|03.05.11 at 11:05 am ET|
The Red Sox will play a pair of split-squad games on Saturday, with one group remaining in Fort Myers to host the Marlins and another deploying to Sarasota to take on the Orioles. Outfielder J.D. Drew was scheduled to make the trip to Sarasota, but he was instead told to stay at home after getting hit with a flu bug.
A virus is apparently making the proverbial rounds, also having claimed pitcher Jon Lester, whom manager Terry Francona said will probably miss his scheduled Sunday start against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. The team will likely have Lester throw a simulated game when he is healthy enough to do so. Assuming Lester misses his start, Michael Bowden — who was scheduled to pitch in relief on Sunday — would instead get the ball as the starter.
A few other morning notes:
–Infielder Brent Dlugach was examined by Dr. Thomas Gill, who confirmed the initial MRI diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder. That will likely sideline him for much of spring training, but Francona was able to point to another player to offer hope for the 28-year-old.
“Darnell McDonald is a good example of that,” Francona told reporters. “He was frustrated last spring [after missing most of the exhibition calendar with a strained oblique], but he did his work and got healthy and went and played real well. We’re not going to write guys off because they got hurt. But they have to get healthy or they can’t do what they’re supposed to do.’
–Left-hander Felix Doubront will play catch on Saturday, and if all goes well, he will begin a throwing program.
|03.04.11 at 10:25 pm ET|
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz had a productive day in his second start of the spring. The 26-year-old allowed one hit and two walks in three shutout innings, striking out a pair of batters while getting five groundball outs.
His command was shaky at times, as he threw just 24 of his 45 pitches for strikes. Even so, he viewed the outing — in which he faced most of the Yankees regulars — as productive.
“I looked at [the lineup], and I was like, ‘Man, another All-Star team.’ But it was good going out there and facing guys like this every other time out. It’s not fun if you don’t have your stuff and are not locating, but it definitely makes you better because this is a time to get better and work on your pitches,” Buchholz told reporters. “I feel like the pitches are there. I’ve just got to work on the command of a couple of pitches and try to stay in the rhythm a little bit better.”
–Shortstop Jose Iglesias offered an impressive performance. Most notably, he made a dazzling play up the middle, gloving the ball while diving, hopping back to his feet and gaining enough balance to uncork a strong throw to first to record the out. He also went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Perhaps as notably, he took a walk, something he did just 17 times in 328 plate appearances in his first pro season.
–A pair of Yankees pitchers turned in impressive performances. Former Red Sox pitcher Bartolo Colon, who last pitched in the majors in 2009, struck out five in three shutout innings. He was followed by 19-year-old left-handed prospect Manny Banuelos, who allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in two innings.
–Iglesias was one of several Red Sox international prospects to turn in strong performances. Juan Carlos Linares (like Iglesias, from Cuba) went 2-for-2 with a double and RBI, while Oscar Tejeda went 2-for-2 with a two-run triple and RBI single.
|03.04.11 at 5:01 pm ET|
Josh Beckett, who was scratched from his scheduled spring training start on Thursday after having suffered a mild concussion earlier in the week, threw 40 pitches in a simulated three-inning outing in Fort Myers on Friday.
Beckett told reporters that he “felt good” and mixed in all his pitches while throwing to right- and left-handed minor leaguers. He felt that the 40-pitch workload, coupled with the up-and-down of simulated innings, served as a meaningful buildup of arm strength, and he said that he anticipates making a Grapefruit League start on Tuesday in a split-squad game against the Astros.
For more on Beckett’s simulated outing, click here.
|03.04.11 at 4:58 pm ET|
He still has not taken batting practice on the field, and to this point, there is no set date for the first game appearance of Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Nonetheless, he continues to make steady progress — and indeed, to remain ahead of schedule — in his push to be ready for the start of the 2011 season.
Gonzalez continued to ramp up his workload on Friday, taking 80 swings in a batting cage, including some against batting practice pitching. It marked the first time that Gonzalez had progressed forward from tee work and flips this spring, and also represented a slight bump over his scheduled 75-swing session.
“If at any point I feel anything, I’m going to stop,” Gonzalez told reporters. “The fact that I didn’t feel anything and [trainer] Mike [Reinold] was okay with me taking five more [swings than scheduled, that’s a good sign.”
