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Jim Rice on Dale and Holley

08.04.09 at 1:44 pm ET
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Newly minted Hall of Famer Jim Rice appeared as a guest on the Dale and Holley (with NESN’s Tom Caron filling in for Dale Arnold) show today. Click Here for the full audio of the conversation.

Here are some of the highlights:

Rice on name-dropping Caron into his Hall of Fame induction speech: “Since I joined NESN, you watched th guys who have experience and the guys who are good. My wife gives all of the credit to TC, so I had to give the credit to TC.”

On certain statistical standards the Hall of Fame should have: “When you play baseball you look for the numbers. the whole thing with the Hall of Fame is that you should have a standard. The young guys can look and say, I can make these numbers and be a Hall of Famer.”

On how to determine a dominant baseball player: “You can also look at Cal Ripken, did he dominate? Did Tony Gwynn dominate? No he didn’t. When you’re looking at a team, you want a guy driving a guy in. You can be a dominant player in different situations.”

On the most dominant pitcher he faced who is not enshrined in Cooperstown:Bert Blyleven. You’d go into Minneosta and say, Oh man, I’ve gotta face Bert?”

On having Carl Yasztrzemski at the ceremony: “He said, Jim if you’re ever in the Hall of Fame, I’ll be there. Frank Robinson, Kaline, Whitey Ford, they all said, you were good. To get Yaz here, you had to be real good.”

On his supposedly contentious relationship with the media: “Mostly exaggerated. These guys were older. I always respect my elders. Michael, I got in trouble a lot of time for not talking about my teammates. To me, you write what you saw that night, I wasn’t a guy who would pat myself on the back.”

On his new baseball tendencies as a member of the media: “It’s called connections, inside scoop.”

On Rice’s outspoken opinion on steroid users and the Hall of Fame: “It seemed like if you were doing that you’re cheating the other guys who were up there. How can you compare a guy who didn’t cheat to a guy who did. Guys who were legit, guys who were gamblers, you’ve gotta have four walls. I think you’ve gotta talk to guys who vote for the Hall of Fame.”

On his numbers and the conjecture if they could have been better: “I could’ve hit more home runs, but you’re a team guy. You’ve got to do what’s best for the team.”

A King’s Ransom? Report Details Sox’ Offer for Felix

08.03.09 at 1:19 pm ET
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According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the Red Sox offered the Mariners a chance to choose five players from a group of the team’s eight top prospects as part of a package for pitcher Felix Hernandez. According to the report, the Sox made available a group of players that included right-handed pitchers Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden, as well as left-handers Nick Hagadone and Felix Doubront, shortstop Yamaico Navarro and outfielder Josh Reddick. Baker said that the Mariners declined that offer, and so the Sox tried to arrange a three-way deal that would include the Padres and send first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Buchholz and other prospects, with the Padres receiving prospects from both the Red Sox and Mariners.

Baker said that Seattle ultimately pulled the plug on negotiations for a deal for a few reasons. By keeping the 23-year-old Hernandez, the organization can get a better sense for whether it will have a chance to sign him to a long-term deal to keep him in Seattle beyond 2011, the season after which he will become eligible for free agency. If the team decides that it cannot, and wants to move him either in the offseason or in the middle of next year, Seattle felt that a similar package would be available should they ever choose to deal Hernandez.

The pitcher, who is making $3.8 million this year, does not become eligible for free agency until 2011. Hernandez is 12-4 with a 2.78 ERA this year. He turned in one of the most dominant performances in Fenway Park history in 2007, a complete-game one-hitter in which he stole the thunder from Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Red Sox debut.

‘€œHe’s like an upgraded version of Dwight Gooden. Dwight Gooden made the big leagues at the age of 19 and he was dominant,’€ Mariners pitcher Miguel Batista said the day before that start. ‘€œHe’s showing not only the stuff. He’s showing aggressiveness, no fear, an approach that guys at a mature age do.

