pedro martinez

News Archive for March 24-31, 2002
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March 31, 2002

New-look Sox have healthy Big Three
Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

Since the Red Sox left for spring training in the middle of February, they've gotten: new owners, a new general manager, a new manager, a new pitching coach and a new scouting director. Other than that, not much has changed. ... [T]he injuries which knocked out the Big Three of Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra seem completely healed. Garciaparra has shone again this spring, and while Varitek has taken longer to get his timing down behind and at the plate, that will come, too. As for Martinez, his concerns appear more mental than anything. His command has been spotty, but the velocity is true and expectation is that, sometime soon, he'll give himself permission to completely cut loose. The return of these three alone makes this a much-improved team.

Peace, Love, Electricity In Sox Clubhouse
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek can feel it. He isn't sure what to make of the atmosphere that surrounded the team in spring training, other than it isn't bad. He's searching for the right words. "I don't know what it is," Varitek said. "There's like a certain feel, a certain electricity." ... "So far everything's been love and peace," Pedro Martinez said.

Monster ball?
Will McDonough, Boston Globe

You might think some of the innovations John Henry is bringing to Fenway Park are off the wall. One almost was, and still might be - if he can figure a way to do it. Envision this: A 10-foot platform/catwalk, whichever you prefer to call it, on top of the left-field wall, to accommodate hundreds of spectators. ... Imagine how great it would be to watch games from on top of the Wall. ... If it comes off, I wouldn't want to be a Sox left fielder who goes 0 for 4 with a couple of strikeouts. ...

"We're going to lose $19 million," Henry said matter-of-factly last week. ..

Understand the new red clay infield in Fenway is an idea of Nomar Garciaparra's that was passed on to Henry. It also appears that the outfield grass has been cut to allow for more warning track.


March 30, 2002

Red Sox Opening Day preview
Ian Browne and Mike Petraglia,

Pedro Martinez, the league's best pitcher when healthy, has added bulk to his frame and muscle to his right shoulder. In other words, he's done everything in his power to prevent a season like last year, when rotator cuff problems limited him to 18 starts. Martinez's supporting cast is deeper than in recent years, with newcomers Dustin Hermanson and John Burkett offering innings and experience. One of the interesting stories to follow is how effective Derek Lowe is in his transition from closer to starter. ... [& a lot more on the entire roster]

Red Sox hope and pray for a healthy Pedro
Sean McAdam,

The exploding fastball is still there, registering as high as 96 mph at times this spring. The dastardly changeup, perhaps the game's best ever, still freezes hitters in the box. The curveball, less sharp than before, is coming along, thank you. But there's something different about Pedro Martinez this spring, and it's not just the additional 14 pounds of muscle added to his upper body. For if Martinez is bigger in frame, he seems somehow slighter in other ways.

Baseball's otherworldly pitcher, looks, dare we say it, mortal. The trademark swagger is misplaced. No more Travis Bickle-inspired "You talkin' to me?" staredowns as a failed hitter trudges back to the dugout. As the 2002 season kicks off, there is more to Pedro Martinez than his usual arsenal of pitches. There is uncertainty, humility and just maybe a little fear.

The numbers game
Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

On the eve of the opener, several Red Sox personnel changed uniform numbers. Henderson goes from No. 12 to No. 35; pitching coach Tony Cloninger goers from No. 36 to No. 40; Little from No. 43 to No. 3; bullpen coach Bob Kipper from No. 58 to No. 16; Darren Oliver goes from No. 35 to No. 36. Luis Aguayo, who will be with the team during the season as an extra instructor, will wear No. 58.

[And Casey Fossum is now #15.]

Pedro Martinez had a side session in Fort Myers in anticipation of his start Monday. He threw about 50 pitches, according to Little. Martinez will fly to Boston today.

Yanks in the Tank -- How the pinstripes could blow the pennant
Hugo Lindgren, Slate

After decades of turmoil, the Yankees have enjoyed five years of peace. Could this be the year it all comes unglued? Could the stunning collapse in Arizona last fall possibly have karmic carryover? ...

Forbes disputes Selig's claim that baseball lost money
Associated Press

The 30 major league baseball teams had an operating profit of $75 million last season according to a study by Forbes Magazine, about $300 million more than commissioner Bud Selig testified to Congress in December. Forbes reported in its April 15 issue that 20 of the 30 teams were profitable last season -- more than double what Selig said.


