MLB has placed extra emphasis in speeding up pace of play this season. It won’t have to worry about Wade Miley.
The newly-acquired Boston Red Sox pitcher worked quickly and effectively in Saturday’s 2-2 tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field, allowing no runs on two hits over five innings while walking two and striking out five.
Miley worked at a noticeably rapid pace, a trait he says he learned from his college days at Southeastern Louisiana.
“My college coach was huge on it,” Miley said, via MLB.com. “He never wanted us to turn our back on the catcher. From my freshman year in college, we just had that in our head and it stuck with me.”
The Red Sox are hoping his sharp performance sticks with him as well. Miley struggled in his last spring training outing against the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing four runs on six hits on in three innings.
Yet he pitched three shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in his spring training debut, and told NESN’s Elle Duncan after the game that he feels like he’s back on the right track.
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Here are some more notes and tidbits from an encouraging day against the Bucs.
— Rusney Castillo is back, and he’s not messing around.
After launching a three-run homer in his Grapefruit League debut Friday, the Cuban outfielder smacked two more hits Saturday, including a triple in the fifth inning and a subsequent score on Allen Craig’s RBI single. Castillo went 2-for-3 from the leadoff spot.
— Speaking of good performances by outfielders, Jackie Bradley Jr. had himself a nice day. The 24-year-old went 2-for-2 with a single and a double and worked a full-count walk against Pirates ace Francisco Liriano.
Bradley will need more offensive efforts like this one if he hopes to earn a spot in Boston’s crowded outfield, but Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game that he likes what he sees so far.
“I think throughout camp, he’s come in and re-committed to an approach that has been kind of his trademark throughout college and the minor leagues and you’re seeing him use the whole field,” Farrell said, via CSNNE.com. “I think it’s allowed him to see some pitches against some lefthanders. He’s putting up some consistent at-bats.”
— Christian Vazquez was expected to catch a few innings in a minor league game Saturday, and the Sox hope he can return to the big league club Thursday. The catcher suffered a minor elbow injury throwing out a runner last Friday.
— Boston expects first baseman Mike Napoli to return to the lineup Sunday after being scratched from the lineup Friday and Saturday with ankle soreness. As for David Ortiz, who’s been battling dehydration and general soreness, the Sox don’t expect him back until Thursday.
— Some lesser-known Red Sox helped Boston earn the tie by scraping together a run in the 9th inning.
Jeff Bianchi got things started with a single, and Quintin Berry replaced him at first after grounding into a fielder’s choice. With Boston down to its last out, outfielder Blake Tekotte ripped a single to right field, allowing Berry to score from second base with the tying run.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images