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Victor Martinez considers future with — or without — the Red Sox

10.03.10 at 10:35 pm ET
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Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez said after his team’s season-ending victory over the Yankees that he did not know what to expect from his pending venture into free agency, though he reiterated how much he had enjoyed his time in Boston and the idea that he would like to come back.

“I said earlier, I want to be here, but now, that I got a chance to go out to free agency, we’€™ll see what happens,” said Martinez. “It was one of the best experiences in my career, to come here, wear this uniform and play in front of these great fans. It’€™s unbelievable. The competition, to come here and just be ready to play every day, it was amazing, and an honor for me just to wear this uniform.”

That said, Martinez suggested he had no idea what to expect in terms of the likelihood that he returns to Boston or heads to another city (including cities with rumored interest, including Detroit and Baltimore). He had no idea what kind of timetable might be followed for talks with the Sox.

“You’€™ve got to talk to them. It’€™s not up to me. I think I did my part, which is just to go out there and play. Now I’€™m going to go home, be with my family, and see what happens. … I think I’€™ll be alright to find a job somewhere,” said Martinez. “Like I said, I’€™m just going to go home, relax, enjoy my family a little bit, just wait for a phone call or something.”

While there have been questions about whether Martinez’ future is as a catcher or first baseman, he said that he would prepare this offseason in the same way that he has in the past, in anticipation of serving as a catcher. He also said that he will continue to view himself as a catcher “until my body says no.”

“You look at my stats, and just because I play a few games at first base, it doesn’€™t mean that I’€™m a first baseman,” said Martinez. “I’€™m just going to go into the offseason, prepare myself like I always do, work hard, and come back next year, whatever I’€™m going to be, and play hard like I always do.”

Martinez, who missed a month this year due to a broken left thumb, hit .301 with a .351 OBP, .493 slugging mark, .844 OPS, 20 homers and 79 RBI in 127 games. He played 110 of his 127 games as a catcher. Among catchers with at least 300 plate appearances, Martinez ranked among the leaders in batting average (2nd), OPS (2nd), OBP (5th), slugging (1st), homers (tied-2nd) and RBI (1st).

Read More: free agency, victor martinez,

That’s a wrap: Theo Epstein, Terry Francona reflect on season

10.03.10 at 6:27 pm ET
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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona held a press conference following the Red Sox’ season-ending 8-4 victory over the Yankees to discuss Boston’s 2010 club — the second in Epstein’s eight years as Sox GM to fall short of the postseason — and the shape of the club going forward. The two offered insight into several aspects of the club, among them:

  • With a number of key players who could become free agents (David Ortiz, Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Jason Varitek), the Sox recognize that this offseason could be one of significant change. “I can say there’s potential for there to be larger-than-normal turnover, but I wouldn’t guarantee it either,” said Epstein. “We’ll see how everything comes together.”
  • Fixing the bullpen and retaining core free agents were described by Epstein as the club’s top offseason priorities. Epstein said that Sox may pursue multi-year deals for middle relievers, though interest in such players will be tempered by the poor history of deals for them.
  • The Sox felt that their club was well-balanced and strong entering the year, but while the team’s offense — despite the injuries — lived up to expectations, the team’s run prevention did not.
  • The presence of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz at the top of the rotation represents a strength of the club for years to come.
  • Epstein declined to say whether the team would exercise the 2011 option on the contract of David Ortiz, but did say that the club was interested in bringing him back.
  • As for free agent Adrian Beltre, the Sox will “do everything we can to bring him back,” said Epstein, so long as it is in the best interests of the team.
  • The Sox would also like to bring back Victor Martinez. “We’€™d love to see the relationship continue,” said Epstein.
  • The Sox’ approach to outfield upgrades will be influenced by health reports of Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury. The team expects Cameron to be healthier and more productive next year than he was in 2010, and Ellsbury is expected to pick up where he left off in 2009.
  • The Sox believe that Ryan Kalish is capable of being in the majors right now, but Epstein suggested that he could still benefit from further time in Triple-A, and that the shape of the offseason will dictate where he starts 2011.
  • Some of J.D. Drew’s struggles were related to his struggles with the strike zone.
  • Felix Doubront will be stretched out as a starter in spring training, but he could be a bullpen contributor.
  • Epstein made an attempt to clarify his remarks last offseason that 2010 was a “bridge” year, and suggested that he still viewed 2010-11 as a time when the team needed to acquire players (such as Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre) to remain competitive while waiting for a wave of homegrown prospects to emerge.

