03/07/12 7:03 PM EST
Papelbon not using 'Shipping Up to Boston'
By Chris Girandola and Ian Browne / MLB.com
Lead singer and bassist Ken Casey told ESPN Music this week that Papelbon cannot use the song now that he pitches for the Phillies.
"That's not Pap's song," Casey said. "That's the [Red Sox] closer's song."
Casey's comment blew up on the Internet, but the band said on its Facebook page the comments were a joke and not to be taken literally.
"What's this we hear about us telling Papelbon he can't use Shipping Up To Boston as his entry song?" the band wrote. "We would never do that! It was a joke, people!"
Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies in November. He said last month he already had a new song in mind -- something he planned to use in Boston before the Red Sox suggested the Dropkick Murphys hit. Papelbon reiterated Tuesday he is keeping the song a secret until he pitches in Philadelphia, but hinted it is a hard rock song.
"It's not 100 percent," Papelbon said. "I'm not totally set with it yet. I'm still thinking about a couple."
Casey, who is friends with Papelbon, is headed to Clearwater at some point this spring to help Papelbon decide.
Papelbon said Casey suggested changing up "Shipping Up to Boston," swapping Boston for Philly, but it didn't work for him.
The two also will talk about Papelbon's role as spokesman for the Philadelphia branch of The Claddagh Fund, a charity founded to support underfunded non-profit organizations that help vulnerable populations in the community.
-- Todd Zolecki
Miller scratched Thursday with elbow stiffness
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Andrew Miller has been scratched from Thursday's game against the Cardinals in Jupiter after he complained of stiffness in his left elbow.
"He came in with a little soreness in the back of his elbow," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "The operative word here is a 'little' and 'stiffness.'"
Valentine said he advised Red Sox personnel to hold Miller back from any activities on Wednesday before deciding what to do next.
Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure said the issue, which is not in the bone, could be related to a bout of fatigue.
"Andrew throws a lot, and he throws intensely," McClure said. "You need to feel your body and know when to back off. Him being young and with a really good arm, sometimes you feel good all the time and you overdo it. I think he just overdid it a little bit. That's something you learn as a pitcher. I think he overdid it as far as the intensity of it, not how much he threw, but the intensity of each throw. But no, I'm not concerned. I'm really not. I think it's more muscular. We've all had that."
Valentine does not anticipate Miller throwing at all Thursday.
"Unless he comes in perfect tomorrow, I'm not even thinking about him working on the mound," Valentine said.
In his first outing of the Grapefruit League season on Sunday, Miller fired two scoreless innings against the Twins, walking one and striking out three. The 6-foot-7 left-hander then threw "an extended side" in the bullpen on Tuesday.
Valentine and McClure have been working with Miller on simplifying his mechanics. The main area of emphasis has had Miller try to avoid throwing across his body.
Valentine discussed this change after the performance by the 26-year-old pitcher on Sunday.
"He was excessively across his body [in his delivery]," Valentine said. "He found the happy medium in a little different place on the pitching rubber for direction, and I think now he's in a comfortable place. I know he told a lot of the players he wanted to be across his body. 'He was just going to do it. That's just what he does.' And he probably told you guys the same thing. The way he was when he first came in was not functional. It's much better now."
Pitching for the Tigers, Marlins and Red Sox, Miller has tried one adjustment after another. During his career, his ERA has fluctuated dramatically from year to year, including a low of 4.84 in 2009 with the Marlins to 8.54 two seasons ago. In the 2011 campaign with the Red Sox, Miller compiled a 5.54 ERA in 12 starts and 17 appearances.
Lester happy with results in 'B' game
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Instead of taking the lengthy bus ride to Dunedin, Jon Lester instead stayed local and pitched in a "B" Game against the Twins. The results, essentially, were what Boston's ace lefty hoped for.
He went 2 2/3 innings, giving up a hit and two walks while striking out one.
"Adrenaline's tough, but you still have to execute pitches. You still have to throw the ball downhill," Lester said. "I was able to do that today. Mixed in all my pitches, threw them in some different counts. I thought today was good, getting, like I said, some pitches you don't throw in those situations in a game."
Last spring, Lester's mission was to make his changeup a legitimate weapon. That was accomplished, so this year, he's trying to incorporate his entire arsenal.
"I felt like last year my changeup was better than my curveball," Lester said. "I think last year I threw more changeups than I did any other offspeed pitch. This year, we're trying to incorporate all of them and trying to get a feel for them early on, so that if I don't have a feel for one in one game, I can rely on the other one. Whereas last year I didn't have a feel for my curveball pretty much all year, so I had to rely on my changeup."
Lester's first start was against Northeastern University, so his first Grapefruit League outing is still to come.
That should come in five days, when the Red Sox host the Marlins at JetBlue Park.
Germano flexible in bid for pitching job
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Justin Germano started in Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin and tossed two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit and hit a batter over his 19-pitch outing.
"I felt alright," said Germano, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. "In the first inning, my rhythm was a little shaky. The second inning, I got locked in. I was working on throwing first-pitch strikes, attack the zone. I wanted to work on my changeup, kind of lost my feel for that pitch the last couple of years. It's usually a pretty big pitch for me, so I just wanted to kind of work on that pitch today and go back and forth: fastball, changeup, fastball, changeup."
Germano knows the competition is stiff for the rotation spot and believes his ability to pitch in relief will help his chances.
"There is a lot of competition, but personally I can do both," said Germano, 29, who was 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in nine relief appearances with the Cleveland Indians last season before signing with the Samsung Lions in Korea in August. "Starting is where my heart is and where I would want to be, but I'm not just dead-set on starting. That's why I made it clear. I can start and I can come out of the bullpen."
