BOSTON -- Edward Mujica was advertised as a strike-throwing pitcher with a very good splitter, similar to Koji Uehara in some ways. Mujica had closing experience with the Cardinals and proved to be a dependable reliever out of the bullpen before injuries hampered his ability on the mound before the playoffs.
So far in 2013, however, Mujica has looked like a shell of the pitcher he was with St. Louis. In 11 games this year, Mujica sports a 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP with four walks and six strikeouts in 10 innings pitched. The four walks in April falls only one short of his season total of five last year with the St. Louis Cardinals in 65 appearances.
Manager John Farrell says that getting Mujica back on track will be important for the rest of the pitching staff.
"The arm strength is increasing," Farrell said. "We're seeing better velocities and yet, there have been a few things at play here. Arm strength is increasing. His command has been a little bit less than what it was a year ago just by the number of walks that he has issued already. We're working to try to create a little deception in his delivery. He's got a little bit of an open delivery that hitters are going to see the ball earlier in the flight towards home plate and trying to get where there is more consistency towards the edge of the plate rather than where he's missed in the middle."
Victorino will be back tomorrow
Outfielder Shane Victorino gets the day off today against the Athletics after starting three games in two days. Farrell said the outfielder will be back in the lineup tomorrow.
"Three games in two days and still looking at the shortened Spring Training, the number of games missed coming out of the start of the season. He's available for defense or pinch hit duty later today and will be back here tomorrow," Farrell said.
Since making his return to the lineup April 24 against the Yankees, Victorino has played in seven games, totaling five doubles, three RBI and nine strikeouts, totaling to a .line of .290/.361/.452 in 31 at-bats, remarkably similar to his .294/.351/.451 figure in 2013.
Bradley slides to right
In place of Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr. slides over to man Fenway Park's spacious right field. Farrell said the decision to move Bradley to right rather than starting Grady Sizemore there had more to do with Bradley's range and arm over anything else.
"I wouldn't center this around Grady," Farrell said. "We've had the alignment to be the opposite in previous games. The arm strength of Jackie in right field is a factor in that and I still feel like right field is the most important position in this ballpark. His range lends to that."