Full Count
A Furiously Updated Red Sox Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Alex Ochoa’s new role

11.24.09 at 5:08 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Some were wondering with the reshuffling of the Red Sox‘ major league coaching staff what was to become of Alex Ochoa, who served as the team’s “quality assurance” coach throughout the 2009 season, a uniformed position for the big league club. (Ochoa even served as the team’s hitting coach when Dave Magadan was suspended for a game in June.)

The answer is that Ochoa is going to serve in a special assignment role for ’10, allowing the former outfielder to be exposed to various parts of the organization before finding his next niche. Part of the plan will be to incorporate Ochoa’s expertise for minor league instruction, along with some scouting, while also being called upon to help mentor Cuban shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias.

Speaking of Iglesias, the 19-year-old finished his first foray into professional baseball by hitting .275 in 18 games with the Arizona Fall League’s Mesa Solar Sox. In 69 at-bats, Iglesias struck out 11 times while drawing four walks. He also hit .346 with runners in scoring position.

To see how the other members of the Red Sox’ organization (Casey Kelly, Luis Exposito, Ryan Kalish, Richie Lentz, Dustin Richardson) did in the AFL, click here.

Red Sox Announce Spring Training Schedule, Prices

11.24.09 at 1:56 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Boston Red Sox today announced that tickets for all 2010 spring training home games at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Florida will go on sale on Saturday, December 5. The club also released its 33-game spring schedule, which includes 17 games at City of Palms Park.

Tickets will also be available beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 5 at the City of Palms Park box office, on www.redsox.com, or by calling 888-REDSOX6. Handicap accessible seating is also available by calling 877-REDSOX9. Hearing impaired patrons may call the TTY line at 617-226-6644.

Boston will open the spring schedule with two college exhibition games on Wednesday, March 3, facing the Northeastern Huskies at 1:05 p.m. followed by the Boston College Eagles in the nightcap beginning at 6:05 p.m.

The Red Sox will kick off the 2010 Grapefruit League season on Thursday, March 4 when they host the Mayor’€™s Cup rival Minnesota Twins at City of Palms Park at 7:05 p.m., the first of seven matchups against the cross-town foe. Boston will meet the Baltimore Orioles five times this spring, including three contests at the O’€™s new home in Sarasota. The 30-game Grapefruit League schedule will feature 10 matchups with National League opponents including a St. Patrick’€™s Day matinee vs. the New York Mets at City of Palms Park.

Additionally, the Red Sox will face the Washington Nationals for two exhibition games. The club will close out its Grapefruit League schedule on Friday, April 2 at City of Palms Park beginning at 1:05 p.m. before traveling to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. for a game on Saturday, April 3. The start time for Saturday’€™s contest will be announced at a later date.

2010 tickets will remain at the 2009 prices. This will mark the fourth time in five years that ticket prices for games at City of Palms Park have remained unchanged.

Tickets for the Northeastern University and Boston College games will be half price.

The City of Palms Park box office will be open Saturday, December 5 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Beginning Monday, December 7, the Fort Myers box office and the Red Sox Team Store at City of Palms Park will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays, with the exception of December 26 and January 2 when both will be closed.

The Red Sox have sold out every Grapefruit League game at City of Palms Park since March 16, 2003, including 15 dates in 2009, increasing the club’€™s Grapefruit League sellout streak to 88 home games.

The Red Sox have trained at Fort Myers since 1993.

Prior to the start of the exhibition season, Red Sox will hold workouts at the organization’€™s Player Development Complex, which is located at 4301 Edison Avenue in Fort Myers. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Thursday, February 18 and will work out for the first time on Saturday, February 20. Infielders and outfielders report on Monday, February 22 with the first full squad workout on Wednesday, February 24. All workouts are open to the public free of charge and shuttle buses are provided from City of Palms Park at $2.00 per person.

The complete 2010 spring training schedule is below.

