|05.07.09 at 6:42 pm ET|
David Ortiz is a late scratch from tonight’s lineup against the Indians. Ortiz, who had a stiff neck, is 0-for-3 in his career against Cleveland starter Jeremy Sowers.
|05.07.09 at 4:51 pm ET|
The Red Sox clubhouse was barraged with questions about the 50-game suspension of Manny Ramirez. Mike Lowell offered pointed commentary about “another black eye” for the game, expressing disbelief that in an era of testing, and in which there is a clear list of acceptable substances that can be consumed by players, that news of further violations of MLB’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs continue to occur.
David Ortiz initially refused any comment about the suspension of his longtime teammate.
“I play for Boston. Manny plays for L.A.,” said Ortiz. “Go ask him.”
He repeated that notion a few times, but he did allow that he was saddened by the news about Ramirez using a banned substance.
“Of course,” he said. “You don’t want nobody to be involved in a situation like this, but what can I say?”
He said that players get “a lot” of advice about permissible substances in spring training. He did suggest that the list “is a little confusing sometimes,” particularly with over-the-counter substances.
“I try not to buy anything,” said Ortiz.
“It’s just another black eye for the game,” said Lowell. “Guys that are playing the game trying to maximize the talents they’ve been given naturally, everyone is linked in that category. I think that’s what’s a shame. I understand that it’s hard for Major League Baseball to glorify guys who they think are doing it right because we don’t know. That’s where we’ve gotten to. I think that’s very unfortunate. We keep finding these guys, and the message is terrible, especially for young kids who aspire to play Major League Baseball.
“I don’t put (expletive) in my body … I don’t understand why now anyone would even come close to taking anything that could remotely result in a positive test,” he added. “In the past if guys did it, they had the crutch that they weren’t testing. Maybe there’s some secret society that maybe I wasn’t invited to. I don’t get it. I don’t. I wish I could, but I don’t.”
Lowell said that he had “no idea” whether Ramirez used anything in violation of MLB rules while in Boston, but he did say that he never saw Ramirez taking any substances. In Lowell’s eyes, there was nothing tainted about the team’s 2007 championship (the only one for which Lowell and Ramirez were teammates). Even so, the Sox third baseman was clearly upset with the news.
“It hurts me because I think he made a personal choice and I think it was the wrong one. I think it sends a terrible message,” said Lowell. “But each person has to look in the mirror in the morning. If you can live with it, that’s up to you.”
In New York, Johnny Damon had some fairly pointed remarks about his former teammate’s suspension. He played with Ramirez, and is currently a teammate of Alex Rodriguez in New York, and so he has been front-and-center with the two largest figures to be ensnared in the PED scandal.
‘These guys want to be the best and to us they did look like the best and now they’re paying for it,” Damon told reporters. ‘I’m just surprised somewhat but every thing that comes out with baseball it seems like it’s mostly negative stories and unfortunately, Manny’s one of them, a former teammate of mine and it’s disappointing to hear.
‘I’m not sure if you can be surprised by anything now I think. I was surprised when A-Rod’s allegations came out, so I think that was the biggest surprise to me in the baseball world. Now another one of our great players has gotten in trouble,” Damon added. “He was such a talented hitter that I would not think he would need an edge. That’s how good of a hitter he is and he made things look easy. He did his homework on his pitchers, the videos that he watched, the hard work that he put in on the field and off the field. I didn’t think he needed an edge.”
(On the state of the game) ‘This game has been able to withstand the test of time and this game has been able to I believe thrive so far this year. This is another black cloud and hopefully we can weed all this stuff out of the game in the upcoming years. Unfortunately, some very good baseball players have to go down with it.”
Dustin Pedroia not only played with Ramirez from 2006-08, but also spent time with him at Athletes’ Performance in Arizona. Given what he had seen of the slugger’s training habits, he was shocked to learn of the positive test.
‘I was a little shocked. I wouldn’t have suspected that,” said Pedroia. “I played with him for a year and a half. I think that was the furthest thing. Obviously I worked out with him at the beginning of ‘08 and I know his work ethic and he knows what to put into his body, the good things. It’s a little shocking.’
“Obviously playing with him for a couple of years, that’s the furthest thing you think of. It’s definitely unfortunate for him,” he added. “But I think, for all of us, it’s really not our issue anymore. Manny has moved on to LA. It’s unfortunate for him. Obviously he’s one of the greatest right-handed hitters ever. It’s just tough to look up there as a fan of the game, just like anybody else, to see a superstar like that go through something like this.’
‘Obviously he knows how to get into shape, he knows how to take care of his body and stuff like that, so that’s obviously surprising. I don’t really know. I’m not familiar what happened, or know all the details. The only thing I know is I played with him a couple of years and he worked hard. I didn’t suspect this stuff.’
(Does it tarnish his legacy?) ‘I don’t know. The two years I played with him, the year and a half, shoot, we won the World Series, he was kind of injured both years. He missed time in both years. I don’t think ‘¦ it’s not like we wouldn’t be the world champions if, whatever this is that’s going on. I don’t think it tarnishes any of that stuff.’
(Do you anticipate a time when MLB will be clean?) ‘I hope. That’s what everyone is rooting for. Everyone that plays this game wants little kids to look up to all the Major Leaguers and know that this game is clean and we play the game the right way and hopefully those kids will look up to us. Hopefully all this stuff goes away and they can just watch us all on TV and enjoy it…Obviously the game is changing in a different direction. You see a lot more speed guys. You look at the Indians. Grady Sizemore, he’s a younger player, he’s very exciting in the outfield. He hits a lot of triples, does a lot of things. That’s the player that I think the game is going to and it’s exciting. I think there’s a lot of vsay this game is changing in the right way.’