His most productive season was in 2007, when the 6-foot-2 right-hander went 7-10 with a 4.46 ERA in 26 games, including 23 starts, for the Padres.
"Wherever they see me the best to help the team, I'm open for it, start or relief," Germano said. "I just want to go out and make a good impression. I'm most comfortable starting, but I've figured out a good routine coming out of the bullpen, so I am more comfortable than I used to be coming out of the bullpen."
Brentz makes good impression on Valentine
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The words lasted a total of 22 seconds, coming at the tail end of Bobby Valentine's conversation with the media following Wednesday's rather undramatic contest with the Blue Jays in Dunedin that ended in a 3-3 tie.
But they resonated far beyond the tiny office space in the visiting clubhouse at Florida Exchange Stadium.
"I can tell you this, the one kid is a little different ... a liiiittle different," Valentine said in a drawn out way.
The "kid" he spoke of is 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder Bryce Brentz, who appears much bigger than his statistical size. Brentz, who rebounded from a difficult short-season debut in 2010 to erupt for 30 home runs across two Class A levels during the 2011 season, happened to be an extra body for the trip up to Dunedin.
The ironic circumstance allowed Valentine an extra opportunity to see one of the organization's top prospects -- ranked No. 2 by MLB.com on the Red Sox Top 20 Prospects list.
After spending the first part of the game against the Blue Jays on the bench, Brentz entered in the fifth as a defensive replacement in right field and then smacked a hard-hit single to center.
"I was throwing batting practice [early in the spring], and I thought it was one of our groups, but it turned out to be the Minor Leaguers," Valentine said. "The ball just leaves his bat a little different. I can tell you that."
Brentz is ready for the challenge and appreciates the sudden accolades from someone like Valentine.
"It means a lot," said Brentz, 23, who was a 2009 NCAA First Team All-America at Middle Tennessee State. "My first game to come up here with the big boys, for him to make a generous statement like that, it makes you feel good as a young player."
Brentz also used the time in Dunedin to gain some insight from one of Boston's best when David Ortiz came over to talk early on in the contest.
"I sat down and talked for about two innings with Big Papi, and he's telling me, 'Keep [your] eyes up because you'll learn something new every day,' and he's right," Brentz said.
Brentz split time in Class A Greenville and Salem last year and is ready to move up the ranks.
"I think I'm ready to get up to Double-A," Brentz said. "Last year was a good season, but really wasn't that big of a difference as far as talent wise. Not saying anyone was bad there, everybody was great players, but I'm ready for a higher challenge, personally."
Brentz, who had a .598 OPS over 262 at-bats with Class A Lowell in 2010, focused on a different approach in 2011 and made some tremendous strides, posting an OPS of 1.061 with Greenville and .868 with Salem.
"It was good," Brentz said when asked what it was like to showcase his power on the higher level. "I always had it in BP. The first year I struggled. Last year was more like, 'Hey, let's tone it down a bit, get back to basics, and we did. The effort level caused my swing to get long, so last year I was trying to stay focused, stay through the middle and not really try to hit the ball 700 feet long. [Hitting it] 400 does a pretty good job."
After exam, Morales hopes to throw soon
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine said he spoke with left-handed reliever Franklin Morales on Tuesday about the medical exam the pitcher had in Boston, and he hopes the southpaw can begin a throwing routine in a few days.
"He felt real good about the exam," Valentine said.
Valentine would not reveal what the exam was for, only to say that the procedure had nothing to do with the weak shoulder Morales entered camp with.
"Something else," Valentine said.
Morales came into Spring Training with weakness in his shoulder, similar to what happened to him with the Rockies at the beginning of the 2010 campaign. The 26-year-old pitcher spent 15 days on the disabled list after weakness in his shoulder had sapped him of his fastball command over the last two weeks of April.
Morales split last season between Colorado and Boston, and he finished the year 1-2 with a 3.69 ERA in a career-high 50 appearances out of the bullpen.
The southpaw has spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues -- with the Rockies from 2007 until May 2011, when he was acquired by the Red Sox.
Morales also set career marks for innings pitched (46 1/3), strikeouts (42) and holds (10). He held opponents scoreless in 28 of his 36 appearances out of Boston's bullpen.
Andrew Bailey, who has been working his way back from a sore lat muscle, should be ready to pitch in either live batting practice or a game over the next few days.
"Bailey is ready," manager Bobby Valentine said. "We'll see how he feels. He's pain-free, and he feels like he's throwing the ball well."
Bailey had a bullpen session, which Valentine said the 27-year-old right-hander came out of feeling fine.
The Red Sox announced Wednesday that Fenway Park would be added to the list for National Register of Historic Places.
"The commitment to preserve all that is good about Fenway Park was made to fans more than a decade ago, and we are pleased that Fenway Park will be counted among America's most treasured historical places, ensuring that it is protected and enjoyed by future generations," Red Sox officials said in a press release. "This important designation is a significant part of Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebrations, and we look forward to formally celebrating it alongside the National Park Service and our preservation partners during the 2012 anniversary season."
The organization worked in conjunction with the Massachusetts Historic Commission and the National Park Service over the past few months to have Fenway Park added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Mike Aviles, who is competing for the starting shortstop position, played all nine innings on Wednesday. He went 1-for-4 at the plate with a double.
Right-hander Mark Melancon pitched one scoreless inning in relief with one walk and one strikeout.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.