JUPITER, Fla. - Greetings from the combined home of the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Sox will start Clay Buchholz today and he's expected to go deep into the game.
Terry Francona said today that Buchholz should be good for a 200-inning season which means there's be no restrictions on him getting to that point. He hopes he can because that will mean a successful season.
Andrew Miller will start tomorrow's minor league game, followed by Alfredo Aceves. It appears Miller, who is out of the bullpen mix, will be used as a starter but Francona was not willing to go that far when asked about it today. Miller's contract has been the subject of scrutiny around the league where he's being paid $1.3 million this year with a $3 million option for 2012. It's currently a minor league deal, but one where he has to clear waivers if he comes up and then has to be sent down to the minors. The contract was being reworked the last couple of days.
"We need to get to that (Miller's future). Next couple of days a lot of things will sort themselves out," Francona said.
Matt Albers said he too was blindsided by a report he was being sold to Japan. Albers said he called his agent to make sure, and was told there's was nothing to it. Albers appears to be the frontrunner to stay as a righty middle man because he's out of minor league options and he would surely be lost through waivers if the Sox tried to outright him to Pawtucket. Albers has been through the drill before. "For the last three or four years it's come down to the last few days of camp with the Orioles, so I'm used to it."
The Red Sox are looking for starting pitching depth, but it won't be veteran Kevin Millwood. The Sox are looking for someone willing to start at Pawtucket.
Francona reported that Junichi Tazawa, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has started to throw side sessions and is "fully stretched." It appears Tazawa will stay in extended spring training until he's ready to pitch fulltime.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw a simulated game in Houston on Thursday.
Coaching assistant Ino Guerrero has left the hospital (yesterday) after suffering an allergic reaction to a nerve-blocking shot.
Dennys Reyes is probably making this team. He extended his out clause a day and will pitch tomorrow. Francona said that track record is important and that Reyes has a track record. This could mean that incumbent Hideki Okajima, who has minor league options, might be unseated and could be heading to Pawtucket.
Theo Epstein wouldn't comment on Buck Showalter's comments that Epstein's success is tied into the amount of money he can spend. But Francona said, "I think Theo is really smart. Whether he has a high payroll or not. His choice of managers is smart."