|07.06.11 at 7:30 pm ET|
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|07.06.11 at 5:34 pm ET|
Wednesday was one of those extraordinarily busy days at Fenway, where news came fast and furious.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the series finale with the Blue Jays that the team is hopeful to have star left fielder Carl Crawford back shortly after the All-Star break. Crawford has been on the disabled list since June 18 with a strained left hamstring.
“I talked to Carl today, he’s doing really well,” Francona said. “It’s not etched in stone but I think what we’re going to do is wait till the All-Star break and then let him go play a couple of games when the break is over and then maybe join us in Baltimore rather than try to get him back here for a Sunday.”
Click here to listen to Francona discuss the Carl Crawford situation.
Crawford was batting .243 with six homers and 31 RBIs in 64 games in his first season with the Red Sox before he came up lame against the Padres, running out a ground ball on June 17.
The Red Sox open a series on natural grass at Camden Yards on July 18 against the Orioles and Francona indicated the team would prefer that instead of rushing him back immediately after the break, when the Red Sox open the second half at Tampa Bay against the Rays on artificial turf.
“Give him four days off and then let him go on turf and, I don’t know if that’s in anybody’s best interest,” Francona added. “As important as his legs are, we’ve got a chance to really not mess this up.”
Francona said Crawford did not object at all to a brief minor league stint after the break to get his timing back.
“He actually wanted the at-bats,” Francona said. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.06.11 at 4:18 pm ET|
Before the interview got serious, Francona was asked how many pieces of gum he chews per game.
“It’s probably 30 every couple of innings,” Francona said. “It’s not good. It’s gotten so bad, because I’m doing it so much I start gagging and I’ve got to get rid of it. It’s a bad, bad habit.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.
I’m kissing up to you Tito when I say this, but the greatest Red Sox manager in history. I think the facts will document me on that.
Is that the way you’re starting the interview? I’m getting nervous.
Boy I’ll tell you, what a game, what an ending that was last night. [Tom] Curran wants to ask you all about that huge play at the plate, but I want to ask you quickly before we get started on the serious part of the interview how many, seriously, how many pieces of bubble gum do you go through in one game?
Too many. Obviously, everybody knows I have a little bit of a tobacco problem, but I try to kind of cover it up. The gum ends up going in my mouth before I even know it. It’s ball one, ball two and I don’t even realize I’m putting it in. It’s a horrible habit, and when the season’s over I don’t do it. But during the season unless guys are going to never throw balls, I don’t see how I’m going to quit.
|07.06.11 at 1:59 pm ET|
MLB Network and NESN analyst Peter Gammons joined the Mut & Merloni show on Wednesday to discuss the state of affairs with the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is scheduled to go to Charlotte on Wednesday to seek a third opinion on his back injury. Both Gammons and the Red Sox are confident that it will be the same as the first two and just be a muscular problem. Gammons does note the Sox need it to be muscular so they can get Buchholz back in their rotation.
“For the Red Sox, they have to hope so,” Gammons said. “It will be very difficult for them to even be in the playoffs without Buchholz, [Jon] Lester and [Josh] Beckett pitching well. They are all extraordinary pitchers. ‘¦ They have to hope he comes back. I kept being reassured yesterday that it is going to work out, but you just don’t know about these things until they go out there. It’s an issue.”
Gammons clarified his comments last week that he made about John Lackey and the possibility of having Tommy John surgery. It was more speculation because of the recent surgeries to Rich Hill and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“What if he needs [Tommy John surgery] because he has had elbow problems? And we’ve seen with Rich Hill and Daisuke Matsuzaka and so many guys, once you have that elbow problem and it’s a little better with a shot, you’re still saying is this a possibility,” Gammons said. “Any of these injuries can happen to anyone once you’ve been hurt. It’s something that you worry about, particularly because his arm speed has not been what it has been in the past and he hasn’t really gotten the ball down with that consistency. That is not to say that he is going to need Tommy John surgery, but this is a perplexing problem.”
|07.06.11 at 1:42 pm ET|
The Pirates haven’t finished a season with a winning record in nearly two decades. Now, as the 2011 season approaches its halfway point, the Bucs have a chance to end that trend, sitting at 45-41, second in the NL Central Division. Despite Pittsburgh having 10 players on the disabled list, this could be the first year in a long time in which the team will look to buy at the trade deadline, according to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Manager Clint Hurdle announced that management will sit down on Wednesday to discuss whether or not to look to trade for talent, or wait for the injured players to return to action.
|07.06.11 at 1:41 pm ET|
Sitting in first place in the American League Central, the Indians will be in a new position this trading deadline. Instead of being sellers like in previous years, this year they will be buyers as they will look to maintain their position atop the AL Central.
Speaking with Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said: ‘We’re open in any way we can to improve the team, whatever that might be. Especially with [Shin-Soo] Choo suffering the injury that he suffered, we’ll probably focus most of our efforts on improving our offense and getting a little more consistency there.’
Antonetti also noted how difficult it is to project how a player from an outside organization will work out after a deal is made.