March 29, 2002

Boston Globe 2002 Baseball Preview

Bob Hohler on Starting Lineup, Starting Rotation, Bench, Bullpen and Coaching Staff

Pedro Martinez (45)
Fast stat: Since he joined Sox, opponents have hit .133 in two-strike counts.
The lowdown: A year later than they hoped, Martinez, Ramirez, and Garciaparra will appear in a game together for the first time Opening Day. But none of the three is more crucial than Martinez, who yet again will be asked to carry the club on his aging shoulder. After the fraying in his rotator cuff last year, he is a new pitcher, more dependent on his control and finesse since he has vowed to resist trying to overthrow his fastball.

Healing power -- With an injury-free Big Three, a new attitude, and a revamped lineup, Sox rarin' to go
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Check the smile on Nomar Garciaparra's face. The grin on Jason Varitek's. The playful smirk of Pedro Martinez. ... Sure, Martinez struggled with his command in the exhibition season. Varitek wished he had more time to work on his hitting. And Garciaparra never seems to mind a little more practice. But their expressions say it all: The Big Three are ready for action. ... On paper, the revamped lineup - deeper and speedier than many in the club's recent history - packs the potential to rank among the most productive in baseball. ... The strength of the pitching staff remains the biggest question.

American League East
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe [Complete predictions here]

For all the positive spin that came out of Camp Bliss this spring, Red Sox hopes still rest on the frayed shoulder of Martinez, who is making no promises that he will stay healthy all summer. And what had been an unusually injury-free spring for the rest of the club took a turn for the worse in the last week, when Burkett went down with a shoulder injury, one he downplayed but because of his age (38 in November) raises red flags. New owners, new front office, new manager, new dual leadoff men (Damon and Henderson), new 1B (Clark), new attitude (Ramirez), but still faced with climbing the same old mountain of getting past the Yankees.

On paper, Yankees are headed for their fifth straight Series, with addition of MVP candidate Giambi in the middle of their lineup, Wells and Hitchcock to their rotation, Steve Karsay to their bullpen, and John Vander Wal to their bench. Soriano, brilliant as a rookie last season, may have a Jeter-type ceiling, while Spencer finally gets a chance to play every day and highly touted Johnson slides into DH role. But the departed pinstripers - Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch - were all proven winners. The new guys must earn their rings.

Learning curve: Pedro primed to start new phase in career
Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald

He takes the mound now like a man who has been mugged and wonders if he'll get mugged again. Every five days he heads down the same dark alley, in the same bad neighborhood, but he no longer walks with the same arrogant swagger. Pedro Martinez gained 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, but apparently lost some height. Pedro says he's no longer 10 feet tall and bulletproof. He no longer looks in the mirror and sees an indestructible, missile-launching machine. For now, he's just a guy, flawed and frayed, and maybe even a little scared. ... For the Red Sox and their fans, there has been much good news out of Fort Myers this spring, but perhaps no development is as positive as this one: Pedro is concerned. Pedro is coming to grips with the fact that things have to change, that HE has to change. It's his only hope, and that means it's the Red Sox' only hope.

Sox finish fourth in value list: N.Y.'s franchises, Dodgers top team
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

The Boston Red Sox sale shattered a Major League record early this year, but when it comes to baseball franchise values, the BoSox still can't beat the Yankees. Despite Wall Street financier John Henry's stunning $700 million deal to buy the team, the Sox only managed a fourth-place finish on the annual Forbes list of ballclub values. That makes the Yankees baseball's most valuable team, worth an estimated $730 million. The Bronx Bombers were followed by crosstown rivals the New York Mets, which came in a distant second at $482 million. The Los Angeles Dodgers nailed third, with a value of $435 million, according to Forbes. What happened to the $700 million Sox? The club's value was knocked down to a mere $426 million after Forbes left out its 80 percent interest in the New England Sports Network.

