Tagged: Brad Penny


By Chris Cue
April 18, 2009

     What was it we were saying about hoping the bats would wake up? What a great effort by the Red Sox last night. Down 7-0 in the second inning, Brad Penny tossing up meatballs for the Orioles to clobber and the good guys didn’t give up. The bats came alive at the right time and pulled out a victory from what looked to be a certain defeat. Some stellar pitching from the Bullpen by Manny DelCarmen and Ramon Ramirez helped stop the bleeding. Combined, they pitched 4 scoreless innings allowing only 3 hits from the 4th and into the 8th inning. That proved to be enough for the Boston offense to finally come alive and score the 10 runs needed to rob the O’s from a win.

     While this was no “Mothers Day Miracle”, it was a great comeback lead by Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and a clutch hit by Nick Green. Patience at the plate, a walk here, and key hit there and the Sox were in business. That was by all accounts a team win. After Penny’s poor performance, it seemed like everyone took this game on their back and brought it home. Good stuff and great to see the Sox put one together. Now all we need is to see Big Papi come to life. From what I understand, he’s got that well under control….

“Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it
very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear
from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.”
(Pedro Cerrano from Major League)

     I’ll drink to that 🙂 Today they’ll be looking to add another “W” with Beckett on the mound facing Orioles RHP Adam Eaton. Game time is  7:10pm est and will be shown on NESN.

Let’s go for 2 in a row!

Enjoy the game and GO SOX!!


Home Cooking

By Chris Cue
April 17, 2009

     Man, there is nothing like home cooking, especially when the cook at home can……well, cook. If last year is any indication, then the Red Sox know how to cook. It’s the away food that does not sit so well with them. Last year the Sox had an 56-25 record at home. That’s a .691 winning percent. That’s not bad. Not bad at all. If the Sox can maintain that percentage and do a little better on the road this season, life will be good.

     So far this season (remember how small of a sample this is), the record for the Sox at home is 1-2 and on the road it’s 2-4. Both average out to a .333 win percent. That’s not so good. However, considering how young this season really is, the Red Sox have the opportunity to turn their fortunes around this weekend when they host the Baltimore Orioles for a 4 game series in Fenway. The scheduled pitchers for the Red Sox are: Brad Penny vs Jeremy Guthrie today,  Josh Beckett vs Adam Eaton Saturday, Jon Lester faces Koli Uehara on Sunday and 2 yet to be announced pitchers for Monday’s game (Masterson is expected to get that start for the Sox).

     So, can the Red Sox take at least 3 out the 4 games scheduled? Sure they can. If the offense has truley woken up, then I think it’s safe to assume that Saturday & Sunday are clearly matchups in the Sox favor. Today and Monday may be the toss up games with Guthrie getting a slight edge over Brad Penny today and Masterson (if he starts) being the unknown on Monday. In the hopes of settling “Panic Nation”, the Sox could do themselves a world of good by winning their first series of the season. Taking 3 out of the 4 puts this team back on the winning path and would result in them going from a .333 team to a .461 team. Still not good, but it’s heading in the right direction. Of course the use of some brooms on Monday would be better still, however at the risk of upsetting the baseball “karma” or jinxing something, we shouldn’t even think it. It’s a safe bet to assume the Sox will begin to turn things around pretty soon, so why not start this weekend right? We seem to have favorable matchups and if the balls fall the right way, there’s no reason why it can’t happen.

Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the teams luck begins to fair a little better then it has and that the potential that resides within this team begins to show it’s face as well. This isn’t the start of the season that anyone would have hoped for, but it’s still early enough to believe that the Red Sox fortunes will soon begin to show some promise. Game time today is @ 7:10pm est. What do you say we start this series off on the right foot? The fans are ready. Now let’s see if the team is.
Enjoy the game and GO SOX!!

1-3 Not to Worry

By Chris Cue
April 11, 2009

     You can bet that the Red Sox didn’t want to start the season in a 1 and 3 hole like this, but even in their losses good things have happened. Last nights game against the Angels was almost a given “L” in the Win/Loss column. With the Angels playing with so much emotion following their tragic loss of Nick Adenhart, I’m not sure how any team facing them last night could have had the desire to win that game. That is truely a very sad story and difficult time for all of baseball, but especially for the Angels. If the Sox had to lose one, it seems quite appropriate that it happened last night.

