|Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is popular with teammates after homering against Florida in yesterday’s slugfest. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)|
Marlin has a blast against Buchholz
Stanton’s homers make impression
JUPITER, Fla. — This was one of those memorable spring training games.
It featured two three-run homers and seven RBIs by young Marlins slugger Mike Stanton in his first real game of the spring after blowing out his quadriceps against a college team. Stanton’s first blast, off Clay Buchholz, was hit on a line and estimated at 480-500 feet.
“A giant,’’ said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia after the Red Sox’ 15-7 loss at Roger Dean Stadium. “He can hit a ball a long way. Very impressive.’’
“I think he’s an impressive young man,’’ said manager Terry Francona.
The Sox tried to obtain Stanton at the trade deadline in 2008 when he was a Single A player, but the Marlins would not give him up for Manny Ramirez.
Stanton, 21, said he was having good at-bats at the minor league fields while recuperating and “just wanted to carry that over.’’
“It was definitely cool to be able to do that in your first big league game,’’ he said.
Saltalamacchia, playing not far from where he grew up in West Palm Beach, was impressive as well, with a homer, two doubles, and four RBIs. He did, however, make a couple of bad throws, one when he double-pumped on an attempted steal, the other after he cut off Mike Cameron’s throw from right field and threw poorly to second.
But the offensive display was what the Sox have been waiting to see.
“This is probably the best I’ve felt from both sides of the plate,’’ Saltalamacchia said. “I hadn’t had too many righthanded swings, so it was nice to be able to get a hit righthanded and hit both ways. I’ve done some work in the cage with Mags [hitting coach Dave Magadan] and it’s paid off for me.
“Pitching and defense are the two most important things that I need to concentrate on. My main concern has to be handling the pitcher and playing good defense. I wasn’t happy with the two plays.’’
In four innings, Buchholz allowed 11 runs (six earned) on 11 hits with one walk and five strikeouts. John Buck and Logan Morrison also homered off him.
Buchholz said he made five mistakes, and all were costly. But he didn’t seem overly concerned, even though he threw only 82 pitches, about 10-12 fewer than scheduled.
“Probably the best I’ve felt all spring,’’ Buchholz said. “I thought a couple [homers] were hit well and a couple were fly balls. The execution of off-speed pitches wasn’t the best. It was probably the wrong pitch selection to Stanton, but I don’t know them that well.’’
Showalter expands Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his critical comments about Theo Epstein in the April edition of Men’s Journal were taken out context. The magazine quoted him as saying, “I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt.’’ Speaking to reporters in Sarasota yesterday, Showalter gave a convoluted explanation. “I didn’t really say it in that [context]. I was talking to a guy, like most people, just joking around, whatever, here it is. What are you going to do? I can’t even remember how or when . . . but I think if it was said about, you know, in context with the Yankees and Red Sox, it’s a tough job and sometimes there are sour grapes on our part.’’
Rework to do Lefthander Andrew Miller’s contract was being reworked yesterday to accommodate Major League Baseball and the Players Association. The deal had allowed the Sox to pay Miller $1.3 million with an option for $3 million in 2012, making it difficult for a team to claim him on waivers, a process that must be played out if he’s demoted. Meanwhile, Dennys Reyes had the out clause in his contract extended a day. It appears the lefthander is going to make the team.
Up to speed The Sox sent seven pitchers to the player development complex to get some work. Facing Double A New Britain, a Twins affiliate, Jonathan Papelbon allowed a two-run homer in his inning but otherwise was solid, throwing 10 of his 13 pitches for strikes. He hit 94 miles per hour with his fastball. “I came into spring and my mechanics were pretty good,’’ said Papelbon. “For a couple of outings, I got away from it. But I was able to kind of go back and simplify it a little bit more. The delivery that I had out there today, I’ll just try and keep perfecting.’’ Papelbon said his on again/off again slider has returned. “It’s going to be big pitch for me this year,’’ he predicted. Daniel Bard, at 6 feet 4 inches, allowed an infield single to 5-3 Chris Cates but otherwise was untouched in one inning. Hideki Okajima was perfect in his one inning, striking out two.
Five for Wakefield Tim Wakefield went five innings against Single A Rochester, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with one walk and no strikeouts. He also hit a batter while throwing 78 pitches. “I got up and down five times and got my pitch count up,’’ he said. “It’s different pitching down here, there’s not a lot of adrenaline, but I take it seriously and you’ve got to get your work in.’’ Wakefield has allowed 16 hits and nine earned runs in 9 2/3 innings against major league competition . . . Lefthander Felix Doubront, who was shut down earlier in camp with a sore elbow, had his first game action and allowed two runs on three hits in one inning with one strikeout. “There’s no pain,’’ he said.