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Saturday, February 18, 2012
Matinee musings on pitchers, catchers

By Joe McDonald

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sunday is the first official reporting date for Red Sox pitchers and catchers, but already the bullpens have been busy the last week.

STARTERS GETTING AFTER IT: Clay Buchholz, who missed the majority of the 2011 season with a stress fracture in his lower back, has already thrown 10 bullpen sessions this spring. He began his offseason throwing program a lot sooner than normal because he wanted to be strong in camp and not suffer any setbacks. The right-hander looked sharp during his 45-pitch session on Saturday. He was working with catcher Kelly Shoppach. Buchholz said afterward that he felt strong.

Reliever-turned-starter Daniel Bard threw 55 pitches during his session and admitted afterward he was a bit tired but still felt good. Bard worked with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Left-hander Jon Lester tossed a similar amount of pitches as Buchholz and Bard. Lester was popping the mitt as he worked with catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure and manager Bobby Valentine were keeping close tabs on all the pitchers. After the session, all the pitchers ran sprints.

BAILEY READY TO GO: Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey also tossed a brief bullpen session and deemed himself healthy and strong afterward. It was his first throwing session in camp.

“I’m excited to here,” Bailey said. “Obviously this is an organization that has a proven history of winning and contending every year. It’s nice to be around the guys and get to know them early and I’m looking forward to a good year.”

CATCHERS PUTTING IN THE TIME: It was a busy day for Red Sox catchers. After catching numerous bullpen sessions, the group, led by Saltalamacchia, Shoppach and Lavarnway, hit on one of the back fields and then ran sprints for 15 minutes.