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Red Sox vs. Indians Match-Ups, 5/7

05.07.09 at 3:09 pm ET
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On the day when news of Manny Ramirez‘ suspension comes out, the two clubs with whom he spent the first 15 years of his career will occupy the field at Fenway. Just two days ago, David Ortiz was asked about spending years answering for his former teammate.

“I got weared out (sic) with Manny,” he acknowledged.

Now, he is likely to spend another day being peppered with inquiries about his longtime line-up partner. As for the game itself, here’s a look at how the Red Sox and Indians have fared against tonight’s starting pitchers: Read the rest of this entry »

UPDATE: Manny Ramirez suspended 50 games for PED use

05.07.09 at 12:03 pm ET
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The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a press release to confirm that Manny Ramirez has been suspended 50 games for the use of a performance-enhancing substance. The press release, which featured a quote from Ramirez, stated that the substance was not a steroid, but was on Major League Baseball’s banned substances list, and said that Ramirez will not appeal the suspension.

The release reads:

“The Commissioner’s Office announced today that Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50
games under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. That
suspension was issued pursuant to Section 8.G.2 of the Program. Manny, after consultation with
the Players Association and his personal representatives, waived his right to challenge that

“Manny has requested that the Players Association release the following statement on his

‘€œRecently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a
medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me.
Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the
policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say
anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and
passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.

‘€œI want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates,
the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me
and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I’m sorry about this whole
‘€“ Manny Ramirez

The L.A. Times first reported the news. Last month, former baseball player Jose Canseco told a crowd at USC (as reported by the L.A. Times) that he was “90 percent” certain that Ramirez’ name was on the list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids during the 2003 series, before Major League Baseball had any penalties for positive tests.

The revelation is a bombshell, as a suspension for Ramirez would be the most prominent player to be punished under the current MLB penalties. (Rafael Palmeiro, a member of the 500-homer and 3,000-hit clubs, was suspended for 15 games for steroid use in 2005.) While Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids, and MLB’s Mitchell Report cited use by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, a positive test for Ramirez would mark the first time a superstar has been snared and punished by the current MLB testing program.

Obviously, the issue resonates across baseball, and particularly in Boston. The reputation of Ramirez, widely regarded as one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time, would take a major blow in the eyes of the public. Although this positive test comes at a time when he is a member of the L.A. Dodgers, he would be the most significant player on either the 2004 or 2007 championship teams to test positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

(ESPN’s Peter Gammons said during a SportsCenter broadcast that one member of the Red Sox front office was shocked by the revelation, saying, “I don’t believe it for one second.”)

A 50-game suspension would sideline Ramirez until July 3. Ramirez, who signed a one-year, $25 million contract with a $20 million player option for 2010, would not be paid during the suspension, meaning that he would forfeit between $7-8 million.) He is hitting .348 with a .492 OBP and .641 slugging mark with six homers for the Dodgers this year, after having hit .396 / .489 / .743 with 17 homers in 53 games after being traded to Los Angeles last year.

In an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter during spring training, Ramirez said multiple times that he had never used or thought about using steroids.

“No, it wasn’t tempting,” he said at the time.

Ramirez is not the first player to insist that he was suspended after unwittingly using a banned substance. Former Sox reliever J.C. Romero, who was with the team early in 2007, also failed a test for what he told WEEI.com was a substance in an over-the-counter supplement:

“First of all, I definitely want to make sure [people know] that I did not use steroids,” he said. “I think that’s one thing that I want to clarify because it means a lot to me. I honestly agree with cleaning the game of baseball so we can be better role models for our youth, our kids. We have a bunch of high school, college players that look up to us as baseball players and I think it’s our job, our duty to make sure we keep the game pure.

“With that being said, I also want to make sure that people realize that we’re being targets right now. We’re being targeted by outsiders. We’re pretty much becoming a hot topic right now and baseball is in flames right now because of what’s going on with the game right now, which is very unfortunate.”

Read More: manny peds, Manny Ramirez, peds, steroids

Final: Indians 9, Red Sox 2

05.06.09 at 10:03 pm ET
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The Red Sox fell to the Indians, 8-2, in the teams’ series opener, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Taking the loss was Justin Masterson, who threw a career-high 112 pitches, giving up six runs over 6 1/3 innings. Victor Martinez did the most damage for Cleveland, going 3 for 5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs. Martinez is now hitting .398.

