|02.26.10 at 9:32 am ET|
Dustin Pedroia stopped by the bench with Dennis & Callahan to talk about the offseason and the upcoming Red Sox campaign.
Never one to pull punches, Pedroia sounded confident that the offense will perform better than people believe.
“This year everyone is doubting our offense, so that motivates you, and not only me but all the other guys in the lineup have something to prove,” said the fiery second baseman. “It’s going to be fun proving everybody wrong.”
The former MVP also talked about his offseason workouts, the deep pitching staff the Red Sox will showcase and his take on the Mike Lowell situation.
Following is a transcript. To listen to the interview, click here.
What was your offseason like?
Just working out everyday. I took about a week off after the season. I try to stay in shape. I don’t want to get out of shape, it’s tough to get back in. So I took a week off and rested my body and got back after it.
Were you concentrating on anything specific?
Not really. Same stuff. Try to get faster, stronger and make sure my body is ready for a long season.
Do you work harder by yourself in Arizona or here?
I think they are both different. In the offseason you try to build up as much as you can to last 162 plus the playoffs. When I’m at home I’m watching everything I eat. I think when you are at home you pay attention to detail there.
Are you in the best shape of your life?
Everyone tries to. We play a lot of games and my biggest thing is how I feel, and I feel great. The last two years I also felt great, so I think that’s just me trying to prepare myself for a long season. This offseason I accomplished all that I wanted to and I feel healthy and ready to go. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.26.10 at 7:13 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox principal owner John Henry has his eyes wide open when it comes to handing out long-term contracts to free agents, calling the process of extending such offers as “very complicated.” And, has been surfaced in some of the Sox’ recent negotiations, part of that complexity centers around the issue of the team taking insurance.
“We generally don’t use insurance,” Henry said. “Not to say we won’t use it in the future, but I don’t think we have. I had a bad experience trying to get paid on a player. You pay the premium, but it isn’t always easy to get paid.”
The way Henry chooses to approach insurance has been shaped by a case he spent years in court haggling over, in which Lloyd’s of London refused to pay when former Marlins pitcher Alex Fernandez was injured. Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino also had an unappetizing experience when he was with the Padres and the insurance company was withholding payment in regards to Randy Myers’ case.
The philosophy would seem to explain the Red Sox’ desire in some case to protect themselves without the use of insurance when it came to some free agent contracts, such as J.D. Drew, John Lackey, and what was attempted in the case of Jason Bay. The the thinking is if there is some problems with a pre-existing ailment in the latter years of the contract than the financial structure would change.
According to Bay, the approached factored in two-fold when the Red Sox’ final offer was made. The outfielder said that not only did the Sox’ want to have the final year of the four-year contract proposal contingent on health, but he also relayed that the Sox would agree to get insurance but only if the player paid half (which would have come out to a total of $2 million).
“If the circumstances were right we would take insurance, but that adds another big level of complexity because you have deductibles,” Henry said. “You have arguments about what caused it.”
It is all part of a process in which free agents and the teams chasing them are searching for long-term security.
“The problem is that there have so many long-term contracts have been given to free agents that the expectations are now high and long. It’s an issue,” Henry said. “You know if you study these things, giving free agents long, long deals, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for in the back end. So it’s a concern.”
|02.25.10 at 11:43 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox players aren’t the only ones who are having hard time figuring out why the perception regarding this year’s team is one with strengths pointing to everything but offense.
Dave Magadan is right there with them.
“It frustrates me because I know we lost we lost a pretty good player, hitter and good part of our offense in Jason Bay, but what people fail to realize is that we’re going to have Victor Martinez for the whole year, we’re going to have Marco Scutaro, who was a pretty good offensive player for Toronto, and we’re hoping to get David [Ortiz] back to where he was in the second half of last year, and if we can get him off to a decent start that makes a huge difference,” said the Red Sox hitting coach. “I’m encouraged when I sit down and break it down position by position of what I see.
“I think what frustrates me more is talk of last year that our offense was an embarrassment. It’s almost like that was a weak link on the team, which I’ll dispute until the cows come home. I think people remember just the two playoff games and look at the offense in those two games and have a negative view of it, but they forget where we ended up in a lot of offensive categories in the regular season.”
The Red Sox finished third in the majors in runs (872), just nine behind the second-best Angels, and 52 in front of the fourth-place Phillies. But when it comes to analyzing this year’s team, those numbers have taken a back seat in many corners.
