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Red Sox

Roche: Buchholz Better, Pineda’s ‘Dirt’ Much Ado About Nothing

By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
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Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Dan Roche Dan Roche
Dan Roche is an award-winning sports anchor and reporter for WBZ-T...
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BOSTON (CBS) — Here are some random thoughts on this Red Sox-Yankees weekend:

– That substance on Michael Pineda’s hand? Much ado about nothing.

As David Ortiz said, “Everybody uses pine tar in the league – it’s not a big deal.”

On this one — as with many baseball issues — I let the players tell us if it’s a big matter or not. Steroids? PED’s? We heard a lot of the Sox players tell us how wrong it is and that baseball is trying to clean things up in the game. Ryan Dempster threw at A-Rod last year as a message from many players in the game.

As for this one? The players downplayed it — big time. Clay Buchholz and David Ross both said it gives the pitcher a better grip in the cold so that they know where the ball is going (and an errant pitch doesn’t go flying towards a player’s head).

It’s best to just let it go…

–I thought Buchholz was better Thursday night. He gave up just two earned runs and looked to be in much better command, striking out seven Yankees. It was a positive step as Buchholz looks to stay healthy for an entire season.

– It was nice to see John Farrell implement a Sizemore-Bradley-Nava outfield at Yankee Stadium. I think we’re already finding out this April just how important Boston’s defense was to its incredible 2013 season.

– You have to be encouraged by what we’ve seen from Jackie Bradley Jr. so far. He just looks and acts like a completely different player than he was last April. I think he’s having good at-bats while showing off some tremendous defensive instincts in the outfield.

– Xander Bogaerts looks like a player who is trying to establish himself in the big leagues. Ups and downs with “wow” flashes, but that’s to be expected.

– How long can Koji keep being 2013 Koji?

– I really like everything about Chris Capuano, on and off the field. He’s a true professional in every sense of the word.

– I thought Daniel Nava made a great point when asked about the Red Sox not having a losing streak longer than three games in 2013. Nava basically said that it doesn’t mean this year’s team has to recreate that feat. They can create their own story, and he’s right.

What we saw last year is rare throughout baseball history. The Sox can still have a good (or great seasons) with longer losing streaks. It happens, it just comes down to how you respond to the streak.

–I’m curious to see if any deal is struck this season between Jon Lester and the Red Sox on an extension. Lester is agreeable to a hometown discount, per se, but what is his definition of “hometown discount?” To Ben Cherington, Larry Lucchino and the Red Sox, that may be a whole lot different from what Lester’s camp thinks.

I have said it over and over: From a Red Sox standpoint, a five-year, $120-125 million is right. It’s a shorter length and more than fair market value. My guess is the Sox are closer to five-years and $90-100 million.

–The one thing to keep in mind on these negotiations with Lester? Lucchino likes to bring a deal to the brink of elimination — almost completely falling apart — and then swoops in at the last-minute to come to a deal that makes both parties happy.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.

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