The 2-5 hitters for Cleveland — Asdrubal Cabrera, Martinez, Shin-Soo Choo, and Mark DeRosa — each had three hits and combined to go 12 for 19 with seven runs and eight RBI.

Earning the win for the visitors was Carl Pavano, who threw more pitches (103) than he had in nearly four years. Pavano lasted six innings, giving up two runs on six hits.

More after heading down to the clubhouse …

Seventh inning: Masterson … out

05.06.09 at 9:19 pm ET
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Justin Masterson completed his outing, giving way to Hunter Jones with one out in the seventh inning after totaling the highest pitch count of his major league career. His previous high was 105, totaled in a six-inning outing against Tampa Bay last June 30, which was eclipsed tonight with the 112-pitch performance. It wasn’t the longest outing innings-wise for Masterson, who lasted 6 1/3 after being pulled with the Sox trailing, 5-2, and Victor Martinez at first. That came last June 13 in Cincinnati, when he went 6 2/3 innings.

Masterson’s line was closed out when Mark DeRosa launched a Jones’ pitch over the left field wall, driving in Martinez and giving the Indians’ a 7-2 lead. The starter’s final totals: 6 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts.

Carl Pavano also called it a night, leaving after six innings and 103 pitches. It’s the most pitches he has thrown since June 22, 2005.


Fifth inning: Indians take the lead

05.06.09 at 8:56 pm ET
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The trio of switch-hitters the Indians have lined up against Justin Masterson — Asdrubal Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Shin-Soo Choo — are giving the hurler some trouble through the first five innings, with the group going 5 for 9, with four RBI and two runs. All three, of course, are hitting lefty, which is also working to their favor in facing the Sox starter.

In the fifth, it was a run-scoring double off the centerfield wall by Martinez, and Choo’s RBI single, which did the damage. Martinez’s hit came off a 93 mph fastball, while Choo took advantage of a Masterson slider. In case you were wondering, Martinez is now hitting .400 as a left-handed hitter, while Choo stands at .300 as a lefty.

Meanwhile, Cleveland starter Carl Pavano has settled down. David Ortiz did bloop an opposite field single with one out in the fifth, but Pavano got his former Florida teammate, Mike Lowell, to end the inning with a fly out to right.

It has been a far cry from Pavano’s most memorable Fenway Park outing, coming June 27, 2003. It was that night Pavano, pitching for the Marlins, allowed six runs on six hits without retiring a batter. His replacement, Michael Tejera, also didn’t retire a batter before allowing five runs on four hits. The final that night, in case you forgot, was Red Sox 25, Florida 8.


Fourth inning: A Lowrie diversion

05.06.09 at 8:29 pm ET
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While we’re muddling through the middle innings, wanted to relay some interesting info on Jed Lowrie

Lowrie, was back at Fenway Park after spending the last few weeks in Arizona, where he underwent surgery to remove an ulnar styloid bone in his injured left wrist, reiterating that the doctors told him that a rough estimate as to when he could return to playing would be 6-8 weeks.

But what was interesting was that Lowrie said the fracture in the bone didn’t come in the fielding incident that first led to the pain, last May. Doctors told the shortstop that he had the fracture for years, although neither the player, or his mother, could recall a time during his 25 years which would lead to such an injury.

With the fractured bone already dislodged, what the injury last season actually did was break up the scar tissue which was doing the job of the bone for all these years. As the season progressed the scar tissue became less and less reliable, causing the pain and problems Lowrie experienced in the postseason. It, of course, built itself up with rest in the offseason, leading to the optimism of spring training.

But as the spring moved along, the same problem occurred, with the scar tissue not able to do the job of the bone, ultimately forcing the surgery. The inch-long bone was removed (since it served no purpose) and the scar tissue continues to be broken up until it is no longer needed. 

In short, no bone and no scar tissue is better than a fractured bone and here-today, gone-tomorrow scar tissue.

Oh yeah, one of Lowrie’s replacement, shortstop Nick Green, struck out with one out and the bases loaded as the Sox squandered a good chance to add to their lead. J.D. Drew ended the frame with a ground out to end the frame.