Here is the complete transcript:

How do you assess the year?

Epstein: There’€™s disappointment that we didn’€™t get where we wanted to go. we didn’€™t reach our ultimate goal of getting to the playoffs and trying to do some damage in October. That said, there’€™s still a lot to be proud of in the way these guys played right to the end. They overcame a lot along the way. so, mixed feelings. We’€™re proud of the effort and proud of some of the things we accomplished, but still disappointed in the ultimate goal.

What are the offseason priorities? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adrian Beltre, bullpen, David Ortiz, J.D Drew

Closing Time: Red Sox 8, Yankees 4

10.03.10 at 4:53 pm ET
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At least the Red Sox got one final parting shot in on the Yankees before New York tries to defend its World Series crown.

Jed Lowrie homered twice and David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two infield singles in support of John Lackey‘s 7 2/3 strong innings as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 8-4, in the 2010 season finale at Fenway Park. The loss by the Yankees gave the American League East title to the Tampa Bay Rays and pushed the Yankees to wild card in the American League.

The Red Sox finish the season with an 89-73 mark, in third place in the A.L. East while winning the season series against the Yankees, 9-8.

Lackey allowed six hits, three runs – two earned – to finish the season 14-11 record and a 4.40 ERA.

The Rays, who won their second division crown in three years, will face Texas in the ALDS starting this week while the Yankees draw the Twins in the other series.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, MLB, New York Yankees,

Tim Wakefield on 2010 season: ‘It has been very frustrating’

10.03.10 at 8:42 am ET
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After giving up five runs on seven hits over five innings in the Red Sox‘ 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Yankees Saturday, Tim Wakefield admitted that the 2010 season had been ‘very frustrating’ after having been moved to the bullpen for much of the year, and he is currently planning to pitch one more campaign.

‘€œIt’€™s over for me, this season is over for me,’€ said Wakefield, who had pitched just one inning, in relief, since Sept. 17 prior to Saturday. ‘€œIt has been very frustrating, hard to swallow at times and I’€™ve done whatever they have asked to me to do without really complaining too much.

‘€œIt is what it is and it was what is was. All I can do is prepare myself for next year and whatever role that might be. The season is over (today) and I’€™m definitely going to take a break and see what happens.’€

Wakefield finishes ’11 with a 4-5 and a 5.34 ERA, having pitched 140 innings. He pitched in 32 games, starting 19 games, with his final start netting him an extra $75,000. His base salary this season jumped from $3.5 to $5.5 million after completing 130 innings. The 44-year-old received $50,000 for each game started from 11-15, and and additional $75,000 more for starts 16-25. His base salary for ’11 is $1.5 million with a variety of bonuses.

He noted that he wanted to talk to the Red Sox about what his role might be next season. Wakefield has made it no secret that his goal heading into his 19th major league season was to break the record for most wins by a Red Sox pitcher. He currently stands at 179, 13 shy of equaling both Roger Clemens and Cy Young.

‘€œI haven’€™t been told or know what’€™s going to happen next year, so let’€™s see what happens,’€ said Wakefield. ‘€œIt would have been a lot easier going into the season knowing what I was up against.

‘€œObviously it wasn’€™t done that way and that was a little bit of the frustration that I felt. I proved to them I was going to be healthy for 2010 and I threw 140 innings this year. Nobody expected me to do that, I know that for sure and I’€™m proud of that. The 140 innings I gave the club hasn’€™t been the easiest 140 innings.’€

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

Closing Time: Red Sox 7, Yankees 6 (10 innings, Gm 2)

10.03.10 at 1:54 am ET
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Eric Patterson singled home Bill Hall with the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the 10th as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 7-6, at Fenway Park and salvaged a doubleheader split after over eight hours of baseball was played.

The Yankees won the first game in four hours, 18 minutes before the Red Sox came back for the win in Game 2 in exactly four hours. The eight hours, 18 minutes of baseball was just 22 minutes shy of the MLB record the same two teams set in Aug. 2006, also at Fenway Park, when the Yankees swept the doubleheader, en route to a five-game series sweep.

Robert Manuel earned his first major league win by throwing two innings of scoreless relief while the Red Sox tagged Ivan Nova with the loss. The two teams looked weary in the nightcap as they were forced to play a doubleheader after Friday night’s game was rained out. The two teams combined to commit six errors in the second game, with the Yankees committing four miscues.

In his final appearance of 2010, Daisuke Matsuzaka showed the inconsistencies that have plagued his last two seasons in Boston, allowing only three hits and four runs – two earned – over five innings. But the Red Sox right-hander hit two batters and threw a wild pitch and finished the season with a 9-6 record with a 4.69 ERA in 25 starts.

Before claiming the win in the second contest to snap a four-game losing streak, the Red Sox dropped a 6-5 decision in 10 innings in Game 1 and it seemed the Yankees would remain a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the race for the A.L. East title.

But the loss that came at 1:22 a.m. ET dropped the Yankees into a tie for first, with Rays holding their fate in their own hands. If Tampa Bay wins, the Rays win the division and the Yankees will be the wild card.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, marathon, MLB, New York Yankees

Closing Time: Yankees 6, Red Sox 5 (10 innings)

10.02.10 at 8:54 pm ET
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Just another Yankee-Red Sox marathon.

Brett Gardner scored the winning run from second in the top of the 10th when Bill Hall overran Derek Jeter‘s infield single at second base as the Yankees prevailed, 6-5, in 10 innings at Fenway Park in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

And it only took four hours, 18 minutes to decide. All of this before a nightcap that was scheduled to begin 45 minutes later.

Robinson Cano homered and doubled twice, driving in two, and Curtis Granderson tripled in a run and scored twice as the Yankees built a 5-3 lead only to see the Red Sox tie it with single runs in the seventh and eighth.

After being honored in a pregame ceremony at third base, Mike Lowell received a standing ovation after being lifted for pinch-runner Lars Anderson in the fifth inning. Lowell doubled home two runs off Andy Pettitte in the first inning, staking the Red Sox to a 2-0 lead. Lowell finished 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.

The Lowell festivities overshadowed the final appearance this season by Tim Wakefield, who also received a standing ovation after warming up for the sixth inning, only to be pulled by manager Terry Francona for reliever Rich Hill. Wakefield allowed seven hits and five runs over five innings, striking out six while walking three.

Afterward, Wakefield told the media that 2011 will likely be his last in the majors before he calls it a career.

The Red Sox worked Pettitte for nine hits and three runs over only four innings, forcing Pettitte to leave after throwing 88 pitches. Jonathan Papelbon (5-7) gave up the unearned run in the 10th and was saddled with his seventh loss in 12 decisions. Phil Hughes (18-8) earned the win by pitching a perfect ninth while Mariano Rivera worked a perfect 10 for his 33rd save.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Jonathan Papelbon

You want Mike Lowell Day, you’ve got Mike Lowell Day

10.02.10 at 5:35 pm ET
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Here is a Cliff Notes version to the ceremony honoring Mike Lowell prior to the Red Sox‘ Saturday night tilt with the Yankees:

- Seated in a row of chairs near third base were: Principal owner John Henry, team president Larry Lucchino, manager Terry Francona, Lowell’s father, Carl, and his wife, Bertha, and two young children, Anthony and Alexis. Making surprise appearances were former teammates Mike Redmond and Alex Cora, with current teammate Josh Beckett also joining the group.

- Once all the particulars were introduced, the team played a highlight reel on the Fenway Park video board.

- The gifts given to Lowell were: Stone crabs (from the Florida Marlins), a watch, third base (which Beckett went over, plucked from the infield, and gave to Lowell), and a $100,000 check written out to the Mike Lowell Foundation.

- Carl Lowell took the mound to throw out the first pitch, tossing a near-strike to his son.

- Lowell joined his two children in delivery the scorecard for the Red Sox at home plate.

Here is what the retiring infielder had to say:

“First of all, I’€™d like to thank the Red Sox organization for this great ceremony and a very generous check, I really appreciate it, that’€™s really unbelievable. I’€™d also like to thank my family, friends, teammates, ex-teammates, my minor league coaches, believe it or not over there , and hopefully the silver place winners today for the game. They’€™ve come a long way, a lot of people and you guys have meant so much to me over my career. I really don’€™t know where to go from there. I just want to say thank you for that. You know, I’€™m kind of at a loss for words to kind of explain the emotions I’€™ve felt over the last five years with respect to the support and the positive responses I’€™ve gotten from Red Sox fans. I think it’€™s your passion and your knowledge for baseball that I’€™ll truly miss, but I don’€™t think I’€™ll ever forget. So I just want to thank God for allowing me the privilege and the opportunity to wear this jersey, to play in this ballpark, to repsresent the city of boston and to share so many memories with all of you. Thanks you very much.’€

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