|07.12.16 at 11:27 pm ET|
The Red Sox made their impact on the All-Star Game, but there were no final fireworks for David Ortiz.
The retiring Red Sox legend went 0-for-1 with a walk in his final All-Star appearance, with the real heroics reserved for a pair of Kansas City Royals.
Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez ripped homers three batters apart in the second inning to account for three of the American League’s runs in a 4-2 victory over the NL that ensures home field advantage for the AL in the World Series.
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts scored ahead of Perez’s homer after singling in the second. Teammate Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-2 with a double in the third off of NL reliever Jose Fernandez, while Jackie Bradley Jr. recorded a pair of hits without making overwhelming contact — he beat out a swinging bunt in the second and rolled a broken-bat single to left in the fourth.
The NL jumped to a 1-0 lead on a homer by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in the first. The AL took the lead in the second on Hosmer’s solo homer and Perez’s two-run shot, and scored another in the third on a Hosmer single after Bogaerts had doubled Edwin Encarnacion to third. The AL had a chance for more, but Betts grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The NL got a run back in the fourth on an RBI single by Miami’s Marcell Ozuna. Its best chance to take the lead came in the eighth, when it loaded the bases on two singles and a walk against Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, but Houston’s Will Harris came on to strike out Cardinals infielder Aledmys Diaz looking on a full count to escape the threat.
The Ted Williams MVP Award was given to Hosmer.
|07.12.16 at 10:44 pm ET|
Although Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski makes the baseball decisions with the organization, David Ortiz made it clear what he would like to see happen.
The designated hitter would like the Red Sox to trade for Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and then sign Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
“He has incredible stuff,” Ortiz said to reporters after the All-Star Game of Fernandez. “I thought he was gonna end up playing with me this year. I mean, you never know. I want him in my starting rotation. I mean, we need a little bit of help and hopefully that happens at some point, who knows?”
With the Marlins in the thick of the National League playoff race, it seems unlikely they would trade their star pitcher, who has two years remaining on his contract.
The other player he would like to see in a Red Sox uniform is Encarnacion, who currently leads the majors with 80 RBIs and is a free agent after this season.
Ortiz sees him as his potential replacement.
“The Red Sox know that they need to reinforce the middle of the lineup,” Ortiz said. “And sorry Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?”
(This isn’t the first time Ortiz has pushed for Encarnacion, as back during the first week of the season Ortiz told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford the Blue Jays slugger was who he wanted to replace him.)
|07.12.16 at 9:23 pm ET|
With the All-Star Game being in San Diego, it gave a chance for former NESN play-by-play man Don Orsillo to reunite with the Red Sox players who made the team and then others he was around on a daily basis, including Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley.
Buckley asked Orsillo about how things ended in Boston last year.
Orsillo said neither NESN nor Red Sox chairman Tom Werner took the time to sit down and explain to him why the network was moving on. He said the only explanation he received from Werner was a quote in a story written by Buckley on Aug. 29.
Werner said: “I understand it has created some controversy. And I also understand that Don is a great broadcaster, but we felt that starting next year it was worth going in a different direction reenergizing the broadcast. And when the opportunity presented itself to bring Dave O’Brien to NESN, we just felt after a great deal of thought and consideration that was the right decision to make.”
Less than a full year later, Orsillo still isn’t satisfied with how things were handled.
“He never called me, he never talked to me,” said Orsillo to Buckley on Tuesday of Werner. “The last six weeks of the season he never reached out to me, called me, talked to me, or told me why. I was only told what I read in your article. And that’s been my standard line from day one. And there was the press release. It said, ‘Thanks for your service’ on the last line, or something like that.”
It didn’t take long for Orsillo to find a new home as he was hired by the Padres as the eventual successor to their television voice, Dick Enberg, who is set to retire after this season. Orsillo is doing select games this year.
“The Padres were very aggressive,” Orsillo said. “They came to me before the end of the season and I had a contract in place for six years before the end of the season. So I’m very thankful for everything they did. And the fans have been great to me in San Diego.”