     We have seen several good signs in these losses. Jacoby Ellsbury putting it together to get on base twice last night was a step in the right direction. Mike Lowell, speed deminished and all, looks as slick in the field as ever and he’s putting good wood on the ball as well. In fact, most of the Red Sox players are squaring up on pitches. It’s just a matter of time before those start to find some holes. For some reason the Red Sox offense always seems to struggle a bit when Wakefield is on the mound. Whether that’s due to the slower pace of the game or just pure coincidence is up to you to decide. Wakefield was not in a fantastic groove last night, but he did manage a quality start. Had a few of those hits found holes, we may have had an entirely different ballgame.

     This afternoon, Joe Saunders will go to the mound for the Angels to face the Red Sox. Saunders, who has a career 4-0 record against the Sox is comming off an impressive start vs the Oakland A’s. His career 2.89era in 6 games vs the Red Sox would appear to spell trouble for the team today. However, you’ll need to factor in the law of averages. In my book, the Red Sox are due for a win. This is however, Saunders most productive month of the season. His April numbers in 2 full seasons are a daunting 8-0 with a 1.94 career era.

     For the Red Sox, Brad Penny will make his team debut. Penny who is sure to be on a pitch count going into today needs to be efficient if he hopes to go deep into the game. Terry Francona no doubt is hoping to get at least 6IP out of Penny today. In the Angels ballpark, Penny has a career record of 1-2 with a 5.68era. He’ll need to do much better then that today if he hopes to come away with the win. If Penny can get a little help from the bats waking up today, that would go a long way to making this one a “W” for the Sox. The team looks primed and ready to have a break out game. Let’s hope it follows as solid effort on the mound by Penny.

Game time today is 4:10pm ET and is the National broadcast on FOX (although regional coverage may affect that in some areas).

Since tomorrow is a day for families, friends and faith, I’ll be taking the day off as well. So, I’ll wish you a Happy Easter today.

Enjoy the games and GO SOX!!

Carter, Green Make the Team – Buccholz in  Limbo

By Chris Cue
April 1. 2009

     This isn’t an “April Fools Day” joke, nor should it be considered one. Both Nick Green and Chris Carter were announced as “probable”opening day members of the Red Sox yesterday. Green would be the temporary fill in for Julio Lugo on the bench and Chris Carter will fill Mark Kotsay’s spot as the 4th OF-1B. Lugo is expected to be back and ready to play within a few weeks of the season opener. At that time, Green will be optioned back to Pawtucket and Chris Carter will likely follow sometime in mid- May when Kotsay returns.

     As presently constructed, here is the opening day bench for the Red Sox:

(L) David Ortiz DH
(R) Rocco Baldelli OF-DH
(L) George Kottaras C
(R) Nick Green IF-OF
(L) Chris Carter 1B-OF

     Most of the concern this season surrounds Third baseman Mike Lowell and his ability to play after recovering from hip surgery. The Red Sox are well covered there without the need for a bench player to fill a backup role for him. Both Kevin Youkilis and Jed Lowrie are fine defensive Third baseman. Therefore, the only need on the roster is for the bench to provide backup for their positions at 1B and SS. With yesterday’s announcement, it’s clear that Carter will backup Youkilis at 1B in case he needs to move across the diamond and Green will provide depth at SS/2B should Lowrie be needed at Third.

     While all of this is certainly exciting for both players, it comes with one caveat. Both Green and Carter were told they would be going North with the team to play the Mets at Citi-Field, but were cautioned that a last minute trade or waiver claim could still have them starting their season in Pawtucket. There have been no rumblings of a pending deal by the Sox, but that’s not unusual considering how the organization keeps news like that from leaking out. So, there still remains the possibility that neither will actually make the team, however at this late date, it seems likely that they will.

     The only other position on the Red Sox 25 man roster that is still being talked about is the 5th Starting Pitchers slot. The Red Sox have said all along that position belongs to Brad Penny, however there are indications that Penny may not be ready in time for his April 12th start. Buchholz who had been stellar until yesterday’s outing against the Rays, is still the leading candidate to fill that position if Penny is indeed thought to need more time. So, for now, Buchholz remains in limbo awaiting a decision by Pitching Coach Jim Farrell and Head Coach Terry Francona on his opening day role. Most signs are pointing in the direction that Penny will be given more time and that Buchholz will be needed, but that is far from a certainty at this point. Brad Penny is scheduled to pitch today against the Pittsburgh Pirates. There is no doubt how he fares today, could be the deciding factor in Buchholz’s fate. Will he be the 5th starter for the Boston Red Sox or a starting pitcher for the AAA Paw Sox? He should know which it is going to be shortly after today’s game.

