Beautiful day here at Fenway. David Ortiz is out in center field pitching some balls to his son, D’Angelo and Noah Doubront. Felix is catching.
It must be pretty great to have Fenway Park as your playground when you’re a little kid. It’s a pretty good place to work as an adult, too. So here are some pre-game notes:
• Ryan Sweeney will get in a full workout today (hitting, fielding, running, throwing, cardio) and barring a setback will be activated off the seven-day concussion disabled list on Monday.
He has passed his concussion test.
• Bobby Valentine, a high school football star in Connecticut, was asked if he ever played with a concussion and he’s sure he did. “I went into the wrong huddle and [stuff] like that,” he said. “I was concussed. I kind of liked it. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to like those things.”
Back then, of course, concussions were largely undiagnosed and athletes in all sports just played through “getting your bell rung” on the field.
“It was a different world,” Valentine said.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka is set to start for Triple A Pawtucket on Thursday against Norfolk at McCoy Stadium. He went five innings and 56 pitches (as planned) on Saturday. He used his fastball almost primarily and allowed one hit over five shutout innings.
• Cody Ross is still wearing a walking boot on his fractured left foot. But he’s walking normally with the boot off. “He walked up the stairs in front of me without a limp,” Valentine said.
• According to ESPN research (and via Nick Cafardo) the two slowest-working pitchers in baseball are on the mound today. Clay Buchholz takes 26 seconds between pitches and Jeremy Hellickson 24.4. The league average is 21.2 seconds.
Every Red Sox starter — no surprise there — is in the top seven.
The position players are annoyed with it. Imagine having to stand there for 26 seconds between every single pitch. It’s ridiculous. Pitchers like Buchholz should realize that the defense is going to perform poorly in those conditions.
• Valentine on using Adrian Gonzalez in right field and when to sub for him: “This is fluid. This isn’t a totally prepared situation. I’m just trying to react as I feel the game presents itself. … I don’t know that there’s a rule of thumb here. It’s kind of a feel, I think. I wish there was a rule of thumb. I wish there was a history to go by. I wish there was a pattern or a situation that has presented itself in my experience that I could reach back on. I don’t have that. It’s pretty unique right now. Unchartered waters. It’s kind of fun.”
Gonzalez said this morning that he has no problem staying in right field for the entire nine innings and told Valentine that.
Gonzalez spent some time on Saturday working on playing balls that roll down the line in right field and bounce around. “I took 20 groundballs off the wall and all of them did something different,” he said. “The thing is you can’t predict where a ball is going to go, so you have to learn to find a spot on the field where you need to be.”
Playing in the daylight also presents a challenge. Right field at Fenway Park can be a tough sun field.
“You face the sun later in the game, so it’s tough [to simulate in pregame conditions] because the sun moves,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said if he committed a fielding miscue he didn’t want anyone to use the excuse that it was because he was playing out of position. “Even the right fielders who play out there every day miss those sometimes,” he said.
• Ryan Kalish is set to play the outfield for Single A Salem today in Frederick, Md. He was 2 for 4 with a home run on Saturday in the first game of his rehab assignment. Kalish faced Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy twice.
• Darnell McDonald is set to play for Pawtucket tonight and tomorrow. That would give him three games on his rehab and pretty close to being ready for the Sox.
Kalish struck out looking his first time against Bundy then singled off him the second time. Bundy did not allow a run in 30 innings in the South Atlantic League. He struck out 40, walked two and allowed five hits. Seriously. Saturday was his first game in the Carolina League and he gave up two runs on six hits over five innings.