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Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel reflects on lot in life on 1 year, 1 day anniversary of his 1st trade

04.06.16 at 12:21 pm ET
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Craig Kimbrel experienced his first trade exactly one year ago. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel experienced his first trade exactly one year ago. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — Craig Kimbrel was just settling into his Miami hotel for Easter Sunday, and his fifth Opening Day with the Braves when he got the call.

The closer had been traded to San Diego.

“We were at the hotel. As soon as they got there, they told me,” Kimbrel remembered. “It was a surprise. Obviously, being traded can never be a surprise for a player because the option is always there. But I think the timing was a little bit surprising.”

Now, exactly one year and one day later, he finds himself on another team, having already pitched one game for his third major league club.

In last 365 days, Kimbrel can stake claim to living experiencing three very different organizations. But as he sits in the Progressive Field visitors clubhouse, the closer admits a greater sense of security and calm.

“It’s been a year, but it feels like it’s been a little bit longer than that because of the new experiences I’ve been able to go through,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a little different this year because I’m not traveling, meeting the team on Opening Day.

“Obviously you want to learn from each trial that you have, but they say after being traded the first time, being traded after that is pretty easy. And it has been. Being able to spend time with the guys this spring and getting a feel for what we want to do this year and how we want to do it. Here we are and I’m still here, so that’s good.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘[Eduardo] Rodriguez is every bit a potential David Price when he’s healthy’

04.06.16 at 10:44 am ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling, making his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning, expressed optimism about the Red Sox following Tuesday’s 6-2 Opening Day victory over the Indians. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

David Price and the bullpen were impressive in Tuesday’s opener, but Schilling cautioned not to read too much into one game.

“There’s nothing about the last 72 hours that means very much, other than the fact that your team’s healthy,” Schilling said. “This first week is about kind of getting your legs under you. As long as you don’t go 0-6 or lose three or four guys in the lineup … You’re out of spring training. If I’m the Red Sox, you want to get your feet wet, you want to see how quickly [Eduardo] Rodriguez is going to return to the rotation. Those are the things you’re thinking [about]. You don’t look at big picture/small picture. In a 162-game season, what is it, every 16 games you kind of take a snapshot.”

Kirk Minihane predicted 68 wins and another last-place finish for the Red Sox. Schilling does not agree.

“Listen, I love him to death, but sometimes really dumb crap comes out of his mouth. You’ve got to know when that is,” Schilling said. “I don’t think they’re going to be a 105-win team, but I think they’ll be closer to 90 than they will 69.”

After Price, there are a lot of question marks about the Red Sox rotation. Schilling said if the remaining starters struggle, that could create problems for the ace.

“The guy’s a Cy Young winner. There’s no question he’s really, really good,” Schilling said. “A lot of it’s going to have to do with how the four guys line up behind him, and how consistent they are. Because it becomes a very challenging situation when your team’s struggling and it feels like the day you pitch is the only day people are expecting [your team] to win. That’s a different kind of pressure, and it’s not fun. But I think they’re going to be all right.”

Looking at the rest of the starters, Schilling holds Rodriguez in the highest regard.

“Given what I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s any question that Rodriguez is every bit a potential David Price when he’s healthy,” Schilling said. “I think David is going to be just the perfect guy to have to help him move along. The other guys, people tend to forget that Rick Porcello is 27 years old. He’s been around a long time. What you’re looking for from them is consistency. With that bullpen as good as I think it’s going to be, you’re trying to get the starters to consistently give you innings.”

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Carlos Carrasco

04.06.16 at 8:22 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox and Indians will throw a pair of righties on Wednesday night in the second game of their seasons. The Red Sox hope Clay Buchholz can start off on the right foot this year after an up-and-down 2015 campaign. He will battle Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, who is coming off his first full season as a starter.

After the signing of team ace David Price, the focus shifted to the second spot in the rotation. Manager John Farrell was satisfied enough by what he saw in spring training to slide Buchholz into that spot.

“I think he’s throwing the ball well,” Farrell said March 29 of Buchholz. “He’s gained command of his secondary stuff the last three times out. You look at pitchers and you’re hopeful that their command and their execution of secondary stuff improves as you get deeper into camp. I think that’s happening for the most part with guys. We still have work to do in some areas, but in Clay’s case, he’s showing that.”

While battling injuries last season, Buchholz only was able to pitch 113 1/3 innings, going 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA and 107 strikeouts. While he improved as spring training went along, one thing that may be a cause for concern is his command. In his March 26 start it took him 107 pitched to get 14 outs. In five career starts against the Indians, he is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA.