Baseball's best of the best Insider

ESPN's baseball experts rated the best in the game in several different categories:

Dave Campbell's top five double-play combos
1. Robby Alomar and Rey Ordonez, Mets
2. Carlos Guillen and Brett Boone, Mariners
3. Edgar Renteria and Fernando Vina, Cardinals
4. Cristian Guzman and Luis Rivas, Twins
5. Jack Wilson and Pokey Reece, Pirates

Jayson Stark's top five arms
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners
2. Larry Walker, RF, Rockies
3. Vladimir Guerrero, RF, Expos
4. Raul Mondesi, RF, Blue Jays
5. (tie) Andruw Jones, CF, Atlanta; Ken Griffey, Jr., CF, Reds

Peter Gammons' top five bounce-back players
1. David Justice, DH, A's
2. Jason Kendall, C, Pirates
3. Billy Koch, RP, A's
4. Todd Hundley, C, Cubs
5. Mike Hampton, SP, Rockies

Tom Candiotti's top five pitching coaches
1. Bryan Price, Mariners
2. Dave Duncan, Cardinals
3. Bud Black, Angels
4. Charlie Hough, Mets
5. Rick Peterson, A's

Tim Kurkjian's top five breakthrough players
1. Adam Dunn, RF, Reds
2. Pat Burrell, LF, Phillies
3. Jason Marquis, P, Atlanta
4. Daryle Ward, LF, Astros
5. Joel Pineiro, SP, Mariners

Rob Neyer's top five players worth paying to see
1. Steve Sparks, SP, Tigers
2. Pedro Martinez, P, Red Sox On a cool August evening, there are few things better than looking over Pedro's shoulder from a seat in the center-field bleachers at Fenway.
3. Matt Anderson, RP, Tigers
4. Andruw Jones, OF, Atlanta
5. Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Tribute planned for each team's first night game

To remember the tragic events of Sept. 11, there will be a minute of silence at 9:11 p.m. at every major league team's first night game this season.


March 28, 2002

Info on, and links to stories about, Pedro's start against Cincinnati are here.

Back on March 15, I asked:
Anyone Want To Guess When Pedro's Arm Will Fall Off? May? June?"
(the bad news & more bad news)

Some recent comments from manager Grady Little have eased my mind:

Michael Holley of the Globe wrote:
Martinez was asked if Boston fans should lower their expectations of him. He said they shouldn't, but they should show some patience. He was on a pitch count yesterday and he won't throw more than 75 or 80 pitches on Opening Day. For now, this is who the new Pedro is going to be. There will be few - if any - 130-pitch games. ... ''We're in this together,'' Sox manager Grady Little said. ''You're not going to see Pedro Martinez go out there and throw a nine-inning, two-hit shutout the first game. I'll tell you that. But he might have a no-hitter for five innings when we take him out.''

Grady Little told Mike Petraglia of
We've got a plan for him. We'll monitor him inning by inning. If he goes out and throws 40 pitches in the second inning, then that's going to affect how long he's out there. If we have a long at-bat, that could affect it, too. I would think anywhere between 80 and 85 pitches. You could see 75 to 85 pitches, somewhere in there.

Even though the Globe quote implies the pitch count monitoring will last all season, and the mlb quote implies Little is referring to only Pedro's Opening Day start, it is encouraging.


Getting up to speed with ace
Michael Holley, Boston Globe

Old box scores, ticket stubs, and videotapes are all mementos of Pedro Martinez at his best. His fans have seen him flash his right arm to solve problems. His fastball has had so much heat that when it landed in the catcher's mitt, you could smell leather burning. No, this is not a Pedro eulogy. It's more like a reintroduction. ...

He now uses words that weren't part of the previous Pedro vocabulary. He talks about caution and carefulness. He still is sensitive if you ask about his health. Right now, one day after his final start of spring training and four days before his first start of the regular season, Pedro is a bit vulnerable. Pedro and Vulnerable. That used to be the definition of a really bad date. ...

Martinez was asked if Boston fans should lower their expectations of him. He said they shouldn't, but they should show some patience. He was on a pitch count yesterday and he won't throw more than 75 or 80 pitches on Opening Day. For now, this is who the new Pedro is going to be. There will be few - if any - 130-pitch games. ... ''We're in this together,'' Sox manager Grady Little said. ''You're not going to see Pedro Martinez go out there and throw a nine-inning, two-hit shutout the first game. I'll tell you that. But he might have a no-hitter for five innings when we take him out.''

Art's Notebook (March 28)
Art Martone, Providence Journal

Don't ever underestimate the gap between traditional baseball thinking and contemporary baseball analysis. Just like week, the AP sent out an article that described on-base percentage as "baseball's new fad stat". And it quoted Expos GM Omar Minaya -- described as someone who doesn't "buy into the on-base fad" -- as saying: "I'm old school. I'm not a stat guy. I'm a talent evaluator. The guys who taught me the game of baseball never talked about on-base percentage. Give me talent and I'll give you on-base percentage." ...

