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Francona on D&H: I think Pedroia will be back

08.25.10 at 11:52 am ET
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Terry Francona

Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday morning for his weekly discussion on the Red Sox. This week, the Boston skipper talked about Dustin Pedroia’s injury situation and Michael Jordan’s baseball playing days as portrayed in ESPN’s 30 for 30 “Jordan Rides the Bus.”

“The best way I can put it is that he passed all the tests and I think everybody felt he was safe to come back and try to play,” Francona said of Pedroia. “Now in saying that, they also warned him, and very aggressively, that if he felt pain, he’d have to let us know because that’s when he could do damage. So, when he felt some pain, we immediately went and got a scan and the scan showed there was no further damage, which we were very relieved. Since he was sore, we put him on the DL.”

Francona also touched on the difference of receiving criticism as a player and as a manager of a team.

Below is the transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Last night it was pretty obvious that the field was going to be tough to play on. It doesn’t look much better today, does it?

No, but we’re getting a better forecast. I know it’s ugly out there right now but it sounds like in the next couple hours, most of this is going to be out of here and we’re going to play. It might not be the best day we’ve ever seen and as the day progresses, I think we’re going to be okay. That’s alright because you know what, sometimes in the day games when it’s not sunny, it’s a heck of a lot easier to see and the field is a little mushy. That was kind of the problem last night, the forecast wasn’t getting better. I kind of said that we were chasing our tails, by the time we got on the field it would be too sloppy to play. Finally, probably cooler heads prevailed and we figured out this wasn’t going to work.

How does last night’s postponement affect the pitching matchups and lineups today?

Well, so far, we have the same exact lineup as we did last night, so does Seattle for the first game. Now in Game 2, we’ll probably have some changes, I don’t think they’ll be wholesale changes. When we play doubleheaders early in the year, you pretty much don’t see everybody play. This isn’t really that time of the year and we basically didn’t play last night and we don’t play tomorrow, so you’re going to see a lot of guys probably play both games. That’s the time of the year it is. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Michael Jordan, Terry Francona,

Chat live with Lou Merloni at noon

08.25.10 at 11:01 am ET
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Join WEEI’s Lou Merloni in a live chat leading into a day of doubleheader baseball. Bring all your Red Sox-related questions, comments, and opinions:

Red Sox vs. Mariners matchups, 8/25

08.25.10 at 10:28 am ET
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Jon Lester

After Tuesday’s game was rained out, the Red Sox will play their first doubleheader of the season on Wednesday. The night cap sets up an electrifying matchup between aces Jon Lester and Felix Hernandez in the series finale. Lester will look to rebound from his worst outing of the season, while Hernandez will attempt to even his record and reach double digits in wins.

Lester (13-8, 3.26 ERA) uncharacteristically had a brief and ineffective start against the Blue Jays in his last time on the mound. The lefty allowed eight hits, three walks and two homers for a total of nine runs in only two innings of work. He received his eighth loss of the season as the Red Sox were blown out, 16-2. Prior to that abysmal performance, Lester pitched 14 1/3 straight scoreless innings against the Yankees and Rangers on the road to pick up a pair of wins. His ERA is now at its highest point since the middle of May.

For his career, Lester is 1-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts against the Mariners. In his outing against Seattle this season, he suffered a loss despite striking out 13 batters in 7 2/3 innings. Lester allowed four earned runs and was outdueled by David Pauley (starter of the first game of the doubleheader Wednesday) and the Mariners’ bullpen.

Hernandez (9-10, 2.51), meanwhile, has pitched phenomenally this season, holding an ERA under three and amassing 183 strikeouts. Though his numbers are nearly identical from last season, he hasn’t come close to repeating his record of 19-5 due to lack of run support. In his last start, the right-hander shut down the Yankees offense over eight innings, allowing no runs and striking out 11 in the process.

The Seattle starter has pitched well against the Red Sox with a 3-1 record and 3.17 ERA in seven career starts. His last outing vs. Boston came in July, 2009, when he received a no-decision after allowing three runs in seven innings of work. Hernandez was in line for the win but the bullpen blew the lead, allowing two runs in the bottom of the eighth. J.D. Drew has the most success against Hernandez on the Boston roster, hitting .400 with a home run in 23 plate appearances.

The Red Sox have an off day on Thursday before heading to Florida to open up a crucial three-game set against the Rays. They’ll return back to Fenway Park on Labor Day weekend in a home stand with the White Sox and Tampa Bay. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: felix hernandez, J.D. Drew, Jon Lester,

Rays eyeing Baldelli to fill DH role

08.25.10 at 7:26 am ET
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It looks like former Red Sox Rocco Baldelli could play a role in the pennant race.

According to MLB.com, Baldelli, who is currently playing for Triple A Durham, might be the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to filling Tampa Bay’s DH spot for the final month of the season. Monday night he notched his third consecutive two-hit, two-RBI performance, making him 9-for-27 with two homers and seven RBIs for the Bulls.

“We haven’t finalized anything yet, but Rocco is definitely strong,” said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who said calling up the outfielder “was the plan from the beginning.” “He’s done it before. Believe me, I’ve watched him take BP with us the last couple of months and there’s nothing wrong with his strength level. If he’s getting his timing back and he’s seeing the ball good, he could be very valuable, particularly against left-handed pitching.”

Maddon also touched on Baldelli’s physical condition.

