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Steven Wright on injury: ‘I feel like it made me a better person’

10.04.16 at 5:19 pm ET
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Steven Wright. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The playoffs are starting and the Red Sox’ best first-half pitcher isn’t going to be on the roster. Steven Wright is still injured.

As the Red Sox packed their bags in the Fenway Park clubhouse, getting ready for their Tuesday flight to Cleveland, Wright would have had every right to be a little upset. If he just didn’t injure that right shoulder while pinch-running in Los Angeles Aug. 5, Wright would most likely be one of the starters pitching in the upcoming best-of-five American League Division Series against the Indians.

But, instead, he is relegated to throwing bullpens Wednesday and Saturday, with the potential opportunity to face hitters in Fort Myers, Fla. after that. Not exactly how anybody envisioned after the season’s first four months.

Wright, however, isn’t mad. Instead the knuckleballer is almost unbelievably understanding.

“I try not be angry about anything because to me I feel like everything in your life happens for a reason, whether we know what the reason is or not,” Wright told WEEI.com. “I think with the whole injury thing, I think it just taught me to be patient. It’s one of those things where it’s a freak accident regardless of what people are saying with me being out there or not, if I should have been or if I shouldn’t have been. It was something that happened and I feel like it made me a better person. People were expecting me to get mad. People were mad. People were mad for me. But the thing is that if it wasn’t going to happen that way, it was going to happen another way.

“I’m blessed it wasn’t anything serious. Even though I’ve missed a lot of time for it, it’s still, in the big scheme of my career, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s one of those things where it happened and I just have to move on. I’m more angry that I wasn’t able to get out there and play, perform and help this team get to where we’re at. But we obviously have a good enough team. It’s not like they didn’t need me, but they were able to step up and get the job done.”

The hope for Wright now is that the Red Sox advance and he ultimately gets his chance to contribute, one way or another. And because of the possibility of pitching in still exists, watching the upcoming games at Progressive Field is simply viewed as part of the process.

“Right now it’s one of those things where I obviously want to help the team compete and win, but I feel like it’s a little bit easier to watch and cheer on because physically i’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer,” Wright said. “My goal is to make sure that when the next round comes and they have to make another roster decision, ti’s based on what the team needs versus me not being available because I’m not healthy. That’s my goal. Whether I make the next round roster or not, it’s obviously not my decision, I just want to be in that conversation of being put not the roster. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m going to work for. When that time comes and they have to make another decision on roster, I just want to be in the conversation.”

Robby Scott won’t be on Red Sox playoff roster, Drew Pomeranz likely will

10.04.16 at 4:46 pm ET
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Left-hander Robby Scott will not be on the playoff roster. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Left-hander Robby Scott will not be on the playoff roster. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

It appears because of Drew Pomeranz’s strong performance Sunday out of the bullpen he will be on the Red Sox’ playoff roster and thus left-hander Robby Scott will not.

After being skipped in the rotation at the end of the season because of forearm soreness and a career-high in innings, Pomeranz came out of the bullpen Sunday against the Blue Jays and was very impressive.

Pomeranz went 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. The only base runner he allowed was because of an error, but even more impressive was his velocity.

In 13 starts with the Red Sox, according to Brooks Baseball his highest velocity was 94.46 mph, which was one of only five pitches higher than 94 mph. On Sunday, he threw nine fastballs at 94 mph, with the fastest being 95.4 mph.

Manager John Farrell announced on Tuesday Scott has been sent back to Fort Myers and the move was because of Pomeranz’s outing on Sunday.

“Yes, completely,” he said. “And how he responded physically yesterday, those were all encouraging. His ability to go multiple innings. His ability to throw the stuff that he showed the other night — as I mentioned post game, that was very encouraging. The physical stuff he had, in addition to his strike-throwing. The fact that Drew came out of that outing in a favorable way, the decision was made yesterday on Robby.”

The Red Sox will now have Robbie Ross Jr., Fernando Abad and Pomanerz as lefties available out of the bullpen, with likely Abad not being on the playoff roster.

Read More: Drew Pomeranz, robby scott,

Should Red Sox be comfortable with Craig Kimbrel as closer?

10.04.16 at 3:59 pm ET
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Craig Kimbrel will be the Red Sox' postseason closer. (Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel will be the Red Sox’ postseason closer. (Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

Although it’s not a surprise, the Red Sox will go into the postseason with Craig Kimbrel as their closer.

Kimbrel was shaky down the stretch as the right-hander allowed six earned runs in his last four appearances, which included six walks over three innings.

His biggest meltdown came last Wednesday in New York when the Red Sox clinched the AL East by way of a Blue Jays loss, but the Red Sox led 3-0 in the ninth and eventually lost 5-3 on a walk-off grand slam.

Kimbrel walked three batters and allowed a hit, not retiring an out before Joe Kelly allowed the grand slam.

The closer hasn’t totally been the same since returning from knee surgery in July. Before July 1, the right-hander hadn’t walked a batter in three straight outings since 2013. Since then, he’s done it twice. He also has a 5.12 ERA in non-save situations this year with 14 walks in 19 1/3 innings.

The closer threw a bullpen on Monday at Fenway Park on the team’s off-day.

“We’re all aware of some of the inconsistencies in the recent outings,” manager John Farrell said. “This wasn’t a major delivery adjustment. This is a matter of continuing to reproduce the direction and staying behind the baseball more consistently. That was worked on yesterday.

“There’s no change in our closer, it’s Craig Kimbrel.”

In 2016, Kimbrel was 2-6 with a 3.40 ERA and 31 saves.

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Clay Buchholz to start Game 3 of ALDS vs. Indians

10.04.16 at 3:33 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will start Game 3 of the ALDS vs. Cleveland. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz will start Game 3 of the ALDS vs. Cleveland. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Although John Farrell won’t announce the final playoff roster until Thursday morning’s deadline, it’s known who will start Game 3.

Speaking in the clubhouse prior to a workout at Fenway Park on Tuesday, Clay Buchholz said he will be the Game 3 starter.

This means the Red Sox rotation will be Rick Porcello, David Price, Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez. It also means Buchholz could be available out of the bullpen in a potential Game 5.

Manager John Farrell wouldn’t confirm it when asked, but also didn’t deny it.

Buchholz bounced back-and-forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen this year, but has been at his best of late as a starter. He is 3-0 in his last five starts with an ERA of 3.14.

“Baseball is a confidence driven game,” Buchholz said. “If you’re confident, you’re a lot better off than being not confident. I got some confidence moving in the right direction.”

One of the biggest reasons for his success down the stretch was an adjustment in his mechanics as he now always pitches from the stretch.

“Moving to the stretch it simplified just about everything I do within the delivery and I didn’t have to think of anything,” he said. “I’ve got a lot more comfortable doing that. That’s probably the one thing that has pushed me forward.”

Overall in 2016, Buchholz is 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 21 starts and 16 relief appearances.

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Why that pain-in-butt makeup game in Cleveland might end up helping Red Sox

10.04.16 at 8:21 am ET
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Bryan Holaday celebrates the Red Sox' Aug. 15 win over the Indians with closer Craig Kimbrel. (David Richards/USA Today Sports)

Bryan Holaday celebrates the Red Sox’ Aug. 15 win over the Indians with closer Craig Kimbrel. (David Richards/USA Today Sports)

You remember the one.

August 15 at Progressive Field. The Red Sox had to swing through Progressive Field for just one game, kicking off a four-city, 11-game road trip.

It seemed like a signature inconvenience in the midst of what ended up being a two-month string of scheduling challenges for these Red Sox.

But now, looking back, Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen and others believe that brief reunion with Terry Francona’s team might actually serve a purpose when it comes to getting ready for the upcoming American League Division Series.

“In Cleveland’s case we played them three times because we had them three times because we had that extra game in which we prepared for at a different period during the season where we maybe wouldn’t have with Cleveland,” Hazen said on the Bradfo Show podcast. “We would have been done with them a lot sooner. But we got to play them one more time, so we had a little more recent information in regards to them.

“I don’t know if it’s influence, because the teams have changed a lot since then. But there will be some familiarity with those hitters and some of those pitchers. Having that familiarity more recently may pay a dividend, may not. But I do think it allows to have a better understanding walking into this series of what you should expect.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Times for Red Sox-Indians ALDS series announced through Game 3

10.03.16 at 3:20 pm ET
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Major League Baseball officially has announced times for the Red Sox-Indians series beginning Thursday in Cleveland.

Game 1: Thursday, October 6 at Cleveland – 8:08, TBS
Game 2: Friday, October 7 at Cleveland – 4:38, TBS
Game 3: Sunday, October 9 vs. Cleveland – 4:08, TBS

This means Sunday’s Game 3 at Fenway will go up against the very end of the Patriots-Browns game, which is Tom Brady’s first game back from his four-game suspension.

Times for the remaining if necessary games will be announced at a later date.

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

MLB commissioner says it’s possible David Ortiz didn’t actually fail a drug test in 2003

10.03.16 at 1:21 pm ET
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes David Ortiz might not have legitimately failed a drug test. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes David Ortiz might not have legitimately failed a drug test. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

David Ortiz has vigorously maintained his innocence since a New York Times story in 2009 revealed he was one of 100 players to fail an anonymous 2003 drug test.

On Sunday, commissioner Rob Manfred suggested Ortiz might be right.

Parsing his words carefully and speaking in a legalese befitting his Harvard Law degree, Manfred said that Ortiz’s test could’ve returned a false positive and he urged Hall of Fame voters not to let “leaks, rumors, and innuendo” cloud their judgment.

“It’s sort of a matter of principle for me,” Manfred said. “The list was supposed to be confidential. I take very seriously the commitment on confidentiality. It is really unfortunate that anybody’s name was ever released publicly, point one. Point two, I don’t think people understand very well what that list was.”

Manfred explained that anonymous testing was meant simply to establish a threshold that could trigger full testing the following year. MLB easily surpassed that threshold. He said at least 10 players on that list returned questionable positives that would not withstand today’s appeals process without a grievance.

“Those issues and ambiguities were never resolved because we knew they didn’t matter,” Manfred said. “We knew we had enough positives that everyone agreed on that we knew we were going to trigger the testing the following year. What’s my point with this long thing that I just told you? Even if Rob Manfred’s name was on that list, he might have been one of those 10 or 15 where there was probably or at least possibly a very legitimate explanation that did not involve the use of a banned substance.”

Manfred doesn’t know whether Ortiz was one of those 10 or 15, because the records were destroyed.

“Obviously we would have sorted that out if we ever thought those names were going to become public,” he said before noting that advances in drug testing have made it much easier to pinpoint specific substances.

“Remember, the drug testing we do today is light years ahead of where we were then,” he said, “not just because of our program but because of how the science works. Today, they can tell you with specificity what substance was involved. Back then, it was hard to distinguish between certain substances that were legal, available over the counter, and not banned under our program, and certain banned substances.”

So what does this mean for Ortiz’s Hall of Fame chances?

“I think whatever judgment writers decide to make with respect to players who have tested positive or otherwise been adjudicated under our program, that’s up to them,” he said. “That’s a policy decision. They’ve got to look into their conscience and decide how they evaluate that against the Hall of Fame criteria. What I do feel is unfair is in situations where it is leaks, rumors, innuendo, not confirmed positive test results, that that is unfair to the players. I think that would be wrong.”

Read More: David Ortiz, drug test,

Why I hate SNL’s lazy, offensive, unfunny David Ortiz skit and hope they never do it again

10.03.16 at 12:21 pm ET
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Outside of second-guessing the Red Sox manager, there might not be an easier sport than ripping Saturday Night Live. You know the drill: The show stopped being hilarious when Eddie Murphy left, and it stopped being funny in the early 90s, etc. . . . And yet, as much as we like to bemoan its irrelevance, it soldiers on, year after year after year, never admitting it’s time to say, “Buh-bye.”

Season 42 premiered on Saturday with the delightful Margot Robbie hosting, and during Weekend Update, SNL returned one of its most odious caricatures with Kenan Thompson’s tired, lazy, nonsensical David Ortiz.

You’ve probably seen some version of this skit, which many New Englanders feel reflexively obligated to label “hilarious,” perhaps out of deference to the magnanimity of making Boston a part of the show.

To quote a far better, dearly departed In Living Color sketch: “I don’t think so.”

There are plenty of reasons to rail on this impression. It continues a long, sad tradition of SNL believing it can impersonate any black guy by having its token black cast member play himself (Thompson draws this duty weekly), or in this case, any Latino guy by employing a generic accent, because really, what’s the difference between a Dominican and a Mexican?

Thompson doesn’t even try to sound like Ortiz, which is insulting, demeaning, and frankly, more than a little racist. He could use the same accent to play Antonio Banderas or Chico and the Man. Save the nuance for Kate McKinnon’s murderously ambitious Hillary Clinton or Tina Fey’s strenuously clueless Sarah Palin. (The amazing and departed Jay Pharoah was the notable exception, but let’s not forget that SNL is the same institution that decided to put a white actor, Fred Armisen, in something approaching blackface for its original Barack Obama impression).

