going to the PawSox. Now if he continues to hit mammouth grand salami's he may be playing in the bigs but with some other club. Hopefully one that sends us a promising starting pitcher! As always Go Sox!