FORT MYERS ‘€“ Clay Buchholz probably has the highest ceiling on the starting pitching staff, which makes it all the more painful when it comes crashing down around him.

That made Tuesday’s debut inning against Northeastern encouraging. Buchholz struck out one during a scoreless frame, incorporating the mechanical changes he has worked on all winter in an attemp to be more consistent. He exhibited greater command of his changeup, kept the ball at the knees, and accomplished everything he wanted out of a spring debut.

“The ball was moving like it’s supposed to, I guess, like I wanted it to,” Buchholz said. “The adjustments in the delivery that I’ve been working on felt a lot more smooth than last year in particular. I’ve still got a little work to do, but it felt good.”

Buchholz explained that he has tried to straighten his leg kick towards home plate, rather than being “roundabout” towards third base and the right-handed batter’s box.

“I’m more to home plate and staying on on line,” he said.

Perhaps most encouraging for Buchholz was the basic fact that he kept the ball down.

“That’s key for me,” he said. “I throw a lot of two-seam fastballs, and when they’re up, they’re flat, and they seem to get hit a lot more often. Being down is definitely something I need to be doing — down in the strike zone, four of the five starters, we’re sinker guys.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Dennis & Callahan, Lou Merloni and WEEI.com have been down in Fort Myers as Red Sox spring baseball gets started. Click here to check out all their photos from the trip so far.

Joe Kelly on Dennis & Callahan

Joe Kelly on Dennis & Callahan

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FORT MYERS, Fla. — While listening to the game on WEEI 850 AM with Rob Bradford and Joe Castiglione, you can also follow along as the Red Sox take on Northeastern and Boston College in a pair of seven-inning exhibition games. Join in the description and conversation of this season’s first spring training contests …

Live Blog Red Sox vs. Northeastern
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ Rusney Castillo is absolutely, positively going to be the Red Sox‘ opening day center fielder, right? You can’t bench a guy making $72.5 million, right?

Not so fast.

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rusney Castillo is absolutely, positively going to be the Red Sox‘ opening day center fielder, right? You can’t bench a guy making $72.5 million, right?

Not so fast.

If anything caught the eye when the Red Sox posted their first lineup of the spring on Tuesday morning, it was the starting center fielder in Game 1 of the annual Northeastern-Boston College doubleheader.

Batting leadoff with the rest of the Red Sox regulars was none other than Mookie Betts. Castillo, meanwhile, is slated to start the nightcap with the backups and minor leaguers.

If this sounds like reading too much into a spring lineup for an exhibition against a college team, consider the rest of the players starting the NU game, alongside Betts: 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, LF Hanley Ramirez, 3B Pablo Sandoval, 1B Mike Napoli, RF Shane Victorino, SS Xander Bogaerts, C Christian Vazquez.

There’s little doubt that eight of those guys will be in the opening day lineup next month in Philadelphia, health permitting. So why should we view Betts any differently?

A case can certainly be made for Castillo opening the season in Pawtucket. There are six years remaining on his deal, and he’s still only played only 50 or 60 competitive games in the last two years. Spending a little time at Triple A might actually help, and it wouldn’t make him a bust.

In any event, file this one, for now, under the heading of Interesting Developments.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Read into this what you must, but here are the starting lineups for the Red Sox seven-inning games against Northeastern and Boston College:

Game 1 vs. Northeastern: Mookie Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Shane Victorino RF, Xander Bogaerts SS, Christian Vazquez C, Clay Buchholz P.

Game 2 vs. Boston College: Rusney Castillo CF, Jemile Weeks 2B, Daniel Nava LF, Allen Craig 1B, Garin Cecchini 3B, Ryan Hanigan C, Travis Shaw DH, Jackie Bradley RF, Deven Marrero SS, Wade Miley P.

Getting the start for the Huskies will be sophomore righty Aaron Civale (Greenland, N.H.), while sophomore right-hander Eric Stone (West Haven, Conn.) will be Boston College‘s first pitcher.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly stopped by the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday morning to talk about the upcoming season both for him personally, and the starting rotation.

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly stopped by the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday morning to talk about the upcoming season both for him personally, and the starting rotation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

At an offseason event, Kelly said on the WEEI airwaves he was going to win the Cy Young. Although the right-hander said there was a little sarcasm in his comments, he is looking forward to having a solid season and feels good about his abilities.