For Magadan and many of his hitters, that’s OK with them. Because of the wide-spread analysis, the Red Sox’ minor league training facility has been the home for a more-than-motivated bunch.
“It doesn’t matter how I feel. Certainly I’ve got my feelings internally. Yeah, it’s a motivating factor for me, but I’m not going up there hitting. I think it’s affected the players more than anything,” Magadan said. “They’re pretty fired up. More than one of them has come up to me and vented on everything that is being written about the offense. They’re ready to prove a lot of people wrong, which is good for me and good for the club. They have that attitude of having a little bit of chip on their shoulder, which bodes well for how they’re going to perform this year.”
|02.25.10 at 8:15 pm ET|
Speaking on CSNNE’s “SportsNet Central” Thursday night, Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett said he would most likely not negotiate a new contract with the Red Sox during the 2010 season, saying “Probably not,” when asked if he would participate in any in-season talks.
Beckett had said during a press conference Sunday at the Red Sox’ minor league training facility that he and the Red Sox had “talked about talking” regarding a new deal. The pitcher’s current contract runs out at the end of the 2010 season.
During the appearance, Beckett also said regarding his contract status, “It’s really not in my control. I don’t really have an answer right now, I don’t really want to think about it. I think for me, my focus is really just being on coming into camp, getting ready for the long season and preparing myself the best I can.”
|02.25.10 at 7:50 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was three weeks after Cito Gaston took over as manager of the Blue Jays where everything changed for Marco Scutaro.
Some might believe Scutaro’s path toward the Red Sox started on June 20, 2008, the day Gaston took over as the Jays’ manager. It was that day the shortstop was placed atop Toronto’s lineup despite having made just 20 plate appearances in the leadoff spot in the previous four years with Oakland.
“That,” Gaston explained, “was out of necessity. We didn’t have anybody else.”
But it was that 21-day mark of Gaston’s tenure as skipper of the Jays which should truly be identified as where it all turned around for Scutaro. It was around that time where the Toronto manager and his hitting coach, Gene Tenace, came to a realization that transformed the former utility player into this season’s Sox’ starting shortstop.
What they found was that Scutaro seemed to be a dramatically better hitter with two strikes. And what the coaches also discovered that the right-handed hitter possessed a significantly different stance during those instances he found himself with two strikes, noticeably widening his stance.
“When I first came over Gene Tenace and I we noticed when Marco got two strikes he would widen his stance and would put a better swing on the ball. So he started doing that and it really helped him,” Gaston said. “Every once in a while I had to remind him that you can get too close, so I would remind him.”
The transformation didn’t happen overnight, with Scutaro experiencing some ups and downs for the remainder of ’08, finishing with a .274 batting average in the season’s second half after hitting .261 before the All-Star break.
“I used to kind of do that with two strikes but my timing was inconsistent so I didn’t know how to handle it,” Scutaro said. “I didn’t feel like I had any rhythm. Cito started telling me to try and spread out and I started getting in a better rhythm, and I started seeing the ball better and better.
“The reason I hadn’t stuck with it was because I would lose the rhythm. But when Cito kept saying, ‘Man, you look much better when you’re spread out.’ I told him I saw the ball better doing it, but I couldn’t find a rhythm. But then I started working and working and it got better and better.”
By the time Scutaro got to spring training in ’09 the half-season of implementing the new stance was enough for the shortstop to hit the ground running. In April he hit .281 with a .421 on-base percentage, which was followed with a line of .322/.397 the following month. Since then the 34-year-old hasn’t looked back, all the while keeping a watchful eye on making sure he doesn’t lose the stance that got him to this point.
“It happens to a significant amount of hitters where they discover that they have a pretty successful two-strike approach and they end up using it all the time,” explained Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan. “Occasionally it happens the other way around where a guy is successful prior to two strikes and he tries to expand his approach with two strikes and becomes a worse hitter.
“He’s a guy who doesn’t have a huge load when he gets ready to hit, and he stays pretty balanced, keeping his head in between his feet, which is something you look forward to as a hitter. He keeps his body centered pretty well and it just keeps him on the ball longer. He doesn’t have a lot going on with his set-up and his load, so what happens is him making consistent hard contact.”
|02.25.10 at 5:48 pm ET|
|02.25.10 at 4:39 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Terry Francona met with the media and discussed how pitchers Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon did in camp Thursday.
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