Red Sox manager John Farrell visited with Dale & Holley with Thornton to provide an update on Koji Uehara and discuss other team news. To listen to the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.
Farrell said Uehara was going through an MRI on Wednesday afternoon and that the Red Sox will have a better read on his pectoral injury later in the day.
“Anytime you see a guy taken off the mound in the middle of a ballgame because of an injury, it’s never a positive thing,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it’s on the short end. The fact that he felt it on one pitch, this wasn’t a cumulative effect or something that’s been building over time.”
Farrell defended his decision to pitch Uehara in the ninth inning of Boston’s 4-o win over the Giants on Tuesday night. Uehara, 41, left the mound after throwing just seven pitches.
“We’re in the middle of the order, a four-run lead in this ballpark where things can turn on you fairly quick,” Farrell said. “So as I’ve done a number of times previously with Koji in similar situations … I pitched him in the ninth inning. There’s been situations where Koji has come in in the middle of the inning and has not gone well, and knowing your personnel, what they prefer and how they’re most effective, that was the situation last night. Despite getting hurt, I would still make the same situation tonight if Koji’s there available and we have a four-run lead in the ninth inning.”
Farrell also discussed the improvements seen from starting pitcher Rick Porcello. The 27-year-old right-hander is 12-2 with a 3.47 ERA. He has the third most wins in the American League, and he tossed 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball during Tuesday’s win.
“The biggest thing is his ability to execute his two-seamer,” Farrell said. “I know that sounds awful simplistic, but last year in the first half of the season when he found some new velocity and the strikeout totals were up, he got a lot of swing-and-miss up in the strike zone but he didn’t have the consistency then as he does now. … So that’s his signature pitch and he’s more readily to execute it right now.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
On Joe Kelly’s improvement with Triple-A Pawtucket and if he’ll rejoin Boston soon: “He’s doing a very good job with that transition. The one thing that we’re dealing with here is that [reliever Junichi Tazawa] will get back Friday, and we’re likely to get another move coming to us at that point. I think for fairness to Joe, to have him up here for a day or so then send him back, we did not want to interrupt his transition in that way. But it’s clear, that a power arm, the way he’s throwing the ball right now, he can be a benefit to our bullpen. We just have to continue to work on a more long-term duration rather than the up-and-down right now.”
On what to expect from newly acquired starter Drew Pomeranz and if there’s concern about his innings: “When you look back to what he’s done this year, it’s probably been six innings each time out. He’s gone deeper into some ballgames, there’s been a lot of questions, he’s already got an innings total, what’s the threshold that you’re maybe bumping up against. We don’t have a hard fast number going forward with the total number of innings he’s pitched this year. But you look back, and you see the consistency, it’s been the six or seven innings of work. The thing that is kind of neat to see is, here’s a left-handed starter that’s evolving in his late 20s, and that’s not totally uncommon. You see more left-handers evolve and come into their own in their late 20s because it’s been more consistent command, it’s been a pitch that he’s used a little more extensively which in this case has been his curveball, which had been a key pitch for him. He’s come up with a little bit of a cutter which has helped get the ball off the bat head in some fastball counts. The thing that we talked about is just because you’re going into Fenway Park, don’t look to change your approach. Don’t pitch to the green wall, pitch to the hitter, pitch to the sequence and how you’re reading hitters swings. We’re all looking forward to see Drew coming out tonight.”
On concerns about Pomeranz making the jump from the NL West to the AL East: “We’re talking about a 27-year-old that’s been in five organizations in six years. On the one hand, that may raise a red flag, but I think on the other hand, what it says is that this is a pitcher coming into his own. He’s a 6-foot-6 left-hander who’s got very good stuff. He’s been acquired because he’s been desired by a number of different teams. He’s pitched in Colorado in a very hitter-friendly environment which you might say might be similar to the American League. He’s pitched in Oakland, pitched in the American League, he’s pitched here before as a reliever in Oakland. In this particular case, because he’s got so many different experiences in different settings, I think we’re getting a pitcher at the right time.”
On the difficult schedule coming up: “I think every team probably has similar reactions to the schedule we’re playing out. I believe the Yankees went to San Francisco, they went out west for two games, then they went up to Minnesota much like we did. Interleague play has expanded to 20 games per year, and you’re playing sporadically throughout the season rather than a stretch of games inside the month of June. I think that causes a lot of these two-game sets, which I don’t know if anybody likes, but that’s the way it has to balance out. We are in a stretch, we’ve got 43 [games] in the next 44 days, our depth and our bench, this is where Aaron Hill, Michael Martinez, the uncanny timeliness of the trades [Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] has just made, that’s going to be put to the test. We’re in the thick of things, we got a couple of West Coast trips coming up, I think an even bigger reason why we have to take advantage of the homestand that we’re on currently.”