“It’s something I am confident in my abilities and confident in my stuff,” said Kelly. “If I go out there and do what I am capable of, it will be a pretty good year.”

The biggest storyline this spring surrounding the starting rotation is the thought there isn’t a clear-cut ace of the staff. Kelly said that isn’t an issue with the group of five, and they’ve discussed what they want to be known for. The pitcher also noted the emergence of rookie Michael Wacha with his former team, the Cardinals in 2013, as sometimes star pitchers can come out of no where.

“I give an example named Michael Wacha who as a rookie who carried [St. Louis] basically on his back throughout the playoffs when we played the Red Sox and when we played everyone in 2013,” Kelly said. “I don’t think some prospect who got called up could be considered an ace, but he pitched better than everybody in the entire major league baseball. There [are] difference instances where people say, hey, you have an ace or you don’t have an ace. It’s something that we’re going to hear throughout camp and that is OK.

“It’s something we have to stick together as a group of five and not really worry about the outside and try and stay on us and worry about how we’re going to build together as five and work on what we want to be known for. We sat down and talked about that a little bit and we want to be known for being tough competitor pitchers that never back down, pitch some innings and win more games than we lose.”

After being traded to the Red Sox along with Alan Craig for John Lackey at the trade deadline last year, Kelly went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 starts with the Red Sox. Kelly said he loved playing in St. Louis, as that was the only organization he’s ever known.

“I loved playing for the Cardinals. It was awesome,” said Kelly. “It was one of the best experiences that I have had so far in my career. I got called up in 2012 and after I made my first start I went to go eat lunch at a restaurant and my meal was paid for. ‘Hey, good start.’ I had only been in the big leagues one day, so it’s kind of like [even if] you’re the 25th guy, you’re the call up, everyone knows who you are.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

On personally not being an ace: “Who said I am or I am not? It’s not a problem. It’s me going out there and trying to do my business out there on the mound. When I was with St. Louis, I was always in and out of the rotation — didn’t really have a spot sometimes. We had a pitcher Jaime Garcia who was one of our guys and when he went down I stepped in and took over that role of coming from a long reliever to a starter and I haven’t really had a full year of starting under my belt and this will be my first — it’s what I am planning on. I’m excited for that.”

On attitude with team right now: “The energy in the clubhouse right now is awesome. It’s always kind of like that early in camp, everyone is excited to be there after a long offseason. Everyone is excited to see the new faces, new teammates, meet and greet guys. It’s going to be interesting how the middle of camp, the end of camp where everything gets monotonous, you’re doing the same thing every day, what kind of energy level our team can bring. So far we’re meshing pretty well as a team and our starters are having some fun. We’re playing some golf together, we’re eating together, we’re talking some baseball — it all depends on how our team meshes and so far so good. It looks great. There is no big ego in the clubhouse who is like, ‘No, I’m doing it my way. I am not listening.’ Everyone is listening to the coaches, manager, front office, trying to nit pick and learn everything from anybody.”

On working on throwing a four-seam fastball again: “Not working on it, I’ve had it. It’s just something I’ve never used. Going up in the Cardinals organization it’s something — I don’t know if you know who [pitching coach] Dave Duncan is — you get taught sinkers over there mostly and I came as a college closer to a starter. Mostly in the beginning my transition my first year was to try to build innings, try to build pitchers and get my arm strong. Then, I had some success there and they kept starting me, putting an emphasis of getting ground balls and I went from throwing four-seamers in college as hard as I could at 100 miles per hour to trying to pitch.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the vulgar tweets he received after tw

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the vulgar tweets he received after tweeting his daughter will be playing college softball at Salve Regina University next year, and the course of action he’s taken. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling wrote a lengthy blog post on his personal blog Sunday night addressing, and even publishing some of the tweets he received. The former big league pitcher reached out to some of the schools some of the tweeters attended, including coaches of teams the men played college sports for. He said some hockey, lacrosse and soccer players have been kicked off teams for good, or suspended for the year.

Additionally, Brookdale Community College suspended one of its students for his comments, and the Yankees have reportedly fired a part-time employee for his comments.