‘€œThat’s when you start thinking’€”can he be a phenomenon? Can he be a different era of baseball?’€ Batista continued. ‘€œHe’s going to be an ace of any team he goes to, unless he goes to a team with Johan Santana or Pedro Martinez in his best years. And then, they’re still going to have to flip a coin to see who’s going to start on (Opening) Day.’€

The appeal of Hernandez is fairly obvious. He is young, dominant and appears to be getting better, as each full season that he’s been a starter has shown a drop in ERA, from 4.52 in 2006 to 3.92 to 3.45 to 2.78 this year. With 51 career victories, Hernandez is one of just two pitchers this decade to reach 50 career wins by his age 23 season, joining CC Sabathia. (For the list of the 20 pitchers who have accomplished that high a wins total by age 23 since baseball integrated in 1947, click here.)

G.M. Theo Epstein did not specifically mention Hernandez in his conference call following the July 31 trade deadline, but speaking generally, he did talk about the Sox’ aggressive efforts to acquire an impact player. While the team did land Victor Martinez from the Indians in exchange for pitchers Hagadone, Masterson and Bryan Price, Epstein acknowledged that the team had been involved in talks for a potential blockbuster deal.

“In previous days we had some things working that we were really excited about, and a couple that got really close and then didn’€™t happen, but that’€™s par for the course in trade deadline season,” said Epstein. “I think we shot big on a couple things, deals that could provide maximum impact, and we were very aggressive in the use of our own prospects. Those deals got close but didn’€™t happen. Maybe a foundation was laid for the offseason. Who knows?

“But in the end, we wanted to make sure that we had a deal that we could come back [to] and make, a deal at a reasonable acquisition cost and for a player who provides impact in his own right, and we were able to do that today, so it went somewhat according to plan where we knew if we did shoot for something really big and ended up missing, we didn’€™t want it to affect our ability to make a useful move, and that’€™s how it went down.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, felix doubront, felix hernandez

Victor Martinez Talks About His New Team

08.01.09 at 6:32 pm ET
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BALTIMORE – Victor Martinez has plenty of experience with the Red Sox. Until Friday, his foremost memories of the club were not terribly fond. After all, Martinez was on the Indians team that went up, 3-1, in the best-of-seven ALCS in 2007, only to see the Sox come back and claim three straight wins to advance past Cleveland for the World Series.

“Good thing for me to be on this side now,” said Martinez, as he settled into a locker next to David Ortiz in the Red Sox clubhouse, one day after being traded from a Cleveland organization with whom he had played his entire career. “This is a good, tough team to play against. We had the opportunity to beat them. They’€™re tough to beat, they came back on us and did a great job.”

Martinez, who will wear his customary No. 41, will bat third and play first base on Saturday. He will likely catch Clay Buchholz on Sunday, with a day game following the night game.

Here is a transcript of Martinez’ introductory meeting with the media at Camden Yards on Saturday afternoon:

‘€œI’€™m pretty excited. I just looked around when I first got here in the clubhouse and looked around to all these guys. I was talking to David, I never thought I’€™d be playing for a team like this ‘€“ Boston.’€

‘€œI’€™m just going to keep playing my game. Keep playing my game and see what happens. This is a great team, a great organization and, like I say, I’€™m not going to try to do too much. Like I say, I’€™m going to play my game and see what happens.’€


‘€œYou know what, the greatest teams, they go through slumps once in a while. This is a 162-game season and you would like to be on since Day One, and finish the season hot. Everyo ne knows how hard this game is. Like I said, everybody has some ups and downs. Everybody knows this team. This is a pretty tough team to beat. The good thing for me is I’€™m on this side now so it makes it a lot easier.’€


‘€œYou know what, I’€™m going to start working with them in their bullpen sessions and just trying to get to know everybody as quick as I can.’€


‘€œIt was pretty tough. Especially when you have teammates, and you see your teammates going and you’€™re pretty much the only one left. Things happen for a reason. God does things for a reason. He brought me here, I’€™m really proud, I’€™m honored just to wear the Boston uniform.’€

“It was tough. Especially when you play with a team and an organization that’€™s been your only organization and you see your teammates going and then you’€™re just wondering if you’€™re going to be the next one. Like I said, things happen for a reason and it’€™s a good reason I’€™m going to be here with a team that’€™s always in the race and has a pretty good shot to win a World Series. That is what it’€™s all about. That’€™s why you play the game.’€


