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Source: ‘Doubtful’ Red Sox sign pitcher to major league deal

01.25.11 at 4:58 pm ET
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While the Red Sox have not ruled out any more signings this offseason, a team source on Tuesday characterized it as “doubtful” that the team would sign a pitcher to a major league contract. That echoes the thoughts of GM Theo Epstein earlier this month.

‘€œFor the most part we feel good about the team we’€™re bringing to spring,’€ Epstein said in mid-January. “I think our big moves are probably over, but you never say never.”

The Red Sox were reported by Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com (via twitter) to have interest in left-hander Joe Beimel, but if the Sox are indeed pursuing the southpaw specialist, it is unlikely that the team would be offering him anything other than a minor league contract. 

Beimel, 33, made 71 appearances for the Rockies last season, posting a 3.40 earned run average and a 1.36 WHIP over 45 innings. He finished the season with 21 holds and one blown save. Over the last three years, he has a 3.01 ERA in 149 1/3 innings, having punched out 5.3 batters per nine innings with a 1.6 strikeout-to-walk rate, establishing him as a lefty specialist who gets southpaws out with bad contact rather than strikeouts.

Beimel has signed late in spring training in each of the last two seasons, having agreed to a one-year, $850,000 deal with the Rockies last March 23 and having signed with the Nationals on a one-year deal on March 18, 2009.

Though he signed late last year in spring training, the Rockies had actually acquired him from the Nationals at the July 31 trade deadline in 2009. The journeyman has also pitched in the Rangers, Pirates, Twins, Rays and Dodgers organizations. Over his 10-year career, Beimel has tossed 562 1/3 innings through 532 appearances. He’s compiled a 4.16 ERA and 1.48 career WHIP with 315 strikeouts.

Read More: Hot Stove, Joe Beimel,

Boggs, Ripken named to International League Hall of Fame

01.25.11 at 2:01 pm ET
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Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken added to their Hall of Fame resumes. The two players, whose careers landed them spots in Cooperstown, were elected to the International League Hall of Fame for their excellence while in Triple-A.

Boggs spent both 1980 and 1981 in Pawtucket, where he hit .322 with a .418 OBP, .416 slugging mark and .834 OPS. He hit just six homers in Triple-A, but in 1981, he developed extra-base power as a 23-year-old, hitting 41 doubles for the PawSox. In 1980, he hit .306, losing the batting title by .0007 points. He then led the International League in average (.335) and doubles in 1981.

Ripken joined Boggs in the International League in 1981, hitting .288 (fourth in the league) with a .383 OBP, .535 slugging mark and .919 OPS with 23 homers and 75 RBI, finishing in the top five in most offensive categories despite being — at age 20 — the youngest position player in the International League.

Boggs and Ripken both participated in the epic 33-inning game between the PawSox and the Rochester Red Wings, the longest game in the history of organized professional baseball. The first 32 innings took place on April 18 before the contest was finished on June 23, when Pawtucket plated a run to claim a 3-2 walkoff win.

The next year, in 1982, Ripken won the American League Rookie of the Year award with the Orioles while Boggs finished third in the balloting (behind runner-up Kent Hrbek) as a member of the Red Sox.

Boggs and Ripken were joined in this year’s International League Hall of Fame class by former Yankees prospect Steve Balboni, remembered for prodigious home runs and an equally prodigious mustache. Balboni led the Interational League in 1981 with 33 homers and 98 RBI while hitting .247/.337/.532/.870 for Columbus. Balboni played parts of the next two years in Triple-A as well, hitting a league-leading 32 homers (in just 83 games) in 1982 and 27 in 1983.

Boggs will be inducted formally into the Hall of Fame at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium sometime in the coming season.

Read More: cal ripken, hall of fame, international league, steve balboni

Red Sox Review: Dustin Pedroia

01.25.11 at 8:32 am ET
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* – Pedroia loves to face: Joba Chamberlain – 10-for-19 (.526), 1 HR
                           Scott Kazmir – 20-for-42 (.476), 3 HR
                           Cole Hamels – 5-for-10 (.500)

* – Pedroia hates to face: Mariano Rivera – 0-for-10, 5 strikeouts
                           CC Sabathia – 3-for-28 (.107), 8 strikeouts
                           Jered Weaver – 3-for-22 (.136), 5 strikeouts

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* – Doesn’t matter for the time being: Pedroia has faced now-teammate John Lackey 30 times in his career without striking out, the most plate appearances by any batter against Lackey without a strikeout.

