FORT MYERS, Fla. — Alfredo Aceves made his debut on the mound for the Red Sox on Tuesday. With two scoreless innings in his pocket, he reflected on a mission accomplished.
"I always keep in mind throwing, I call them potatoes, zeroes on the scoreboard," said Aceves, an option for the team as either a starter or reliever. "Behind in count, bases loaded, still I have zeroes on my mind."
As long as Aceves keeps putting up zeroes, the intrigue on the part of the coaching staff will only increase.
Already, on the first day of March, it's at a pretty high level.
"He's a pretty interesting guy," manager Terry Francona said. "Fastball, breaking ball, changeup, he's got all three pitches and he competes. A really interesting guy."
After going 14-1 with a 3.21 ERA and a pair of saves in three years with the New York Yankees, Aceves was non-tendered by the Yanks. He had missed most of last year with a bad back and then broke his left (non-throwing) collarbone in a bike accident in the fall.
That helped the Red Sox get Aceves on the cheap, signing him to a minor league free agent deal. With the team lacking for pitching depth among its starting ranks, it is likely Aceves will get a chance to step in if anyone goes down.
That would satisfy the 28-year-old right-hander, even though just five of his 59 career games have been starts.
"I like to throw a lot of innings," Aceves said. "If I throw one or two innings, I feel better in the third, fourth, fifth. Feel more loose."
Still, Aceves is prepared to take on either role. In both, he can put some potatoes on the scoreboard and be happy. He will get his next chance to do so Saturday in Sarasota, where he is the scheduled starter against Baltimore.
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