W, Mar 3 Northeastern (SS) City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
W, Mar 3 Boston College City of Palms Park 6:05 p.m.
Th, Mar 4 Minnesota Twins City of Palms Park 7:05 p.m.
F, Mar 5 Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium 1:10 p.m.
Sat, Mar 6 Minnesota Twins (SS) City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Sat, Mar 6 Tampa Bay Rays (SS) Port Charlotte 1:05 p.m.
Sun, Mar 7 Baltimore Orioles Sarasota 1:05 p.m.
M, Mar 8 St. Louis Cardinals City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Tu, Mar 9 Florida Marlins Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
W, Mar 10 Tampa Bay Rays City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Th, Mar 11 New York Mets Port St. Lucie 1:05 p.m.
F, Mar 12 St. Louis Cardinals Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
Sa, Mar 13 Pittsburgh Pirates City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Su, Mar 14 Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium 1:10 p.m.
M, Mar 15 Baltimore Orioles City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Tu, Mar 16 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 7:05 p.m.
W, Mar 17 New York Mets City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Th, Mar 18 Off Day
F, Mar 19 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 1:05 p.m.
Sa, Mar 20 Baltimore Orioles City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Su, Mar 21 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05 p.m.
M, Mar 22 Tampa Bay Rays City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Tu, Mar 23 Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium 7:10 p.m.
W, Mar 24 Pittsburgh Pirates Brandeont 1:05 p.m.
Th, Mar 25 Florida Marlins City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
F, Mar 26 Toronto Blue Jays City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Sa, Mar 27 Baltimore Orioles Sarasota 1:05 p.m.
Su, Mar 28 Minnesota Twins City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
M, Mar 29 Tampa Bay Rays City of Palms Park 7:05 p.m.
Tu, Mar 30 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05 p.m.
W, Mar 31 Balitmore Orioles Sarasota 1:05 p.m.
Th, Apr 1 Minnesota Twins City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
F, Apr 2 Washington Nationals City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.
Sa, Apr 3 Washington Nationals Nationals Park TBA
(SS)’€”Split Squad    Home Games at City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida
Read More: Fort Myers, Spring Training, ticket prices,

Tim Bogar braces for the hot seat

11.24.09 at 1:29 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Tim Bogar is heading into his new lot in life — as third base coach of the Red Sox — with his eyes open.

For one, he has seen how well life can be when calling the third base coaching box at Fenway Park your home, having witnessed the quality of DeMarlo Hale (now the team’s bench coach) throughout the 2009 season. But Bogar also understands the slings and arrows that can potentially await coaches in his new position, a reality discovered by the likes of some of his predecessors, such as Dale Sveum, Mike Cubbage, Gene Lamont, and Wendell Kim.

“Obviously any type of coaching in Boston there’s a little more of a magnifying glass because there’s a lot of expectations, and you have to be on top of your game. The way I look at it is that it is a great challenge, it makes you concentrate on every pitch, and you can’t get lazy,” Bogar said from his Illinois home. “To be honest I have one of the best third base coaches that have been there to lean on. If I have questions or need some guidance I can just go to DeMarlo and he can lead me in the right direction. He did a great job in the years he was over there, so I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. As for coaching third base in Boston I think it’s one of those things where you do well there and the fans appreciate a good effort, and that’s why they love DeMarlo.”

Even well before Bogar arrived with the Red Sox to be their first base coach prior to the ’09 season, he came to understand what the guy on the other side of the Fenway Park diamond dealt with when it came to waving in runners. That was thanks to his relationship with Cubbage, who was the third base coach for the Sox during the 2002 and ’03 seasons after previously serving as Bogar’s third base coach in eight of the former infielders’ nine major league seasons.

“I thought he did a great job. Obviously I don’t know how he did in Boston, but I really thought he thought the game through,” Bogar said of Cubbage. “I think a good third base coach has to be an extension of the manager and be able to think along with him. I thought Cubby did that really well with all three of the managers that I played for.”

