Craig Breslow on M&M: 'Biggest goal is getting healthy'

April 28, 2014 - 10:08 am
Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the Red Sox getting back to .500, Clay Buchholz'€™s "dead arm", the differences between the bullpen in 2013 and 2014 and Michael Pineda'€™s pine tar incident last week. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. (Breslow's charity -- the Strike 3 Foundation -- will be holding their annual charity event, "Sip Happens," May 19 at the Boston Children's Museum to benefit the fight against pediatric cancer.  To purchase tickets, or more information, click here.) The Red Sox haven'€™t gotten off to the hot start they had in 2013, instead staying below .500 for the majority of the season, holding a record of 12-14. Breslow pointed out that while getting over that mark is one of the priorities, the biggest priority at this point is getting all the starters on the field. "I think different teams probably have different goals at this point, and for us I think the biggest goal is getting healthy. ... Obviously we'€™ve suffered through some early season injuries," Breslow said. "We'€™re now just getting back some key players. Obviously, (it's) great to get (Shane) Victorino back, (Will) Middlebrooks back. And I think just being able to run out the lineup that we had envisioned taking the field with on opening day consistently is really our first step towards, kind of, identifying who we are and who we will be as a team." Buchholz, who has struggled in 2014 with a 1-2 record and a 6.66 ERA, is thought, by many, to have "dead arm." Breslow contends that he too may be struggling through the same thing. "There are probably a lot of parallels between Clay, and I just in terms of a heavy workload, battling some shoulder issues last season, wanting to make sure that we were completely healthy going into this season, picking up a throwing program a little bit later," Breslow said. "I kind of felt like I ran out of time towards the end of spring training and needed a little bit longer to get myself in game shape." Added Breslow: "This whole dead arm phenomenon is really a bizarre thing because you don'€™t feel hurt or unhealthy or weak, but when you go to throw a baseball, despite the fact that you feel you'€™re putting the same effort into it, it'€™s just not coming out as hard." During the Red Sox'€™s run to the World Series last year, the bullpen was one of the team'€™s strengths. While the bullpen has seen some faces come and go since then, Breslow likes the group present in 2014. "Depth and versatility are two tremendous attributes that we have got down there in that pen," Breslow said. "Obviously, it might be slightly unfair to call this group deeper when we lost three potential closers during the season last. There aren'€™t too many- there aren'€™t too many teams that can put together a World Series bullpen after having lost three of their top relievers. But none the less, I think you have to credit Ben (Cherington) and what he has done in the offseason in recognizing -- you can never really amass too much depth in a bullpen." Like many others, Breslow saw Pineda get ejected last week after the umpires found pine tar on the pitcher'€™s neck. Breslow admits stories like this emerge annually, but that it'€™s OK as long as it'€™s not apparent. "I think every once in a while a story like this kind of emerges and people are forced to look at something that'€™s relatively insignificant in terms of context," Breslow said. "You know probably once a year, once every two years you hear about guys getting suspended for doctoring baseballs or using a foreign substance. Every pitcher probably has his own feelings as to whether or not you need a little extra something to get a grip or what not. But it seems to be a general consensus that as long as there'€™s really no conspicuous breaking of the rules, then everyone is kind of going to look the other way."