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Sports

August 8, 2013

Cherington's plan: Don't rush the young pitchers

(Continued)

For understandable reasons, Red Sox fans are excited to see what these two pitchers among others can do in the majors and they would prefer to see them here in Boston sooner rather than later. But Cherington and the Red Sox prefer to give their pitchers more minor league time to mature.

“I’ve always called it ‘time in the seat,’” Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves said. “The more time (in the minors), the more comfortable you are going to be to make adjustments in the big leagues. You often see guys who come to the big leagues who haven’t spent two years in the minor leagues and when they struggle, they don’t know how to get out of it.”

That seemed to be the case earlier this season with 23-year-old Red Sox highly-touted prospect Allen Webster, who was promoted to Boston too early out of necessity when Clay Buchholz was injured.

Webster obviously needed to improve his fastball command and mentality when he found himself in jams.

Nieves said pitchers promoted too early also might struggle to cope with the long major league season.

“I’m a firm believer that the longer (in the minors) the better,” Nieves added. “It also gives them a sense of security when they come here.”

Yet there is always an exception to the rule such as Tampa’s Price who pitched just 151.1 minor league innings. The first overall pick in 2007, Price pitched in the postseason in 2008 and was Tampa’s ace by 2010.

Likewise, 24-year-old right-hander Brandon Workman has been very impressive for Boston this year after starting the season in Double-A Portland and he will pitch important innings during the final two months. He has proved to be ready despite almost 200 fewer minor league innings than Webster, although Webster was drafted out of high school and Workman pitched in college.

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