Orsillo is enjoying life in his new city on the West Coast.
“I am,” he said. “This city has embraced me very well. The ball team has been incredible to me. When you lose your job there are only 29 other places to work, and you look around and you say, ‘Boy, where am I gonna go?’ It’s kind of daunting. Guys don’t usually leave. Very little turnover. You may look at one guy every couple of years who leaves , or retires . . . or dies, God forbid.”
|07.12.16 at 8:01 pm ET|
Apparently David Ortiz is taking Tuesday night’s All-Star Game seriously.
Ortiz addressed the American League All-Star team prior to his 10th and final Mid-Summer Classic. Besides thanking everyone for his farewell tour this season, he talked about how he wanted to win the game.
“On my behalf, I really want to say thank you to all of you,” Ortiz said. “You guys have embraced my through the year and it’s been an unbelievable ride. Tonight, let’s go out there and whoop some ass because playing at home, there’s nothing like playing at home. Let’s go out there and do like we know how and make sure this game goes to the American League. Thank you guys.”
(For video, click to the bottom of the post.)
Apparently there was more to the speech than shown in the video, as Jackie Bradley Jr. told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal it was “from the heart” and about the future of the game.
“What I could tell you about that speech is you could tell it was from the heart,” Bradley Jr. told Rosenthal. “He just shared in order to be kind of great in this game, even when your body is telling you no, you have to have that mindset every single day to say, yes, I am going to make a difference for my team and he wants the game just to get better as a whole. He knows he has children coming up and he wants to pass on the knowledge to the younger players and as long as everyone continues to work hard everything is going to go the way it is supposed to.”
— #BaseballisFun (@MLBONFOX) July 12, 2016
|07.12.16 at 3:10 pm ET|
A few of the Red Sox prospects have already been traded this month in Aaron Wilkerson and Wendell Rijo to the Brewers for Aaron Hill and then Luis Alejandro Basabe and Jose Almonte to the Diamondbacks for Brad Ziegler.
While it may be a minor thing to some, it’s worth noting with the exception of Wilkerson, all three players were eligible for the Rule 5 draft after this season.
This means if they were not on the 40-man roster by November, they could be selected in the Rule 5 draft by another organization.
It’s a good move by the Red Sox as they get something for these players rather than potentially losing them in the Rule 5 draft, or having to potentially use a 40-man roster spot on them to protect them.
Here are four players to keep an eye on this month to be dealt as they are eligible for the Rule 5 draft after this season.
Justin Haley — Haley, a right-handed pitcher drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 draft is currently with Triple-A Pawtucket. In five games he is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 25 innings. Over 12 starts with Double-A Portland to open the year, he was 5-4 with a 2.20 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.
Teddy Stankiewicz — After a great start to the season, the right-hander has cooled off of late with Double-A Portland. Selected in the second round of the 2013 draft, he has allowed at least four earned runs in five out of his last eight outings. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but was known for his consistency, going at least six innings and allowing two or three runs each time out until the past few starts.
Austin Maddox — Maddox, a right-handed reliever with Double-A Portland is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA over 10 games following his promotion from High-A Salem. He also has 23 strikeouts in just 19 1/3 innings. He was a 2012 third-round pick out of Florida University.
Jantzen Witte — Witte has been the PawSox’ every day third baseman this season and is batting .249 with 16 RBIs, while playing a solid first base. He hit .359 with two home runs in the first 11 games with Portland to open the year and was immediately promoted. He was taken in the 24th round of the 2013 draft.
Other notable names to watch as being Rule 5 draft eligible are: Luis Alexander Basabe, Jake Drehoff, Jake Romanski and Luis Ysla.
|07.12.16 at 2:02 pm ET|
It’s no guarantee Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez will face David Ortiz in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, but if he does, expect three pitches Ortiz can hit.
On Monday, speaking to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, Fernandez said he is going to groove three fastballs down the middle so Ortiz can “hit a monster home run” in his last All-Star Game.
