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Red Sox lineup: Jonny Gomes gets start in left field against Ubaldo Jimenez

04.02.14 at 3:00 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox made one change Wednesday from their Opening Day lineup, inserting Jonny Gomes in left field (where Mike Carp had started Monday).

Gomes is hitting .417 with two homers in 17 plate appearances against Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Other members of the Sox’ lineup who has had success against the Baltimore righty include Daniel Nava (3-for-6) and Mike Napoli (3-for-4). (For a complete list of tonight’s matchups, click here.)

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup for Game 2 of the three-game set:

Daniel Nava RF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Jonny Gomes LF

Grady Sizemore CF

Xander Bogaerts SS

A.J. Pierzynski C

Will Middlebrooks 3B

John Lackey P

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Buster Olney on M&M: ‘Middle ground is apparent’ for Jon Lester extension

04.02.14 at 2:33 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Jon Lester‘€™s contract negotiations and other Red Sox and MLB news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington recently said that the Red Sox and Jon Lester‘€™s representatives were “going to hit the pause button” on contract talks. Olney sees a happy medium for both sides, but he indicated Lester will have to be the one to seal the deal.

“I don’€™t think they’€™re close, but I think the middle ground is apparent,” Olney said. “I think the Red Sox‘ comfort level is probably four years, [$20 million]-something a year and I think Lester is probably looking for six years, probably [$20 million]-something a year. And the middle ground is going to be somewhere in five years and $110 million, $115 million, $120 million, whatever number they come upon. And they’€™re both going to have to go out of their comfort zones.”

Added Olney: “It’€™s going to be because Jon Lester makes it happen, the way that Dustin Pedroia made it happen last year. The Red Sox, philosophically, are not going to box themselves in.”

On Tuesday, CC Sabathia did not look like his previous dominant self, pitching six innings and giving up eight runs on six hits. While Olney concedes that he did look bad, he noted that Sabathia can make it work based on what he saw in spring training.

“I think early on, yesterday, CC Sabathia was absolutely terrible,” Olney said. “And I talked to some scouts this morning about it and they were like, ‘Oh my god, he was in the middle of the plate, he wasn’t throwing hard.’ … He did have times in spring training like he — it looks like he’€™s been able to start to figure out how to pitch with less stuff. But man, he was terrible yesterday.”

Miguel Cabrera signed a reported eight-year, $248 million contract extension last week with two years left on his deal. Many were puzzled by the large investment in the 30-year old, whom Olney sees as an offensive player only.

“He already is kind of a glorified DH,” Olney said. “€œWe just saw David Ortiz get the highest salary for a DH, $16 million. They’€™re going to pay him twice that. And that’€™s why people all around baseball are scratching their heads about that deal.”

Added Olney: “€œEveryone thinks he’€™s a great player, but they do think at some point he’€™s going to be worth a lot less than what they’€™re going to pay him.”

While there haven’€™t been any major issues with instant replay so far, Olney said the system can improve by removing the manager’s ability to challenge and having an automatic review for close calls.

“€œWhy are the managers even part of this,” Olney said. “Why have a challenge system? Why not just have something in place, an official, or a fifth umpire and a crew is involved and if there’€™s a mistake, they can correct it.”

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: John Lackey vs. Ubaldo Jimenez

04.02.14 at 8:18 am ET
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After falling to Baltimore on Opening Day, the Red Sox will send John Lackey to the mound against Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday as Boston continues its three-game series with the Orioles.

Lackey heads into his first start of the season in a vastly different light from last year. Instead of taking the mound for the first time in a year after going under the knife for Tommy John surgery, Lackey will get the nod with his last start having come the day the Red Sox clinched their World Series title. During that late-October start, Lackey gave up just one run on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings en route to Boston’s 6-1 championship win.

“I just feel healthy, more than anything,” Lackey said. “There was more confidence not having to worry about how I felt physically. I just had to worry about executing pitches.

“For the most part last year I felt good. It was something [where] I didn’t have to deal with a whole lot of extra treatment and get into a normal routine and perform. I don’€™t know if you ever figure everything out, totally. You’€™re always still learning. But I feel I’m in a good place physically, and when I’m healthy I feel like I know how to pitch.”