Wilkerson Walks, Penny or Buchholz as 5th Starter

By Chris Cue
March 30, 2009

     Prior to yesterday’s game between the Red Sox and the Phillies, it was announced that Brad Wilkerson had left the Red Sox Spring Training camp. Wilkerson, who had an April 1st opt out clause in his minor league contract, apparently exercised that option a few days early. It was pretty clear that while he has a good glove to back up Youkilis at 1B and Drew in RF, he was not getting it done at the plate.

     During this Spring, Wilkerson had almost 4 times the amount of strikeouts as he did hits and was struggling with a .119 batting average. The handwriting was on the wall. Wilkerson was not going to make the Major League roster and so he opted out of his deal to pursue his options elsewhere.

     This decision in no way cripples the Red Sox bench for the coming season. Both Jeff Bailey and Chris Carter are fine options to take the backup outfielders role until Mark Kotsay returns from his back surgery. Carter, now with a batting average of .359 along with Bailey currently hitting .356 are now the leading candidates for the role. Chris Carter is currently on the 40 man roster and the Red Sox have room to add Bailey as well. Of the two, Bailey is probably the better fielder, but neither stands head and shoulders above the other. Terry Francona could literally flip a coin and make this decision.

     In other Spring Training news, the Red Sox announced that Justin Masterson will be assigned a bullpen role for the upcoming season. That decision has opened up the questioning of who will begin the year as the Red Sox 5th starting pitcher. Masterson had been stellar throughout the Spring raising the talk of him possibly filling that role in case Brad Penny isn’t ready in time. Now that Justin has been relegated to the bullpen, it would appear that Clay Buchholz may now be the leading candidate. That depends of course, on whether or not the Red Sox feel Penny is ready to go by April 12th which is the first date the Sox will need a 5th starter.

     In an interview with Terry Francona, Boston Globe reporter Adam Kilgore asked Tito about Penny’s readiness to start on the scheduled date. Francona’s answer would lead anyone who has followed this team to believe the club may be looking to give Penny more time. “You don’t want to rush into something because there is an arbirtrary date.” Francona said,  “We need a pitcher, but we don’t want to make a mistake either.”  Knowing how this team operates, one could assume that they are once again planning on playing it safe and giving Penny a week or two more to be brought up to speed. That would obviously put Clay Buchholz as the Red Sox 5th starter to begin the season. Buchholz, who still has minor league options left, could then easily be sent down once the team feels Penny is ready to go. No official announcement has been made yet, but from the rumblings that have been heard, it’s a safe bet that the Red Sox will announce Buchholz’s role very soon.

What If?

By Chris Cue
March 26, 2009

     Let’s pretend for a second. Let’s take some of what we know as “given” and apply that to a situation most would love to have. That said, the following could be a problem. Granted, it’s a good problem, but a problem never the less.

     We know the Red Sox goal for John Smoltz is to be ready to pitch by June 1st. We also know that Brad Penny is slated to be the Red Sox #5 starter. At the beginning of the Red Sox season, this is what’s expected to be the starting rotation:
Josh Beckett
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Jon Lester
Tim Wakefield
Brad Penny (although Masterson may have to make a start or two until the Sox feel Penny is ready)

     We also know that Clay Buchholz has been very impressive this Spring and Masterson is making a serious bid to be a starting pitcher as well. So, add to the above list Buchholz, Smoltz & Masterson as potential starting pitchers when June 1st rolls around. That’s 8 options the Red Sox have at starting pitching, 6 of which can not be sent down to the minor leagues to make room for the players with major league contracts. All 5 and John Smoltz are signed to Major League contracts.

     Here’s the scenario: It’s now June 1st. Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, Wakefield & Penny are all holding their own. They are all healthy and are productive. Where do you put John Smoltz? Do you DFA Penny or Wakefield? Do you opt for a 6 man rotation? Do you make creative use of the DL to give the other guys a break, or does one of the 6 go to the bullpen? This is a great problem to have no doubt, but would be a very hard decision to make. The issue given this scenario is that the Red Sox hold no options with 6 of their potential starting pitchers. They can’t demote someone to AAA Pawtucket. Somebody is going to have to go to the bullpen, get released or they will have to go to a 6 man rotation. Let me stop right here and say that I think a creative use of the DL is probably the first option the club has, but it only prolongs the problem. Using the DL would allow time for somebody to develop the injuries we have to expect, but timing on this is the issue. You can’t automatically tell someone to get hurt before June 1st and neither do you want to. At the same time, you expect injuries, but expecting them to happen at or by a certain time is incredibly optimistic to ensure your game plan works out.