What shouldn’t also be dismissed is that Bogar has put himself in a unique position to succeed in the new position. Not only was there his playing experience, and exposure to Hale and Cubbage, but also coached third in each of his four years a minor league manager, in the Cleveland and Houston organizations.

He will the first to admit that manning the position in the Appalachian League is a dramatic difference from doing so down the line from Fenway’s left field wall, but the opportunities allowed for a baseline for what Bogar could expect.

“Each level you have to advance as a third base coach because of the skill level of the players you’re trying to run on,” Bogar said. “I remember in rookie ball I had a shortstop, Wladimir Sutil, and I used to get him to score from second base on a ground ball from second. The first time he did I was holding him up and he ran right through it. I was yelling, ‘No, no, no’ and then he scored and I was like ‘Yes, yes yes’. That was different.”

Another stop on Bogar’s path that should pay off when it comes to finding his way over at third base was his stop in Tampa Bay, where he was the major league club’s quality control coach. (It is a position similar to what the Red Sox will be asking Rob Leary to man in ’10). The job with the Rays allowed Bogar to observe the game from a unique perspective, one which he says will help shape his approach as a third base coach.

“When you’re watching the game from the press box, like I did that whole year, you get a chance to see the game develop,” the 43-year-old explained. “I paid attention to third base coaches and see if they were going to send them, or if they didn’t, and try and factor in what went into them making their decisions. It gives you a really good idea of what’s going to take place when watching it from that high up.”

Yet, when asked what will be the biggest advantage he might have when preparing for the position, for Bogar it always comes back to Hale’s presence, along with simply working 81 regular season games at Fenway Park over the course of an entire season.

“DeMarlo would talk about that kind of stuff almost every day,” said Bogar in reference to his discussions about the ins and out sof coaching third at Fenway. “First and foremost, DeMarlo is a very open guy. He’s willing to share and tries to teach what he’s trying to do. We learned from each other last year. People forget too that it’s not the easiest place to coach first base either just because of that left field wall. When a guy hits it down there sometimes you can’t see where it’s hitting or how a guy is playing it. I think having a year at first base prepares you for a consistency of playing at place like Fenway, which gives you some unique obstacles.

“When I talked to Tito about it,  he said, ‘Would you feel comfortble over there?’ I told him I definitely did. The way I look at it is the more things I can do the more it keeps me involved and helps me learn more. It’s a great challenge. But to have a guy like DeMarlo behind you that you can come back into the dugout to ask what he thinks, or rehash it with him in the locker room after, is a great thing to have.”

Who was the best Red Sox Third Base Coach this decade?

  • DeMarlo Hale: 2006-Present (80%)
  • Dale Sveum: 2004-2005 (9%)
  • Wendell Kim: 1997-2000 (6%)
  • Mike Cubbage: 2002-2003 (5%)
  • Gene Lamont: 2001 (1%)
Loading ... Loading ...

For Red Sox, a Ray(s) of Inspiration

11.24.09 at 3:04 am ET
By   |   Comments

For the most part, the Red Sox‘ announcement of their 2010 coaching staff featured few surprises. The hiring of former Sox bench coach Brad Mills as the manager of the Astros created the opportunity to give some loyal members of the organization well-deserved promotions, as DeMarlo Hale was promoted from third base coach to bench coach, Tim Bogar went from first to third base coach and Ron Johnson — the man who, as the manager of Triple-A Pawtucket, has delivered word to dozens of Sox prospects in recent years of their promotions to the majors — got his own call-up, getting appointed to the Sox’ big league coaching staff as a first base coach.

But buried at the bottom of the press release was one unusual position. Rob Leary, the longtime field coordinator of the Red Sox minor league system, was named Major League coaching staff assistant. The job is a new one on the Sox staff, and requires some explanation.

