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Jon Lester relishes All-Star inning of work, opportunity to play with Derek Jeter; Koji Uehara fans only batter he faces

07.15.14 at 9:05 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Jon Lester‘s third All-Star Game consisted of one inning of work, with the Red Sox lefty pitching the second inning for the host American League.

Lester allowed two runs on three hits over his only frame.

The lefty retired the first batter he faced, Giancarlo Stanton, on a pop-up to second base. But he then surrendered a single to Aramis Ramirez before giving up back-to-back doubles to Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy.

Lester would come back to strand Lucroy at second, getting Carlos Gomez to pop out to the catcher before inducing an inning-ending fly ball to center off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.

“Obviously you’re coming in here, you’re facing the best players in the world and just trying to get outs. You’re so used to going through the scouting reports and advance meetings and this and that,” said Lester. “All of a sudden, you get out there and you’re throwing to a guy you just met a day ago. It’s like, ‘Hey, all right, let’s see what we can do.’ Made a couple mistakes and obviously they’re here for a reason, put some good swings on balls. Luckily got out of there still with the lead. That was the main thing. Fun. Had a good time.

“Any time you get to run out on this field with these guys, it humbles you. It makes you just enjoy this even more,” Lester added. “Getting to be a part of this, getting to be in the clubhouse with these guys, you just walk around the room, you’ve got future Hall of Famers all over the place. It’s an awesome experience that I definitely always remember. I always remember the ones I’ve been to and get to be around these guys, cherish the talks and the conversations that we’ve had in the dugout or on the field. You get to learn a lot from these guys.”

The Sox starter threw 22 pitches, 17 of which were for strikes.

Despite being named to the All-Star team two other occasions, this was the first game action for Lester.

To listen to Lester sum up his experience at the All-Star Game, listen to the Bradfo Show podcast (also featuring Stanton) by clicking here.

The other Red Sox representative, Koji Uehara, retired the only batter he faced, Devin Mesoraco, on a strikeout for the final out of the top of the sixth.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Derek Jeter, Jon Lester, Koji Uehara,

In case you were wondering, All-Stars have walk-up music, too

07.15.14 at 7:27 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Here is each of the All-Star hitters’ walk-up music for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Target Field (courtesy Rdio).

All-Stars and walk-up songs:
Yadier Molina * St. Louis Cardinals – National C * Sigan Bailando – Wisin & Yandel
Paul Goldschmidt * Arizona Diamondbacks – National 1B * Linkin Park – One Step Closer
Troy Tulowitzki * Colorado Rockies – National SS * Ace of Base – The Sign
Aramis Ramierz * Milwaukee Brewers – National 3B * NO MUSIC BY CHOICE
Andrew McCutchen * Pittsburgh Pirates – National OF * Ellie Goulding – Lights (Bassnectar Remix)
Carlos Gomez * Milwaukee Brewers – National OF * Young Dro – Shoulder Lean
Yasiel Puig * Los Angeles Dogers – National OF * DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down For What
Matt Wieters * Baltimore Orioles – American C * Sam Hunt – Raised On It
Miguel Cabrera * Detroit Tigers – American 1B * Jay Z – Ni**as In Paris
Robinson Cano * Seattle Mariners – American 2B * Jay Z – Tom Ford
Derek Jeter * New York Yankees – American SS * Young Money feat. Drake – Trophies
Jose Bautista * Toronto Blue Jays – American OF * Drake – Trophies
Mike Trout * Los Angeles Angels – American OF * Drake – Started From the Bottom
Adam Jones * Baltimore Orioles – American OF * Young Jeezy – Lose My Mind
Nelson Cruz * Baltimore Orioles – American DH * Alex y Fido – Rescate Feat. Daddy Yankee
Aroldis Chapman * Cincinnati Reds National P * Wake Up – Rage Against The Machine
Clayton Kershaw * Los Angeles Dogers – National P * We Are Young – Fun
Tyson Ross * San Diego Padres – National P * Mastermind – Deltron 3030
Jordan Zimmerman * Washington Nationals – National P * Brantley Gilbert – Hell On Wheels
Adam Wainwright * St Louis Cardinals – National P * Alabama – Song Of The South

Ozzie Guillen: ‘Sad about’ A.J. Pierzynski getting designated for assignment

07.15.14 at 7:21 pm ET
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Ozzie Guillen managed A.J. Pierzynski with the White Sox for seven seasons. (AP)

Ozzie Guillen managed A.J. Pierzynski with the White Sox for seven seasons. (AP)

MINNEAPOLIS — When Ozzie Guillen managed A.J. Pierzynski from 2005-11, two clashed frequently while together in the White Sox clubhouse. Yet Guillen ultimately appreciated what Pierzynski offered his team, and so given his feelings about Pierzynski’s value, the former manager — in Minneapolis as a TV commentator for the All-Star Game — said that he was not expecting to see his former catcher released by the Red Sox last week.

“I am [surprised] because I don’t know the reason. That’s up to them, the reason,” said Guillen. “A.J., when I was with him, I think he did a tremendous job. Obviously, when you don’t pitch well, you don’t hit well, I think the reason they did it is because they have a prospect coming up. I think that’s a good reason to do it, but in the meanwhile, you have to be inside to know about what was really going on. I was sad about it, but hopefully A.J. can get a job.”

Though Guillen spoke highly of Pierzynski’s character as a winning baseball player, he was not shocked by the idea that Pierzynski may have had a difficult time fitting in with the Red Sox.