This may upset some people as the game determines home field advantage in the World Series and should be taken seriously, but it’s also a game to celebrate the best players in the game and what better way for Ortiz to go out in his 10th and final All-Star Game than hitting a home run.
Ortiz is starting the game batting cleanup for the American League and Fernandez will come in out of the bullpen.
It wouldn’t be the first time either, as Derek Jeter was grooved a fastball for a double in his final game and Cal Ripken Jr. was grooved a fastball so he could hit a home run in his final Mid-Summer Classic.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|07.12.16 at 11:27 am ET|
It’s getting close to deadline time with Red Sox first-round pick Jason Groome.
The Red Sox and Groome have until Friday to come to an agreement on a deal and are said to be in the process of working to reach one. Jon Heyman reported Monday the Red Sox have offered Groome $3.5 million and a source close to the situation says that report is fairly accurate.
Groome isn’t the only player the Red Sox have left to sign. They still need to sign fourth-rounder Bobby Dalbec and fifth-rounder Mike Shawaryn with just over $5 million remaining in their bonus pool for those three players.
The slot value for Dalbec is $501,300 and the slot value for Shawaryn $375,500, but Shawaryn is seeking over the slotted value. If Dalbec signs for slotted value and Shawaryn for slightly above his, the Red Sox would have roughly $4 million to offer Groome. The slot value for Groome is $3,192,800, but it’s been well-documented he was seeking top-five money.
Negotiations are expected to pick up with Groome as early as today given how much his signing potentially impacts the other two players.
If Groome doesn’t sign, he’s committed to Chipola Junior College and could re-enter the MLB Draft next season. Then, the Red Sox could shift their focus to potentially signing 11th-round pick Nick Quintana, who is committed to the University of Arizona and visited Fenway Park last week.
It would seem highly unlikely the team could sign both Groome and Quintana.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|07.12.16 at 10:58 am ET|
Nate Freiman has always loved baseball. As a young boy growing up in Wellesley, Freiman was so enthralled by watching the Red Sox take batting practice during a trip to Fenway Park that he told his dad and brothers, “When I’m older I want to play there.” Little did he know then, but that wish would come true.
In 2013, that memory came back to Freiman as he took the field at Fenway Park as a member of the Athletics. It was one of the many incredible moments that baseball has given him throughout his career. However, as wonderful as his baseball career has been, it also has been challenging. In his eight years as a pro, Freiman has only cracked the major leagues once and has yet to stay with one team for more than two years. Freiman, 29, now is playing with the Red Sox’ Double-A affiliate in Portland. And while some may think that Freiman’s career is winding down, he has no plans to stop playing the game he adores.
Freiman began playing baseball in the Wellesley Little League, and as he climbed the ranks, his baseball prowess became evident.
“For starters, [Freiman] was always bigger and he always threw harder,” said Mike Roberts, who played with Freiman from Little League all the way through high school. “He had an intensity and you could tell he loved the game from that age, and going through high school nothing changed — the intensity grew.”
As a senior at Wellesley High School in 2005, Freiman helped guide the Raiders to a Division 2 South Sectional championship, getting picked as the 2005 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year. He would go on to play baseball at Duke, where he helped resurrect the baseball program and still holds the record for career home runs (43) and slugging percentage (.616).
Freiman was recruited to Duke as a pitcher, but in the first inning of his first game the 6-foot-8 right-hander strained a ligament in his arm.
“We planned to redshirt him because he had missed so much of his freshman year and we weren’t any good,” said then-Duke coach Sean McNally. “We were in the teeth of the ACC schedule and we would be asking a kid who last played in high school in Massachusetts to jump into the ACC. I didn’t want him to come back again and get hurt or really struggle. His dad said, ‘Hey, we aren’t in this to try to be a high [draft] pick, Nate just wants to get out there with the kids on the team and try to contribute and try to help this particular group win.’ So we put him out there and it was unbelievable.”
|07.12.16 at 10:24 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (47-44): No game scheduled.
The PawSox are resting during the Triple-A All-Star break and will next play on Thursday, when they kick off a four-game home series against Charlotte (White Sox).
— One of their players is not off as Chris Marrero, who has 16 home runs this season, relied on that power to win the Triple-A Home Run Derby Monday night. He hit 18 homers in three minutes to defeat Kyle Jensen of the Reno Aces to become the first Pawtucket player ever to win the event
“This was cool,” Marrero said. “The fans were really into it. They kept the adrenaline going.”
|07.12.16 at 9:11 am ET|
LOWELL — This wasn’t the All-Star break the Kelly family had planned.
While his Red Sox teammates were either dispersed to the All-Star Game in San Diego, or spread throughout the country on their mini-vacations, Joe Kelly spent Monday night at LeLacheur Park, home of the Single-A Lowell Spinners.
With Kelly’s wife, Ashley, showing the couple’s 5-month-old, Knox, the festivities in and around the stadium’s concourse, the pitcher could be found getting his two innings of work in while on his third rehab assignment appearance for the Spinners.
This was definitely a different scene for Kelly, and not just because of inflatable sumo wrestling suits being put to the test along the first base line in between his innings.
Kelly has re-entered the world of relieving, which, right now, represents his fastest trek back to life in the big leagues.
“It is what it is. It’s what I’m going to do now,” said Kelly, who retired all six of the Staten Island batters he faced. “Obviously there’s a need at the big league level, and that’s the role they’re going to switch me to. If I go out there and do what I did today against major league hitters again and get people out, one or two innings, helping the team win, it’s something I’m looking forward to doing.
“Relieving is fun. It’s a little bit different adrenaline rush. Obviously it’s not the big league lights, but your blood gets going a little more than it would as a starter. So that was fun to get that rush again.”
While it was only against short-season Single-A hitters, Kelly’s outing offered the kind of intrigue the Red Sox were banking on when having him make the switch.
This is a guy, after all, who barely pitched in high school, and only relieved in college. After his first pro season, St. Louis moved him into a starting role, where he remained until the Red Sox finally pulled the cord on Kelly’s spot in the rotation after totaling an 8.46 ERA in his six starts.
And while the organization would seem to be starved for both back-of-the-rotation options, and starting pitching depth, the idea of Kelly revisiting life as a high-90’s reliever with an above-average changeup and slider seemed the way to go for a bullpen that has been thrown for somewhat of a loop by the performances of Junichi Tarawa and Koji Uehara, and the injury to Craig Kimbrel.
“I wouldn’t say frustrating. But it’s a decision they made for me to go to the bullpen,” Kelly said when asked about the switch. “I still see myself as a starter, obviously. Going forward I’ll relieve, but ultimately one day I would like to get back to starting. If it helps the team wins ballgames and ultimately win the A.L. East or just get a playoff spot and I can help and contribute, it’s something I obviously want to do. I want to be up there, get people out and help the team win.”
Both Lowell manager Iggy Suarez and minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Truel remarked how more comfortable Kelly looked compared to his first two outings with the Spinners. For the first time since coming back from his groin injury, the righty decided to go exclusively out of the stretch, with both instructors commenting on the reliever’s improved resolve on each of his pitches.
While the obvious takeaway would have been the fastball he threw to end his first inning of work, registering 100 mph on the stadium display (although just 98 mph on scouts’ radar guns), it was his ability to get his change up on the inside part of the plate against right-handed hitters that truly was a difference-maker.
As Kelly pointed out, “Coming out of the bullpen in the big leagues they’re going to searching for velocity.”
Now Kelly will get a few days off before continuing the transformation with Triple-A Pawtucket. From there, his fate will be determined on performance with the PawSox, what slots open up in what has been an evolving Red Sox bullpen, and even the moves that are made at the non-waiver trade deadline.
“Obviously I’m fully healthy, but it was something I really didn’t go 100 percent into until [Monday night],” Kelly said. “It felt good. Arm feels good. Leg didn’t bother me. Felt really good.”
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