‘€œIt’€™s an honor. It’€™s an honor for me just to wear that Boston uniform. It’€™s something great. I was just talking to David, I never thinking in my life I’€™d be playing on a team like this. I’€™m ready to go out there and play, man. I’€™m excited.’€


‘€œYou know what, I just want to come back this year and be healthy. Last year, I was having a lot of pain in my body, my elbow. Thank God, everything is pretty good right now. My body feels great. Healthy. That was the biggest key for me. Just be healthy. Come back this year and be healthy.’€


‘€œMan, I always look up to Jason Varitek. He’€™s one of the best catchers in the game. I always look up to him and I really look forward to talking to him a lot. Just to be beside him and learn, I’€™ve been learning a lot of stuff from him.’€


‘€œYou know what, I don’€™t think anything about that. Like I say, I’€™m just going to be myself, play my game and if this is what we need, that’€™s it, but I’€™m not putting extra kinds of pressure on myself. This game is tough enough to put any more pressure on yourself.’€


‘€œWell, I’€™ll just try to work with them in the bullpen and work with them the quickest I can to get to know them. I’€™m looking forward to it.’€


‘€œFirst base has helped me a lot on my body. You know what, I’€™m getting used to it a little bit. I’€™m spending a little time at first.’€


‘€œI’€™ve always played against him and David has always been great for me, even when we were on opposite teams. Now that we’€™re on the same team, I was pretty excited about that. It’€™s always been great for me.’€


‘€œI like it a lot. I like to go out there and play. It’€™s always great when you play in front of fans like the fans in Boston. I always go out there and play as a visitor. I’€™m going to have a chance to play as a home club now. Those fans, they’€™re great. you play against them, they’€™re pretty tough. Now I’€™m going to have them on my side, it’€™s going to be a little easier.’€

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Epstein on Victor Martinez: ‘A Great Fit for Our Club’

07.31.09 at 8:32 pm ET
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On why the Sox went after Martinez:

We think Victor Martinez is a great fit for our club and provides a significant offensive boost, and he does it with some versatility that compliments our roster really well. He can catch and give ‘€˜Tek a little bit of a rest behind the plate and he can play first base and get some at-bats there with Youkilis’€™ versatility, and he can DH a little bit. So we thought it was a good fit for our roster and provides some offensive support and some depth at the same time.

On also going after pitching:

We were involved in some talks that could have led to some pretty good starting pitchers becoming available, but it didn’€™t turn out that way, and I don’€™t think we’€™re going to see much impactful starting pitching move in August. We like our pitching staff, and our run prevention’€™s been pretty good.

We have to do a better job than we’€™ve been doing lately, but you’€™re always looking for an impact starting pitcher if you can find one, especially this time of year, but it didn’€™t come to pass. We have a lot of pitching and I like our run prevention generally.

On trading LaRoche:

LaRoche did a nice job while he was here. We felt all along like he was the best for us if he had close to everyday at-bats, at least every day against right-handed pitching at-bats at first base, and with the addition of Victor Martinez, now there aren’€™t quite as many at-bats available at first base. With LaRoche’€™s timing mechanism with his swing and with his approach in general, he kind of needs to play to be productive, he needs to play every day or close to it, whereas Casey Kotchman has a little different approach at the plate that might play better, a little different type role, and Kotchman also is an elite defender, and somebody you could see coming into the game late for defense on days when Victor Martinez starts at first base.

On what this all means for Kottaras:

Nothing yet, obviously once the players report we’€™ll have corresponding roster moves.

On Martinez’€™ role in Boston:

As we contemplated his acquisition and talked with Tito about possible fits we all agreed what seems to make sense is a similar role to what he had in Cleveland where he had the ability to catch but not do so every single day — [it] wears his legs down — and then spend enough time at first base and DH to stay fresh, and that works for our club because Jason Varitek is and has been and will continue to be a very important part of the club and of our pitching staff.