Carrasco had his best year as a pro last season, finishing with a career high 183 2/3 innings as he took on a full starter’s workload for the first time. The 29 year-old righty from Venezuela went 14-12 with a 3.63 ERA and 216 strikeouts. He is 1-1 in four career starts against the Red Sox.

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Dave Dombrowski, Mike Hazen like what they see in Game No. 1

04.06.16 at 6:40 am ET
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Dave Dombrowski and Mike Hazen liked what they saw Opening Day. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

Dave Dombrowski and Mike Hazen liked what they saw Opening Day. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

CLEVELAND — On Tuesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski did what he almost always does after wins. He filtered throughout the clubhouse, shaking hands and congratulating every player with whom the Red Sox president of baseball operations came in contact.

But the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Indians was a bit different for Dombrowski. It was the first chance he got to witness his handiwork as the man making this team.

“Your first win, the first game of the season is always exciting, Opening Day as it is,” Dombrowski said. “The first one can always be tough. A lot of good things today. Price pitched well. Our bullpen pitched very well. We swung the bats good. We played good defense. So it was just an overall good game and it feels great to win the first game.

“It’s one game. But we really like the overall makeup of how our team is. We like the bullpen situation. David gave us six innings, and a lot of times he will give us more than that. We scored some runs, which was big. We played good defense. And early up and down the order we ended up being in position where we swung the bat. It was good.”

And then there was the other chief contributor to building this Red Sox club, general manager Mike Hazen.

For Hazen, the win at Progressive Field marked his foray into life as an Opening Day GM. It was a long way from the Red Sox’ last team-defining opener, in 2013, when he was serving as an assistant to then-GM Ben Cherington.

“Look, I think the way guys prepared for spring training, the energy that guys came out with today looks somewhat like that,” Hazen said. “But we have a long way to go before we can match that team, and what that team looked like.

“This team has to create its own identify. There are players here that were younger at that point and time that are now more mature that are hopefully ready to take that next step into leading the next team. Today was a good indication of that. … Hopefully it sets a tone for a long season.”

(For all that went right and wrong in the Red Sox’ win over Cleveland, click here.)

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David Ortiz on Opening Day homer: ‘When the light goes on, Papi goes on’

04.05.16 at 9:47 pm ET
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Spring training? David Ortiz does not care about spring training.

The ageless Red Sox slugger started his final season with a bang on Tuesday, blasting a two-run homer in the ninth inning to salt away a 6-2 victory over the Indians.

The homer, the 504th of Ortiz’s career, came on the heels of a spring training that saw him hit just .178 with one home run. But once the games started counting for real, Ortiz delivered, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a long fly-out to the warning track in right on a ball Ortiz just missed.

“It’s the beginning of the season,” Ortiz told reporters in Cleveland. “When the light goes on, Papi goes on.”

The 40-year-old announced in November that 2016 will be his final season and he got out of the gates with his fifth Opening Day homer, the most of any active player. The blast came off a low fastball from Indians reliever Trevor Bauer.

“Got it out of the way early,” Ortiz said.

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Travis Shaw offers Opening Day sample of why he’s starting at third base

04.05.16 at 6:18 pm ET
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Travis Shaw

Travis Shaw

CLEVELAND — A lot of eyes were on a lot of key players wearing Red Sox uniforms Tuesday. And one who was particularly in the cross-hairs was Travis Shaw.

Fortunately for the new Red Sox third basemen, what everybody saw when glancing his way during the visitors’ 6-2 Opening Day win was impressive enough to ease any lingering uncertainty.

Shaw came away from his Opening Day start with a pair of hits, including a single in his first at-bat against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber. He also scored a run, while cleanly fielding his only chance, a Carlos Santana sixth-inning grounder.

“All the firsts you want to get out of the way as quick as possible,” Shaw said. “First hit. First ground ball. Everything felt pretty good today on my end.”

Shaw, who grew up about three hours away from Progressive Field, somewhat surprisingly didn’t feel the kind of anxiety many would expect.

Having wrestled the starting job away from Pablo Sandoval with a standout spring training, Shaw fed off the confidence he began building in the final two months of 2015.

“At times I do before games. But today, honestly, was pretty calm,” the 25-year-old said when asked if he still got nervous. “Then, obviously, with the first hit it calms down a little more. Today was a lot less anxious than I thought I was going to be, so it felt good.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox, David Price start in style, beat Indians

04.05.16 at 4:24 pm ET
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Bradfo Show podcast: Talking opener, bizarre hot dogs

CLEVELAND — This went about as well as the Red Sox could have hoped for.