On Baseball Tonight last evening, Jeff Brantley compared film clips of Martinez delivering a pitch last year and one of him delivering a pitch this spring. The difference was startling. Last year his arm came whipping through the zone and his entire body contorted and twisted to the left in his follow-through, with his plant leg swinging round his body. This year, the whip was far less pronounced and the body contortion stopped as soon as the ball was headed plateward. "It's like he's trying to protect himself from getting hurt again," said Brantley. ...

Red Sox manager paid his dues
Mike Berardino, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

He's no Carrot Top, but the new manager of the Boston Red Sox isn't averse to using props to get his point across. Take the night in Venezuela seven years ago when Grady Little, then managing the Aragua Tigers winter league team, protested a blown call at third base in a most memorable way. Little emerged from the dugout, walking slowly and clutching a small cup of coffee, then carefully placed the cup down on the third-base line.

"Do you need some coffee to wake up?" Little said to the offending arbiter. "Anybody who's awake could see that guy was out by 10 feet." Little turned and walked back to the dugout, dodging flying ice, cups and other debris being tossed by angry fans. The coffee stayed on the chalk line.

Henry fits right in: Sox owner thinks like true Hub fan
Karen Guregian, Boston Herald

Say this about Red Sox owner John Henry. He gets it. He's caught onto our act rather quickly, understanding many of our extreme phobias and aversions while adopting them as his own. Two issues that concern him the most heading into the 2002 baseball season? The health of Pedro Martinez. And, those no-good, always-reloading, son-of-a-bleep, favored-to-win New York Yankees. In that order, of course.

Red Sox Notebook
Michael Holley, Boston Globe

ESPN's ''The Life'' is filming the Sox on the field, in the clubhouse, and away from the game. The segment will air April 11. ... The Sox were dealt a setback when highly regarded minor league prospect Tony Blanco broke his left hand in camp. The third baseman has had it rough recently; he also is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

Red Sox Notebook
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Third baseman Wilton Veras cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Pawtucket. Reliever Derek Hasselhoff and catchers Luis Rodriguez and Henry Mercedes have already been informed that they will be the final three cuts.

March 27, 2002

Art's Notebook (March 27)
Art Martone, Providence Journal

News item: Manager Grady Little announces that Trot Nixon is being dropped below the power center of the batting order (sixth against right-handers, seventh against lefties), and Rey Sanchez may bat second at times against right-handers.

There are two ways to interpret this, one of which doesn't shake my faith in Grady Little's understanding of lineup construction:

(1) The key to this whole thing is not Sanchez batting second, which is what so many have reacted to (in horror); it's Nixon batting sixth. The reason he's batting sixth is that Brian Daubach has been horrible this spring, horrible enough that Little fears the offense will stop at Tony Clark if Daubach is in the six hole.

(2) Little has been dazzled by Sanchez's hot spring and honestly believes the things he said about Rey "not (being) an out". In addition, he's a died-in-the-wool Luddite who wants that No. 2 hitter making contact, slapping the ball to right field, hitting behind the runner, doing the memory of John McGraw proud.

Red Sox roster set
Mike Petraglia,

The Red Sox roster appears set for Opening Day. Manager Grady Little announced Tuesday morning that outfielder Michael Coleman was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, finalizing the 25-man roster. ...

The Coleman transaction means that -- barring trades -- the Red Sox can head north with 14 position players, including Jose Offerman, Lou Merloni, Brian Daubach, Carlos Baerga and Rickey Henderson. ... [B]efore the team bus left Fort Myers, Fla. for Tuesday's game in Port Charlotte, Little called Willie Banks into his office to inform the right-hander that the opening was his. ...

Little confirmed Tuesday that Rey Sanchez would open the season as Boston's starting second baseman. ... The Red Sox manager said that in addition to Offerman, he would also consider using Brian Daubach and Lou Merloni as outfielders in game situations. ...

Trot Nixon went into Spring Training as the likely number two hitter in the Red Sox order. He leaves knowing he will start the season hitting sixth or seventh. ... With Nixon moving down in the order, the second spot is now open when Damon leads off. "I see Offerman as a DH, Sanchez, Merloni or Baerga as guys I could use there," Little said.

Numbers up; Nixon's not -- After a career year, he may drop in order
Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

After a 2001 season that saw Nixon reach career-highs in games, at-bats, hits, doubles, runs scored, homers and RBI, the Red Sox' right fielder will likely be placed lower in the team's order. Manager Grady Little had already announced that Nixon would be dropped to sixth against lefties to utilize a one-two punch of Rickey Henderson and Johnny Damon at the top of the order. But yesterday, somewhat surprisingly, he said that Nixon would probably hit sixth against right-handers, too. ...