Gonzalez is treating his rehab progression in his recovery from shoulder surgery last October as a day-to-day affair. As such, he has not targeted a specific date for getting into a game.
“I don’t like to set deadlines,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I don’t like to think of a day and say, ‘This day I have to get here.’ Then you’re not going off of what I feel. It’s just not healthy.”
|03.04.11 at 12:03 pm ET|
At the heart of the Sox’ winter victory is Carl Crawford. But, as it turns out, when it comes to the Yankees potentially swooping in and snatching Crawford in a free-agent frenzy, the Red Sox had nothing to worry about.
‘Me and the Yankees, we had no connection,’ Crawford said. ‘I don’t think they were really interested. If the Yankees want somebody they go out and get them, don’t they?’
One of the reasons that has led Crawford to the conclusion that New York had little to no interest is the lack of phone calls emanating from the Yankees. Torii Hunter was putting the full-court press on from the Angels’ side of thing, while both Red Sox manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein made their visit to Crawford’s home in Houston.
New York? Nothing. The outfielder took notice.
And then there was the notion that the Red Sox had to lock up Crawford before Cliff Lee made his decision because if the free-agent pitcher didn’t choose the Yanks then Boston would be getting in a bidding war it wouldn’t win.
According to Crawford, that timetable was never an option.
‘If they would have come in the time ‘¦ I wasn’t going to wait another week when what I wanted was there and what [the Red Sox] was there. There was no reason to wait around another week,’ the outfielder explained.
‘I didn’t think I was going [to New York] after it was clear they were going after Cliff Lee. Before the season started you don’t know who is going to do what. But as the season went on it was clear that Cliff Lee was who they were going after. I wasn’t setting my sights on New York anymore.
‘If we came to an agreement with Boston I knew I was going to sign. I wasn’t going to wait around for anybody else.’
Was he surprised the Yankees didn’t make any sort of offer while their negotiations with Lee unfolded.
‘I didn’t know because they are the Yankees, so you can’t really say they weren’t going to. But I wasn’t saying, ‘OK, the Yankees are THE team,’’ Crawford said.
‘That’s a good team, too. My thing was I wanted to be on a good team. That was pretty much the main thing, besides the money. People say it was cold here and all that, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking about what team I would be on, what group of guys I was going to be with for the next five, six, or however many years I was going to sign with.’
|03.04.11 at 11:35 am ET|
Mike Port, who had served as the Vice President of Umpiring for Major League Baseball, was informed that due to a restructuring of departments, his position would be eliminated.
Port had occupied his position since leaving the Red Sox in 2005, for whom he had served as the Vice President of Baseball Operations. In 2002, when the current Red Sox ownership group took over, Port was elevated to the position of interim general manager, replacing former Sox GM Dan Duquette.
As VP of Umpiring, Port had overseen regulations such as pace of game edicts and he also bore responsibility for grading the umpires’ ball and strike performances.
|03.03.11 at 7:51 pm ET|
Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal wrote a touching story about the generosity of Yankees players in support of Bridget Johnson, the daughter of Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson. Bridget Johnson, 11, lost her leg after a car ran into her while she was riding a horse near her home in Tennessee last year.
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long had played for Ron Johnson in the minor leagues in the 1990s and, while few New York players had a personal connection to the Johnsons, at Long’s behest, they nevertheless collected what the story describes as “significant checks” in support of the Johnson family as they struggled with medical bills.
From the story:
“We got out of the hospital, we got home, and one day this package showed up from the Yankees,” Johnson said.
Johnson opened it, curious, his wife Daphane nearby.
“I said, ‘Huh?’ And it was from Kevin. With a little note, saying ‘I never forgot what you did for me, and I hope this helps.’ It was incredible. I showed it to Daphane, she started crying,” Johnson said.
Since then, some Yankee players have kept up on Bridget’s progress, prodding Long for updates, Jorge Posada said.
Joe McDonald of ESPN.com also detailed the Yankees’ generosity, noting how grateful Johnson is that the competition between the two clubs does not extend off the field.
“Yeah, it’s a rivalry, but it makes everything so much clearer that there’s baseball and then there’s the human aspect,” Johnson said. “I know there’s stuff that happens on the field, but they’re human beings, and it’s real neat [what they did].
“As I’ve seen more than anybody, the support I’ve had from the Red Sox organization is unbelievable. This was just another piece — a phenomenal deed. Amazing.”
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