Not only did John Farrell’s club get its expected stellar outing from the $217 million man, David Price, but the Red Sox also came away from their season-opener playing solid all-around baseball in beating the Indians, 6-2, Tuesday at Progressive Field.

Price highlighted the win, striking out 10 while allowing two runs over his six innings. It gave Red Sox starters a combined 1.97 ERA over the last five Opening Days.

(For more on Price’s outing, click here.)

Offensively, it was David Ortiz and Mookie Betts who led the way, each blasting two-run homers. Ortiz’s ninth-inning blast was his fifth Opening Day homer.

“Yeah, it’s the beginning of the season,” Ortiz said. “When the light goes on, Papi goes on.”

Overall, the Red Sox offense did its part against the 2014 American League Cy Young award winner, Cleveland starter Corey Kluber. The Indians ace lasted just 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs. Last season, Kluber went 0-6 in games when he didn’t get out of the sixth inning.

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Red Sox minor league rosters announced led by High-A Salem with 3 top 20 MLB prospects

04.05.16 at 4:11 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

With the big league club officially getting underway Tuesday, the Red Sox’ minor league clubs will follow suit later in the week. With that being said, Triple-A Pawtucket, Double-A Portland, High-A Salem and Low-A Greenville all announced its rosters on Tuesday.

High-A Salem is the most notable roster as they have three prospects ranked in the top 20 of all of baseball on its roster by Baseball America in second baseman Yoan Moncada, third baseman Rafael Devers and outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Also, on the Salem roster are other top prospects in shortstop Mauricio Dubon, first baseman/outfielder Nick Longhi and pitcher Travis Lakins.

Most of these players played for Greenville last season, which now has a roster headlined by 18-year-old right-hander Anderson Espinoza. In addition, the Red Sox’ 2014 first-round pick Michael Chavis will repeat a year in Greenville, but could move up to Salem quickly. Also, the Basabe twins — Luis Alexander and Luis Alejandro — make the jump from Lowell and will play for Greenville.

Portland doesn’t have many intriguing prospects, but that could change once players from Salem get promoted. To open the year, the Sea Dogs will be led by second baseman Wendell Rijo, right-hander Ty Buttrey, left-hander Williams Jerez, right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz, right-hander Kevin McAvoy and right-hander Aaron Wilkerson.

Pawtucket once again will be led by its starting rotation, which will see Henry Owens and Brian Johnson start the year in Triple-A like they did last season. The two of them, along with fellow left-hander Roenis Elias will likely battle for the first player to be called up if the Sox need a starter. Edwin Escobar, Pat Light and Heath Hembree are other pitchers to keep an eye on. In terms of hitters, first baseman Sam Travis headlines the offense, as he had a great 2015 season and his play carried over into the spring. Allen Craig, Deven Marrero and Marco Hernandez are other players to watch.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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David Price finishes Red Sox debut with 10 strikeouts over 6 innings

04.05.16 at 3:38 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — In terms of first impressions, this was certainly acceptable.

Making his Red Sox debut, David Price went six innings against the Indians, striking out 10, while allowing two runs on five hits. He also walked a pair in throwing 102 pitches. He left with a 4-2 lead before giving way to Junichi Tazawa.

Price’s 10 punchouts was one shy of Pedro Martinez’s Red Sox debut in 1998, while matching Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first game with the Sox in 2007. It was the most strikeouts by a left-hander making his Red Sox debut.

The only subpar inning for Price, who struck out six over his first three innings, came in the fourth when the Indians strung together four singles for a pair of runs.

It was Price’s third straight Opening Day win. He pitched 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the Twins last season. In 2014 he allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings vs. Toronto.

In last five Opening Days, Red Sox starters have combined for a 1.97 ERA (32 innings, 7 earned runs).

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Pregame Red Sox notes: Eduardo Rodriguez trending toward May return; Cleveland has disgusting hot dogs

04.05.16 at 1:14 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Not much changed for the Red Sox since their first go-round at opening up the season. The weather remained cold — in the 30s — although sun has replaced the flurries and clouds. The lineups are the same. And the players wore their pregame pom-pom winter hats. (Update: First pitch wind chill was 26 degrees.)

This time around, however, the teams were able to take batting practice outside.

And the Progressive Field vendors managed to actually sell some food …

In injury news, Eduardo Rodriguez is throwing another batting practice session Wednesday, with a simulated game scheduled for Sunday. If all goes as planned, it appears as though the lefty would be returning to the Red Sox rotation around mid-May.

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