Oliver Feeling Penned In -- Little Goes With Castillo As Starter
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

[Darren] Oliver didn't sound too happy after learning he would start the season in the bullpen instead of in the rotation. He was competing with Frank Castillo for the final spot. Oliver had a strong spring (2-1, 0.69 ERA) and made four starts, yet he questioned whether he was given a legitimate chance. "It doesn't matter what you do in spring training," Oliver said. "They've got it predetermined." Oliver was 11-11, 6.02 with the Rangers last season.

The last time he pitched out of the bullpen was 1995. "Most people were putting too much emphasis on last year," Oliver said. "I'm not that bad of a pitcher." He was asked "what people?" "Front office people, management," Oliver said, adding the media didn't help matters.

Rickey: A run on fun -- Henderson keeps teammates loose
Michael Holley, Boston Globe

Rickey on talking to himself: ''People think I'm talking to myself. Nah, man. If I'm talking to the bat and hear answers, then you need to worry about Rickey; then you need to take Rickey away. I talk to the bat. I remind myself of the things I need to do to be successful. Isn't that right, my man?''

Rickey on steals: ''Guys stopped stealing when they couldn't get paid for it. It wasn't no money in it. You know what an arbitrator told me one time? He said they let me steal 100 bases. Man! I almost jumped across the table. How did anyone let me steal 100? This game is corporate. Big business. They like home runs, not steals, so you see a lot of guys trying to hit home runs.''

Rickey on listening: ''That's the way I am, man. I'm not one of those superstar players that is going to do things his own way. If I go to a new team, I ain't gonna walk in and try to be the [top] dog. I'm gonna come in and listen to what your dog has to say. I came here and listened to their dog [he didn't identify the Red Sox' dog]. I'll listen to anybody and try anything.''

Rickey on Mattingly: ''One year, he drove me in 79 times. Did you hear what I said? Seventy-nine times. He would do anything to get me in. You'd have to throw the ball over Mattingly's head for him not to get Rickey in. Dave Winfield used to get mad at him. He'd say, `Now, you ain't the only one who can drive Rickey in.'''

Rickey on Boston: ''Oh, the city is fine. I'm a seafood guy myself, so I like it. The fans have been good. They've got some baseball knowledge. I'll have a good time in the city. It closes down at 1 a.m., but that's OK: Rickey doesn't spend too much time in the streets.''

Legend of the game -- Even at 82, Boston’s Johnny Pesky remains close to baseball
Glenn Miller, Ft. Myers News-Press

Johnny Paveskovich was 19 during the summer of 1939, and an outstanding baseball player in Portland, Ore. Scouts from several big-league teams, including the Boston Red Sox, visited the Paveskovich home, hoping to sign the Lincoln High School kid. ... Johnny left home in the spring of 1940 and joined the Boston Red Sox organization. He reached the big leagues in 1942 and legally changed his last name to Pesky in 1947. ... Now, 63 years after signing with Boston and more than a half century after changing his name, Johnny Pesky still wears a Red Sox uniform.

Baseball's best of 2002
Paul White, Baseball Weekly

Best all-round player? Most dominant pitcher? Best bench? Most likely to bounce back from a bad season? Baseball Weekly's Paul White offers his Top 5 selections — with sleeper picks to watch — in 30 categories that are a treat for baseball fans who can't wait for the 2002 season to begin.