Leary’s duties include the organization of spring training workouts, assistance with pregame on-field activities, assistance in advance scouting and in-game assignments from Sox manager Terry Francona. In many ways, Leary will play something of a hybrid role: He will be a coach who works with players prior to games, and he will be an organizer who handles planning and administrative activities so that the rest of the dugout coaching staff can continue to work more directly with the players.

“We wanted to keep our coaches as coaches as much as possible,” Francona explained. “[Leary] is somebody we’€™re trying to find a way to get him to the major leagues and this seemed like a perfect time to do it. We could use his organizational skills and also get him acclimated to the big leagues. While he doesn’€™t know the American League yet, that won’€™t get in the way because he’€™s not getting asked to sit in the dugout during the game. He’€™ll get a chance to learn the league and learn our team and we can use his strengths in the meantime, which are plenty. He’€™ll help us prepare our scouting, he’€™ll run our spring training and he has a chance to really help our staff round into shape.”

During games, Leary will be either in the clubhouse or in the stands. In that fashion, his role will be unusual though not unprecedented. Leary’s job was created in part based on the experience of Bogar while he was the “quality assurance coach” for Tampa Bay in 2008.

Bogar was a sort of eye-in-the-sky for the Rays during games, primarily sitting in the stands to observe his own club from the perspective of a scout. He would then take what he had seen back into the clubhouse after games and communicate with Rays skipper Joe Maddon and the rest of the Tampa coaching staff about matters such as defensive positioning and baserunning. Bogar also acted as a point of contact between a number of departments for the Rays, including the advance scouting, player development and major league coaching staffs.

Bogar had no doubts about the merits of his role with the Rays.

“Is it surprising that it hadn’€™t happened till [2008]? Yeah, I think so,” Bogar said in spring training. “I think it’€™s one of those things that a lot of teams are going to start doing. Having an extra coach on the field to interact between all those departments is nothing but a bonus. It gives you an advantage. It really does.”

Francona acknowledged that Leary’s role was “very much” based on the one that Bogar served with the Rays — offering a reminder that the Sox, despite being a big-market club, are constantly examining other teams’ best practices regardless of market size in an effort to improve their operations.

Leary, thanks to his years of work across the Red Sox organization with virtually every minor leaguer currently in the farm system, is perfectly positioned to communicate with several different departments. The Sox view the highly regarded instructor as someone who can make an impact as a big league coach while he trains for what could become a larger role in the future.

“Lear is a guy who has had a big impact on our organization,” Francona said. “It’€™s a great way to get him in a major league atmosphere. The lack of experience doesn’€™t hurt our staff because he doesn’€™t have to know the league right now because he’€™s not going to be in the dugout during the game. But it’€™s a great way for him to get to know the league and use his strengths to help us and while he’€™s doing that, he can use the experience of being with our major league team.’€

As for Hale, who has been interviewed for managerial vacancies in the past, including the Red Sox job that was ultimately filled by Francona following the 2003 season and the Mariners vacancy after the 2008 campaign, the Sox’ only hesitation to make him the bench coach was concern that they would be losing a very fine third base coach.

Hale managed to avoid the infamy associated with the thankless job of Red Sox third base coach (Dale Sveum and Wendell Kim both became punchlines at various points in Boston) because he was quite good at the job and thus rarely the subject of controversy. Nonetheless, while Francona hesitated to remove Hale from a role in which he performed well, he ultimately decided that he wanted someone who would approach the bench coach position with the same meticulousness.

“It’€™s the toughest market to be at third base and the toughest field and you never heard people talk about him so that was a huge compliment to him,” Francona said. “Part of the reason, a big reason you never heard about him, was because he did such a good job. He will take that and do the same thing as a bench coach.’€

“It is rewarding,” Hale added. “This is a great opportunity for me, no question.”

Johnson, who has known Francona since the two were with the Expos in 1984 — in large part because a devastating knee injury to Francona created a roster spot for Johnson to play five games — was thrilled at the prospect of becoming an official part of the big league coaching staff. He and Francona have been in regular contact in recent years thanks to the steady flow of prospects from Triple A to the majors, and so Johnson already described himself as the sort of “sixth man” of the Boston coaching staff.

