Pregame quick hits with Tito

April, 7, 2010
BUCHHOLZ SHARP IN SIMULATED GAME: Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz tossed a 48-pitch simulated game this afternoon at Fenway Park in preparation for his start on Sunday in Kansas City. It’ll be a total of nine days between his last spring training start and his season debut.

“Everything felt good,” he said. “Surprisingly I felt a lot more comfortable than I expected to. I felt smooth with all the pitches and made adjustments on a pitch-to-pitch basis. For the most part it went good.”

It’s the first time in over a week Buchholz has seen batters in the box. Due to the three off days the Sox have in the first nine days of the regular season, Boston’s rotation can be stretched out a little bit. Buchholz has thrown a couple of bullpen sessions, but it’s not the same when you’re not facing batters.

Teammates Jason Varitek, Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida served as the batters for Buchholz.

“We’re just trying to figure out a way to not get rust,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who watched from the stands. “It was a good thing to do.”

Buchholz has been calmly chomping at the bit to get out there and now he’s really looking forward to his first start of 2010.

“I’m ready,” he said. “It wasn’t that long ago, but it seems like an eternity since last season ended. I feel good. I feel healthy and that’s the main thing. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

DICE-K AND BOOF PAWTUCKET BOUND: Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday at McCoy Stadium. The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since April 3 with a neck strain, is scheduled to throw 80 to 85 pitches. He will need a couple of rehab starts before he rejoins the Red Sox.

Fellow right-hander Boof Bonser will start for the PawSox in their home opener on Thursday against Rochester. He was placed on the DL on March 31 with a right groin strain. He’s scheduled to throw 80-85 pitches.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Reliever Alan Embree will also pitch for Pawtucket on Thursday. The Red Sox re-acquired the left-hander this spring and he has an opt-out clause in his agreement that states the club has until April 15 to call him up or he becomes a free agent. He can also choose to stay in the minors in hopes of getting a call up during the season. “We’ll try to pitch him as much as we can without going overboard,” said Francona.

SUCCESSFUL SURGERY: Red Sox pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa had Tommy John surgery in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday and it was successful. The right-hander returned to the Sox’s spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., to begin his rehab.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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