On Martinez getting used to the new pitching staff:

It will be a process, but I think with his makeup that that should be a smooth process. He’€™s very conscientious, he’€™s the ultimate teammate, cares about winning and really does see his job when he does catch as defense first even though he provides the big bat. So he’€™s going to jump right in, he’€™s got some shared history with John Farrell, our pitching coach now. I see it as a very smooth process. It’€™s never easy in the middle of the season, but I think he’€™s going to jump right in and be up to speed pretty quickly.

Was it a frustrating day, with things that came close but didn’t work out?

Not today. In previous days we had some things working that we were really excited about, and a couple that got really close and then didn’€™t happen, but that’€™s par for the course in trade deadline season. I think we shot big on a couple things, deals that could provide maximum impact, and we were very aggressive in use of our own prospects. Those deals got close but didn’€™t happen. Maybe a foundation was laid for the offseason. Who knows? But in the end, we wanted to make sure that we had a deal that we could come back [to] and make, a deal at a reasonable acquisition cost and for a player who provides impact in his own right, and we were able to do that today, so it went somewhat according to plan where we knew if we did shoot for something really big and ended up missing, we didn’€™t want it to affect our ability to make a useful move, and that’€™s how it went down.

On dealing prospects:

Time will tell. I think generally we felt great about our depth. There were some deals that we were talking about which included giving up five or six good prospects, and even those deals, had they gone down, we looked and liked what would have remained in our system. So yeah, we feel great about what remains in our system and our ability to continue a flow of young players up to the big league level and/or use them in deals, but it hurts to give up players you believe in. Any time, it hurts.

First and foremost, Justin Masterson: this is a special individual and someone that we’€™ve come to really admire. Since he joined the organization he’€™s done nothing but affect people and influence people in a really positive way’€”his teammates, the front office, the fans’€”and accomplished a lot on the field, so it’€™s tough to see him go. Nick Hagadone: great kid who recovered from Tommy John surgery, worked really hard to get back on the field in almost record time, and just a few weeks ago was throwing the ball incredibly well, and he’€™s got a big future ahead of him, so it’€™s hard to include him in the deal as well. Bryan Price has only been in the organization for a short period of time, but another good kid who is an outstanding arm, so I think we do have a lot of depth, and especially with our pitchers, so we hope we have that organization that can afford to move pretty good arms. I think we do, but it’€™s never easy to do that, especially when you have personal attachments.

On controlling Martinez through next season:

I don’€™t think we would have moved these players, even for an impactful player back who was a free agent at the end of the season. I think having him for all of next year and having him fit next year’€™s club really well was a big part of this.

Read More: Bryan Price, Indians, justin masterson, Nick Hagadone

Breaking down the Kotchman deal

07.31.09 at 6:12 pm ET
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This morning began with rumors that the Red Sox could be after Victor Martinez and that, if such a deal were to happen, Adam LaRoche would be the odd man out. Well, Martinez was traded, as a result, so was LaRoche.

The Red Sox sent LaRoche– just six games of experience into his Boston career– to Atlanta, where he spent the first three years of his career, and in return netted 26-year-old Braves first baseman Casey Kotchman in a one-for-one deal. “Redundant” was a word that Red Sox skipper Terry Francona used to describe LaRoche’s presence after the Martinez trade, so it’s clear that the Sox were looking for a different type of first baseman, which Kotchman figures to be.

On the season, the left-handed-hitting Kotchman has a .282 average, which sets him apart from LaRoche, who is known more for his power. This marks the second consecutive year in which Kotchman was traded for a power-hitting first baseman, as he was traded last July from the Angels to Atlanta in the Mark Teixeira deal.

Given the logjam that has already been brought on by the Martinez acquisition, Kotchman will likely serve as a bench player whose defense will be of value in the later innings. However, the Red Sox undoubtedly must have also been drawn to the fact that they could send Kotchman to the minors, something that would not be an option with LaRoche unless he cleared waivers.

Trading LaRoche for Kotchman helps the Red Sox not only for the rest of the season, but also for the long haul. Kotchman may not swing as big a stick as LaRoche, but he will fit better in the part-time role and will certainly not be the rental that LaRoche was. The Red Sox will control Kotchman’s rights through the 2012 season.  LaRoche is set to hit free agency at the end of the season.

