Notes on Johnson and Lindstrom (and Reyes)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - I finally made it to the JetBlue Park after being stuck in one of the worst traffic jams in history. It's a nice facility, but you need to arrive a few hours before first pitch.

I'm thinking 12 hours to be safe.

Anyway, here are a few quotes from Jim Johnson regarding today's simulated game:

"It feels good. It feels a lot better today mechanically. I felt like I was repeating my delivery pretty good. There's still a lot left in the tank as far as velocity, but it was definitely a good step.

"Everything's going well. When I get to where I'm comfortable with my delivery and I can repeat it, that's the big focus right now. Then the velocity will start coming more.

"I spun a couple curveballs, but it's a different look when you get a hitter in the box as opposed to just trying a regular bullpen. It was good."

So what's next?

"I'm not sure," he said. "I think I have another sim game on Friday. I'm going to throw one more time before any game action. And as far as game action, I don't know whether it's going to be a regular game or a b game. Who knows?"

I wrote last night that reliever Matt Lindstrom is tweaking his slider to gain more velocity. Teammate Luis Ayala has passed along some tips from future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.

"I think the big man himself showed Ayala," Lindstrom said. "It just allows me to get a little more speed on it. It looks like a fastball instead of a big looping slurve, curveball, that I used to throw.

"It's not really a cut fastball. It's a slider. That's just the way he showed me how to throw it. Not Mariano himself, but Ayala."

As for today's exhibition game against the Red Sox, Daniel Bard retired the side in order in the top of the first inning, striking out Ryan Adams and retiring Endy Chavez and Nick Johnson on ground balls.

Note: Dana Eveland gave up a run in the bottom of the first on a Jacoby Ellsbury double, Dustin Pedroia single and Ryan Lavarnway sacrifice fly.

Interesting item on MLBTradeRumors concerning Dennys Reyes, who told Fernando Ballesteros at Puro Beisbol that he still plans to pitch for the Orioles.

That's news to the Orioles, who released him a few days ago after he failed to report.

Reyes also revealed that he has a torn tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand.

"They had to release me because they couldn't pay my contract with me being here (in Mexico)," Reyes said of the Orioles. "If they hadn't released me, I could have complained to the Players' Union in order to get them to pay me. Unofficially, I still belong to them."

Officially, they released him. I'm not sure where the confusion is coming from.

Update: Eveland allowed one run and two hits, with one strikeout, in two innings. He retired the last six batters he faced.

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