“A.J. is not always an easy guy to deal with,” said Guillen. “I know A.J., for some people when you see him, he sounds arrogant. I think one thing about A.J. that I always appreciated is that he shows up to play every day. He shows up to play and he shows up to win. He’s the type of guy that, when he’s not winning, he gets upset and sometimes says things he shouldn’t say. But one thing I love about A.J.: No one in Boston — no one, and I respect the clubhouse, I respect the manager and I respect the fans — but nobody in Boston can say A.J. is not a winner. He is. … He shows up to win. He’s not just showing up to play, he’s showing up to win, and some people can’t handle that. One thing A.J. Pierzynski has is a winning attitude.”

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All-Star pitcher Jeff Samardzija thought he might be a New England Patriot

07.15.14 at 3:29 pm ET
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Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s worked out pretty well for Athletics pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

The All-Star righty — who was just recently traded from his first professional team, the Cubs — has carved a nice seven-year big league career to date, currently totaling a 2.78 ERA in 19 starts this season.

But, as he recalled, the path could have very easily led him to Foxboro instead of Wrigley.

Samardzija was a highly-touted two-sport athlete at Notre Dame, playing wide receiver for the Irish along with his stint as a pitcher for the school’s baseball team. He was so good that most viewed the 6-foot-5 wideout as a first-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft if he chose to go that route.

With the connection of former Patriots offensive coordinator/then-Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis, some dots were being connected as the ’06 college season wound down.

“Well, Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots for their Super Bowl runs for a number of years, so he just brought the whole Patriots€™ offense to Notre Dame and we started running that for a couple of years,” Samardzjia said. “Where I was projected to go in the draft was a little earlier than where the Patriots were picking, obviously their perennial 30, 31, 32 pick. I was hoping to be a little before that.

“The word from coach and other guys was that they were going to try and trade up to try and get me based on the fact it would be a seamless transition into their offense considering I already ran it. That was about all I heard, but obviously it never got to that point.”

Having been drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round of the ’06 MLB draft, resulting in a five-year deal with Chicago, Samardzija told every NFL team not to bother drafting him in ’07. The result was a solid career in baseball, and the Patriots picking Brandon Meriweather with the 24th overall selection.

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Nomar Garciaparra on MFB: ‘I don’t know how [Jon Lester's contract situation] is going to fold out’

07.15.14 at 2:22 pm ET
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Former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra joined Middays with MFB Tuesday to discuss a number of baseball topics, including the All-Star Game and Jon Lester‘s contract situation. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The inability of Lester and the Red Sox to come to an agreement on a new contract continues to be one of the biggest stories of the Red Sox’ 2014 season.

“I don’t know how it’s going to fold out. Who knows? I don’t know what’s going on in the sense where one day it’s good, one day it’s bad,” Garciaparra said. “Anything can happen from one day to the next.”

Garciaparra added: “I don’t know what’s going on or what’s going on behind closed doors. I know firsthand it’s not always the same. What’s being said and what’s behind closed doors are two different things. That’s stuff to kind of calculate as well.”

Tuesday night will be Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter‘s final All-Star Game before retiring at the end of the season. Like Mariano Rivera, Jeter’s reception is expected to be significant.

“I think it’s one when you send him out there he’ll start, he’ll get an ovation,” Garciaparra said. “I think at some point too, very similar to what Joe Torre did when the All-Star Game was held [at Fenway Park] in 1999 when Jeter took my place at shortstop, was, ‘Go out there, I’ll call you in, get the ovation.’

“I think that could be a moment as well, especially then, because I’m sure it’ll be a long moment too, getting his ovation coming off, that people will take their time and the pitcher has time to stop, wait and get going again. I think that would be pretty cool as well.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Derek Jeter, Jon Lester, Nomar Garciaparra,

Red Sox minor league roundup: Blake Swihart dominating behind, at plate; Yoan Aybar turning heads

07.15.14 at 1:46 pm ET
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Catcher Blake Swihart has thrown out 54 percent of would-be base stealers. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

Catcher Blake Swihart has thrown out 54 percent of would-be base stealers. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:




– Catcher Blake Swihart went 2-for-4 with a double and a strikeout while also gunning down the lone runner who attempted to steal on him. In addition to a robust .296/.351/.485 offensive line with 32 extra-base hits in 77 games; he had 38 extra-base hits in 103 games last year in Salem.

But perhaps even more intriguing is the progress Swihart has made in controlling the running game. He has thrown out 27 of 50 runners attempting to steal against him this year — an astounding 54 percent. No other qualifying catcher in the Eastern League has a mark better than 47 percent. He’s gone from a 31 percent success rate in Single-A Greenville in 2012 to a 42 percent caught stealing rate in 2013 with High-A Salem to this year’s shutdown mark.

– Third baseman Michael Almanzar snapped a three-game, 0-for-9 stretch by going 2-for-3 with a double and walk. In 14 games since the 23-year-old returned to the Sox organization from the Orioles (who had selected him in the Rule 5 draft), Almanzar has hit .273/.373/.386 with three extra-base hits.


SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: OFF DAY Read the rest of this entry »

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Jenny Dell, Will Middlebrooks engaged

07.14.14 at 11:50 pm ET
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Former NESN reporter Jenny Dell and Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks are engaged to be married, Dell revealed on Twitter Monday.

Dell tweeted the following photo and added a video of a surprise party that followed the two getting engaged.


Dell had served as NESN’s Red Sox on-field reporter, but after it was learned that they were living together and the couple announced their relationship, she was reassigned. She recently left the network to become a reporter for the NFL on CBS.

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