The 35-year-old righty heads into Wednesday’€™s game after one of the worst spring trainings of his career as he gave up 13 earned runs over 18 2/3 innings for a 6.27 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. After giving up five earned runs in back-to-back appearances this spring, though, Lackey finished out March by blanking the Twins for 6 1/3 innings.

The last time Lackey faced off against the Orioles was on Sept. 19, 2013, when he hurled a complete game. The veteran pitcher gave up just one run — a solo home run by Adam Jones – on two hits while fanning eight batters during the start. Lackey, overall, carries a 13-5 record with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP against Baltimore.

Unlike Lackey, who is in his fifth season with Boston, Jimenez is making his first start with his current team after he signed as a free agent with Baltimore in February. The 30-year-old Jimenez spent the previous three seasons with the Indians.

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Red Sox minor league affiliate roster analysis: Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox

04.01.14 at 1:58 pm ET
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Anthony Ranaudo (AP)

Anthony Ranaudo (AP)

The Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox roster:

Pitchers

Drake Britton

Rubby De La Rosa

Chris Hernandez

Rich Hill

Dalier Hinojosa

Jeremy Kehrt

Tommy Layne

Anthony Ranaudo

Chris Resop

Brayan Villarreal

Allen Webster

Alex Wilson

Catchers Read the rest of this entry »

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President Barack Obama greets Red Sox at White House: ‘I’m proud of these guys’

04.01.14 at 1:15 pm ET
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The 2013 World Series champion Red Sox were honored on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday, with President Barack Obama paying tribute to the team for helping Bostonians cope with the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. To hear the ceremony, check the WEEI audio on demand page.

“I’m proud of these guys,” Obama said in a brief ceremony. “As a baseball fan, I appreciate their comeback season. But more importantly, as president, I’m grateful for their character and their embrace of the essential role they played in the spirit of that city.

“Sometimes, sports seems like it’€™s trivial, it’€™s just an entertainment. And then, every once in a while, you’€™re reminded that sports represents something else and it has the power to bring people together like almost nothing can. And all of you should be very proud of what you accomplished. I know your fans are. And I’€™m grateful to you as well.”

Obama noted that Red Sox Nation is well-represented in his administration — “I am surrounded by Red Sox fans,” he said — and he paid tribute to former Mayor Tom Menino and MBTA Transit Police officer Richard Donahue, who was injured in the pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Menino and Donahue were in attendance at the White House ceremony.

Obama also acknowledged firefighters Michael Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh, who died in last week’s Back Bay blaze.

Designated hitter David Ortiz presented the president with a white Red Sox jersey with the No. 44 and Obama’s name on the back. Ortiz then took a picture with the president — as Obama joked about the “selfie” — and tweeted it out.

Obama, a White Sox fan from his days in Chicago, ended the ceremony by saying, “Good luck this season. May the best Sox win.”

 

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Red Sox minor league affiliate roster analysis: Double-A Portland Sea Dogs

04.01.14 at 10:16 am ET
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The Sea Dogs roster:

Pitchers

Mike Augliera

Miguel Celestino

Keith Couch

Mike McCarthy

Michael Olmsted

Matty Ott

Henry Owens

Miguel Pena

Noe Ramirez

Nate Reed

Robby Scott

Sergio Valdez

Catchers

Mike Brenly

Matt Spring

Blake Swihart

Infielders

Mookie Betts

Sean Coyle

Derrik Gibson

Deven Marrero

Carlos Rivero

Travis Shaw

Stefan Welch

Outfielders Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox minor league affiliate roster analysis: High-A Salem Red Sox

04.01.14 at 9:51 am ET
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Red Sox right-hander Simon Mercedes hit 100 mph in a recent spring outing (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

Red Sox right-hander Simon Mercedes hit 100 mph in a recent spring outing. (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

The roster for the High-A Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League:

Pitchers

William Cuevas

Dayan Diaz

Luis Diaz

Justin Haley

Brian Johnson

Kyle Kraus

Corey Littrell

Austin Maddox

Kyle Martin

Simon Mercedes

Kyle Stroup

Madison Younginer

Catchers Read the rest of this entry »

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