‘It’s so hard to put percentages on external acquisitions because there are so many variables in play,’ Antonetti said. ‘The benefit that we have with our internal options is we control those unilaterally, which guys we bring up, provided they’re healthy. Externally, so many things have to come together.’
|07.06.11 at 1:37 pm ET|
Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling checked in with the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to offer his opinions on the state of the team. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The big topic of discussion this week has been the struggles of John Lackey. Schilling had plenty to say about the former Angels hurler who has yet to live up to his big free agent contract in Boston.
“I don’t know that you’ve gotten much different than what was [in Anaheim],” Schilling said. “This was a guy who always pitched to contact, a guy who didn’t have ‘ with maybe the exception of a year ‘ was never a high strikeout guy, coming to the biggest and best and most potent offensive division in baseball.
“I know he’s someone who has always hated pitching in Fenway. He made multiple comments after multiple series ‘ especially in the postseason ‘ about pitching here. I was surprised to see him sign here, actually. I don’t know what the competitive money was, but I didn’t think that this was a place he wanted to pitch.
“Having said that, I think that there’s a lot of stuff going on off the field, as would there be with anybody whose wife is undergoing chemo and the cancer scare that his wife is. Once you start to enter that into the equation ‘ and I know fans don’t want to hear that ‘ I don’t discount that. I don’t discount the impact and the effect that that can have on someone.
“Where they’re at? Jeez, they don’t have options. You’re not going to send him down. You’re not going to release him. Can you put him in the bullpen? Will he go to the bullpen? There’s a lot of things. If you listen to the guys in that clubhouse talk, they swear by the guy, which, for me, is a huge indicator of what kind of player he is.
“My biggest challenge has been a lot of his postgame stuff has been, not lack of accountability, but I just feel like life would be a lot easier if he just sat down after these games and said, ‘You now what? I sucked.’ If he did the Josh Beckett, I think life would be a little bit easier for him. But you know what? They’re going to keep running him out there, and hopefully he gets the ship righted.”
|07.06.11 at 11:12 am ET|
Newsday’s Ken Davidoff digs into the trade market this season and sees that the top commodity, both desired and shopped, is relievers.
He sees the top relievers available as San Diego’s Heath Bell and the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez. He also sees the Padres have Luke Gregerson and Chad Qualls as quality relievers available. Teams that he sees in the mix to acquire these guys are the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Cardinals and Rangers.
Davidoff does not anticipate that Jose Reyes will be dealt from the Mets, but if Reyes is moved, the writer sees possible destinations for the shortstop as the Reds, Indians, Giants, Mariners and even the Red Sox.
Also, there are a few teams out there that Davidoff sees that might be seeking help in boosting their starting rotations. The Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Indians are among those teams.
From the AL East, he has heard from an official with a National League club that the Rays will be both “buyers and sellers” at the deadline.
|07.06.11 at 10:59 am ET|
With the second-to-worst record in the American League, the Orioles are expected to be sellers leading up to the trade deadline. According to Matt Vensel of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles do not have many trade chips, but he does name a few players that could be dealt, including third baseman Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds leads the major leagues with 13 home runs since June 1, including five already in July, and he could become available during the next few weeks. Vensel also named shortstop J.J. Hardy, starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and relief pitcher Koji Uehara as players that could also be available to be dealt to other teams.
He also notes that he does not believe All-Star catcher Matt Wieters and starter Zach Britton would be made available for potential trades.
|07.06.11 at 10:27 am ET|
ESPN columnist Ian O’Connor, author of ‘The Captain,” a book about Derek Jeter, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning with guest hosts Bob Ryan and Kathryn Tappen to discuss the book and Jeter’s future with the Yankees. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
O’Connor went all the way back to Jeter’s childhood and spoke with grade school teachers, high school coaches and summer league coaches to get a better idea of what Jeter is like as a human being.
He also noted in the book four flaws that he sees Jeter having: being overly sensitive to criticism, carrying a grudge for a long time, not being a better captain when Alex Rodriguez joined the Yankees, and not speaking out more against steroid use. O’Connor said he wanted to speak with Jeter in more detail about them, but Jeter refused a lengthy sit-down interview.
O’Connor said part of the reason for Jeter’s 2010 struggles had to do with contract talks.
‘He was very uncomfortable,” O’Connor said. “It bothered him. I think last year when he had his worst year the contract thing bothered him. He would never admit that, clearly, as he struggled he realized he was digging himself a bigger hole at the negotiating table, tens of millions of dollars. Now, that the contract thing is behind him, it’s bothering him that he isn’t performing better.’
O’Connor also touched on the 3,000 hit milestone Jeter is about to achieve and how it might affect the remainder of his career.
‘Once he gets past 3,000 hits [some people think] a burden will be lifted from his shoulders and he will return close to the 2009 Derek Jeter,” O’Connor said. “I don’t think that is going to happen. I think unfortunately, age and unseen forces of gravity and time have caught up to him and he is going to be this kind of player.’
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