(How careful are you about what you take?) ‘Obviously guys are careful. I take centrum multi-vitamins every day. That’s it. I think the careful route is the best so you don’t have to worry about anything like that.’
‘Obviously everyone is not doing it. It’s unfortunate that those guys are talented enough, it’s unfortunate that this happened. I think the game needs to move on and turn the page on all of this. I think everyone is tired of hearing about it, to be honest with you. I don’t think anybody wants anybody to get in trouble or get suspended for games or whatever it is. Everyone just wants to move on and play baseball.’
‘The thing is, for me, I’m trying to move on and not worry about that. I know when I was a kid, I looked up to a lot of guys. Some people do bad things, some people don’t. People have to make their own assumptions. My thing is, just go out and play baseball and hopefully kids enjoy what you are and who you are.’
(On whether he was surprised) “I was. I’m not going to say I wasn’t.”
“We weren’t really the best of friends…He’s not in our clubhouse anymore, so this is something we’re not even worried about”
“Hopefully we can get to the point where there aren’t even accusations of steroid use (in the game).”
Asked if 50 games was a reasonable penalty, Papelbon responded, “That’s the rule, man. You’ve got to stick to ‘em.”
(On how difficult it is to understand the rules) “It’s really easy…(MLB) makes a pamphlet for you in Spanish and English.”
Like most of Manny Ramirez‘ former teammates, Jason Varitek seemed a bit stunned and unsure of how to react to the news of the slugger’s suspension.
“This is the real big one right now…Everybody is still trying to find out exactly what’s going on and what’s happened. I don’t know how to react at this point,” said the Sox captain. “I still think for everybody there has to be clarity of what’s going on before you can pass judgment. And before you can pass judgment everybody has to find out what’s going on. It’s changed about 900 times today since you first probably heard at noon until now. I haven’t heard anything the last couple of hours, I’ve been doing my work…You hate to pass complete judgment until you know the whole story.”
Varitek was less concerned with Ramirez’ specific case than he was with the broader issue of performance-enhancing substances in the game.
“I don’t know if I’m going to talk to Manny myself because we have enough things going on to worry about here. The important thing is for the game, which goes beyond every one of us as players,” said Varitek. “This game is much bigger than the players itself. It’s generations and generations so for that fact and that alone is why the program is put into place and I have to see exactly what’s gone on and if that’s a benefit to having the right program in place.”
“I don’t even know enough to comment…Certainly any news like that is never good news…I was surprised a long time ago. I’m numb now. I just hope, I really hope, that nobody gets falsely accused.”
“If this becomes another one, then certainly it’s another shot at baseball’s attempt to clean it up…I’m on the tail end of my career, and I hope they clean it up. I really do. I hope it gets back to the greatest game on earth. I’m confident it will. Unfortunately, you’ve got to go through stuff like this…Sooner or later, enough guys will get wake-up calls and guys will do whatever they can to make sure their names are not on the news for stuff like this. I’m sure that nobody in their right mind wants to be dealing with it.”
|05.07.09 at 4:32 pm ET|
Tim Wakefield takes on the Cleveland Indians and Jeremy Sowers on Thursday night at Fenway Park. Rocco Baldelli was activated from the DL and is in the lineup playing centerfield for Jacoby Ellsbury. Kevin Youkilis is still out, which means Jeff Bailey is starting at first base once again for the Red Sox.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of talk about the Manny Ramirez situation before the game. The Red Sox issued an official statement and Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had this to say about Manny: “he’s not in our clubhouse anymore, so this is something we’re not even worried about. We weren’t really the best of friends. I was (surprised). I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t. (Easy to understand rules on banned substances?) It’s really easy. (MLB) makes a pamphlet in English and Spanish.”
Mike Petraglia collected these pregame notes & quotes from Terry Francona:
- On Manny Ramirez situation: I know the Red Sox put out an official statement. I don’t how comfortable I’d be. I wish him luck.
- Youk is still a little stiff and sore
- Jacoby is available tonight.
- Dice-K will pitch in Columbus and stay with them (Pawtucket) through
the road trip and make another start
- I like our team and the way we handle things. Fortunately we haven’t
dealt with things of that magnitude here.
- On Jonathan Van Every: Is ok after scary hit
Here are the lineups for both teams:
Lugo – SS
Pedroia – 2B
Ortiz – DH
Bay – LF
Lowell – 3B
Drew – RF
Baldelli – CF
Bailey – 1B
Kottaras – C
Francisco – CF
Cabrera – SS
Martinez – C
DeRosa – 3B
Dellucci – LF
Garko – 1B
Peralta – DH
LaPorta – RF
Valbuena – 2B
|05.07.09 at 3:09 pm ET|
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 »
|05.07.09 at 12:03 pm ET|
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
‘Recently 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.
‘I 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
situation.’ ‘ 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.
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.”
|05.06.09 at 10:03 pm ET|
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 …
|05.06.09 at 9:19 pm ET|
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.
INDIANS 7, RED SOX 2
|05.06.09 at 8:56 pm ET|
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.
INDIANS 4, RED SOX 2
|05.06.09 at 8:29 pm ET|
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.
RED SOX 2, INDIANS 1
|05.06.09 at 8:08 pm ET|
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.
RED SOX 2, INDIANS 1
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