     This scenario is the “Best case” situation. It may never be a problem or ever become an issue, but I wonder what the Red Sox front office has planned…..just in case they get lucky and this plays out to reality. If and that’s a big IF, everyone remains healthy and productive, this is a situation that would be very interesting to watch.

Wakefield Has Issues

By Chris Cue
March 8, 2009

     Back in December it was speculated here that Tim Wakefield may not be coming back to the Red Sox rotation this season. The link to that article is HERE. At the time, it was believed he might be considering retirement do to some sort of injury to his pitching shoulder. While it’s obvious that Wakefield will pitch for the Red Sox again this year, those concerns about his shoulder turn out to be well founded and explain a lot.

     It was revealed in a Boston Globe article by Adam Kilgore yesterday that Wakefield has pitched the last 2 seasons with a small tear in the labrum of his right shoulder. Knuckleball pitchers like Wake are certainly a different breed, which may be why he has been able to continue the way he has. Still, it was explained that the problem with his shoulder is what has caused him to wear down late in the year.

     Wakefield said: “It doesn’t really bother me until the innings count gets high, in the 160- to 180-inning range.” Using the lower end of that innings count (160), that means he feels he can be fine for a little more then 22 starts if he pitches an average of 7 innings per start. After that, he’ll begin to run into a fatigue problem. The same problem he’s had for the last 2 years. Clearly, the additions to the Red Sox starting rotation of Brad Penny and John Smoltz should give Terry Francona ample opportunities to rest Wakefield during the course of the season. Clay Buchholz is also in reserve if either Penny or Smoltz stumble, so it’s quite possible that Wakefield, while limited to a certain amount of innings, could still be very effective this season. It’s going to be up to the health of the other starting pitchers and Francona to insure that Wakefield is given the time off needed if the Red Sox hope to have him available for late September and the post-season.

          It’s pretty obvious that this isn’t “new” news to the Red Sox front office. It explains why the Sox are currently so deep with starting pitching options. Right now, if you count Justin Masterson as a possible starter, the Red Sox have 8 potential starting pitchers. They are: Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Penny, Wakefield, Smoltz, Buchholz and Masterson with the possibility of a 9th starter in Michael Bowden if necessary. That kind of depth didn’t just happen. Theo Epstein has obviously made provisions for a starter needing rest or being injured. Now, perhaps we know at least one reason why the depth of the starting rotation was so important this off season.

Quality With Concerns

By Chris Cue
February 16, 2009

     If you have been following the Red Sox plan for 2009 (the one they settled on), then you are aware of the depth this club currently has. To put it plainly and without being too much of a homer, I can honestly say it’s remarkable. A conversation was started recently on a “chat” board regarding that depth and it got me thinking about what we are hoping for.

     By the way, “thinking” too much can sometimes not be a good thing. That may be the case here. Before I get into the concerns I have, I want to point out that I’m probably qualified to be the poster child for people that views things as a “glass half full”. What follows (I hope) is an simply an objective look at the health of the Red Sox

     Here’s the deal. When the Red Sox decided upon signing Brad Penny & John Smoltz to our Starting Pitching rotation, I wasn’t thrilled with Penny, but in both cases I thought they were good moves. Afterall, we have some depth in the pitching department. Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Buchholz, Masterson and Bowden are all capable of being effective in the starting role. So, Penny & Smoltz looked like low risk, high reward possibilities. Essentially, that means if they can perform, great. If not, then no harm no foul. Much like Bartolo Colon from last season, both of these quality gentleman have the potential to help in enormous ways if they can rebound to the form they have shown in the past. No issues there. Good move by the Sox front office in my opinion. You can never have too much pitching and we look solid for 2009 when it comes to depth in that department.

     When looking at the team as a whole, even the most “pollyanna” of fans would have to admit that there are a lot of question marks with this 2009 squad. So much so that it may not give you that “warm fuzzy feeling” as a fan when thinking about the 162 games that lay ahead. Let’s take a look at that list of questionable players we currently have. Let’s see if the odds are with us or not. Let’s see if any of these players are unable to help, what options we have and if they will be good enough. I won’t make any predictions or determinations on this. I’ll leave that up to you, but let’s each look at what we have and what our options might be.