Third inning: A left-handed compliment

05.06.09 at 8:08 pm ET
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Justin Masterson’s first real test came with one out in the third, when he had to go against the left-handers Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera (a switch-hitter), and Victor Martinez (switch-hitter) with runners on first and second. Even after implementing the change-up to keep lefties honest this season, Masterson continues to work out the kinks when it comes to getting those type of hitters out.

Entering Wednesday night, lefties were hitting .288 with a .377 on-base percentage, compared to the .256/.265 clip for righties. Masterson got Sizemore to pop out to left, but Cabrera rocketed a 92 mph fastball back up the box to drive in the Indians’ first run. He did finish off the frame by inducing a fly out to center from Martinez.


Second inning: Remember when …

05.06.09 at 7:46 pm ET
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Remember when the Red Sox went after Carl Pavano in the free agent market following the 2004 season, instead ending up with Matt Clement. Clement has retired, and Pavano keeps pitching. But the rest of the story after the two inked their deals, until present day, aren’t all that different in terms of sucess (or lack thereof).

Pavano has survived to make six starts this season, albeit with a 1-3 record and 7.46 ERA entering Wednesday night. That was the good news for the Tribe’s starter, the fact he was healthy enough to make tonight’s start. The bad news was that it is coming against a Red Sox’ lineup that is loaded with hitters with pretty good success against the former Boston farmhand. 

Jason Bay is 3 for 6; J.D. Drew is 5 for 8; David Ortiz is 3 for 5; Jason Varitek is 3 for 8; and Nick Greeen is 3 for 10.

So, somewhat predictably, the Sox struck first thanks to a run-scoring double play ground out from Jeff Bailey, coming with the bases loaded, scoring Bay. The Sox outfielder had led off with walk, was followed by Mike Lowell’s double, and a walk to Varitek. The home team struck again when Jonathan Van Every singled in Lowell with two outs.


First inning: More important than baseball

05.06.09 at 7:29 pm ET
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More important than the game …

NESN just released a statement that Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy is taking a leave to recover from cancer surgery. The statement says that Remy underwent surgery for lung cancer late last year.

‘€œI want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or interruptions,’€ said Remy, a former smoker who underwent surgery for lung cancer late last year.

Remy expected a more immediate return but suffered a setback due to an infection and subsequent case of pneumonia. He now hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale about the adverse health effects of smoking.

‘€œI hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children,’€ said Remy, the president of Red Sox Nation.

Carl Pavano allowed a leadoff single to J.D. Drew, whose history as a leadoff hitter is somewhat quizzical. For his career, Drew is a .244 career hitter in the leadoff spot. But in his at-bats that lead off the game, the Sox’ outfielder was hitting .388 with a pair of home runs. Pavano got out of it thanks to a double play grounder from Dustin Pedroia, followed by a fly out by David Ortiz.


Lester on Joba: ‘It’s gotten old’

05.06.09 at 6:48 pm ET
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A day after Joba Chamberlain hit Jason Bay in the back in the fifth inning of what turned into a Red Sox win over the Yankees, Tuesday  night in New York — and a few hours after Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell told Dale and Holley on WEEI that ‘Those things aren’t forgotten’ in expressing Chamberlain’s motivations — opinions on the matter could be heard in the Sox’ clubhouse.

First, Josh Beckett, the pitcher on the mound for the Sox following Chamberlain’s pitch, would only say, “Everybody has a job to do and mine is not to delegate blame, or purpose, or intent. Things have a way of working themselves out, that’s way I look at it. That stuff always has a way of working itself out.”

Like Farrell, Jon Lester was a bit more pointed in his remarks.

“It’s one of those deals where I’m all for throwing in, but there comes a point somebody, whether it be baseball or the opponent, has to step in and say enough is enough,” said Sox hurler. “Balls have gone over guys heads and gone up too close. There’s a difference between throwing in and making a point and he definitely tries to make some points. I don’t know if he’s trying to him there or not, but he did and it looks bad because J-Bay did hit a home run off of him, along with the history with us and other players. He always come back and says the ball slipped, I wasn’t trying to hit anybody. One time you can fool us, two times you can maybe say OK, but it’s gotten old. In baseball it’s one of those deals where you can’t really think there’s a punishment necessary. It’s one of those deals where we might have to police it ourselves a little bit more, I don’t know.”

The Red Sox and Yankees next meet for a three-game series at Fenway Park, starting June 9.

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