Ranaudo Feeling Like Himself

PORTLAND, ME – After an injury riddled 2012 season, Anthony Ranaudo seems to have regained the form that led the Red Sox to draft him 39th overall in the 2010 MLB draft. Ranaudo struggled through last year making only nine starts and finishing 1-3 with 6.69 ERA. So far this year Ranaudo has started strong, he is 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA. Much of his success Ranaudo credits to simply being healthy.

"[Last year] obviously not how I drew it up but I did learn a lot from it and now I've turned the page. I took away what I needed to take away and now I'm focused on this year," Ranaudo said.

In the offseason, Ranaudo worked on strength and conditioning, and the routine he has established has led to results on the mound. He has gained a better understanding of his own body through the difficulties he faced last year.

"I've put on some good weight, put on some muscle that I needed to put on," he said. "I got into a good strength and conditioning routine as far as hip flexibility. Hip routines, which ultimately help with your lower back and your groin.

"I learned how everything goes hand in hand with your body. I have a good routine with all the trainers and they've done a great job with me, keeping me healthy and on the field."

Now that he is able to throw pain free, Ranaudo has been able to focus on his on field performance.

"Not worrying about what's going to hurt on this pitch or if I throw with everything I have, I don't have to worry about that anymore, it's a nice feeling. I was able to get a full Spring Training and establish a routine. I just need to keep that going and be able to repeat my delivery."

Manager Kevin Boles sees a completely different pitcher from last year, one who is able to repeat his delivery and make adjustments.

"I think last year was definitely a mulligan for him," Boles said. "We have to look at it that way because we didn't see the real Anthony Ranaudo.

"Now that the health has come through, he's able to pitch with a clear head out there. He's not concerned with whether he is going to tweak something or if something going to happen to him."

The biggest change in the mind of his manager has been his ability to control his fastball, which the skipper sees as the young right-hander's best asset.

"He's maintaining a real consistent delivery and I think the big thing we've seen different from last year is he's leveraging the fastball down in the zone," Boles added. "Last year he was elevating his fastball more often than not.

"It was consistently up in the zone and now we're starting to see finish and extension with the fastballs down in the zone."

So far this season Ranaudo is averaging more than a strikeout per inning [46 K's in 43 innings] and while Boles loves to see the strikeouts he believes that ultimately, learning to pitch to contact is going to be the best asset for all his pitchers, including Ranaudo.

"He's a guy we've gotten some length out of. Starting pitchers who make it to the big leagues, are not five-inning guys in the minors, they're guys who get deeper into ballgames.

"I think being efficient and being able to utilize a mix like he shows, controlling the running game, maintaining his stuff from the stretch, these are things he's definitely showing a lot of improvements on."

Boles sees Ranaudo as a player who has learned from the adversity he faced last year and thus far has shown a mature and confident presence on and off the mound.

"In the past he's a guy who's pitched with an elevated fastball. I think now he's starting to understand that with how big he is, that downward plane with the fastball makes him the most effective," Boles said.

""It sets up his other pitches, his sharp breaking ball and the feel for the changeup. No matter what it is, pitching down in the zone, that's going to be his strength."

For Ranaudo throw 2012 out completely. He seems to be a different pitcher entirely this year and health certainly is the biggest factor. Ranaudo appears poised for a breakout 2013 season and possibly more if he is able to stay on the field.

"It's an exciting time for him because watching the real Anthony Ranaudo is pretty impressive," Boles concluded.

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