September 19, 2013

On Baseball: Peavy's tinkering with his delivery

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BOSTON - Clay Buchholz is not the only Red Sox pitcher rebuilding for the postseason.

Jake Peavy allowed three runs over seven innings, but showed progress Wednesday. He walked one batter (and hit another) after walking eight in his previous two games.

"He's still fine-tuning," Red Sox Manager John Farrell said.

Fine-tuning in September?

Despite being only weeks before the postseason, Peavy is returning to a delivery he has not used in over four years. Instead of throwing over the top, Peavy is using a three-quarters arm slot.

"It's almost like he's dealing with a little more power now," Farrell said. There may be extra oomph on the fastball but also more bite on the slider.

Before Peavy returned to his old delivery style, he checked with pitching coach Juan Nieves, as well as the medical staff.

Peavy underwent surgery in 2010 re-attach a latissimus tendon. He received assurances that he would not put any added strain on his body.

"He's in that fine adjustment phase," Farrell said. "The last two times out, people asked why all the walks."

Peavy should get one more start, next week in Colorado, to complete the fine-tuning. He looks to be Boston's No. 4 starter, giving the Red Sox one of its deepest postseason rotations in years.

WANT TO START putting together the playoff roster? Farrell said, "I can see us going with 11 pitchers."

That's four starters -- Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Peavy -- and seven relievers.

Guessing the bullpen will be fun, after closer Koji Uehara, right-handers Junichi Tazawa and Brandon Workman, and lefties Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales.

Will Farrell move the other starters, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront, into the pen? One of them?

What of lefties Matt Thornton and Drake Britton and right-handers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa?

JACOBY ELLSBURY has shed his latest fashion accessory -- the plastic boot that was encasing his right foot. Another positive sign for Ellsbury, who has a slight fracture in that foot.

"Making great progress," Ellsbury said. He is not yet batting or fielding and there is no timetable for his return.

Asked if he would be back before the regular season ends -- a timetable that Farrell often refers to -- Ellsbury was vague.

"Just following doctors' orders," Ellsbury said. "The Doc has put me on the fast track."

It should be noted that this is a different medical staff than the one Ellsbury dealt with in 2010, when he claimed his cracked ribs were misdiagnosed. Now Ellsbury seems on the same page.

RYAN FLAHERTY was out of Baltimore's lineup again Wednesday, but the Portland native knows his role.

"Just got to stay ready," he said. "Never know when you're going to get in there."

Flaherty is in his second year as a utility player. He played often early when second baseman Brian Roberts missed nearly three months with a hamstring injury.

Roberts returned June 30 and Flaherty's playing time decreased.

Flaherty's number have improved slightly over his rookie season. He's played one more game (78), batted 84 more times (251) and two points higher (.218). His OPS has improved from .617 to .651.

And the steady Flaherty has made only two errors all year.

THE MAN WITH the Portland Sea Dogs cap at Fenway was Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach. In his 40th year of pro baseball, Eshbach continues his celebration tour by throwing out the first pitch before the Red Sox game. Wearing a Red Sox jersey (No. 40, of course), Eshbach delivered a strike to former Sea Dogs catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

FELT A TINGE of Maine pride before the game. Sitting in the stands to watch Eshbach, I then listened to the Windham Chamber Singers nail the national anthem with their usual excellence and gusto.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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