“It’s not a mistake,” Schilling said. “People talk about making mistakes as a kid — listen, I’ve made a million mistakes — these are conscious decisions because a mistake is saying you know what, ‘You’re a tool,’ and going on and saying, ‘Oh gosh, I shouldn’t of said that’ and going back and deleting it. This was over and over and over. You could see at some point they all thought what the hell is he going to do to me and they got worse and eventually it got to the point where I said OK, I need to fix this.”

“A couple of these guys, this stuff will follow them around for the rest of their lives because I am going to make sure it does,” he added.

The current ESPN analyst said at the time of the original tweet he expected a few tweets from trolls, but nothing to the point it has reached. It was then Schilling decided something needed to be done.

“I expected the trolls,” he said. “The one kid kind of came at me and said, ‘I can’t wait to take your daughter out.’ Kind of borderline stuff, which again, I expected. I’ve been on the internet since, I started playing on computers in 1980, so I understand how it works and I knew there would be stuff. The stuff that they did, that is not bad or vile, it’s illegal. It’s against the law.

“When that started — again, I thought it might be a one-off, but then it started to steamroll. And then [my daughter] started to get private correspondence and then I said OK, this needs to get fixed. This generation of kids doesn’t understand, and adults too, doesn’t understand that the internet is not even remotely anonymous.”

Schilling said this isn’t a matter of political beliefs, or which team you may root for — this is a issue for everyone and something he vows to try have as many people hear about it as he can.

“Here is the thing, we all know I don’t care if you’re a liberal, conservative or a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Yankees, Red Sox whatever fan, or if you don’t like me — every single woman on this planet is bothered by this,” said Schilling. “When I talk to Michelle Malkin or when I email and text the link to Ann Coulter, they are going to get the word out. This is one of those kind of elephants in the room as a society now.

“I am a guy. Since I’ve been here I’ve said a million things I wish I hadn’t, but this is not being a guy. There is nothing about this that is manly.”

The former pitcher wouldn’t comment if he is pressing criminal charges, but did say, “This is not over by any stretch, no.”

He added: “Should I choose to pursue all of them, [they] could be followed around the rest of their lives with a sex offender tag. Those people have to register everywhere they go. They have to inform everyone they ever apply for a job with. Every community — go to the sex offender website, look at it. Every one that tweeted the stuff that I am talking about could be labeled and criminally labeled a sex offender, forever.”

Schilling admitted he never expected things to go this far on a national scale, and he didn’t even think about that when he decided to address the matter. He added there were even more vulgar tweets other than the ones he published.

“I didn’t think about that part of it — honest to God I didn’t,” Schilling said. “I thought about my daughter. The letter that I posted has been edited by me about 46 times because the first letter I wrote was basically, I am going to find you and kill you. It was the dad response, but then at some point as I kept looking at it, I realized I have three sons. If I want to teach my boys about being real men then there needs to be a learning moment in all of this. My oldest son is in college, he’s a freshman and my two younger sons wanted to tweet back every one of these guys in language I’ve never heard them speak before.”

Schilling said although he’s forgiven the men, this will stay with them the rest of their lives because of the power of the internet in today’s society.

“I’ve forgiven them, but they are never going to be able to out live this,” he said. “This is with them for the rest of their lives. This is not a mistake. Let me be very clear, these kids didn’t make a mistake. They made conscious decisions to talk about rape, and sex and defiling a 17-year-old girl. What part of the news are these people not seeing on a daily basis where kids on a daily basis are killing themselves from being cyber bullied?”

As for his daughter, Schilling said she was originally mad at him for what he did, but after sitting down and speaking with her, she has a better understanding of the situation and Schilling’s reasons and is doing well.

“She’s doing good,” he said. “My daughter has I’d like to think the intestinal fortitude or whatever you want to call it, that I have in the sense that she was unbelievably distressed and distraught and wanted nothing more of this to happen. Initially she was very mad at me for responding and I sat her down and explained to her as stupid as you think I am — and she thinks I am as stupid as anyone on this planet — there are certain things that can’t ever happen.

“No one is every allowed and OK to talk to you like this, in person or in private, ever. You better know that the opportunities for you out there are no different for you because you’re a woman. People like this are so intimated by you and your potential success that this is the only thing they got. That is one of the reasons why I taught my daughter self-defense. We live in a world that is — look across the ocean — we live in a world that in some cases despises women.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable