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Rumor: Red Sox again make push for Iannetta

07.19.10 at 2:22 pm ET
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With the top catchers in the organization slowly working their way back to action, the Red Sox are looking for solid replacements behind the plate for the future.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox have contacted the Rockies again about Chris Iannetta. Rosenthal writes that the Rockies are reluctant to make the move unless they can acquire someone who can help them in the tight NL West. The Red Sox, on the other hand, can’t sacrifice enough talent to push the deal across.

WEEI.com’s Alex Speier first reported in May that Boston could have drafted the 27-year-old Rhode Island native back in 2004, and since then the Sox contacted Colorado several times about him.

Over his five-year career, Iannetta has a .240 batting average with 47 home runs, 168 RBI, 155 walks and 267 strikeouts. He has been much hotter this season, hitting five home runs in his last 32 at-bats since returning to the club from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Read More: chris iannetta, Red Sox, Trade deadline,

Catcher Butler emerges from backup to prospect

07.19.10 at 1:53 pm ET
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He could have quit after spending his redshirt freshman year at the University of Arizona riding the Mendoza Line and being relegated to the backup catcher position, but he stuck with the program.

He could have thrown in the towel after injuring his throwing elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery a mere 15 games into that same freshman season, but he fought through it.

No one would have blamed him if he decided to call it a career when he wasn’€™t drafted in his junior year with any of the 1,521 picks from the 30 teams in the 2009 MLB Draft, but he decided to prove them all wrong by playing in the Cape Cod League.

Playing with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and the Brewster Whitecaps in 2009, Dan Butler got the chance that he needed. In 28 games, Butler batted .246 with a .379 on base percentage and a .333 slugging percentage, solid numbers in a pitcher-dominated league.

It was his prowess behind the plate, however, that most impressed his Whitecaps manager, Tom Myers.

‘€œHe could call a great game and he led our pitching staff,’€ said Myers.

His strength on both sides of the ball led to an appearance in the Cape League All-Star Game at Fenway. Butler didn’€™t do too much in that game, but the tenants of Fenway, the Red Sox, took notice of him and when there was a shortage of catchers with their low-A team in Lowell four days later, Butler was brought in to fill the gap.

Again, Butler struggled in Lowell, maintaining a .178/.261/.282 line in 24 games, but adversity was nothing new. He just needed to take what he had been given and reverse the circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brewster, Dan Butler, daniel nava, Pawtucket

Law on D&H: Few big trades before July 31

07.19.10 at 1:38 pm ET
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ESPN and Scouts Inc. baseball analyst Keith Law talked to Dale & Holley Monday morning about the upcoming trade deadline and how there are few quality players being put on the trade market by the teams who are most likely not going to make the playoffs this season. Teams like Baltimore, Kansas City and Houston, with a few exceptions, just don’t have the parts that buyers are looking for before the July 31 trade deadline.

“Maybe some spare parts, a bench player, but not the sort of thing that’s going to get the fans of any contending team excited,” Law said. “Unfortunately, some of these selling clubs are looking at the market, saying, ‘Wow, there’s not a lot on the market that we can get for our player,’ and that just puts a further drag on the trade market. So, I’m not a psychic, I can’t tell you for sure, but I just don’t feel like there’s going to be a lot of major trade activity between now and the end of the month.”

As for the Red Sox, Law said that he believes the Sox have a chance to get back to the playoffs if their injured players can come off the disabled list soon enough. If not, they may be looking up at the Yankees and Rays come season’s end.

“If the Red Sox can get healthy in reasonably short order and get their A lineup and A rotation back together in the next couple weeks, then I do think they’ll end up making the playoffs’€ Law said. ‘€œI think they’re one of the two best teams in the division. However, we just don’t know. Injuries are just too wild of a variable to say that with any certainty. Looking at the injuries and honestly how bad the Red Sox luck has been in the injuries department this year, it seems like there’s a realistic chance that they don’t get that A lineup back in time, that they don’t get everybody off the DL in time to hang with these two clubs.”

What follows are some highlights of that interview. To hear the interview in its entirety, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

You got to see Red Sox draftee Anthony Ranaudo pitch down at the Cape League recently. What did you think of this kid?

Just for background, coming into the spring Ranaudo, who was a right-handed pitcher at LSU, was the second-best guy in the draft. Bryce Harper, the catcher from Nevada, was the clear one to me, and I thought Ranaudo was the clear two. He hurt his elbow, missed about three weeks in the middle of spring, came back, never had surgery or anything, but wasn’€™t the same guy until about the second half of May. He finished really strong but was kicked out of the first round because of the price tag and elbow issues. So the Red Sox, obviously a team willing to spend money in the draft, hopped in the sandwich round and figured they’€™d just watch him on the Cape over the summer.

I saw him the other day. He was very impressive, hit 94 I think six times in the first inning, sat at 90-93 the rest of the day, which is where he’€™ll pitch. He showed an above-average curveball, didn’€™t really use the changeup, although he didn’€™t need to. He’€™s just kind of overmatching kids at this level. The biggest thing for me is he has this big, durable body that hides the ball really well. I’ve seen him from behind the plate four times now dating back to high school. I just don’t pick the ball up real well out of his hand. Usually if I don’t, I’m behind the hitter. The hitter has even less time than I do to pick the ball up so there’s a pretty good chance the hitters won’t pick the ball up as well. To me, I don’€™t know what’€™s in his elbow exactly, but he looks healthy. This is a guy I saw last year before the elbow problems at the end of his sophomore year.

I think he’€™s in line to get that top-five, top-ten overall bonus that he’€™s looking for before the draft, and my guess is that the Red Sox will work something out to sign this guy. It’€™s really in both sides best interests to get a deal done on August 15 or 16, which is the deadline. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Red Sox draftee Ranaudo concludes dominant summer on Cape

07.19.10 at 1:31 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, Red Sox draftee Anthony Ranaudo has left the Brewster Whitecaps after a dominant stint in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The news was first reported by thecollegebaseballblog.com, and confirmed by the Cape Cod Times.

Ranaudo, whose draft stock dipped this year due to injuries and struggles on the mound at Louisiana State University, turned in a dominant performance for Brewster this summer. Ranaudo was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 23 2/3 innings, striking out 22, walking seven and allowing just seven hits. That performance fulfilled his summer ambitions, as expressed to WEEI.com shortly after he was drafted.

‘€œIt’€™s a new start for me. Honestly, I feel like I’€™m in midseason form right now,’€ said Ranaudo. ‘€œI told my dad the other day after my start, I wish I had five or six or seven more starts. Hopefully I can get that under my belt in the Cape, really develop some more and show the Red Sox that I’€™m still the same pitcher I was last year, still the same talent, and go from there.

‘€œThe strides I made at the end of the season were significant. I feel like I’€™m pitching the best I pitched for a long time,’€ he added. ‘€œHopefully I can go to the Cape, prove myself more and show the baseball world that I’€™m still the same pitcher and still the same talent that I was entering the season and all of last year.’€

Ranaudo was taken in the supplemental first round by the Red Sox with the team’s third pick, and the No. 39 overall choice. While such a pick has a recommended slot value of close to $850,000, Ranaudo — who was viewed as one of the top five or 10 draft-eligible players at the start of 2010 — is expected to seek money more in line with a top 10 pick.

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Red Sox vs. A’s matchups, 7/19

07.19.10 at 11:28 am ET
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The Red Sox open up a very important 10-game road trip on the West Coast, their longest trip of the season, Monday night when they take on the Athletics. The Sox have struggled out of the second-half opening gate, losing three out of four to the Rangers at home immediately following the All-Star break. However, with several key players set to return from the disabled list in the coming weeks, all the Red Sox need to do on this trip is make sure that they stay at most an arm’€™s length away from the Yankees and Rays at the top of the division before they can make a push with their restored roster. Daisuke Matsuzaka will kick off the crucial set of games on the hill for the Red Sox with Ben Sheets performing similar duties for the A’€™s.

For those Sox fans with excellent memories, this pitching matchup may look familiar, and that’€™s because it is. These two same pitchers squared off earlier this season, on June 2 in Boston. Matsuzaka performed the best out of the two, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing just three earned runs and striking out seven. Sheets allowed four Boston batters to score over his six innings of work. The Red Sox took the contest 6-4, thanks in part to David Ortiz‘€™ 2-for-2 effort at the plate with a home run and two RBI to go along with a double and two walks.

Since that time, Matsuzaka (6-3, 4.56 ERA) has continued to steadily improve his pitching line. Since that early June outing, he has seen his ERA drop nearly a run from 5.49 to its current level. His last start shows even some more cause for optimism among the Boston faithful. In his last start before the All-Star break, Matsuzaka threw a quality start against Toronto, going six while allowing just two earned runs to go along with five punchouts. What was most dazzling, however, might have been that he had no walks for just the third time in 19 starts this season.

Sheets (4-8, 4.63 ERA), on the other hand, hasn’€™t changed much since that day in early June. He had given up either three or four earned runs in each of his last seven starts before a July 10 shutout of the Angels bucked that trend. The Sox offense may have the best chance to look effective early against Sheets, who has a 6.16 ERA in the first two innings this season. That number drops to 3.79 in the third frame. Also, another stat of note is Sheets’€™ line at home, where he is 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA, as opposed to the road, where he 0-5 with a 6.66. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Ben Sheets, Daisuke Matsuzaka,

J.P. Ricciardi on The Big Show: Major move unlikely for Sox

07.19.10 at 11:13 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst J.P. Ricciardi joined The Big Show on Friday to discuss the All-Star Game, address possible MLB deadline trades, and give some insight of what its like to be a general manager in the big leagues.

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

Are you happy baseball is back?

That Wednesday after the All-Star Game is a tough day. It’€™s like the end of the season. No more box scores, you go into withdrawal.

What do you think of the Red Sox?

Well, obviously, I think this is the greatest test they are going to have in the course of the year, they have done an unbelievable job up to this point. I think their mettle is going to get tested with the road trip, but I wouldn’€™t put anything past these guys. They’€™ve done a great job. I think Theo [Epstein] is going to be working the lines to make the club better and maybe some smaller moves, maybe something in the bullpen, maybe another bat in the outfield. I don’€™t think you will see anything major.

Obviously, the guys coming back are going to be an addition to the club to help them, within a two-week period, three-week period, whatever it is, but this is going to happen to be the time where everybody just pulls it up and pulls together and tries to get through it. I don’€™t see a major move coming. I just think they are pretty happy with what they have coming back and this is the time that is going to try what their mettle is all about. They have done such a great job up to this point.

Where are the GMs at with the trade deadline?

I think it all comes down to the individual team and the player and what there level of interest of certain guys are, and obviously I have to believe if Prince Fielder is going to be moved then the bar is going to be set really high. If you are talking about so many middle relievers out there and you find one you think is a better fit for your club and its not going to cost you a lot, that trade would probably be done real quick. I think from a standpoint of where teams are in trades, you know there are a lot of conversations that just go on that just keep leading to, Can we keep making progress, and sometime trades get pulled off the table and they are back on within two or three days because the other route didn’€™t just through.

Every trade is an individual trade, has its own body of work to it. Some take a long time, some take a short time, some are dead, some come back to life. That’€™s a great thing about the trade deadline. Obviously, it gets closer to you as you push for it, and as I think you get to those last four or five days the posturing is done and really the guns are out, ready to go. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Red Sox have talked to Marlins about Ross, Nunez

07.19.10 at 11:04 am ET
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The Red Sox have put in a phone call to the Marlins to gauge the asking price for outfielder Cody Ross and relief pitcher Leo Nunezaccording to a report by the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer. Ross is hitting .279 this season with seven home runs and 46 RBI this season and could be a stopgap until Jacoby Ellsbury returns from the disabled list. Nunez has a 2.79 ERA and 22 saves as the Marlins’ closer and could be a huge help to a struggling Boston bullpen. The Braves and Yankees are also rumored to have contacted the Marlins about Ross in their search for outfield help.

Read More: Cody Ross, Leo Nunez, Trade deadline,

Sunday Tweets!

07.19.10 at 9:43 am ET
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Some tweets (with additional background) from Sunday’s loss:


* – Prior to losing yesterday, the Red Sox had won 20 straight at Fenway when they receive 6 or more walks. Their last loss came on June 5, 2009, also versus Texas. The streak tied the longest such streak ever by a Red Sox team (the 1948 team also won 20 straight) and came within 5 games of the all-time longest:

25 – Cleveland Indians – 2006-07
25 – Cincinnati Reds – 1975-76
25 – Houston Astros – 1968-69


* – The Rangers have now won 12 of their last 13 road games (dating to April 2007) when they strike out 12 or more batters. Their only loss in that span came on April 21 of this season, versus Boston (when they allowed 6 walks!).


