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Red Sox-Yankees postgame notes: Aceves aces test against ex-team

03.14.11 at 10:27 pm ET
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Read More: adrian gonzalez, alfredo aceves, bobby jenks, Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox support relief efforts in Japan

03.14.11 at 6:17 pm ET
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This press release came from the Red Sox this afternoon:

Led by Red Sox pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka, a native of Tokyo, Japan, and Hideki Okajima, from Kyoto, Japan, the team encouraged fans to consider making donations through the team charity, the Red Sox Foundation. 100 percent of donations received will be directed to the Red Cross relief efforts now underway in Japan. The Red Sox Foundation has committed to donate $50,000, and Matsuzaka and Okajima, along with fellow pitchers Junichi Tazawa and Itsuki Shoda, are each making personal donations.

Matsuzaka and Okajima recorded video messages in Japanese and English expressing support for their country and asking fans to make a donation. The videos and donation details are available on the Club’s official website at redsox.com/japan, and on the charity’s website, www.redsoxfoundation.org.

“Japan has been brave fighting through damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami,” Matsuzaka said on the Japanese-language video message.

“We are especially concerned with all those who are missing and are waiting to be rescued,” said Okajima, also on the Japanese-language video. “And we pray for their safe return to their family and friends.”

Fans can help the victims of this devastating natural disaster by making a donation to the Red Sox Foundation, the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. Fans can log on to www.redsoxfoundation.org to make a tax deductible donation via credit card online or by mail via check/money order. Checks should be made out to ‘€œRed Sox Foundation/Japan Relief’€ and sent to Red Sox Foundation, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. Team officials noted that 100 percent of donations received will support the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.

Red Sox Japanese players plan to join Red Sox staff at the gates as they open at City of Palms Park today, Monday, March 14th, and Thursday, March 17th, to collect donations from fans attending the games.

Red Sox-Yankees pregame notes: Francona backs Daisuke

03.14.11 at 6:16 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Spring training results are supposed to be meaningless for established members of a club. That said, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be disconcerting.

That is the situation with Daisuke Matsuzaka this spring. Expected to man the fifth spot in the Sox rotation, the 30-year-old has struggled badly this spring. He has allowed 11 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings in his three spring starts, including 12 runs (10 earned) in 6 2/3 innings over his last two outings. He has four strikeouts and five walks this spring.

So, it is fair to wonder: When do spring results matter?

The answer from Sox manager Terry Francona regarding Matsuzaka: Not yet.

“I’€™m not real concerned about anyone in camp. We want to leave here healthy and guys feeling good about themselves. I haven’€™t looked at anyone’€™s ERA,” said Francona. “I know Daisuke got hit around a little bit the other day. I know if we took Daisuke out of the rotation tomorrow, I wouldn’€™t want to play for me. We’€™ve got to let these guys get ready.”

OTHER NOTES

–Matsuzaka is playing a key role, along with fellow Japanese natives Hideki Okajima and Junichi Tazawa and recently signed pitcher Itsuki Shoda in spearheading team efforts to collect money for disaster relief in Japan. From a team press release:

The team encouraged fans to consider making donations through the team charity, the Red Sox Foundation. One hundred percent of donations received will be directed to the Red Cross relief efforts now underway in Japan. The Red Sox Foundation has committed to donate $50,000, and Matsuzaka and Okajima, along with fellow pitchers Junichi Tazawa and Itsuki Shoda, are each making personal donations.

Matsuzaka and Okajima recorded video messages in Japanese and English expressing support for their country and asking fans to make a donation. The videos and donation details are available on the Club’s official website at redsox.com/japan, and on the charity’s website, www.redsoxfoundation.org.

“Japan has been brave fighting through damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami,” Matsuzaka said on the Japanese-language video message.

“We are especially concerned with all those who are missing and are waiting to be rescued,” said Okajima, also on the Japanese-language video. “And we pray for their safe return to their family and friends.”

Fans can help the victims of this devastating natural disaster by making a donation to the Red Sox Foundation, the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. Fans can log on to www.redsoxfoundation.org to make a tax deductible donation via credit card online or by mail via check/money order. Checks should be made out to ‘€œRed Sox Foundation/Japan Relief’€ and sent to Red Sox Foundation, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. Team officials noted that 100 percent of donations received will support the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.

The Japanese players stood at the gates on Monday night to ask fans entering the park to donate to relief efforts.

–The Red Sox lineup features eight regulars (with Mike Cameron in right field in place of J.D. Drew), and with almost all regulars, the top of the order designed by Francona could well be the one he will employ in the regular season:

Ellsbury, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Crawford, LF
Youkilis, 3B
Gonzalez, 1B
Ortiz, DH
Cameron, RF
Saltalamacchia, C
Scutaro, SS

Asked whether the lineup might take a similar structure once the regular season begins, Francona was non-commital. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, alfredo aceves, carl crawford, Clay Buchholz

Why Sunday was so important to Josh Beckett’s season

03.14.11 at 11:21 am ET
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Read More: changeup, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett,

Red Sox weekend in review: All things Adrian

03.14.11 at 8:14 am ET
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Read More: adrian gonzalez, andrew miller, cesar cabral, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Sunday morning notes: Change comes for Daisuke

03.13.11 at 1:32 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — It is Year Five of Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s Red Sox tenure. Yet to a degree, he and the Sox are still searching for common ground with the pitcher in developing a routine.

Matsuzaka typically throws both long toss and a side session on the same day, two days after a start. But on Saturday, two days after a poor outing against the Rays, the right-hander threw only long toss. He threw his between-starts bullpen session in Fort Myers on Sunday.

It represents a seemingly incidental change of course, yet for a pitcher who is incredibly committed to his process of preparing for starts, it required some negotiation. The adaptation from the schedule in Japan — where pitchers typically get six days of rest between starts, rather than the four or five in Major League Baseball — has made it challenging to find a routine that balances Matsuzaka’s desire to throw with the increased workload in games.

“[Pitching coach Curt Young] and [Matsuzaka] had been talking about throwing his side a day later. With what Dice has been doing over the course of his career, in Japan, they had the extra day. So he’€™d have long toss [one day], side [the next],” Francona told reporters in Bradenton, prior to the Sox’ game against the Pirates. “Here he’€™s been doing it on the same day. He’€™s always done it. He was adamant he would do it. Curt’€™s trying to get him where he doesn’€™t do it on the same day. We asked him, hey, just try it. That’€™s what we’€™re attempting to do.’€

Francona acknowledged that the process of creating a routine with Matsuzaka has been more challenging than with other players, although that owes in no small part to the fact that he spent his life in Japan operating on a different schedule from the one that governs professional baseball in the U.S.

“His routine was so different. … His routine was based on how he used to pitch with an extra day,” said Francona. “I think what curt felt like was two times in one day, you’€™re kind of tearing down your arm. Long tossing, then you’€™re coming right back with a side, it’€™s a lot in one day. So, trying to maybe understand what Daisuke feels he needs, but maybe do it a little more economically.’€

Whether the alteration helps Matsuzaka turn the corner this spring remains to be seen. In three spring starts, Matsuzaka has allowed 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings, allowing 12 hits and five walks while striking out four. He is next scheduled to pitch on Tuesday in Lakeland against the Tigers.

OTHER NOTES

Josh Beckett is taking the ball for the Sox in Bradenton against the Pirates. He is expected to throw 65-75 pitches.

–With the Sox not wanting Clay Buchholz to make a second start against the Yankees this spring, both he and Tim Wakefield will throw in a simulated game on the back field at City of Palms Park on Monday. Buchholz said that he was anticipating about 55 pitches, getting up and down four times. He hopes to focus on throwing his curveball more consistently in the strike zone.

On Friday, Buchholz and Wakefield will return to the mound to start when the Red Sox will have a pair of split-squad games, one in Port Charlotte against the Rays, the other against the Tigers in Fort Myers.

Alfredo Aceves will get the start on Monday against the Yankees.

–The day after Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a soaring homer to right, Francona suggested that the development of his power remains an unknown. At the same time, the Sox skipper views power as a secondary concern in the 27-year-old’s game.

“He takes a swing like he did yesterday, it’€™s gorgeous, and it’€™s certainly there. But then you start putting numbers on guys and the last thing you want to do is try to do that. That’€™s when you get in trouble. You just don’€™t know [how power will develop],” Francona told reporters. “Over the course of guys’€™ careers, you don’€™t know what they’€™re going to turn into. It’€™s impossible. With [Kevin Youkilis], I would have never thought that with Youk. You just don’€™t know. I think if [Ellsbury] gets on base though, at a higher percentage, that’€™s going to be way more important than him hitting home runs. If he’€™s able to be that guy that can get on base at a .380, .400 on-base percentage, that’€™s way more important.”

Ellsbury has a career .344 OBP, having topped out at a .355 mark in 2009.

–The Blue Jays are hoping to work out a trade with the Red Sox for left-hander Cesar Cabral.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Tim Wakefield

Adrian Gonzalez gunning for 162

03.13.11 at 12:33 pm ET
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