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Adrian Gonzalez takes major step Sunday

03.06.11 at 1:30 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ Adrian Gonzalez continued his progress from offseason shoulder surgery on Sunday morning, taking batting practice on the field for the first time this spring.

“I’ve been feeling good the whole time and it felt good to get out there,” Gonzalez said. “It was really good.”

Gonzalez took 25 swings (give or take, media counts had it at 25 but Gonzalez wasn’t sure) in his five rounds of BP, driving the ball to all parts of the field. In his final five swings, Gonzalez hit three balls over the 330-foot right-field fence. He hit in a group with David Ortiz, Carl Crawford and Kevin Youkilis, all of whom seemed impressed with the effort.

(Not everyone was overwhelmed. Dustin Pedroia said it was about time Gonzalez showed up. “We traded half our farm system for the guy,” he said jokingly.)

Gonzalez — who took 80 swings in a batting cage on Friday — was more concerned with making sure he was taking quality swings as opposed to hitting the ball out of the park.

‘€œI don’€™t really care about that,” Gonzalez said.”I’€™m just trying to put a good swing on the ball, feel like I’€™m on top of the ball and through it. For me, it’€™s more important how the ball goes to left-center and if I’€™m getting that good backspin or cutting my swing off a little bit. I felt good, but there were some swings where I was coming off it a tad. You still want to be able to work on that, and I’€™ll be able to work on that in the cage and take it on to my swing.’€

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Morning Sox Notes: Doubront feeling good

03.06.11 at 9:48 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla – The Red Sox (some of them, anyway) will travel to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets on Sunday afternoon. Here’s the lineup:

Scutaro, 6

Kalish, 8

Lowrie, 4

Nava, DH

Reddick, 9

Anderson, 3

Middlebrooks, 5

Linares, 7

Exposito, 2

Michael Bowden will get the start for the Sox in place of Jon Lester, who was kept back after being hit with the flu bug. Lester was in the clubhouse at Fort Myers on Sunday morning, however, and said he was feeling better. It is expected that he’ll throw a simulated game when he is fully recovered.

Felix Doubront threw for the first time Saturday since being shut down on February 24 with tightness in his pitching elbow. Though Doubront recognized the need to be patient during the rehabilitation process, he was optimistic on Sunday morning.

“I threw yesterday and it was good, really good.” Doubront said. “Sixty feet, 25 throws. Felt good to throw, pretty good. Loose. I’ve been doing some mound work, you know, so my shoulder felt pretty good too.

“It’s a lot of progress, but I just have to wait and do my throwing program for a couple of weeks. I go 90 [feet], 120, 30, 150 … and then bullpen. Just take it slowly and go little by little. We just want to take and slow and see.”

Sticking to the day after theme, Alfredo Aceves felt no pain in his back or hip — injuries that kept him on the sidelines for most of last year with the Yankees — on Sunday after throwing three innings against the Orioles on Saturday. Aceves allowed one unearned run and a pair of hits in his three innings.

Ex-Sox Brian Daubach expected to be superprospect Bryce Harper’s first manager

03.06.11 at 3:00 am ET
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Brian Daubach scrapped his way to a solid career with the Red Sox. He survived in an industry that handed him nothing, despite having any number of doors shut in his face, whether releases by several teams or his expulsion from the MLB Players’ Association for crossing the lines to play as a replacement player during the 1994-95 strike.

His big league career was radically different from the one that a No. 1 overall pick might follow. And it was for that reason, wrote Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post in this excellent piece, that the Washington Nationals wanted Daubach to be the first minor league manager of their uber-prospect, Bryce Harper.

Harper is the power-hitting prodigy who was taken with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Nationals at age 17. He signed a major league deal, and so he is in major league camp with Washington. But he is expected to start his minor league career with Single-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, the team that Daubach was hired to manage in no small part because the Nats considered him a perfect player to help familiarize Harper with a professional setting.

“With all he’s been through,” Nationals farm director Doug Harris said of Daubach in the Washington Post story, “there won’t be too many questions asked that he hasn’t faced. He’s been in some tough places in his career.”

To read the complete story, click here.

Read More: brian daubach, bryce harper, hagerstown suns, washington nationals

Saturday roundup: Red Sox stacking chips in the middle of the diamond

03.06.11 at 2:19 am ET
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It was a dazzling day for the Red Sox middle infield. But no, it wasn’t about Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro, or even Jed Lowrie.