All the same, the idea that he was getting a big league call-up on a full-time basis reflected a milestone for Johnson’s career. He did not make any effort to conceal his glee.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about it,” he said. “I think it means more to me because it is the Boston Red Sox. To have an opportunity after all these years, to get an opportunity to go to the big leagues with one of the premier clubs in all of baseball, to me makes me even more proud.”

Read More: demarlo hale, quality assurance coach, Rays, rob leary

Red Sox Announce 2010 Coaching Staff

11.23.09 at 6:34 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Red Sox issued the following press release announcing their major-league coaching staff for next season. As expected, DeMarlo Hale will be bench coach, Tim Bogar will move from first to third base coach and Ron Johnson will move from managing Triple A Pawtucket to serving as first-base coach. In addition, minor-league field coordinator Rob Leary will be added as a Major League coaching staff assistant.

Here is the release:

The Boston Red Sox today announced their 2010 Major League coaching staff.  DeMarlo Hale has been named bench coach, Tim Bogar will serve as third base coach, Ron Johnson joins the staff as the first base coach and Rob Leary has been appointed Major League coaching staff assistant.

Additionally, Pitching Coach John Farrell, Hitting Coach Dave Magadan and Bullpen Coach Gary Tuck will all return in the same roles they held in 2009.

Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein and Manager Terry Francona made the announcements.

Hale, 48, has served as Boston’€™s third base coach for the last four seasons.  He was previously the first base and outfield coach for the Texas Rangers from 2002-05 and managed Texas’€™ Triple-A Oklahoma club during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.  Hale began his coaching career in the Red Sox organization in 1992 and spent seven seasons as a minor league manager in the Boston system from 1993-99, compiling a 491-471 record.  Selected by the Red Sox in the 17th round of the 1983 June Draft, he played five minor league seasons as a first baseman/outfielder in the Boston (1983-86) and Oakland Athletics (1988) organizations.

The 43-year-old Bogar will enter his second year with the Red Sox after joining the club as first base coach prior to the 2009 campaign.  He served as the quality assurance coach for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and previously managed in the Houston Astros (2004-05) and Cleveland Indians (2006-07) minor league systems, leading his clubs to a 289-200 mark and three postseason appearances.  A former infielder selected by the New York Mets in the eighth round of the 1987 draft, Bogar played 701 Major League games over nine seasons with the Mets (1993-96), Astros (1997-2000) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2001).

Johnson, 53, will enter his 11th season in the Red Sox organization in 2010, his first on the Major League staff.  He was most recently at the helm of Boston’€™s Triple-A Pawtucket club from 2005-09.  A minor league manager for the past 18 seasons, Johnson has posted a 1,261-1,262 career record.  He joined the Boston system in 2000 as manager of Single-A Sarasota (2000-01) and also led the Red Sox Double-A affiliates in Trenton (2002) and Portland (2003-04).  Johnson began his coaching career in the Kansas City Royals chain, including eight seasons as a minor league manager from 1992-99.  A 24th-round selection by Kansas City in 1978, Johnson hit .261 (12-for-46) in 22 Major League games over parts of three seasons with the Royals (1982-83) and Montreal Expos (1984).

Leary, who turns 46 on December 3, will enter his ninth season in the Red Sox organization in 2010.  As the club’€™s Major League coaching staff assistant, his duties will include organizing Spring Training workouts, helping the coaching staff in all pre-game on-field preparations, assisting in the advance scouting effort, as well as completing special in-game assignments as delegated by Manager Terry Francona.  Leary joined the Boston system as a roving minor league catching instructor in 2002 and has served as the minor league field coordinator for the last seven seasons.  He spent seven years with the Florida Marlins from 1995-2001, during which he held the positions of advance scout, director of field operations, minor league field coordinator and catching instructor.  Drafted by the Expos in the 12th round in 1986, Leary played five minor league seasons and served as a player/coach with Single-A Rockford in 1990.  He managed Rockford from 1991-92 and also was at the helm of Single-A West Palm Beach in 1993-94.

Read More: coaching staff, demarlo hale, rob leary, Ron Johnson

Youkilis, Bay Finish in Top 10 of MVP Voting

11.23.09 at 2:54 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Twins catcher Joe Mauer was a landslide winner of the American League Most Valuable Player award, claiming 27 of 28 first-place votes to take home the honor. Mauer became the first catcher to lead his league in hitting (.365), OBP (.444) and slugging (.587), and he added career highs in homers (28) and RBI (96) despite missing the first month of the season with a back injury.

A pair of Yankees finished second and third, with Mark Teixeira (.292, .383, .565, 39 HR, 122 RBI) finishing as the runner-up in his first year in New York, and shortstop Derek Jeter (.334, .406, .465, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 30 steals) taking third. The only player aside from Mauer to receive a first-place vote was Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who finished fourth.

Kevin Youkilis had two second-place votes, appeared on 25 of 28 ballots and finished sixth overall. This marked the second straight season in which Youkilis (.305, .413 OBP (second in AL), .548 SLG (fifth in AL), 27 HR, 94 RBI) finished in the top 10 for the award. He finished third in the 2008 AL MVP race. Youkilis’ two-second place votes were from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.

Youkilis was one spot ahead of teammate Jason Bay (.267, .384, .537, 36 HR, 119 RBI). Bay finished seventh in MVP balloting and was ranked in the top 10 on 21 of 28 MVP ballots. It was Bay’s first career finish in the top 10. Bay had one third-place vote, from Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun.

The Sox had a pair of top-10 finishers in MVP balloting for the third straight year. Youkilis and Bay followed the pairing of Dustin Pedroia (first) and Youkilis (third) in 2008, while David Ortiz (fourth) and Mike Lowell (fifth) accomplished the feat in 2007.

Catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez, whom the Sox acquired from the Indians at the trading deadline, finished in 23rd place in the balloting. Martinez ‘€” who hit .303 with a .381 OBP, .480 slugging mark, 23 HR and 108 RBIsoverall, and .336/.405/.507 with eight HR and 41 RBI with the Sox ‘€” collected two ninth-place votes. Complete voting results are available at BBWAA.com.

Read More: jason bay, joe mauer, Kevin Youkilis, mvp

JD Drew explains his surgery

11.23.09 at 6:43 am ET
By   |   Comments

J.D. Drew’s initial reaction when asked about having surgery on his left shoulder last Thursday?

“What surgery?”

But then, after a brief explanation that word had come out regarding the procedure, Drew relented. The Red Sox‘ outfielder hadn’t wanted any red flags to be raised regarding the surgery, but now that the news had been made public he had no problem explaining the details of the operation, along with what led to the pain which wouldn’t go away.

“I got that (cortisone) injection right before the playoffs, which helped a little bit but didn’t help a whole lot,” Drew said from his Georgia home. “Then I went into the offseason and the last couple of weeks it’s just been wearing me out. Nagging, achy, and every time I reach across t grab something it was really weak. So I flew into Boston Wednesday to get an MRI to see what was going on.”

What was going on was some bone-on-bone irritation, causing bone spurs that ended up pinching his AC joint (acromioclavicular joint). Since no amount of rest or rehabilitation would heal the ailment, Drew was forced to get the bone trimmed off.

While the immediate results of the surgery has offered a great deal of discomfort (“Coming out of it pain wise was a lot worse. My arm is so sore,” he said), the prognosis is that Drew will be able to begin some light rehab work next week and lose perhaps just one week of his offseason workouts when it’s all said and done. (“The turnaround time on it isn’t hardly anything. Once the swelling and the soreness goes away you’re right back to being pain free. But you can imagine that if you cut something off the bone it will take a little time to heal back up,” he added).

As Drew pointed out, he had already discovered that getting shots was not the answer to this problem. And when executing simple things like reaching across the kitchen table for a salt shaker had increasingly become a chore, he knew a trip to Boston was a necessity.

“I got to the point a couple of times where it was really painful during the season but got the shot and it took the edge off,” Drew explained. “When you’re doing baseball every day I think your body is loosened up and more accepting to those motions you do. But when you come home for the offseason and everything starts healing up that’s when a lot of time you start noticing scar tissue build-up in that area and that’s when I was like, ‘Golly man, this is not not normal’. I didn’t know if it was rotator cuff affecting my AC joint, or a labrum issue. I knew it hurt like heck on top of my AC joint but I wasn’t sure if it was coming from somewhere else. That’s when we went in to get a picture of it and get some scans and all it was was a pretty simple bone spur right on top of my AC joint. I think it’s been building up being a left-handed hitter who doesn’t release my top hand and kind of rolls around, those two bones rub together ever since I’ve been playing the game of baseball. It finally got to a point where a shot wasn’t gong to fix it.”

As for the overall structure of his shoulder, Drew said that the MRI reaffirmed that there were no other problems other than the bone spurs. And, according to the outfielder (who just turned 34 last Friday), that injury was a byproduct of nothing more than continuous wear and tear that stemmed from the manner in which he has swung a bat all these years.

“The shoulder looks great,” he said. “Actually the radiologist was like ‘Man, the shoulder looks great, but did he fall on his shoulder because his AC joint is lit up like a Christmas tree’. That’s just how much inflammation and chronic irritation that was going on.

“I didn’t want to go in with this thing nagging me here and there next year, having to take a day here and there, and getting cortisone shots. Dr. [Thomas] Gill said he was glad we did it because he said I probably wouldn’t have made it through the year fighting that thing. Now we’re good to go.”

Why the Red Sox Would Pay to Shop Lowell

11.23.09 at 3:44 am ET
By   |   Comments

According to FoxSports.com, the Red Sox are offering Mike Lowell to other clubs and offering to pick up $6 million of his $12 million salary in 2010. Even so, the report cited a rival executive who suggested that other teams would not be inclined to pick up that much of the third baseman’s salary for next year.

Lowell is entering the final season of a three-year, $37.5 million deal he signed after the 2007 World Series. The 35-year-old hit .290 with a .337 OBP, .474 slugging percentage and .811 OPS in 2009 while hitting 17 homers and driving in 75 runs. He was limited to 119 games in his first season following surgery on his right hip labrum after the 2008 campaign.

That said, for much of the year, his overall offensive numbers suggested a highly productive member of the lineup. He hit at least .300 in four of the six full calendar months of the season; his OPS also exceeded .800 in four months, and was actually .900 or better in three months. The only two months in which his numbers dipped — June (.206 average, .595 OPS) and Sept./Oct. (.239, .633) — coincided with periods when his recovery from hip surgery required him to have fluid drained and the lubricant Synvisc to be injected to ease the discomfort in his hip.

By and large, he was a productive member of the lineup. Even so, since the time of GM Theo Epstein‘s press conference analyzing the state of the Sox following the 2009 season, Lowell’s place and role on the 2010 club has seemed uncertain. Asked to identify what the Sox could improve upon for 2010, Epstein suggested the following:

“There are a lot of different ways to get better,” said Epstein. “Probably start by looking at our weaknesses because there is the greatest room for improvement there. If you look back at this year’€™s club, we weren’€™t as great a defensive club as we wanted to be. So look at overall team defense and defensive efficiency. Then offense on the road. We didn’€™t really hit at all on the road this season.”

Lowell was part of both of those shortcomings. His defense was obviously impaired by his recovery from surgery. He went from being a well above-average third baseman (as measured by UZR and John Dewan’s plus-minus ratings) throughout his career from being one of the worst in the majors, particularly on balls hit to his left (an unsurprising result of the weakness in his right hip).

