FORT MYERS, Fla. — Edward Mujica was bad in his first two months with the Red Sox
. Now we have an idea why.
Speaking prior to the Red Sox’ workout Friday morning, Mujica explained that besides adjusting to the American League, a probable cause for a subpar April and May was a neck issue.
According to the reliever, he was diagnosed with his C1 vertebrae being out of place by Red Sox medical personnel while taking his physical upon signing a two-year deal. Mujica insisted that it was an issue that wasn’t cleared up until midway through the 2014 season.
“My neck was bothering me when I got here, I got treatment and in spring training I felt good because of the weather,” said Mujica, who carried a 7.29 ERA after his first 22 appearances. “But then I felt sore in the neck because of the cold weather. I was also adjusting to the American League, all the teams have pretty good hitters 1-9. I just kept working every single day, watching videos, got that [physical] adjustment and got going in the second half.
“The figured it out in spring training. The CI was a little moved out of place, but they put it in the right place in spring training to get through the season. With treatment every single day it helped me a lot after the first two months.”
Mujica turned it around in the final three months, posting a 2.30 ERA in his final 34 outings. He also went 6-for-6 in save opportunities after assuming the closers role during Koji Uehara’s performance/injury-induced hiatus.
There was some thought prior to Uehara signing his deal, that Mujica might have crack at competing for the closers role. He will instead once again serve a set-up man to start ’15.
“Last year they gave me that opportunity at the end of the season and I did my job,” Mujica said. “It’s out of my hands. It’s their decision what they’re going to do. I’m going to be ready for whatever situation.
“Right now I feel pretty good. I don’t think about that. That’s their decision. I’m going to be out there working hard, trying to do my best when they call me to the mound. Same thing in the season. I’m going to be ready to go in whatever situation.”
Daniel Nava continues to work on hitting exclusively from the left side. (WEEI.com photo)
- Daniel Nava isn’t officially leaving switch-hitting behind, but he is dabbling with the idea of batting left-handed against lefty pitching.
The approach was evident Thursday when Nava was put in a batting practice group that faced lefty pitchers, including southpaw reliever Dana Eveland.
“Right now he’s trying to figure out what he thinks is going to be difficult for him with a lefty-lefty matchup,” said Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis. “The strike zone doesn’t change. It’s how you’re going to pick up the ball from a guy’s release point. You’re going to have to start reading pitches and seeing pitches.
“The beauty about Nav is that he’s a very patient hitter and if that carries over to what he’s doing this year, that’s going to be a benefit to him. He doesn’t swing at a lot of things. He’s not one of these guys who over-swings. I think in spring training we’re going to try and get him some at-bats against lefties, including some minor league lefties we can take him over to get work against.”
– The Red Sox posted their pitching rotation for the first few spring training games, with Clay Buchholz starting against Northeastern, with Rick Porcello coming in relief against the Huskies. Wade Miley is slated to start the nightcap vs. Boston College, followed by Steven Wright.
Joe Kelly will go against the Twins in the Red Sox’ Grapefruit League opener Thursday, with Justin Masterson likely to start Friday at JetBlue Park against the Marlins.