The standout performances were delivered instead by a pair of players who are barely old enough to drink legally in their place of work. Top Red Sox prospect Jose Iglesias went 3-for-4, and is now hitting .429 this spring. Oscar Tejeda went 3-for-5, driving in three and collecting his second two-run triple in as many days. Two of the hits — including the triple — came against starter Brad Bergeson in a 4-4 tie between the Orioles and a split-squad Sox ensemble (the other split squad was shelled in an 11-2 loss to the Marlins in Fort Myers).

Both players, at 21 years old, have been turning heads in camp. Iglesias is doing so for the second straight year, as he routinely turns in remarkable plays in the field and has shown a high-contact, line drive-producing approach at the plate. Tejeda, meanwhile, has commanded attention this spring as a player whom one talent evaluator suggested reminded him physically more of Terrell Owens than a second baseman; his bat speed points to a potentially above-average offensive second baseman.

It is, of course, early in the spring, and it would be a mistake to draw sweeping conclusions about the talents of either based on a couple of exhibition games. Moreover, the two players are unlikely to alter significantly their developmental paths no matter what they do this spring. Tejeda, who spent all of last year in Hi-A Salem, is all but certain to open this year at Double-A Portland. Iglesias, meanwhile, will be given more time to develop in the minors.

Even so, the two represent a significant development in the Red Sox organization, insofar as they create the possibility that the Sox will feature unusual middle infield depth, something that gives the team plenty of options.

Dustin Pedroia, of course, is entrenched at second base, and under contract through 2014 (with the Sox holding an option on him for the 2015 season). In coming years, that means that Tejeda will either represent a solid in-house alternative should the 2008 MVP suffer another injury, offer the team a potentially significant trade chip (assuming, of course, that he is able to carry his promising 2010 performance forward) or give the team a player whose athleticism could permit a move to the outfield should the need arise.

As for Iglesias, the Sox have scribbled him in as their starting shortstop come 2012. But, depending on his performance this year, he could position himself to make an impact at some point in the 2011 season as well. The pace of his development this year, then, could influence what kind of flexibility the Sox might have to deal either Jed Lowrie or Marco Scutaro as the season progresses and needs get defined.

Spring performances mean little in their own right. That said, they can hint at the future shape of the team, and early returns suggest that the team could have a set of options with its middle infield depth that few others can claim.

OTHER NOTES Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: alfredo aceves, carl crawford, Daisuke Matsuzaka, dennys reyes

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggles vs. Marlins

03.05.11 at 4:42 pm ET
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Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled Saturday against the Marlins, while Alfredo Aceves was strong against the Orioles on a busy Saturday for the Red Sox.

Matsuzka allowed six hits and seven runs over three innings to Florida. He struck out one, walked two and allowed a two-run homer to DeWayne Wise.

Aceves, meanwhile, allowed just an unearned run against the Orioles in a game the teams would eventually tie, 4-4. The lone run came in his fourth and final inning of work. Oscar Tejeda had his second straight game with a two-run triple (for more on Tejeda, click here).

Read More: alfredo aceves, Daisuke Matsuzaka, oscar tejeda,

Morning Red Sox notes: The flu bug cometh

03.05.11 at 11:05 am ET
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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.

Read More: Brent Dlugach, darnell mcdonald, felix doubront, J.D Drew

Red Sox-Yankees Postgame Notes: Buchholz builds, Iglesias dazzles

03.04.11 at 10:25 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, jose iglesias, juan carlos linares, oscar tejeda

Josh Beckett ‘pretty much back to normal’

03.04.11 at 5:01 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Josh Beckett,

Adrian Gonzalez takes another step forward

03.04.11 at 4:58 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: adrian gonzalez,

Carl Crawford on the Yankees: ‘I don’t think they were really interested’

03.04.11 at 12:03 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ The first sight of the Yankees uniforms Friday night in Tampa don’€™t figure to have its usual effect on Red Sox fans. Reason: Their team won the offseason this time around.

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.

‘€œMe and the Yankees, we had no connection,’€ Crawford said. ‘€œI 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.

‘€œIf 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.

‘€œI 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.

‘€œIf 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.

‘€œI 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.

‘€œThat’€™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.’€

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