     As a side note, I’d like to acknowledge that some of these players are less questionable then others, but if there is any doubt surrounding their health, I thought they should be listed.

Player / Concern / Depth behind them / Replacement result

1).  David Ortiz / Wrist injury in 2008 / Rocco Baldelli, Chris Carter, Jeff Bailey and Lars Anderson / It would be extremely optomistic to veiw that any of Papi’s backups could contribute in the same manner he could if healthy. Major concern here.
2).  Mike Lowell / Hip surgery to remove cartilidge / Kevin Youkilis and Jed Lowrie / Youkilis showed that he can be as good at 3B as he is at 1B when Lowell went down last year. However, if that move is needed, then someone will need to take Kevin’s place at first. Jed Lowrie should do a respectable job there defensively, although his offensive production may not match that of a healthy Lowell. Major concern here as well.
3).  Rocco Baldelli / Diagnosed with a type of Mitocondrial disorder that may limit consistent playing time / Mark Kotsay,  Jonathon Van Every and Jeff Bailey / Kotsay would be fine (if healthy) in either LF or RF however, CF for him isn’t an option. Both Van Every and Bailey would be callups and neither currently has the potential to match Baldelli’s bat, but both would be adequate


in the field if needed. (Van Every in any OF spot, Bailey only at the corners)
4).  Mark Kotsay / surgery for a displaced disc fragment / Rocco Baldelli (OF), Jonathon Van Every (OF), Jeff Bailey (OF, 1B) and Chris Carter (1B). / Bailey is the only one capable of really filling in for Kotsay. While Baldelli would be a great offensive sub, neither he, Van Every or Carter offer quality protection at 1B should Youkilis need to move to third.
5).  JD Drew / Recently admitted to contiued back stiffness / Baldelli, Kotsay, Van Every and Bailey / Baldelli is the only one that has the potential to replace Drew’s bat. As noted, the question is: Can he do it full time? The others, while defensively fine as a sub do not have the ability to be the complete package Drew is when healthy.

(without going into great detail, the following are players that have questions that need to be answered, but may have suitable replacements or their injuries may be deminshed compared to others.)

Player / injury / concern
6).  John Smoltz / shoulder surgery / not expected to contribute until June. At age 41 you have to wonder what the future HOFer has left.
7).  Brad Penny / tendonitis and inflamation in shoulder / Penny has been injury plagued though out his career. Last season’s bout with a balky shoulder is the latest. That contributed to his 5.88era with the Dogers last season. If healthy, how does he perform in the AL East?
8).  Tim Wakefield / Back stiffness and shoulder pain / Wakefield was shut down and not able to pitch in the 2007 post season because of these issues. He also had many of the same pains last season. Spring Training is 2 days young and already Terry Francona is reporting that he is currently struggling with back stiffness once again. Age may be catching up.
9).  Josh Beckett / Oblique injury / Beckett in a press conference yesterday said that he was not anywhere near 100% during the post season of 08. While not a major injury, his weight and possibly conditioning was an alarm in 2008 heading into the season. Getting out of Spring Training this year without those concerns is something to watch.
10). Jed Lowrie / broken left wrist / Lowrie is a switch hitter and that injury (not fully known until the off season) is somewhat of a question because the Sox would like to know if that is what affected his performance from the left side of the plate last season. Easily healed, this wrist injury should not be a major concern when it comes to his ability to play. As a rookie, his consistent performance will be more of a question mark.
11.) Takashi Saito / partially torn elbow ligament / Saito was lights out with the Dogers prior to this set back. Rather then opt for a surgical repair, Saito opted for treatment instead. That’s understandable considering his age (39), but there are huge questions regarding his ability to set-up Jonathon Papelbon throughout an entire season without that elbow being a problem again.
12). Julio Lugo / strained quadricep / Like Lowrie, this is not a major injury. Lugo could rebound physically, but the questions that surround the name “Lugo” for the Red Sox go far beyond injury recovery. His concerns remain consistency both at the plate and in the field.

     There you have it. 12 names. Add or subtract as you wish, but you have
to wonder if 12 is too many to hope for. I think the Red Sox will need a miracle to have everyone of them
return to their potential or former self. But is that a problem? There is a lot of depth to this team. There is also a lot of quality in that depth, but with that quality, there remains reason for concern as well.