* – The Red Sox are now 8-18 (.308) during the first weekend following the ASB since 2004. And keep in mind that they are “thisclose” to being 7-19.


* – Sunday was the first time that the Red Sox have struck out 14+ times at Fenway since 2005, snapping a streak of 429 straight home games with fewer than 14 strikeouts. The longest current home streaks with fewer than 14 strikeouts in baseball:

1,114 – Kansas City Royals (August 5, 1996)
544 – Chicago Cubs (September 2, 2003)
224 – Houston Astros (August 25, 2007)


* – The Rangers have struck out 12 or more Red Sox twice at Fenway in 2010. Prior to this season, they hadn’t done it since 1993.


* – Through 5 innings yesterday, the Red Sox had only 2 hits. They’ve now lost 21 of their last 24 when they have 2 or fewer hits through 5 innings dating back to last July 21. That winning percentage (.125) is the the 2nd worst in baseball in that span (Pittsburgh is 1-20; .048). Boston is 0-9 in such games at Fenway in that span.


* – Red Sox starter Jon Lester allowed 6+ hits in his first 5 IP of a Fenway start for the first time since July 5, 2009, a span of 16 home starts.


* – Lester allowed an extra base hit with 2 outs and runners in scoring position for just the 2nd time in 2010 (the other was April 12) and the first time at Fenway since July 30, 2009.


* – Lester allowed multiple baserunners in each of the first two innings yesterday for the first time since April 12.


* – (Saturday night leftover) – Kevin Youkilis‘ two-out, 9th inning, hit that tied the game on Saturday made Red Sox hitters 3 for 9 (.333) since the start of last season in the ultimate “game on the line” situation (2 outs in the 9th, runners in scoring position, trailing by 1 run). They went 0-8 in 2008. Since the start of 2008, the Dodgers (7) and Rockies (5) are the only teams with more than 4 such hits. The Rays are 1-18 (.056) in that span, the lowest average in the majors.

Cash on play at the plate: ‘I thought he was out’

07.18.10 at 6:31 pm ET
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At the time, it was nothing more than the fourth run for the Rangers, giving the visitors a three-run lead in the eighth inning.

But at the end of the day, the decision by home plate umpire Gary Darling to call Elvis Andrus safe at home when the replay suggested he was out might have changed the complexion of the final few frames. What it definitely did was elicit a spirited round of boos toward the ump for the remainder of the game.

Darling ruled that Andrus had gotten his foot to the plate before catcher Kevin Cash could apply the tag, after receiving a throw from left fielder Darnell McDonald. Cash and — judging by the subsequent argument by both Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester and manager Terry Francona ‘€“the Red Sox disagreed.

‘€œI thought he was out,’€ Cash said after the Red Sox’€™ 4-2 loss to the Rangers. ‘€œIt was a close play, I know that. [Darling] was saying he got his foot in, at least that’€™s what he was telling Tito.’€

Asked if he believed the call was a no-brainer at the time of the tag, Cash said, ‘€œYeah, just given where I was. I was probably 12 inches in front of the plate. At least that’€™s what I thought I was. I think that’€™s the reaction I showed. It wasn’€™t like I looked around and waited for a call.’€

The Red Sox would eventually bring the tying run to the plate after a Mike Cameron solo home run, and Billy Hall reaching on a fielding error by Texas’ second baseman Ian Kinsler. But J.D. Drew struck out, and Marco Scutaro flew out, ending the Sox’ threat.

Martinez plays catch for first time since injury

07.18.10 at 6:05 pm ET
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Victor Martinez took another step in the right direction, Sunday, when he played catch for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left thumb May 29.

While it was just a very light game of toss, just the fact the catcher was able to wear a glove offered a good deal of optimism.

“It was a good step,” Martinez said. “Obviously I was playing catch very carefully, but it’s still sore. But at least I was able to put my hand in the glove, so that was a big thing.”

Martinez, who will be making the 10-game West Coast trip with the team, still wouldn’t put any timetable on his return. He has swung a bat, although taking swings from the right side continues to be somewhat uncomfortable.

“We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. We’re taking it day by day now,” Martinez said. “It’s definitely a lot better. That’s a good thing, that it’s a lot better. So I’m pretty excited about it.”

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