Best all-around player -- Alex Rodriguez, Rangers
Most dominant pitcher -- Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks; #2 Pedro Martinez, Red Sox
Martinez's injury last season saves us from a prolonged debate to separate him from Johnson. Of course, a month or so of vintage Pedro will return this to a tossup.
Best 1-3 starters -- Athletics: Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito
Best total rotation -- Athletics
Best total bullpen -- Mariners 
Best closer -- Mariano Rivera, Yankees 
Best pitcher who won't start or finish a game -- Arthur Rhodes, Mariners 
Best full staff -- Yankees
Best bench -- Diamondbacks 
Best overall talent -- Yankees
Best manager -- Joe Torre, Yankees 
Attitudes you most want on your side -- Fernando Vina, Cardinals; #3 Pedro Martinez, Red Sox
Martinez still has opponents wondering when the next one will come buzzing in under their chins. Add that to a warrior who has given more to the franchise than it sometimes has deserved. Don't let
Most likely to bounce back from a bad year -- Tim Salmon, Angels
Biggest breakthrough season -- J.D. Drew, Cardinals
Most likely Rookie of the Year: -- Carlos Pena, Athletics 
Best performance in a supporting role -- Mike Mussina, Yankees 
Best players without a job -- Erubiel Durazo, Diamondbacks 
Players with no help -- Brian Giles, Pirates; #4 Pedro Martinez, Red Sox
Boston's annual stockpiling of pitching is better this year than last but none can be considered a sure thing as the complement Martinez needs.
Best return from injury -- Pedro Martinez, Red Sox; # 5 Jason Varitek, Red Sox
There never has been anything wrong with Martinez's heart. A more subdued situation in Boston is perfect for him. ... For all that went wrong for Boston last year, losing Varitek didn't get enough notice.
Best switch-hitters -- Lance Berkman, Astros
You'll go to the game because he's playing -- Sammy Sosa, Cubs; #3. Pedro Martinez, Red Sox
Other things worth the price of admission -- Jim Thome taking a full cut; #5 Rickey Henderson, one more time
Most balanced batting order -- Yankees; #4 Red Sox
The addition of Johnny Damon at the top of the Boston order not only creates a missing speed element but also co-incides with management and attitude transplants that should lead to a more aggressive style.
Best leadoff hitter -- Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Most fearsome middle of the order -- Rangers
Most difficult three in a row to pitch to -- Mets: Roberto Alomar, Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn
Most disruptive top of the order -- Atlanta; #4 Red Sox
Trot Nixon's emergence in Boston last season could pay off far more significantly this year because batting him behind Johnny Damon has the potential to bring out the best of both of their games.
Best 1-2 hitting punch -- Rockies Todd Helton and Larry Walker
Best 1-2 pitching punch -- Diamondbacks Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling

Power Rankings: Pricey Yankees have what it takes
Charlie McCarthy,

The annual common belief this time of year is that all teams start the season evenly -- everyone's 0-0 with dreams of a World Series title. In reality, we know that's not true. ... Power Rankings entering the 2002 season:

1 New York Yankees
2 Arizona Diamondbacks
3 Seattle Mariners 
4 St. Louis Cardinals 
5 Oakland Athletics 
6 Atlanta 
7 Houston Astros 
8 New York Mets 
9 Chicago Cubs 
10 San Francisco Giants 
11 Chicago White Sox 
12 Philadelphia Phillies 
13 Cleveland 
14 Los Angeles Dodgers
15 Boston Red Sox -- Team Turmoil will have a placid clubhouse this year, if for no better reason than a lack of playoff pressure.

[Sure!! -- there's no pressure playing in Boston. ... Is this guy for real?]


March 26, 2002

Burkett Headed to DL -- Sox monitoring Martinez, Coleman
Mike Petraglia,

While much attention has been paid to the health and readiness of Pedro Martinez, it's another Red Sox starter who will be starting the season on the disabled list. Right-hander John Burkett, 37, is suffering from right shoulder inflammation and will not be in the rotation when the 2002 season opens April 1.

Pedro Martinez is being limited to 60 pitches in his Wednesday start against Cincinnati at Fort Myers, Fla.. The limit is being implemented by Little as a precaution and to ensure Martinez doesn't over-extend himself in his final spring start. ... Grady Little announced his rotation for the remainder of Spring Training Monday. Arrojo will start Tuesday, followed by Martinez Wednesday, Frank Castillo and Darren Oliver Thursday. Dustin Hermanson is slated to start the first of two exhibitions in Houston Friday night while Derek Lowe will start Saturday afternoon's tilt at Astros Field.

Little said Monday afternoon that he has seen his players do everything they need to get ready for Opening Day, including his pitchers. "[Casey)] Fossum will throw back-to-back games (in the bullpen) in Houston," said Little. "Oogie [Urbina] will throw back-to-back before we leave camp here [in Florida]. Other than that, I think we're right on schedule."

Pitching ace or head case?
John Tomase, Eagle-Tribune

The Red Sox say Pedro Martinez is fine. So do scouts. And opponents. And Pedro himself. And yet the eyes say something else. The eyes see a pitcher who's still worried about his right shoulder, even if he's not necessarily bothered by it. The eyes see a pitcher who's afraid to cut loose as he takes his first steps since suffering a career-threatening injury. The eyes see a supremely confident man experiencing doubt for the first time, and not quite knowing what to make of it. ... It's a strange sight, this unconfident Pedro.