Following the trade, LaRoche, who noted that he considers himself an everyday player, said he “didn’t mind sacrificing” playing time if it meant helping the Sox.

“I’d gladly take that (part-time) role (to be in Boston),” LaRoche said, also joking that he “should have hit more homers.”

Alex Speier contributed to this report.

Read More: Kotchman, LaRoche, Martinez,

Official Press Release: Red Sox Acquire 1B Casey Kotchman

07.31.09 at 5:50 pm ET
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BOSTON, MA’€”The Red Sox today acquired first baseman Casey Kotchman from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for first baseman Adam LaRoche and cash considerations.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Kotchman, 26, will wear No. 11.  He has hit .282 (84-for-298) with 20 doubles, six home runs, 41 RBI, 28 runs scored and 32 walks in 87 games with the Braves this season. The left-handed hitter is batting .320 (24-for-75) and has posted a .427 on-base and .507 slugging percentage over 23 games in July.

Selected by Anaheim in the first round (13th overall) of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Kotchman has hit .272 (431-for-1,587) with 98 doubles, 39 home runs and 226 RBI in 481 career Major League games with the Angels (2004-08) and Braves (2008-09).  Kotchman’€™s career .998 fielding percentage at first base is the highest in baseball history among players with at least 3,500 total chances at that position.  He has played 156 consecutive games (149 starts) since he committed his last error on June 20, 2008, a span of 1,379 total chances.

Kotchman has appeared in eight postseason games with the Angels (2004, 2005 and 2007), going 2-for-15 with a double and an RBI.

LaRoche, 29, was acquired by the Red Sox on July 22 from the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He hit .263 (5-for-19) with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in six games with the Red Sox.  The left-handed hitter went 80-for-324 (.247) with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 87 games for the Pirates this season.  Selected by Atlanta in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, LaRoche owns a .269 batting average with 124 homers and 429 RBI in 781 Major League games with the Braves (2004-06), Pirates (2007-09) and Red Sox (2009).

Read More: Adam LaRoche, Casey Kotchman, Red Sox,

Price Comments on Trade to Cleveland Organization

07.31.09 at 4:56 pm ET
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Wilmington, DE (July 31, 2009) ‘€“ Bryan Price, Boston’€™s 45th overall selection in the 2008 Draft and current righthander for the Salem Red Sox, was packaged with Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone in a trade for the Cleveland Indians catcher/first-baseman Victor Martinez on Thursday afternoon.

Shortly after learning about the deal, Price spoke to Red Sox radio broadcaster Evan Lepler about his initial reaction to the move.

Evan Lepler: You were on the bus with the team and then you were called off the bus to talk on the phone. What did you think when you were called off the bus and whom did you speak to on the phone?

Bryan Price: I didn’€™t really know what to expect or what it was about. I talked to Eppy [Salem manager Chad Epperson] and he gave me the news. Getting traded for a big leaguer is usually a good thing for a person’€™s career so I gotta think this is gonna be pretty good for me and I’€™m pretty excited about it.

EL: After you found out, you got back on the bus. What was it like to hear the combination of joking, applause, and jeers from your former teammates?

BP: They’€™re a good group of guys. I’€™ve had a really fun time with them. I’€™m gonna miss them all. You build bonds with them and they like to give you a hard time, but they’€™re really happy for you in the end.

EL: Did you think about the possibility of you being traded at all this past week?

BP: Ya know, it’€™s always a possibility, but it’€™s something you really don’€™t expect. But when it happens it happens, and it’€™s something you can be happy about.

EL: Have you thought at all about pitching against some of these guys (current Salem Red Sox players) if you end up in Kinston (Cleveland’€™s Advanced-A affiliate)?

BP: No (laughs), it’€™s just kind of setting in. I just found out 15 minutes ago. So I’€™m just starting to get a grasp on it all. It’€™ll be interesting. We play each other in a week, so we’€™ll find out if we get to do it or not.

EL: Have you been contacted yet by anyone in the Indians organization yet?

BP: No, not yet. I haven’€™t talked to anyone yet regarding details of where I’€™m going or anything like that. That all will get settled when it does.

EL: Is it strange that you’€™ve spent a year and a half in one organization and now you’€™re going to another?