As for his home/road splits, Lowell was a monster at Fenway, hitting .307/.344/.588/.932, but on the road, he hit .276/.331/.382/.713. Of Boston’s everyday players, only Jason Varitek had a more dramatic disparity in his home/road numbers. (Though Lowell is a right-handed pull-hitter, it is worth noting that he’s alternated between being a better home and road hitter in his four seasons with the Sox.)

Both Lowell and the Sox have said that they expect that his hip will be in better shape for the 2010 season than it was in 2009. Last offseason, Lowell could do nothing but worry about the recovery of his hip. As he said on multiple occasions, he would not be able to strengthen the joint until this winter.

Even so, Lowell will be 36 in 2010. Even if he is able to improve from his surgery, the Sox have been non-committal about what to expect from him next season.

“He will grind it out everyday but at what point does that become a hindrance to his performance?” manager Terry Francona mused last month. “I think we saw that happen this year too. I think we all feel, including Mike, the medical people and us that he will be better situated next year. Now, stating the obvious, as guys get older, where do you balance the surgery, guy becoming a certain age and another year of wear and tear.”

Given all those factors, it is anything but surprising to hear that Lowell is being made available in a subsidized trade this offseason. After all, the Sox already had shown a willingness to move on from the 2007 World Series MVP last offseason, when they pursued Mark Teixeira.

If the Sox acquire a first baseman such as Adrian Gonzalez this offseason, then Kevin Youkilis could be moved to third, and Lowell would become expendable. But given the role that Lowell played in two of the areas that the Sox hope to improve upon in 2010, he likely will remain in a familiar position of limbo this offseason, regardless of whether the Sox bring back an All-Star like Gonzalez or not.

Then again, Lowell spent this decade as an almost perennial presence in the rumor mill, yet he was dealt just once during that time. So, even though initial signals would suggest that the Sox are open to moving Lowell, it remains to be seen whether that sound and fury will signify anything.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, mike lowell, Terry Francona, Theo Epstein

Surgery and Drew’s Contract

11.22.09 at 3:54 pm ET
By   |   Comments

One point of clarification seems relevant in the wake of J.D. Drew‘s surgery on his left shoulder on Thursday, which was described as minor. There is a clause in Drew’s contract permitting the Sox to void the final two years of his five-year, $70 million deal should he be on the D.L. for at least 35 days in 2009 or 2010, or if he finishes a season on the disabled list and will not be able to play the outfield the following season, due to a pre-existing right shoulder injury at the time he signed his deal. (Details found at the invaluable Cot’s Contracts.)

But none of those would affect Drew’s contract status at this point, for a few reasons: 1) it is his left shoulder that required the surgery in this instance; 2) he finished the year on the active roster; 3) given the characterization of the procedure as minor, there’s no reason to suspect that he will be unable to play outfield in 2010. Indeed, according to some of the advanced defensive measures, Drew was one of the best defensive outfielders in the game in 2009, which is part of the reason why the Sox consider him to have lived up to his considerable contract.

Read More: J.D Drew,

Drew Undergoes Minor Surgery on Left Shoulder

11.22.09 at 11:01 am ET
By   |   Comments

Red Sox right fielder JD Drew underwent a surgical procedure on his left shoulder on Thursday at Mass General, a baseball source confirmed. The surgery was first reported by the Boston Globe. The procedure was described by the source as “minor.”

Drew received pain-relieving cortisone injections in the AC joint of the shoulder in both June and again in the final days of the regular season. Despite the condition, he played in 137 games, and hit .279 with a .392 OBP, .522 slugging mark and .914 OPS that ranked second among A.L. outfielders.

Read More: J.D Drew, surgery,
Red Sox Box Score
Red Sox Schedule
Red Sox Headlines
Red Sox Minor League News
Red Sox Team Leaders
MLB Headlines
Tips & Feedback