Links 3-2-2010: Casey Fien, getting healthy, Beckett speaks

The Red Sox claimed 26-year old RHP Casey Fien yesterday off of waivers from Detroit. He doesn’t exhibit great stuff, which basically consists of a low-90s fastball and a pretty good slurvy slider at 80 mph, but he did use it to great effect at AAA Toledo. In 2009, he averaged 10.24 K/9 while walking just 2.33 men per nine frames over 58 IP. For a reliever, that’s extremely good. This is just a low-risk gamble by the Sox based on that very strong 4.4 K/BB ratio. In a cup of coffee with the Tigers last season, he managed a 5.39 FIP in 11.1 IP. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated pitcher Gaby Hernandez, who was also claimed off of waivers earlier this offseason.

Good news on a couple of health fronts: Daisuke Matsuzaka threw off of a mound yesterday and hopefully will get back to full speed with plenty of time for Opening Day. With all the focus on the three big J’s (Josh, Jon and John), I have a feeling that he’ll be one of the most pleasant surprises for Red Sox Nation this season. Also, Mike Lowell was able to take batting practice without any discomfort in his surgically-repaired thumb. He’s been taking grounders at 1B, but he doesn’t want to comment on that. Ryan Westmoreland is another player coming back from serious health issues last season, and Dan Barbarisi notes that he’s gained perhaps 20 pounds of added muscle and looks ready to play.

Rob Bradford has a pretty lengthy interview with Josh Beckett (the Opening Day starter, BTW). He doesn’t reveal any new information, really, but you get a sense of the kind of guy Beckett is throughout the whole thing. Is he staying? Sure hope so.

Eri Yoshida, the Japanese knuckleballer, got to meet one of her idols in Tim Wakefield at camp this week. She apparently learned to throw the knuckler from one of Wake’s instructional videos, and has put it to good use. She is probably best-known for her four shutout innings on Feb 12 as part of the college Arizona Winter League this year.


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