Pregame comments from Showalter and Hunter

BOSTON - Manager Buck Showalter could sense that Robert Andino was eager to get back into the lineup.

“Robert’s already had a sweat up,” Showalter said. “He passed everything. He’s been cleared by Dr. (William) Goldiner. Obviously, he’s in the lineup. He didn’t dodge anything, but so far, so good.”

Showalter said he’ll remind Andino to remain calm if buzzed by a fastball. Same goes for the rest of the team.

“It’s one of the things on my checklist,” he said. “I know our pitching staff and how they feel about protecting our hitters. What happens in a situation like that is the second guy in always gets in trouble. We certainly can’t afford any suspensions at a time like this, but it’s still frustrating.

“Robert’s come a long way. Sometimes, there are different periods in your life when you fire first and ask questions later, and in the position we’re in, it’s not a good idea.”

Did you know that closer Jim Johnson has more saves (47) than strikeouts (39) this season?

Steve Johnson is expected to start Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader against Toronto. Wei-Yin Chen will start the nightcap.

Hunter Delivers Orange tall.jpgTommy Hunter didn’t know that his fastball registered 101 on the Fenway Park radar gun yesterday until told about it later. He did notice that his cutter was clocked at 96 mph.

“Everyone gave me high fives like they usually do,” he said. “We sat down, and that was it. Kind of cool.”

Hunter can’t explain the jump in velocity, but he reminded reporters that he hit 97-98 mph in an earlier start in Cleveland and joked about the sudden interest in how hard he’s throwing.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, I threw hard in college. I remember that. I was a closer in college and I threw hard every one in a while. I’ve been throwing hard every once in a while here, too.”

Asked if hitting 101 mph surprised him, Hunter said, “Never thought I’d be able to do it, but Steve Johnson has 35 strikeouts and 34 of them are on fastballs. I don’t know. I wish I had something for you. Hopefully it stays the same.”

Perhaps he’s able to throw with maximum effort knowing he’s not expected to go six or more innings.

“Totally different than starting, as anyone can tell you,” Hunter said. “(Brian) Matusz will tell you the same thing. It’s totally different. It’s just, different. I don’t know. You throw hard. Everybody usually throws hard out of the ‘pen than they do starting. I don’t understand why everyone is sort of shocked.

“I’ve hit some high numbers as a starter. Every once in a while it’s kind of out of nowhere. Now I guess I’m starting to find it a little more often.”

Catcher Matt Wieters kept calling for fastballs yesterday.

“I knew I had to be throwing hard, because usually he mixes it up a little better, but he just kept calling fastball to (Dustin) Pedroia and I was like, ‘Maybe I am throwing pretty hard,’” Hunter said. “I just stayed with him and tried to throw the next pitch harder than the pitch before.”

Showalter noticed the 101 mph reading while watching from the dugout.

“I think it got everybody’s attention in here,” Showalter said. “To try to say nobody looks up there at the gun, sure you do. You try to see the speed on the breaking ball and the changeup.

“I don’t know if you remember, the first day we got him in a trade we were in Kansas City and we brought him out of the ‘pen just to get his feet wet. He lit it up pretty good there, but nothing like he did yesterday.

“Tommy is a big, strong guy. We’ve thought that if things didn’t work out as a starter all along - Tommy’s pitched some good games as a starter - but that he could be a useful piece out of (the bullpen), too.

“Tommy’s got a strong arm. We’ll see if he can carry it. He’s still a very good pitcher at 95-96. When you combine the velocity with the twilight yesterday... Until those shades got behind the pitcher we knew we were probably going to play how many innings until the shade caught up. You can’t see the ball. It’s really hard to see the ball. It’s really hard to complain with an umpire. It’s hard for them to see, too.”

Could Hunter be used more in a short relief role?

“When I’ve got 27 pitchers, yeah,” Showalter replied. “I’ve got the ability to shorten him up. It’s yet to be seen how guys like he and Jake (Arrieta) and a lot of our guys how they are going to respond to two innings and one day off, if they’re going to be able to pitch well.”

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