Burkett to be placed on disabled list with sore shoulder; move sets early rotation
Jay Lindsay, Associated Press

Boston Red Sox pitcher John Burkett, signed this winter to shore up a staff that was shaky beyond ace Pedro Martinez, will be placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder, manager Grady Little said. The move sets up the team's early season starting rotation, with Martinez pitching the opener, followed by Dustin Hermanson, Derek Lowe and Frank Castillo, Little said. Darren Oliver will begin the year in the bullpen and start April 12, the first time Boston's needs a fifth starter, assuming Burkett is unavailable, Little said.

Art's Notebook (March 26)
Art Martone, Providence Journal

Finishing up . . . Ugueth Urbina, Rolando Arrojo, Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield .. and some reader mail ...

Damon speeds into Sox’s plans -- Outfielder stole 46 bases in 2000
Glenn Miller, Ft. Myers News-Press

Johnny Damon has something that can’t be bought, stolen or borrowed. You can’t find it on the Internet or in infomercials or in the want ads. Coaches can’t bestow it with the wave of a wand or inspirational talks. Damon is fast. Real fast. Blistering, sprinter-type fast.

Hit Dog Bites Back at Percival, Halos
Mike Morrissey, New York Post

Don't diss Mo Vaughn's leadership. That's precisely what Anaheim closer Troy Percival did in a Los Angeles Times article Sunday, and Vaughn went into an expletive-filled rage when he heard about it.

"Let me say this: who the [bleep] is Troy Percival? What has he done in this game? Has he led his team to a pennant? Has he ever [bleeping] pitched in a big game that meant something? ... This guy talks so much [bleep], and he hasn't even done [bleep]. He has the right to evaluate and analyze people, but what the hell has he done to deserve that right? He hasn't done [bleep] to lead them anywhere. I got hardware, I got playoff appearances, I got an MVP. I've been to the playoffs twice. What the hell has he done? Who the hell is he? ... I tried to be cool here. I tried to be nice of this whole situation concerning the Angels all the way around. Ain't none of them done a damn thing in this damn game, bottom line. They ain't got no flags hanging at friggin' Edison Field, so the hell with them. ... I went out there and played when I didn't have to play. That organization frickin' destroyed my arm. They did a lot of [bleep] that I never even spoke about, and all I keep hearing from these people is this and that. I kept playing, they had surgery on [the arm] and infected it again. I had to rehab my whole situation by myself. So the Angels, they better leave me alone. ... [Bleepin'] Troy Percival. He ain't done [bleep] to be talking about anybody. And he's a [bleeping] pitcher, too. You don't even [bleeping] play every [bleeping] day and you're sitting there talking about position players who play every day."

[Here is the LA Times story -- and a BaseballPrimer weblog.]

On-base percentage is baseball's new fad stat
Josh Dubow, Associated Press

When Brian Cashman set out this winter to retool the New York Yankees' offense, his top priority wasn't finding a slugger who could launch homers or a speedster who could swipe bases. Instead, the general manager sought a much more subtle statistical trait: on-base percentage.

[As Gary Santerre remarked at BaseballPrimer: "Mr. Dubow's
next 'new fad' article will be about the horseless carriage."]

Babe piano plays for pay
Matthew Fisher, MetroWest Daily News

Babe Ruth was the first baseball player to make more money than the president of the United States. Recovering his piano is likely to cost the Restoration Project a princely sum. If divers find the Bambino's lost piano in Willis Pond, it will cost more than $200,000 to restore it, Restoration Project Director Eloise Newell said. ... Divers are heading back to Willis Pond on April 13 to search for the piano, this time armed with high-tech equipment. It will be the first search since late February.


March 25, 2002

Martinez says lower pitch count no indication of problems
Jay Lindsay, Associated Press

Pedro Martinez said manager Grady Little's decision to reduce his pitch count in his next spring training start is not an indication of any health problems. ''That's not precautionary whatsoever,'' Martinez said. ''In spring training you normally go slow, then higher, higher, higher until you reach a peak. The peak would be five to six innings, which is what I got the last time out.''

