BOSTON (CBS) — Red Sox pitchers and catchers have reported for duty down in Fort Myers, Florida, and will hold their first workout on Tuesday.
That means new ace Chris Sale will toss his first bullpen session and meet with the Boston media for the first time. All of this makes WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche a very happy man. He joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich to pass along some observations from the first day of Spring Training, and what he’s looking forward to during Tuesday’s workouts.
Sale’s unique throwing motion makes him extremely tough on opposing hitters, but it also makes him a difficult guy to play catch with, as reliever Joe Kelly told reporters on Monday.
“Joe Kelly said it was hard to play catch with him because the ball comes out at his hip,” Rochie relayed. “When I saw Carson Smith pitch last year, the first time I saw him in the bullpen I said, ‘Oh no.’ His deliver was so violent and arm angle was so strange. He ended up getting hurt last year, as we all know. But Sale seems to be all arms and legs, but he’s fluid. He seems like Randy Johnson; tall, lanky and with those wiry with arms and legs. But it comes from all over the place, and that’s what the players say, that it’s hard to see the ball and pick up the ball.”
Boston’s acquisition of Sale gives them a three-headed beast at the front of their rotation along with David Price and reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, who will also throw bullpen sessions on Tuesday. Rochie also said that Steven Wright, who missed the final month last season after injuring his shoulder on the base paths, looks to be good to go, which should help the back end of Boston’s rotation.
One of the big storylines this spring is the absence of David Ortiz and the leadership he brought to the clubhouse. Roche says it will be up to everyone to pick up the slack in that department, but MVP runner-up Mookie Betts appears to be ready to grab the torch.
“There’s a different look as he walked into Spring Training, Roche said of Betts. “He really seems to be that guy who is confident in himself, but in a good way. He seems ready to make that next step, from the runner up in MVP voting to the guy who says ‘OK, I understand everything that is going on now.’ He seems to be the guy, to me, who will take that step and become the leader on the team.”
Rochie also shared plenty of… interesting stories from his long-time relationship with Ortiz: