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Why Papelbon came on in the seventh

07.08.10 at 1:02 am ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wednesday night, for the first time since Sept. 29, 2005, Jonathan Papelbon entered a regular-season game in the seventh inning.

With the Rays holding a 6-2 lead, Red Sox manager Terry Francona called on his closer, who hadn’t pitched since July 2. Here was Francona’s explanation:

‘€œI talked to Pap before the game. He needed to pitch tonight. It was once in the last seven or eight days. So, when we got to that inning, we can try to play it traditionally, but if we go through the heart of the order, say we bring [Robert] Manuel in then, and it doesn’€™t work, now we’€™ve got to go to [Daniel] Bard. We’€™re down four. We really wanted him to pitch, and then if we stay in it, we’€™ll not take the temperature, but if we want to come back, we can play a little different. It wasn’€™t because the game meant more. He needed to pitch, and if we wait or we get ourselves in a bind where we end up using everybody, that didn’€™t make any sense.’€

Papelbon pitched a scoreless inning, claiming a strikeout while throwing 13 pitches.

Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox, Terry Francona,

Maddon sees difference in Beltre’s defense, offense

07.07.10 at 11:33 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A lot was made of the comments made by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon to WEEI.com’s Alex Speier regarding Adrian Beltre‘s defense.

When describing the third baseman, Maddon told Speier, “[Beltre is] clearly the best [third baseman] I’€™ve ever seen in person. I think [Evan Longoria] is good, I used to think Scott Brosius was really good. ‘€¦ [Eric] Chavez was good, but Beltre was stupid good. I think Beltre is the best who I’€™ve ever seen with my two eyes ‘€” defender, not just third baseman, but defense.’€

Now, with Beltre leading all major league third basemen in errors after making his 14th of the season, Wednesday night, Maddon offered his analysis of the 31-year-old.

“A little bit. I don’t think he’s as sure yet,” Maddon said of Beltre. “He’s gotten more sure at the plate and less sure on defense, that’s the best way I can describe it. At the plate right now he’s a monster. The last couple of years he’s been a monster on defense and uncertain at the plate. I think he’s kind of reversed roles a bit.”

Asked what exactly the difference in Beltre’s defensive game might be, Maddon said: “From a distance, he’s not as free on defense as he has been.”

Beltre, who has made 14 errors in each of his last two seasons, made his latest miscue in the first inning of the Red Sox‘ 6-4 loss to the Rays, mishandling a Longoria grounder. It was Beltre’s first error in the last 10 games, marking the second-longest stretch without a fielding faux pas, falling short of the 22-gamer he had from May 9-June 2.

As Maddon noted, the third baseman is having one of his best offensive seasons of his career, currently hitting .334 with 12 homers. Beltre notched one hit in four at-bats Wednesday night, making him 2-for-12 for the three-game series.

“Normally it happens with catchers. A catcher will get more offensive oriented and it messes up their defense,” Maddon said. “Still, this guy is very, very good. Just the best way I can describe it as he’s looked as confident on offense this year as he has looked on defense the last couple of years.”

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Joe Maddon, Red Sox,

Closing Time: Rays 6, Red Sox 4

07.07.10 at 10:22 pm ET
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The Red Sox were simply overpowered on Wednesday night. Rays starter David Price delivered one of the most dominating starts of the season against the Sox, setting a season high by a pitcher against the Red Sox by punching out 10 Boston hitters — almost solely on the strength of a mid-90s fastball — in Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory over Boston.

Though the Sox rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth, the Rays had a margin to withstand that rally thanks to the work of their starter. Price allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings, improving his record to 12-4.

Price’s performance continued a recent run in which a Boston lineup — depleted by the recent injuries to Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez as well as Jason Varitek — has looked short-handed. The loss was the Sox’ fourth straight, and the team has scored just 12 runs in that span.

The Sox suffered their first series sweep since getting broomed in three straight by the Orioles from April 30-May 2. The setback also left the Sox 2 1/2 games behind the Rays for second place in the AL East.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Tim Wakefield turned in his worst start in more than a month, allowing his most runs (6) since June 3 and pitching his fewest innings (5 2/3) since he was touched for nine runs on May 28. Most notably, though he entered the night having allowed just 1.9 walks per nine innings (seventh-best in the AL), he issued a season-high six walks.

–The Red Sox defense did Wakefield few favors. Three errors were committed behind him (one each by Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Bill Hall) and Kevin Cash committed a passed ball.

Adrian Beltre struck out three times, matching his season high. He did rebound to deliver an opposite-field double in his fourth at-bat. The third baseman finished the Rays series having gone 2-for-12, and he is now in his worst slump since April, having gone 3-for-22 with a line of .136/.174/.227/.401 over his last six games.

Marco Scutaro went 0-for-5 with a pair of punchouts, marking just his third multi-strikeout game of the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Mike Cameron had his best game as a Red Sox, going 3-for-3 with his second homer of the season (a solo shot) and a sac fly. The three hits marked a season high, and pulled Cameron out of a 6-for-28 slump in which he was hitting .214 with a .607 OPS.

Darnell McDonald had perhaps the most impressive at-bat of his Red Sox career in the top of the ninth inning against Rays pitcher Matt Garza (who was on in relief in the ninth). He saw 11 pitches — a season high for a plate appearance — and fouled off five straight 2-2 pitches before delivering a run-scoring double with two outs that brought the Sox within two runs. He also collected a season-high three hits.

–The Sox bullpen proved efficient in delivering 2 1/3 scoreless innings of work. Ramon Ramirez (one out), Jonathan Papelbon (one inning, one strikeout) and Robert Manuel (one inning, one strikeout) combined to retire seven straight batters, giving the Sox a chance to mount a comeback.

Daniel Nava hit his first career triple.

J.D. Drew delivered a pinch-hit single against left-hander Randy Choate, marking a string of six hitless at-bats against southpaws in which he had punched out five times. It was also his second hit in six at-bats as a pinch-hitter this year.

Francona on D&C: Youkilis expected back in lineup

07.07.10 at 1:17 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about his injury-plagued club.

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Kevin Youkilis last night goes down, he leaves the game. Has he checked in this morning? Can you tell us any update on Kevin?

Yeah, I talked to him a few minutes ago. I think he’€™s actually going to be able to play. I think we need to be prepared for the chance that maybe he shows up and he’€™s not quite feeling as good as he says, so we’€™re trying to prepare for that. We definitely have some moving parts. But if everything goes according to plan, he’€™s going to hit cleanup and play first base tonight.

How much does a conscientious kid like Youk, how much of that is him knowing the situation, knowing how many injuries you have, knowing how much you need his bat in the lineup, and he’€™s going to try to do whatever he can to go out there and play in this current situation?

Well, I think it’€™s more than that. I think he does that every day. I mean, I think Youk takes a lot of pride in not coming out of the lineup. And it’€™s not just right now, it’€™s all the time.  There’€™s days when we go up to him day game after night game and we say, ‘€œHey, will this help you?’€ And he says, ‘€œNo, I want to play.’€ He understands his responsibility ‘€” he always has ‘€” and we appreciate that. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Red Sox. Kevin Youkilis, Terry Francona,

Bowden on moving to pen: ‘I’m excited’

07.07.10 at 12:06 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Only good could come out of the meeting when Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo and PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur pulled Michael Bowden into the office Tuesday. When you’re pitching as well as Bowden has been, those sort of get-togethers are usually always about optimism.

And while the meeting didn’t allow Bowden to receive the best kind of message — a call to the major leagues — it was the next best thing. The manager and coach was telling the 23-year-old they were about to push the righty pitcher down the quickest path to the big league club, informing Bowden he was going to the bullpen.

“The plan as far as I know is that I’m going to the bullpen. They haven’t given me any details about it and I haven’t wanted any details. Torey and Rich called me in the office and said they’re moving me to the bullpen, that I’m live tonight and that we’ll go from there. I was fully acceptive of it and I’m actually excited,” said Bowden via phone from Allentown, Penn. where the PawSox are playing the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

“I’m looking at it as if the Red Sox want me in the big leagues to help the team the best chance of me playing a role is in the bullpen. As everybody knows the rotation is one of the best in the world and it’s set for a while. I’ll be the first to tell you it’s tough to break into a rotation like that. Yeah, I definitely think I’ll have more of an opportunity in the bullpen and help the big league club win.”

Unlike the first time he did last year, as a member of the Red Sox, the experience of becoming a reliever wouldn’t be foreign for Bowden. He was first introduced to the bullpen for the first time in his life via a short stint with the Sox in 2009, making one scoreless, two-inning relief outing against the Yankees on April 26.

The next chance to relieve in the majors wasn’t so encouraging, with Bowden having to eat a few unwanted innings after starter Brad Penny’s Aug. 21 early exit against New York. That outing was one he is still trying to forget, giving up seven runs on three walks and eight hits over just two frames.

It was after that, when he was summoned again for September, that the real payoff came.

Bowden’s next three relief appearances, starting on Sept. 8, saw the right-hander now allowing a run. When the season all said and done, he had made seven outings as a reliever, while also using the down-time to figure out the differences between starting and living out of the bullpen.

“I personally believe I did pretty well other than that catastrophe,” Bowden said. “When I got up there in September I think I was up for 10 or 11 days before I even got into a game. Those 10 or 11 days were the most beneficial days I had in terms of making the adjustment to the bullpen. Just talking to Manny Delcarmen, Billy Wagner, and the other guys who are up there, they helped me out a lot, helping me out with routine. I was picking their brain and asking questions.

“Even though I didn’t pitch for those 11 days I didn’t know I wasn’t going to pitch so every day I had to prepare and work on my routine like I was going to pitch because I didn’t know. I think that really helped me. And when they did call on me I was 100 percent ready and comfortable and ready to throw. That month up there is going to help me a lot in terms of the adjustment and the position change goes.”

And this time there is a reason the Red Sox are prioritizing finding a way for Bowden to help the big club. He is currently 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of his dominance. Not only is he coming off an outing in which he allowed one run on one hit over 7 2/3 innings, but in June Bowden’s ERA stood at 2.35 over five starts.

He said fixing the problem that had his ERA at 7.20 in four April starts was fairly simple.

“Just talking to my pitching coach, Rich, my catchers, Dusty Brown and Gustavo Molina, we were trying to figure out why I was doing what I was. We felt I was getting really long with my arm and by doing that I was opening up and my arm was trailing. I wasn’t staying closed and I was getting way too on top of the ball,” Bowden explained. “By getting too long I was developing some bad habits. Mechanically I stayed the exact same. All I did was shorten up my arm path so it wasn’t as long. It just got me in a much better position to throw the ball.

“I did that one bullpen and that’s where I started turning it around. With very limited repetition I was able to go in and the next start was the best start I had. It came back pretty quickly and right now it’s just a matter of getting the repetition and being able to repeat that.”

And now it has led Bowden to perhaps the next stage of his career.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

Changeups in the Red Sox bullpen: 2003-2009

07.07.10 at 12:01 pm ET
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It is no great revelation to suggest that the Red Sox bullpen is thin.

Sox starters rank fourth in the majors with 524 1/3 innings this year, and sixth in the majors with an average of just under 6 1/3 innings per start. It’s not hard to figure out why. The rotation has a 4.07 ERA, fifth best in the American League. The bullpen now features a 4.83 ERA, second worst in the AL. The Sox also have 13 blown saves, most in the AL, and a 64 percent save percentage that ranks 11th among the 14 teams in the American League.

In his return on Tuesday, Hideki Okajima allowed a homer — to left-hander Carl Crawford, no less — to push his ERA up to 6.00. Ramon Ramirez (4.81 ERA) has been unreliable. Manny Delcarmen saw his ERA more than double to 4.59 as a result of a three-outing stretch of ineffectiveness that forced him to the DL to rest his elbow.

In short, it is no secret that the Sox will need to improve their bullpen, and that the team is likely to seek a change to its current crew. But the question remains: what kind of change?

The Sox gave an indication of the initial direction of their attempt to restore relief to their pitching staff with the news that Michael Bowden, who has been dominant as a Triple-A starter for the past five weeks, will be moved to the PawSox bullpen. And if the Sox seek to address a struggling bullpen with internal solutions such as Bowden, it would not be that out of character for the club under the stewardship of GM Theo Epstein.

While the Sox have at times been aggressive in trading for bullpen reinforcements, there have been years when they did not do so, even with deeply flawed bullpens. In 2005, for instance, the Sox featured a horrific bullpen. Closer Keith Foulke required surgery in July, and setup men like Alan Embree and Matt Mantei endured horrible seasons.

The Sox looked into acquiring an impact arm at the trade deadline, but decided not to do anything when they were presented with trade proposals such as an exchange of Kevin Youkilis for Twins setup man J.C. Romero. Yet the team still made one of its most significant bullpen moves under Epstein, making the decision to use Jonathan Papelbon (a starter to that point in his career) as a reliever down the stretch. Now, it appears that the Sox want to see if Bowden can permit them a similar solution this year.

Here’s a look at the year-by-year history of Red Sox in-season bullpen moves during Epstein’s tenure: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: billy wagner, bullpen, byung-hyun kim, chad bradford

Red Sox vs. Rays matchups, 7/7

07.07.10 at 9:52 am ET
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The Red Sox will look to salvage one game in their three-game series with the Rays as the two sides bring their series in the Sunshine State to a close Wednesday night. In what is slowly and unfortunately becoming the story of the season, the Red Sox will try to elude the injury bug once more after the team got a scare Tuesday when Kevin Youkilis, who earlier in the day had been announced as the leader of the American League Final Vote contest to be the last member of the AL squad at the All-Star game, left the game with a sore ankle. With Youkilis out of the lineup, the Rays were able to intentionally walk David Ortiz three times in favor of pitching to Niuman Romero, who grounded out to second with two men on base for the final out in the ninth following an Ortiz walk. Youkilis announced after the game that he expects to be back at first Wednesday. Youkilis and the rest of the Sox lineup will have their hands full, though, as they take on recently named first-time All-Star David Price Wednesday. Boston will counter with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

On the surface, it appears that Wakefield (3-6, 4.96 ERA) is leaps and bounds away from the form he was in this time last year when he was named to his first All-Star squad. His performance in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings has been especially poor; he has a combined 7.91 ERA in those frames as opposed to the 2.54 and 3.78 ERAs he has put up in innings 1-3 and 7-9 respectively. He has especially struggled in the fourth, when that number balloons to 13.50. Luckily for the Sox’ elder statesman, Wednesday’€™s contest will be away from Fenway Park. On the road this season, Wakefield is 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA as opposed to his numbers of 1-4 and 5.89 at the Fens. He has even better career stats at Tropicana Field, where he has yet to pitch this season but is 10-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 18 career starts.

Unfortunately for Sox fans, Price (11-4, 2.42) has been just as impressive at the Trop, especially this season. He is 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA at the Rays’€™ indoor stadium this year. For a taste of how dominant he has been at home, look at his last start there on June 26 against the Diamondbacks. The lefty recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts in eight innings and allowed just two runs over that time en route to a 5-3 Rays win. Interestingly enough, Price has pitched to a decision in 15 of his 16 starts, with the lone no-decision coming way back on May 1.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Price, Tim Wakefield,

Remy on D&C: Sox ‘hanging on’ until break

07.07.10 at 9:33 am ET
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NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning. Remy talked about Tuesday’s night loss to the Rays that featured a questionable ninth-inning substitution by Red Sox manager Terry Francona, his opinion of unconventional moves by Rays manager Joe Maddon, and the Sox’ injury problems.

Said Remy: “It’s got to catch up to them. You can’t have this many injuries and compete. You just can’t. You just hope that day by day you can hold your head above water here until you get these guys back.”

Remy agreed that the Sox are doing their best to hang on until the All-Star break but cautioned that the three-day vacation won’t solve many of the team’s problems. “Even after the All-Star break, they still don’t get all these guys back,” he noted. “Are they hanging on? Sure, they are. My biggest concern is they have a bad week, then all of a sudden you’re at the All-Star break and you’re five or six [games] back, when you’ve done all this good work to get close.”

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled again in his most recent outing Monday. Said Remy: “It’s just frustrating as hell to watch. … I can’t figure it out, and apparently they can’t figure it out, because if they could, they’d change it.”

On a positive note, Remy said he’s been impressed with Felix Doubront. “Good for him. He did a good job last night, facing a tough lineup. … For a kid that’s coming up and filling in for a spot start, what more could you ask for than what he gave you last night?”

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jerry Remy, Red Sox, Terry Francona

Ortiz: Rash of injuries ‘like a curse’

07.07.10 at 3:05 am ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Speaking after the Red Sox‘ 3-2 loss to the Rays, David Ortiz admitted that the recent spate of injuries besetting the Sox’ roster is feeling “like a curse” and that he hasn’t seen anything like what the team is currently dealing with.

“I’ve been playing this game for so long and I’ve never seen anything like this, ever,” said Ortiz after being intentionally walked three times when cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis had to be replaced by Niuman Romero following an injury to the starting first baseman’s right ankle. “We go through injuries every year and things like that, but what I’m seeing now is like a curse. I’m just talking trash, but man! It doesn’t even sound right. You have nine guys on the DL, guys that are everyday players. When was the last time you saw something like that? Never. But like I say, I always see the positive way. Things happen for a reason because it could be worse.”

Ortiz observed that many of the injured Red Sox players would be coming back shortly, including Youkilis, who figures to be ready for action Wednesday. For example, after Tuesday’s simulated game at Tropicana Field Josh Beckett (back/lat) figures to need just two more rehab starts before returning to the rotation, while outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) has been throwing and may meet the team in Toronto to formulate a plan to integrate himself back into baseball activities. Outfielder Jeremy Hermida also took batting practice on the field Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list, and is scheduled to join his teammates in BP Wednesday.

“At least we expect guys to come back 3-4 weeks at the most for now, and a lot before that,” he said. “Like I say, you have to see the positive. That’s all I can say right now.”

For more see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Sox and Ranaudo play a waiting game

07.07.10 at 1:18 am ET
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It was a perfect Cape Cod night. The day’€™s sun had given in to the night’€™s cooler seabreeze, and the crowd of a little bit more than 1,000 had begun to pack up their lawn chairs and blankets at Bourne’€™s Doran Park after witnessing the hometown Braves fall to the Brewster Whitecaps, 2-0, last Friday.

Those who remained, mostly children and the parents they pulled along for the ride, went ball and marker in hand towards the Brewster dugout. As they waited, two of the autograph seekers made clear their target.

‘€œDid you get the Red Sox guy yet?’€ one asked.

‘€œNo, that’€™s who I’€™m waiting for,’€ the other replied.

And then he emerged. At 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, Anthony Ranaudo — taken by the Red Sox in the supplemental first round with the 39th overall spot in last month’€™s MLB draft — towered over the autograph seekers.

He had just pitched seven innings of shutout ball in the longest of his three summer starts on the Cape, extending his streak without permitting an earned run to 17 2/3 in the process. He allowed just five hits and one walk while striking out five.

Put those stats together with his ties to the Sox, and it should be no surprise that the number of adolescents looking for a signature was swelling.

There was one surprise among the ranks of the autograph-seekers, however. One man found a way to pave his way through the chest-high spectators and shook the hand of the pitching stud.

‘€œAnthony, Theo Epstein, GM of the Red Sox. Nice to meet you. Nice job out there tonight.’€

With that, the drafter had his first face-to-face contact with the draftee since the one had taken the other on June 7.

Since Epstein and the Red Sox selected the LSU junior in the sandwich round of the draft, Ranaudo’€™s history has become increasingly familiar to followers of the club.

He was selected by Texas in the 11th round of the 2007 draft but elected instead to fulfill his commitment to the Tigers. He had his best season in Baton Rouge in 2009 when he went 12-3 with a 3.04 ERA. His 159 strikeouts were third-most in the nation behind the legend himself Stephen Strasburg and current Reds rookie hurler Mike Leake. To cap it all off, he recorded the win in LSU’€™s Game 3 victory over Texas to clinch the College World Series trophy for the Bayou Bengals. (Interestingly enough, fellow 2010 Boston draft pick Brandon Workman, the 57th pick in the second round, was saddled with the loss in that game.)

After those heroics, most experts had Ranaudo tabbed as the best college pitcher eligible for the 2010 draft before his junior season had even begun. Then, he suffered a stress reaction in his right forearm, and his mechanics failed to return to form. Though he finished the year strong, his ERA more than doubled to 7.32.

So after being drafted by the Sox, both sides seemed to agree that the best way to assess his value was for Ranaudo to return to the Cape, where he had played summer ball for none other than the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in 2008 and amassed an 0-2 record and 6.63 ERA in 10 appearances.

This time out, Ranaudo’€™s stuff is much more reminiscent of his 2009 pitching rather than his appearances in 2008 or 2010, and nowhere was that more evident than in his third start last Friday.

He established his fastball early and often, consistently hitting the low 90’€™s on the gun and touching as high as 94, according to Brewster manager Tom Myers. His curveball, which he bounced a few times in the early innings, became a solid plus pitch as the game progressed. (In the sixth inning, Ranaudo struck out Bourne left fielder Ryan Wright on three straight curves.) His changeup kept hitters honest.

Ranaudo noted after the game that the command of all three pitches was his best weapon in the shutout.

‘€œI thought I had pretty good command on all three pitches and everything. I don’€™t know exactly what my fastball [velocity] was, but I didn’€™t feel like I had as good a [velocity] as I did last week. But I was able to locate the ball and have some good movement,’€ he said. ‘€œI was able to flash the changeup early so hitters knew I had three good pitches working all day so I thought it was probably one of the better starts.’€

But what was perhaps most impressive to Epstein and the rest of fans in attendance was Ranaudo’€™s ability to work out of a jam. To start off the sixth inning, he allowed a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced, and the following sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with just one out.

In a tight two-run game and with his pitch count creeping into the 70s, Ranaudo needed to buckle down. He did just that, retiring the next two batters on clutch strikeouts and winning the praise of his manager in the process.

‘€œWhat you saw late in the game with runners in scoring position, he got even better,’€ said Myers. ‘€œHe just showed great composure and that again is a separator for guys at this level and guys that are going to continue to play at the level. He showed great composure and made pitches when he had to. For us, that’€™s a stopper right there.’€

Even his father, Angelo, who made the trek with Ranaudo’€™s mother and sister, thought that moment was ‘€œthe best part of his performance,’€ brushing aside the two 10-pitch, one-two-three innings his son threw in the first and seventh innings.

If Ranaudo can keep pumping out performances like Friday’€™s, he should be a shoe-in for the Cape League All-Star game that will be held in Fenway Park for the second-straight year on July 28. For most college players, the opportunity to play in baseball’€™s most historic ballpark would be an honor, but for Ranaudo, it’€™d be more about why he was at Fenway rather than just being there.

‘€œIt’€™d be a great experience for me to be a Cape League All-Star. ‘€¦ [Fenway’€™s] just a ballpark,’€ Ranaudo said. ‘€œObviously, it has a lot of tradition and history behind it. I guess it would be cool, but I’€™ve pitched in some other big-league parks [old Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Citizens Bank Park] before. I hope I’€™m going to play in the major leagues someday so it’€™s going to be something routine, just another mound.’€

Such an answer would give anyone the feeling that Ranaudo isn’€™t in a must-sign, must-get-to-Fenway mode right now headed into his contract negotiations with Boston this summer. Neither Ranaudo, who is represented by baseball superagent Scott Boras, nor Epstein was willing to comment on just how the negotiations were going with the deadline of Aug. 16 fast approaching.

Ranaudo did note though that he didn’€™t even recognize Epstein in his seat behind home plate during or after the game before their introduction, a reminder that contact between the club and the pitcher has been limited to this point.

The clothing of the Ranaudo family also said enough about the family’€™s immediate allegiances going forward. The three Ranaudos in the stands didn’€™t blend in with the Red Sox insignia of the other members of the crowd. Instead, their apparel stood out, with each donning purple-and-gold LSU souvenir T-shirts and hats.

It appears that it might take more than some convincing to make Ranaudo to forgo his senior year and his allegiance to the Tigers and join the Red Sox farm system going forward, something that Epstein was more than ready for when he and his staff picked Ranaudo.

‘€œIt’€™s not every day you can sign a player immediately after the draft,’€ Epstein said after taking Ranaudo in June. ‘€œThe good ones are sometimes worth waiting for.’€

A Cape Cod Times report on Ranaudo last week quoted LSU associate head coach David Grewe as saying that the pitcher was ready to return to Baton Rouge unless he received top-10 money. Since that time, LSU coaches have refused comment on Ranaudo in any manner until he makes a decision one way or another.

His current manager in Brewster was willing to make a prediction of his own, though.

‘€œI think at some point and time he’€™s going to be in Fenway, and he’€™s going to be successful for the Red Sox,’€ Myers said.

Ranaudo himself was willing to say that he is ready to wait like Epstein, and he seems convinced that he will spend the rest of his summer in a Whitecaps uniform as opposed to a Lowell Spinners one like fellow Red Sox early-round picks Kolbrin Vitek and Bryce Brentz.

‘€œI’€™m here to play for the rest of the summer. I’€™m here to develop. I’€™m here to get better and move on from there,’€ Ranaudo said.

In all likelihood, Epstein and the Sox will simply have to wait until mid-August for Ranaudo to make his final decision, and to see whether the two sides can see eye to eye on a fair signing bonus. Until then, in some respects, the Sox will be in the same position as the youngsters that waited for the pitcher on Friday, wondering if he will sign for them.

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Theo Epstein,
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