Martinez, who is coming back from a shoulder injury, threw 79 pitches in five innings on Thursday and said after the game that he felt good and hoped to throw more pitches in his next start. But on Saturday, Little said Martinez would throw 55 to 60 pitches on Wednesday against Cincinnati. “Once he's clear in his mind that he has no more pain in that shoulder, it won't be long before he's up near to 100 (pitches),” Little said. Martinez was annoyed when asked if he was feeling any discomfort in his shoulder. “Why would you guys (the media) want me to have discomfort? You want me to have discomfort?” he said. “I already told you I don't have discomfort.”

Martinez On Track
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

Pedro Martinez threw on the side Saturday and reported no soreness that would prevent him from making his next start Wednesday. "It went good," Martinez said.

Little said Martinez would throw 55-60 pitches Wednesday. Because he threw 80 in his previous outing, there were some questions raised about his shoulder. But Martinez said Sunday that everything is fine. "So far," he said, knocking on his head as if it were a piece of wood. Because he hasn't had any setbacks this spring, Martinez could not understand the concern. "He's been honest with us so far," Little said. "I don't see anything that will keep him from pitching on Wednesday and again on Monday."

Martinez given thumbs up
Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

Team medical director Dr. Arthur Pappas has been closely monitoring Pedro Martinez and said the ace is displaying no problems with his shoulder. "He seems fine," Pappas said. "There's no tenderness or inflammation there."

Burkett won't be slowed by shoulder
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

It seems that manager Grady Little has delayed announcing the order of his starting rotation until tomorrow not because of concerns over Pedro Martinez's condition but due to questions about Burkett's right shoulder. ...

Little shed more light on the list of pitchers who will break camp with the Sox by optioning starter Juan Pena to Triple A Pawtucket and announcing that Casey Fossum and Tim Wakefield will work out of the bullpen. That narrowed the field of contenders for the fifth spot in the rotation to Frank Castillo and Darren Oliver, one of whom will land in the pen. The other relievers who appear certain to stick are Ugueth Urbina, Rich Garces, and Arrojo, though Garces and Arrojo have been the subject of trade talks. Should either go, Willie Banks likely would make the team. Banks is signed to a one-year, $450,000 contract. If the Sox cut Banks before Thursday, they would be obligated to pay him only one-fourth of that figure. The only other pitcher in camp, Derek Haselhoff, is poised to start the season as Pawtucket's closer.

Boston Red Sox season preview
David Schoenfield and Tom Candiotti,

Q: Do the Red Sox have enough pitching behind Pedro Martinez to challenge the Yankees?

The Red Sox will score runs with Johnny Damon leading off in front of Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez. But pitching is the big concern. A healthy Martinez will lead the staff, but then who? The Red Sox replaced Hideo Nomo with John Burkett. While Burkett has pitched great in the NL, the AL has not been kind to him. Can Derek Lowe endure a 200-inning workload or can knuckleballer Tim Wakefield shine while constantly being shuffled between the bullpen and the rotation? There are too many questions and unknowns hovering around the pitching staff. The offense will take pressure, but the Red Sox will break more hearts because their pitching will come up short.

Rating the Defenses: AL East
Robert Dudek,

This is the third in a series of 6 articles. I'll be looking at team defense, grouping the teams by division. The foundation of these articles will be FRA (Fielding Run Average), a measure I developed last year to look at how successful a given team's fielders were in terms of preventing runs.

Projected Standings for the 2002 Season
Tom Tippett,

Ten of the fourteen AL teams qualified for the playoffs in at least one of the simulated seasons. That's the same number as last year and, in my opinion, is an accurate reflection of the makeup of the league. ... The National League could set a new standard for parity this year. Fourteen of the sixteen teams made the playoffs at least once, and the other two (Montreal and Pittsburgh) are still very respectable. ... Every NL division contained at least three teams that either won outright or tied for the division lead at least 10% of the time. And the wildcard could come from anywhere -- the East division took it in 23% of our seasons, the Central 43%, and the West 36%. More here

Tom Paciorek Breaks Silence -- Ex-baseball star: Priest abused me
Jim Schaefer, Patricia Montemurri and Alexa Capeloto, Detroit Free Press

Ed. note: This story includes some descriptions that may be offensive to
some readers but are important to understanding the seriousness of the allegations.

72 hours. That's how he refers to it. Not three days or a long weekend, but 72 hours. That is his label to describe the lowest point in what he calls a long series of sexual molestations by a Catholic priest. Tom Paciorek has been many things over the years: star athlete at Hamtramck St. Ladislaus, All-Star pro baseball player and, he says now, a victim of sexual abuse by the clergy.

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