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* – Pedroia hit three home runs on June 24 in Colorado last season. It was the first three-homer game of his career and the first one ever by a Red Sox second baseman on the road, and the first anywhere by a Sox’ second sacker since Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr hit three in 1950 at Fenway. It was the first time that an opposing middle infielder had ever hit three bombs in a game against the Rockies, home or away.

Note this: It was just the sixth time that a Red Sox infielder has hit three home runs in a road game, the last one being Bill Mueller’s three jacks at Texas during the 2003 season.

And this: Pedroia’s third home run came in the 10th inning, a two-run shot. Prior to that, he had come to bat in his career with a total of 28 runners on base in extra innings and had not driven in any of them.

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* – Pedroia hit 12 home runs despite only 302 at-bats in 2010, a career best 25.2 at-bats per home run, the fourth lowest/best single season mark ever by a Red Sox second baseman (min. 300 AB):

14.2 – Felix Mantilla, 1964
19.5 – Bobby Doerr, 1948
21.7 – Bobby Doerr, 1950
25.2 – Dustin Pedroia, 2010

Pedroia’s previous career best mark was 38.4 AB/HR, set in 2008.

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

Ex-Sox minor leaguers Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo top Padres prospect list

01.24.11 at 4:02 pm ET
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When the Red Sox made the dramatic decision to conclude a blockbuster trade with the Padres for superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, they were never under any illusions that they were pulling the wool over the Padres’ eyes. To the contrary, the Sox recognized that in order to acquire the three-time All-Star, they would have to part with some of the most talented prospects in their system.

“We always try to stay away from our core group of prospects [in trades]. The only time we’€™ve included them in deals has been when there’€™s an obvious, impact player coming back that fits a clear need for the foreseeable future. The only two times that I think we’€™ve done that were in the original [Josh] Beckett trade (in which the Sox dealt Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez] and this one with Adrian,” Sox Assistant GM Ben Cherington said recently. “You can’€™t do that type of thing all the time, partly because you don’€™t have the minor league talent to do that all the time, partly because those opportunities just don’€™t come around all the time.”

The potential cost in prospects gained further definition on Monday, when Baseball America released its rankings of the Padres’ top prospects. Right-hander Casey Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo — two of the three prospects dealt by the Red Sox to San Diego in exchange for Gonzalez — were named the top two prospects in the Padres farm system by Baseball America. Outfielder Reymond Fuentes, the third prospect in the deal, was named San Diego’s No. 4 overall prospect.

Kelly was ranked as the Sox’ top prospect by Baseball America, while Rizzo was ranked No. 3 and Fuentes No. 6. The publication suggested that Kelly will reach Triple-A Tucson this year, with a big league ETA of 2012, while Rizzo is expected to spend most of this year in Triple-A while positioning himself to compete for the job of Padres’ starting first baseman by early 2012. Fuentes, 20, is viewed as more raw than his counterparts (whereas Kelly spent all of 2010 in Double-A Portland and Rizzo spent most of the season at that level, Fuentes remained in Single-A Greenville all year), but he is described as being more advanced than Jacoby Ellsbury at a similar stage of his career.

For a more detailed look at the three prospects who netted the Sox Gonzalez, click here.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo, casey kelly, Padres

Source: Mike Napoli wasn’t on Red Sox’ radar to be full-time catcher

01.21.11 at 9:44 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox weren’t interested in dealing for catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli after they acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The Sox, who had claimed Napoli off waivers in August, viewed the 29-year-old more of first baseman and third catcher than full-time backstop.

Napoli was dealt to the Blue Jays Friday night along with outfielder Juan Rivera in exchange for outfielder Vernon Wells. Napoli is in his third offseason of being arbitration-eligible, and will be eligible for free agency following the 2011 season. In 140 games he hit .238 with 26 home runs, playing 70 games at first base and 66 behind the plate.

Despite the fact Wells is owned $86 million over the next four seasons ($23 million, and $21 million each season after that through ’14), the Blue Jays weren’t forced to send any money to the Angels in the deal.

For more Red Sox news, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Red Sox extend contract with Portland Sea Dogs

01.21.11 at 5:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs, whose Player Development Contract was set to expire after the 2012 season, extended their agreement for two more years, thus meaning that the Sox’ Double-A affiliate will remain in Portland through at least the 2014 season.

Here is the press release announcing the agreement:

The Boston Red Sox and Portland (ME) Sea Dogs today announced the extension of their Player Development Contract (PDC) for an additional two years. The extension keeps the Red Sox Eastern League Double-A affiliate in Portland through the 2014 season.

Red Sox Director of Player Development Mike Hazen and Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach made the announcement.

‘€œWe are delighted to extend our relationship with the Portland Sea Dogs for an additional two seasons,’€ said Hazen. ‘€œWe are extremely fortunate to work with some of the best people in minor league baseball in Portland. The Burke family, Charlie Eshbach, and the entire Sea Dogs organization always go above and beyond to provide support to our players and staff. With the Sea Dogs, our minor leaguers experience the ideal environment to succeed and grow.’€

The Red Sox originally entered into an agreement with the Sea Dogs following the 2002 season when Portland changed affiliations from the Florida Marlins. At that time, a likeness of Fenway Park‘€™s Green Monster was erected at Hadlock Field and the skyboxes were renamed in honor of former Red Sox legendary hitters. The PDC was last extended with a four-year extension through 2012 in July 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: player development contract, Portland Sea Dogs,

Jed Lowrie: ‘In my mind, I’m an everyday player’

01.21.11 at 12:34 pm ET
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Speaking prior to the 72nd annual awards dinner for the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie said the Red Sox haven’t spoken to him about his specific role heading into spring training, but that the 26-year-old is entering camp with the idea that he is more than just a part-time player.

“In my mind, I’m an everyday player,” he said. “In the last two years, if I’ve learned anything it’s to be prepared and be prepared to perform, and then everything will take care of itself. I’ve won the job [in spring training of 2009] and then needed surgery. I’ve had so many questions over the last two years, I’m just going to be prepared.

“I haven’t really talked to them about [a role], but I’m going to prepare myself to be the everyday player I know I am.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Thursday that he expects Marco Scutaro to be the team’s starting shortstop, but was pleased with the progress of Lowrie heading into the new season.

‘€œI think we’€™re thrilled,’€ Francona said of Lowrie’€™s recovery from a wrist injury and mono. ‘€œThis kid went through a lot. He had the wrist injury, had mono, was in Fort Myers for the whole first half of the year. We didn’€™t see him. Then he comes up and gets an opportunity because we had a lot of guys beat up, and he hits the ball all over the ballpark, and he has the ability to play four different infield positions. So rather than worry about an infield competition, because Scutaro is our shortstop, this guy gives us something that I don’€™t know how many teams can say they have.’€

Lowrie, who sat out much of the season with mononucleosis, explained that the 55 games he did get a chance to appear in during the ’10 season has helped build confidence heading into ’11. After coming back on July 21, the infielder hit .287, with nine home runs and an OPS of .907. Perhaps most impressive was the switch-hitter’s performance against right-handed pitching, which he hit .250 against with four homers, a dramatic improvement from when he struggled partly due to a wrist injury.

“With all the circumstances under consideration it was probably two of the best months of baseball that I’ve had in a really long time,” Lowrie said. “I feel like I can play like that over an extended period of time, but that’s just a matter of me continuing to stay healthy and being on the field.”

Lowrie also relayed his optimism regarding not having to worry about the mononucleosis, which put him out of action starting in early March last year. He gives a great amount of credit to the Atlanta-based specialists he has conferred with throughout the recovery process.

“It’s just been about maintaining my health and getting my strength and conditioning back to where it needs to be,” Lowrie said. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of change in my routine, but rather just a different in the quality I’ve been able to put in. I’m certainly stronger. I feel like I’m in better shape conditioning wise.

“I’m just trying to stay on top of living healthy and making sure my body has the best chance to fight that stuff off. I’m doing some really simple stuff that really helps. Before [the right nutrition] was more a general thing, now it’s more specific for my body. It’s exactly what I need, as opposed to a multi-vitamin that I might get over the counter.”

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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