FORT MYERS, Fla — Allen Webster, a 23-year-old righthander, continues to create a buzz. Or is that the hum of his 99-mph fastball?
He threw three scoreless innings and needed only 29 pitches to do it in Saturday’s 2-1 victory against the Twins.
“With each added inning as he went out there, better rhythm and better feel for his secondary pitches,” John Farrell said. “Once again, high 90s velocity, good location. Three pitches for strikes. A very impressive three innings.
“Velocity is one thing. But still, I just think that the action of his stuff … he just has three very good weapons he can go to.”
Webster in two appearances this spring: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. He has been 95-99 with his four-seam fastball and shown an an excellent changeup along with a two-seam fastball with heavy sink.
Webster started two games for Double A Portland last season after coming over from the Dodgers and allowed eight runs in nine innings. But he managed to leave a good impression.
“The calling card in the two starts he made when he came over after the trade was his willingness to go to a changeup in key spots. He did it again today,” Farrell said. “Anytime you can slow a batter down with a good off-speed pitch in addition to the velocity … ”
Farrell didn’t finish his sentence. But you get the idea. That kind of talent is special.
The Red Sox would have been wise to ship Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers just for the financial relief and the opportunity to air out the clubhouse. But to get Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, too? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
“Provided everyone’s healthy, our rotation is spoken for,” Farrell said. “But the one thing that we’re getting a better read on and feel for are the abilities of these guys in key spots and their ability to make certain pitches in certain tight situations. Albeit spring training still, they’re handling those situations well. They come into a new organization, and they’re making very good impressions.”
• Clay Buchholz is in line to start the second game of the season for the Red Sox, a night game in New York on April 3. So maybe he benefited from some unusual spring training weather on Saturday.
It was 57 degrees, overcast and windy at first pitch as the Red Sox faced the Minnesota Twins, a scant 15 degrees warmer than what it was in Boston.
“It was a little bit cooler than I thought it was,” Buchholz said after a 2-1 victory. “When that wind started blowing, it felt like it was going through me. You’ve got to get used to it at some point, you might as well make it down here.”
Then Buchholz paused, realizing that New Englanders with snow piles in their yards might take his words the wrong way.
“Nobody take it as a complaint,” he said. “I’m not complaining about the weather here. It’s been really good for the most part. But woke up this morning and it was a little different.”
Buchholz didn’t allow a run over his 1 1/3 innings but threw 40 pitches, 22 of them strikes. He allowed one hit, walked two and struck out two.
The most important aspect of his outing was that he felt fine after missing a start while recovering from a strained right hamstring. Buchholz used all of his pitches and said he felt stronger in the second inning.