BP: It’€™s a little different. I’€™ve always loved the Red Sox and it’€™s been a great organization. It’€™s gonna be different making that transition but baseball is baseball, and baseball is a business as far as this goes. So I’€™m looking forward to it. I think this will be a good experience for me.

Price began the season with Greenville and made eight starts for the Drive, compiling a 3-2 record with a 2.45 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and 10 walks. In 11 starts for Salem, Price went 1-6 with a 6.54 ERA, recording 57 strikeouts and 19 walks. The righthander spent three years at Rice University before the Red Sox drafted him with their supplemental round selection in 2008. In his pro debut in 2008, Price went 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) for the Lowell Spinners, racking up 43 Ks and only 10 walks.

Read More: Bryan Price, Indians, Red Sox,

Official Press Release: Red Sox Acquire Victor Martinez from Cleveland Indians

07.31.09 at 4:53 pm ET
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BOSTON, MA’€”The Boston Red Sox today acquired catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez in a trade from the Cleveland Indians for right-handed pitchers Justin Masterson and Bryan Price and left-handed pitcher Nick Hagadone.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Martinez, 30, will wear No. 41. He is batting .284 with 15 home runs in 99 games with Cleveland in 2009 and is tied for ninth in the American League with 67 RBI. He has reached base safely in 81 of 99 games this season and ranks 16th in the league with 51 walks. He is fourth among A.L. switch hitters with a .368 on-base percentage and combined to bat .350 in the months of April and May, fourth in the league during that time.

He was named an All-Star for the third time in his career this season and has appeared in 52 games (51 starts) as a catcher and 47 games (44 starts) at first base. He has not made an error in 299 total chances behind the plate and leads all qualifying Major League catchers with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Martinez has a .992 fielding percentage at first base. He has thrown out 21.4 percent (122-for-569) of attempted base stealers in his career and ranks seventh in the A.L. with a 4.24 catcher ERA since 2005.

Originally signed by the Indians as a non-drafted free agent in 1996, he has a career Major League average of .297 with 103 home runs and 518 RBI in 821 games with Cleveland from 2002-09. He leads the Majors with 153 doubles and 406 RBI as a catcher since the start of the 2004 campaign and ranks among that group in batting average (3rd, .296), on-base percentage (4th, .369), slugging (4th, .466) homers (T-4th, 82), runs (5th, 324) and walks (5th, 269).

The 2004 Silver Slugger Award winner is a career .303 hitter off right-handers with a .284 clip against lefties. He went 14-for-44 (.318) with two home runs and seven RBI in his only playoff experience for Cleveland in 2007.

Masterson, 24, was 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 games (six starts) this season. Boston’€™s fifth pick (71st overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft made his Major League debut last season and owns a 9-8 career record and 3.76 ERA in 67 games (15 starts). He set a club rookie record with nine post-season appearances in 2008, going 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA.

Hagadone, 23, was taken by the Red Sox with their first pick (55th overall) in the 2007 draft. He was 0-2 with a 2.52 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 14 walks in 10 starts for Single-A Greenville this year. The University of Washington product owns a 1-4 record and 1.82 ERA in 23 career minor league starts in Boston’€™s system.

Price, 22, combined to go 4-8 with a 4.67 ERA, 97 strikeouts and 31 walks in 19 starts with Single-A Greenville and Advanced Single-A Salem. Boston’€™s second selection (45th overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft made his professional debut last season and is 5-11 with a 4.42 ERA in 31 career minor league games (28 starts).

Read More: Cleveland Indians, Red Sox, victor martinez,

Report: Halladay stays put

07.31.09 at 4:30 pm ET
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Joel Sherman says Roy Halladay was not traded before today’s 4 p.m. deadline.

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Rumor Mill: Peavy to White Sox, take two

07.31.09 at 4:28 pm ET
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Jon Heyman tweets the White Sox have traded for Jake Peavy for the second time this season. He vetoed a deal in May but has approved today’s move, according to Corey Brock. Peavy is on the DL with a torn ankle tendon.

UPDATE: It appears Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter and Adam Russell are going to San Diego in the deal.

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