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News » Boston Red Sox Notes, Quotes 2009-04-02

Boston Red Sox Notes, Quotes 2009-04-02

Boston Red Sox Notes, Quotes 2009-04-02
--RHP John Smoltz threw his first bullpen of the spring and tossed 40 pitches, all fastballs. The 41-year-old reported no problems afterward and is still on tap for a June return barring any setbacks over the next two months. Smoltz estimated after the session that he was throwing the ball at about 70 percent and remains encouraged about taking on the next steps. "I didn't think it would be that awkward," Smoltz said. "I've been doing this for a long time, but it was awkward, because I've not gone that long without being on the mound. I look forward to the month worth ... of mounds and bullpens."

--RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to the Red Sox following another MVP-worthy performance and World Baseball Classic title and threw 54 pitches in his first bullpen session. Matsuzaka threw 98 pitches in his final appearance for Team Japan, and his right arm appears to be in good shape. There's still some curiosity about how Matsuzaka's arm will respond after such a heavy pitching burden, but so far, so good. "It's hard to keep that spring training schedule and that consistent work routine that is typical for this time of year," pitching coach John Farrell said. "So we have to factor those things into the players that return to our club and keep our initial expectations somewhat in check."

--SS Julio Lugo reported back to spring training following surgery on March 17 to repair the torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee and is close to resuming baseball activities. It's expected that Lugo, who was hitting .450 in eight games before succumbing to the knee injury, will be ready to rejoin the active roster within two weeks following Opening Day. Lugo's injury has paved the way for SS Jed Lowrie to claim the starting shortstop job out of training camp.

--RHP Rocky Cherry was signed by the Red Sox to a minor league contract. The 29-year-old reliever was 0-3 with a 6.85 ERA for the Baltimore Orioles last season but was released after he was selected by the New York Mets in the Rule 5 Draft -- and then subsequently returned to the Orioles on March 17. Cherry had a bloated 12.00 ERA in six innings against the Red Sox and appeared to be a depth signing in case injuries strike Boston's bullpen.

--2B Dustin Pedroia (slightly strained abdominal muscle) and Kevin Youkilis (sprained ankle and Achilles tendonitis) both left the World Baseball Classic tourney because of nagging injuries but soon returned to Boston's lineup in spring training. The injuries appeared to be minor, and both players are expected to be ready for the Opening Day lineup.

BY THE NUMBERS: 98 -- The number of pitches that RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka threw in his final World Baseball Classic start.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He took the ball. He was a true ace. I don't know that there's that many of those guys out there. He struck out 300 two years in a row. He was just a horse. Then he comes to Boston in '04, and he's exactly what we needed. He could talk the talk but he could walk the walk. But he backed up what he said. The (bloody) sock, the suture in the (tendon) and all that stuff." -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona, speaking with 850 WEEI Sports Radio about RHP Curt Schilling after the pitcher announced his retirement.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 2, 2009

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