Let’s take a look at some of the storylines that came out of Spring Training this past week. As we are inching towards Opening Day, more and more is happening down in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Dustin Pedroia makes Spring Training debut
Dustin Pedroia made his long-awaited return to baseball on Thursday in a game against the Minnesota Twins. Pedroia only played one inning in the matchup, but a lot of encouraging signs were shown. He fielded a sharp ground ball hit to him to record the third out in the top half of the first. He then turned around and singled to give him his first hit of the spring.
Pedroia was positive about his debut, telling reporters, “I felt pretty good.. yeah. I’m just trying to get back into it. I’m just trying to play. I have to continue to make adjustments.”
He also appeared in yesterday’s Spring Training game against the Mets for two innings. He fielded a few grounders, turned a double play, and looked good running the bases. Pedroia is scheduled to play again on Tuesday.
No one really knows what to expect from Pedroia this season, but this was a good sign to start the season off.
Steven Wright suspended 80 games for PED usage
The Red Sox knuckleballer was suspended this past week due to violating the MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Wright was reportedly notified that he tested positive for a PED in the winter and appealed it. The appeal was denied this past week and the news became public.
Wright will be suspended half of the season and will not be eligible for the postseason. The Red Sox released a statement on the suspension:
“The Boston Red Sox fully support Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from the game. While we are disappointed by the news of this violation, we will look to provide the appropriate support to Steven at this time. Going forward, the club will not comment further on the matter.”
Wright talked to the reporters shortly after the news broke and told them that he didn’t know how the drug got into his body.
To be completely honest, Wright has been given several chances to clean up his act. Last year, he was suspended 15 games for violating the MLB’s domestic violence policy after he was arrested due to an altercation with his wife.
Alex Cora challenges Eduardo Rodriguez
One of the biggest guys that has been hyping Eduardo Rodriguez up for a breakout season is manager Alex Cora. However, Cora did not hold back on his thoughts of Rodriguez’s performance this past week against the Mets.
Rodriguez didn’t have that bad of a performance this past Monday. He threw two scoreless innings, allowed three hits, two strikeouts, and no walks. This wasn’t enough for Cora though.
After the game, Alex Cora shared his thoughts with the reporters:
“There were two at-bats there, the one against (Amed) Rosario and the Dominic Smith one, there were two outs, Rosario, he got ahead right away and then it became a long at-bat, then Smith with two outs, a lefty, he falls behind on 3-0 count. For him to go deeper into games, he needs to attack guys,” Cora said of Rodriguez. “His stuff was good, he got some swings and misses but those are things we need to get better and he knows it.”WEEI’s Rob Bradford
Cora does have a point. During his career, E-Rod did have some trouble finishing off batters and getting outs after being up in the count. If there was one thing I would say that he needs to work on, it’s that.
Rodriguez did respond well and accepted the challenge in his start yesterday. Through the first two innings, Rodriguez threw 15 pitches, 13 of them for strikes. He finished the day off after tossing four innings allowing one run on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. His pitch count to end the day was at 52 pitches throwing 34 strikes.
It was an encouraging sign from E-Rod and let’s hope he can keep this up in his future starts this spring.
Rick Porcello set to make spring debut on Sunday
Rick Porcello will be taking the mound in his first start of Spring Training against the Rays at 1:05 PM ET. I’m ready to see how Porcello looks after all the hype that’s surrounded him all Spring Training. Porcello also has a new changeup that everyone has been talking about.
Mookie Betts, Brock Holt mic’d up
In case you weren’t watching the ESPN broadcast of the Red Sox game on Thursday, the ESPN broadcast booth had Mookie Betts and Brock Holt mic’d up during the game. I always love to hear from the players in-game. I really hope we can have more of this soon.
Photo Credit: NY Post