Hansen will get with the program at Double A
Craig Hansen has the best pure fastball in the Red Sox system. (Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In optioning Craig Hansen to Pawtucket earlier this week, the Red Sox said the 22-year-old would adhere to a structured program that would force him to become a better all-around pitcher rather than simply turning him loose to overpower hitters. What the club didn't mention was he would adhere to that program in Double A Portland.
''Given what he's working on and given the structured program, the most appropriate environment is Double A," general manager Theo Epstein said yesterday. ''One, it's more of a comfortable level. He's pitched there before. Two, Double A is better equipped to handle a structured environment. At Triple A, there's more traditional usage."
Drafted last June and signed to a major league contract (four years, $4 million) in July, Hansen pitched only 12 2/3 innings in the minors before being rushed to the majors to help a bullpen hemorrhaging runs. He made four big league appearances, allowing two runs. This spring, Hansen didn't allow a run in 10 2/3 innings.
At Portland, Epstein said, Hansen will pitch multiple innings out of the pen every fourth day with a side session in between to work on mechanics. Epstein also said Hansen won't pitch under these guidelines for the whole year.
''He's shown in his big league spring training that ability-wise he can make a strong argument that he's ready now," Epstein said. ''But there are elements of a pitcher's development you can only get by being on a structured program, such as learning how to get into and out of jams, how to go through a lineup more than once, the ability to work in the bullpen with side sessions.
''We expect him to move to Triple A at some point, and we won't rule out the majors."
Arroyo cited familiarity as the reason he was able to blow Nixon and Ramírez away with fastballs the first time around, then got them on breaking balls in the fourth. Comparing facing Ramírez to Mark Loretta or Mike Lowell, Arroyo said, ''I had a better insight into how Manny's brain works." He paused, laughed, and added, ''At least at the plate."
Arroyo said he's renting his Boston townhouse to David Wells and intends to keep the place for the three years he'll spend in Cincinnati.