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SoxProspects News

February 23, 2009 at 12:40 PM

February 23 Fort Report

Lots of minor league notes over the past couple days ... The Providence Journal brings us a report on Daniel Bard, who is trying to channel the adrenaline rush he gets from facing big league hitters for the first time into increased intensity on the mound ... Bard has impressed Terry Francona with his slider, and also plans to work on developing his change-up in 2009, this according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com ... Bradford also reports that pitching coach John Farrell has been most impressed with Kris Johnson and Junichi Tazawa so far this spring ... According to Bradford, Farrell has been pleasantly surprised by Tazawa's command and mature demeanor, and Johnson's advanced arsenal and the movement on his fastball ... Johnson hopes to tighten up his breaking ball and slow down his change-up a bit in 2009 ... The Red Sox have let Clay Buchholz return to the natural over-the-top arm slot that he used in 2007 .. So far Buchholz has impressed with increased command, control, and confidence ... Adam Mills has been added as a non-roster invitee to big league camp ... Mills, Johnson, and Enrique Gonzalez are apparently all vying for the final spot in Pawtucket's rotation, but another rotation spot could open up in Pawtucket if Devern Hansack is moved to the PawSox bullpen - where he could more likely contribute to the big league club in 2009 ... Dusty Brown has apparently impressed in batting practice this spring, showing increased home run power ... We should have some decisions on WBC rosters come Wednesday - among players in the Sox organization, look for Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis to represent the United States, Jason Bay to play for team Canada, Daisuke Matsuzaka to take the hill for Japan, Enrique Gonzalez to pitch for Venezuela, Mitch Dening to play for Australia, and Che-Hsuan Lin and Chih-Hsien Chiang to play for Taiwan ... The Boston Herald reports that bullpen coach Gary Tuck continues his annual "dropped-ball" competition among catchers in camp, where the catchers keep track of how many pitches they've dropped (not counting knuckleballs from Tim Wakefield and Charlie Zink) ... Carlos Maldanado is in the lead without any drops, and Mark Wagner and Jason Varitek come in next with only one drop each ... George Kottaras won the competition in 2008 ... Jon Lester mistakenly drilled Brad Wilkerson in the back on Sunday, leaving a noticeable bruise ... Rule 5 pick Miguel Gonzalez felt some discomfort in his elbow on Saturday, and was held back from finishing a side session as a precautionary measure ... Gonzalez sat out the rest of the weekend and took some anti-inflamatories, but is now scheduled to have an x-ray to determine if there is any damage in his elbow ... He will miss about five days ... The big league spring training game schedule kicks off on Wednesday, and Boston's initial rotation will be Josh Beckett, Wakefield, and Lester, followed by Michael Bowden, Johnson, and Buchholz ... ... Bowden will take the mound on Friday night against Tampa Bay, Johnson will pitch against Northeastern on Saturday afternoon, and Buchholz will toe the rubber against the Reds on Saturday night ... Minor league mini-camp opens today, with certain players who were slected to participate ... All minor leaguer pitchers and catchers are required to report on March 6 ... Positon players are required to report on March 13 ... Full squad workouts begin on March 15 ... The minor league game schedule begins against the Minnesota farm teams on March 18.