Let’s hope Terry Francona has been practicing his juggling act. Keeping this team up to par while working around players unable to perform could be his toughest challenge yet.

A Day In The Life

By Chris Cue
February 11, 2009

       I heard a noise today…oh boy
       It was a lucky bird who’d made the grade
       And though his song was rather sad
       I just had to laugh
       He seemed a photograph
He blew in with a southern wind
He didn’t notice that the snow was here
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his wings before
Nobody was really sure
If he was lost or here to stay

     Hopefully, the Beatles don’t mind the borrowing and altering of that classic too much. I really did hear a bird singing yesterday. It was the first one I had the pleasure of hearing in quite sometime. For some reason, “A Day In The Life” popped right into my head and I began changing the lyric’s to fit the moment. It was the first awakening of any of the 5 senses I’ve had that told me Spring is on it’s way. It was a pretty cool. I appreciated seeing and hearing that song bird right up until……
Oh well, the car needs to be washed anyway.
Apparently the seasons are changing, but my luck….maybe not so much.

     There were a few other signs of Spring yesterday that should be noted. Even though they didn’t fly in, sing to me and then crap on my car, they too were welcome never the less. I’m talking about the first Spring Training Updates courtesy of the Providence Journal’s Soxblog. In case you missed them, here’s what ProJo said was happening first thing yesterday in good ole’ Ft. Myers, FL.

Report from the Fort

9:28 AM Tue, Feb 10, 2009
By Joe McDonald

It’s warm. It’s sunny. It’s baseball.

A ton of minor leaguers and a few big leaguers are all ready at the
Red Sox Player Development Complex here. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester,
Manny Delcarmen, Rocco Baldelli and Kevin Youkilis are all working out
Brad Penny and John Smoltz are here, too.


     That was the first of 7 entries made by Joe McDonald yesterday. The other blog posts he made were regarding John Smoltz playing catch  (with a football), Youkilis on the A-Rod news, Youk ready to go, another piece on John Smoltz, Minor League player Chris Carter and newly acquired Japanese relief pitcher Takashi Saito. It was all good stuff. Nothing earth shattering, but music to my eyes (if that’s possible). If you’d like to follow McDonalds blog posts, just copy and paste this into your web browser: http://soxblog.projo.com/ bookmark it and then check in throughout the day.

     This is a great time of year. Thanks to a song bird and Joe McDonald I’m convinced that Spring is on the way. It’s time to open up the windows (for a few seconds) and think about that yearly house cleaning .

     Oh yeah, I should probably get the car washed too.

A Little Venting

By Chris Cue
January 28, 2009

     In the mood for a little venting? If not, you may want to skip what you’re about to read. Personally, I’m pretty sick of the Boston Press right now. I know that January is normally a slow time for Baseball News, but there really are stories fans of the Red Sox would like to read about other then the on going saga with Jason Varitek, Scott Boras and the Sox front office.

     Don’t get me wrong, I am keenly interested in the outcome of Varitek’s contract offer, but there is so much more out there that could be reported. If only the press would get off their lazy butts and do some digging, we might actually get some news on the other 39 guys that make up the 40 man roster.

     Is anyone else a little curious about those guys too?

     I can’t be the only one that would be interested to know:

          A). How’s Ortiz wrist? What kind of shape is he in? Has he slimmed down a bit

               to help with his knees?
          B). How’s Mike Lowell’s rehab coming? What’s his state of mind following the

               Teixeira talks?

          C). How is Josh Beckett doing? Any lingering effects from his troubles towards the

               end of last season? Will he be in shape coming into camp this Spring?
          D). How’s Jon Lester feeling after a season that saw his innings pitched

               jump from 153.2 (minors & majors combined) in 2007 to 210 innings

               pitched last season? Is his arm about to fall off or is he just fine?
          E). How’s John Smoltz’s rehab coming?

          F). Is Brad Penny ready to go after his troubles last season?

          G). What about Takashi Saito? Is he here in name only or will he really be able

               to pitch?

     I could go on and on with questions that could be asked and stories that could be written. Unfortunately, for some reason it seems like all the Boston press is concerned about is Jason Varitek and rehashing the Teixiera debacle. I’m done Mazz get over Teixeira! I’ve heard enough CHB! ‘Cmon, Silverman, McDonald and the rest of you, do some reporting, a little digging and give us something new! Seriously gentleman, we’ll have an answer on Tek before this week ends.

     Can we PLEASE move on??