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Armed and ready

Page 3 of 3 -- Spring grade: A

Alan Embree: The lefty opened the spring campaign throwing hard, like the original Alan Embree the Sox acquired in the summer of 2002. Unfortunately, he was also hit hard in his spring debut, giving up three runs on three hits against Minnesota. Embree also got knocked around by the Cardinals, giving up four hits in one inning but escaping with just one run against him. Embree worked his way back to form on Thursday with a perfect inning against the Orioles, but is admittedly behind the rest of the relievers this spring. Five earned runs for Embree in his five innings of work to date.

Spring grade: B-

Keith Foulke: The postseason star jumped into the fray on March 12 against the Rays at City of Palms, working a perfect inning while recording a strikeout. He’s been perfect ever since as well, surrendering just one hit and no runs in three more outings (.063 batting average against). That’s a far cry from his spring woes from last year.

Spring grade: A+

Byung Hyun Kim: Some fans can’t forget the finger. Others hate him for his perceived selfish attitude. And more resent his regression as a pitcher over the last two years. Either way, B.H. Kim is in most everyone’s dog house. I’m still rooting for B.K. to turn this thing around and get back to being the pitcher he was when the Sox acquired him. It’s not my money, but cutting Kim now and eating the $6 million would be a mistake. There are too many question marks on this staff; why not let B.K. work his way back in Pawtucket until it’s finally determined if he can help? In the spring opener, he came in and worked a perfect inning and we all thought he was back. Not so fast. In his next game against the Phillies, he came undone quickly, walking three and giving up two runs in 1 2/3 innings before being lifted to a round of boos at City of Palms. Kim battled the flu after that outing and finally reappeared against the Pirates on March 20, when he pitched a scoreless inning but did not top 85 on the radar gun. Kim worked an uneventful two innings against the Orioles. A 4.76 ERA and .176 batting average against in 5 2/3 innings mean BK won’t start the season with the big club. His lack of velocity and disposition on the mound are what seem to be holding him back yet again.

Spring grade: C-

John Halama: The newcomer saw his first action in a Red Sox uniform against the New York Yankees, giving up a run on two hits in an inning of work. He started his first game against the Orioles on March 14, going two innings and giving up four hits in a 5-3 loss to the new Sox nemesis. And in his next start, he was hammered by the Pirates to the tune of five runs and seven hits in three innings. Halama has given up 13 hits in nine innings to go along with his ERA of 9.00.

Spring grade: C-

Other staff notables

Anastacio Martinez: Given every chance to make the team, A-Mart has had a spotty spring at best. Most notably, he was crushed for five hits and three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in a start against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. A 5.23 ERA in 10 1/3 innings probably won’t get it done for Martinez, who is out of minor league options.

Spring grade: C

Wade Miller: While it was encouraging that Miller was in Ft. Myers and throwing early in February, reality has set in and the price was right for a reason. He most likely won’t be ready until June, but he’s still optimistic about returning in May as he continues to take small steps while he rehabilitates from rotator cuff surgery. Miller threw 25 warmup pitches in the pen before throwing 27 to batters on Wednesday.

Spring grade: Incomplete

Jack Cressend: Originally signed by Boston as an amateur free agent in 1996 and one of the original Lowell Spinners, Cressend was inked to a minor-league contract Jan. 5 and invited to camp as a non-roster pitcher. He remains in a battle for the 11th spot in the bullpen, having put together a nice spring: a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings. Still, he’s a long shot to make the team.

Spring grade: B+

Jeremi Gonzalez: The former Tampa Bay Devil Ray has been hit hard this spring, giving up a team high three home runs in 9 1/3 innings and has a 4.82 ERA. He was nearly booed off the field by Sox fans in Dunedin, where he gave up back-to-back homers and nearly a third that went foul as he turned a close game against Toronto into a blowout.

Spring grade: C- 

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blogging from the fort
 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Armed and ready (Boston.com, 2:43 p.m.)
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 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Spring things: Winners win when they’re winning (Boston.com, 3/16/05)
 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Spring things: A tale of three losses (Boston.com, 3/14/05)
 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Spring things: Sox 'D' getting an 'A' (Boston.com, 3/11/05)
 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Tommy, we can hear you (Boston.com, 3/9/05)
 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Spring things: Notes and observations (Boston.com, 3/9/05)
 BLOGGING FROM THE FORT: Rivalry still in warm-up mode (Boston.com, 3/8/05)
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