Ryan Dempster is taking his coaches’ advice and running with it. Dempster, who tossed two perfect innings in his spring training debut against the Cardinals on Tuesday, looked fantastic on Sunday. After giving up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner, Dempster rebounded to retire the rest of the batters he faced in three solid innings. What’s most encouraging, though, is that Dempster’s approach seems to coincide with the philosophy that pitching coach Juan Nieves and the rest of the Red Sox’ staff has been preaching. First-pitch strikes. It seems like a simple concept, yet many pitchers these days fail to execute that always important first pitch of the at-bat, and it’s often the root of a hurler’s struggles. Dempster has been very economical in his first two starts of the spring, and that bodes well for a team that’s looking to restore the fierce mound presence that was once so successful in Boston. Manager John Farrell has always wanted his pitchers to attack hitters, and Dempster has done just that in his five spring innings with the Sox. The right-hander threw a first-pitch strike to all nine of the hitters he faced on Sunday. He threw 28 pitches, and 25 of them were strikes. Now, obviously, you can’t throw every single pitch over the plate or else you’re asking for trouble in the long run. But Dempster has really been locating his pitches and working both sides of the dish, which in turn has kept his pitch count down. Clay Buchholz was lifted from Saturday’s game in the second inning because he had already thrown 40 pitches. That’s one start, but he and the rest of the team could benefit from having a guy like Dempster around going forward.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2013/03/ryan-dempsters-efficiency-aggressiveness-this-spring-shows-exactly-what-red-sox-need-from-rotation/