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Buchholz makes more progress

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  March 18, 2012 05:05 PM

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Clay Buchholz went five innings and allowed four hits and one run as he lowered his spring ERA to 2.70 in an 8-4 Red Sox win over the Rays today.

Buchholz said he chose the breaking ball to work on in this outing.

“It felt really good,” Buchholz said. “It’s progressed from the game I pitched back home (minor league simulated game last week). Felt good being in a real game. Throwing my curve ball more, when its working it’s a good pitch for me.”

Bobby Valentine’s view: “He obviously looked good. He had a good curveball and fastball. He and Salty work great together. Other than the back-to-back changeups to (Evan) Longoria (who hit a home run) I thought it was a real good outing.”

Also:

• Cody Ross and Josh Kroeger (two RBI) had home runs.

• Saltalamacchia said his sore hip (bursitis) felt better though he had a massive ice pack on it after the game. This condition bears watching.

• Valentine said he liked what he saw from Vicente Padilla, who allowed five hits and one run over the final three innings. Padilla keeps solidifying a spot in the bullpen, but there’s always been some question whether Padilla’s past injury history (elbow issues) will allow him to pitch consistently out of the pen.

“We’re going to try to find out,” said Valentine when asked if there’s a correlation between Padilla’s injury history and the bullpen. “Don’t know if health issues are related. All I know is he’s probably gonna get up and throw the ball 200 feet in the outfield tomorrow. If he’s not throwing in the outfield tomorrow I’d have some concern. The last time he threw three innings and then threw in the outfield.”

• And what about the star of camp, infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who went 1 for 2 with a double?

While Valentine said he didn’t have a spot for the .545-hitting journeyman right now, “He’s a good player. I know you thought I was kidding early when I said that. I really like him.”

What makes him different from spring training All-Stars who disappear?

“His hands are there, his arm is there and the speed is there," Valentine said. "They’re all pretty good. He hits the fastball and if he sees the breaking ball. Yeah, little different (than those other camp wonders) because there’s talent there. He’s just not pulling the ball. A lot of times guys have a lot of hits and pull the ball. He’s hitting breaking balls and hitting to all fields.”

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