“I’m not concerned about foot speed, so I would imagine strength-wise, it would help him a little bit,” Maddon said. “His issues with his [channelopathy] disorder would still be there. We’d have to monitor them. We just couldn’t throw him out there and play him. We’ll just see how he feels after all this happens and how he gets through it.

“Listen, he’s still one of the better baseball athletes I’ve been on a baseball field with. When you watch him take BP and throw, it’s still there.”

For Matsuzaka, uniform number is no small matter

08.25.10 at 1:19 am ET
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Daisuke Matsuzaka's contract states that he will receive the No. 18. (AP)

Even before Johnny Damon’s declaration that he intended to exercise his right to veto a deal to Boston, it was clear that he would not be wearing No. 18 for the Red Sox again this year.

It is not just that Daisuke Matsuzaka wears Damon’s old uniform. The number actually harbors tremendous significance for the member of the Red Sox rotation, to the point where his right to wear it was written into the six-year, $52 million deal he signed with the Sox in December 2006.*

“Growing up, I played baseball with the goal of one day wearing number 18 as a professional ballplayer,” Matsuzaka said through translator Masa Hoshino yesterday. “When I signed with the Red Sox, I wanted to keep wearing the same number I had always worn, and the number was available. I’ve never worn another number since I went pro, even in international competition.

“In Japan, the ace gets to wear number 18,” he continued. “I know that 18 isn’t considered an ‘ace number’ here in the U.S., but for me personally, I wear the number with pride, and I always try to push myself to be a pitcher worthy of the number.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Johnny Damon, masumi kuwata, tsuneo horiuchi

Red Sox statement on rainout

08.24.10 at 8:34 pm ET
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Here is the official statement from the Red Sox on Tuesday night’s rainout.

Tonight’s Red Sox-Mariners game at Fenway Park has been postponed due to rain and the forecast, as provided by the Red Sox private weather service, Telvent DTN, for continued steady rain and inclement weather throughout the evening.

Tonight’s game has been rescheduled as the second game of a day-night doubleheader, tomorrow, Wednesday, August 25, beginning at 7:10 p.m. The regularly scheduled game between the Red Sox and Mariners will be played at 1:35 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Tickets for tonight’s game will be good for admission to Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. game between the Red Sox and Mariners.

The decision to postpone tonight’s game came at the direction of the umpires, in consultation with Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners, after reviewing the long-range forecast.

Pregame Notes: Red Sox vs. Mariners, Aug. 24

08.24.10 at 6:05 pm ET
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In the non-Johnny Damon News Division:

Mike Cameron will undergo surgery to repair his sports hernia on Friday at Mass General Hospital. In the first year of his two-year, $15.5 million deal, he was limited to just 48 games in which he hit .259 with a .328 OBP, .401 slugging mark and .729 OPS. Cameron is naturally disappointed that his season will be wiped out by injury, but did not have regrets about delaying the procedure, as he wanted to make every possible effort to play.

“I have no regrets on nothing other than a regret that I’m not getting an opportunity to go out and still continue to be in the trenches with the fellas. Other than that, I’ve given every ounce of me to this ballclub, to my mind and everybody else, so I have nothing to look back upon in a negative light other than that I wish I could have been at full health to be able to go out and run around like a wild horse,” said Cameron. “I’m a little nervous, obviously, but I’m excited to go ahead on and take care of things that will allow me to feel a lot better and be able to move around a lot better and get ready to start looking forward to ’11, God willing.”

Jonathan Papelbon suggested that he feels like he’s in top form as the season enters its final stages. He feels that he’s taken the lessons of the season to achieve his greatest mechanical comfort “in a long, long time.”

“I’m basically standing over the rubber a little bit more. I’m able to stay behind the baseball, obviously,” said Papelbon. “For me, that makes a huge difference. I think that for a closer, if you can be able to go out there and repeat your delivery night in and night out, you’re going to be successful no matter who you are.”

Since June 26, Papelbon has allowed earned runs in just two of 22 games, with a 1.64 ERA during that time, and he has struck out 25 batters in his last 22 innings.

Hideki Okajima, who had been scheduled to rejoin the Sox to be examined on Tuesday, was instead told to stay with Triple-A Pawtucket in Buffalo to continue his rehab assignment. Okajima was touched for four runs while recording just one out on Monday.

“Had kind of a tough night,” said manager Terry Francona.

As a result, the Sox felt that, rather have him rejoin the team now for an exam, he should stay in Triple-A to work on his fastball command in another rehab game. He will pitch on Wednesday, then return to Boston.

Kevin Cash has been activated from the 15-day disabled list, while Dusty Brown was told after Monday’s game that he was being optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

–The team was hoping to have a conference call with multiple doctors about the condition of Dustin Pedroia‘s left foot either on Tuesday night or on Wednesday morning, depending on the availability of all parties. For now, Pedroia isn’t doing much physical activity on his feet while on the disabled list.

Francona arranged for a phone call between Pedroia and basketball icon Michael Jordan, who played for Francona in his foray into minor league baseball, to discuss the recovery from a broken navicular bone. Jordan suffered such an injury in his second NBA season in 1984-85, missing much of the year before making a dazzling end-of-season return against the Celtics in the playoffs.

Francona rarely likes to reach out to Jordan given the demands on the Bobcats owner, but he thought that the Hall of Famer might enjoy the chance to talk to Pedroia. Francona said that it was “probably a tie” as to whether Jordan or Pedroia was the more formidable trash-talker.

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