Those are just side issues, however, because here’s SNL’s ultimate Big Papi sin — it’s not remotely funny.

The running gag is that Ortiz likes to eat! Particularly food with Spanish names! Roll those Rs! He also loves to say, “Mofongo!” which is technically a Puerto Rican dish, but whatever. In this particular iteration, we must also endure Thompson breaking character to laugh at his own hilarity as he recites the same tired list of ethnic cuisine — for the second time in a minute! — that’s always a feature of this bit. It’s one step above spoofing Asians with a bunch of “ching-chongs.”

Perhaps I’m quibbling when I note that I don’t recall Ortiz ever speaking about food in his life and that the best impressions are rooted in at least a tiny slice of reality. It’s not like he’s Refrigerator Perry. Or teammate Pablo Sandoval, for that matter.

The second half of the skit, about Ortiz shilling anything, has more promise, but ESPN did it infinitely better in its brilliant, “Papi gonna be rich” ad this spring. We’ve seen his commercials for Comcast and Dunkin’ Donuts locally, but SNL whiffs on this premise, too, because it’s quite a leap to “STD’s in a can,” or whatever the hell that “Hepsi” thing is supposed to be. You want to mock an athlete for putting his name on everything, read the following in the cadence of the Nationwide jingle: Peyton Manning is your guy.

Anyway, it’s just SNL. I probably could’ve better spent the last 45 minutes getting worked up over something else, like Rex Ryan or Craig Kimbrel, but every time I see that sketch, and hear people say how riotous it is, I feel humanity inch one step closer to the abyss.

The real David Ortiz will retire sometime in the next month. Here’s hoping SNL follows his lead.

Read More: David Ortiz, David Ortiz SNL skit, Kenan Thompson, Red Sox

Closing Time: Troy Tulowitzki single forces Red Sox to start postseason on road

10.02.16 at 6:31 pm ET
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The Blue Jays celebrate Edwin Encarnacion scoring the game-winning run Sunday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Blue Jays celebrate Edwin Encarnacion scoring the game-winning run Sunday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox will have to start their postseason run on the road.

Thanks to Troy Tulowitzki’s two-out, RBI single over the outstretched glove of second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the eighth inning, the Blue Jays claimed a 2-1 win Sunday.

The Sox loss, coupled with the Indians’ 3-2 win over Kansas City, means John Farrell’s team will start the best-of-five American League Division Series at Progressive Field on Thursday.

After the Red Sox and Indians open things up with a Trevor Bauer vs. Rick Porcello matchup, the teams will then play Friday, with David Price taking on Corey Kluber. The series returns to Fenway Park for Game 3 on Sunday and, if necessary, Game 4 on Monday.

With the win, the Blue Jays clinched a home wild card game against the Orioles on Tuesday.

A positive for the Red Sox was the performance of starter David Price, who rebounded from his Yankee Stadium downturn by allowing just one run on four hits over five innings. Price’s only major miscue in the 80-pitch outing was the solo homer allowed to Devon Travis with two outs in the fifth inning.

For a good stretch, it appeared as though Price would be outdueled by Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, who was unhittable through the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two walks. But then came Hanley Ramirez.

The first baseman not only broke up Sanchez’s no-hitter, he tied the game with a two-out blast just inside the left field foul pole. After a one-minute, 21-second review, the initial call by the umpiring crew held up, giving Ramirez his 30th homer of the season.

But in the eighth inning, with Brad Ziegler on the mound, Tulowitzki came through with runners on first and third and two outs by hitting a line drive just over the reach of Pedroia, allowing Edwin Encarnacion to score the game-winner.

A positive for the Red Sox was the brief outing by Drew Pomeranz, who came on to strikeout Michael Saunders with a 96 mph fastball to end the eighth before going to pitch a scoreless ninth. It was Pomeranz’s first relief outing of the season.

“Yeah, it felt like it so I was happy it felt like that and I could see it,” said Pomeranz of seeing the radar gun reading.

The Red Sox finish with a record of 93-69, winning 15 more games than in 2015. It’s the largest increase, year to year, of any club in the majors.

For a complete box score, click here.

David Ortiz might be retiring, but Jonny Gomes still isn’t

10.02.16 at 5:32 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes seemed perfectly at home mingling with the other retired former Red Sox players at the Fenway Park pregame celebration for David Ortiz. But that doesn’t mean he is ready to be lumped in with those having put their playing days in the rear-view mirror.

Gomes, who didn’t sign on with a major league club this season after returning from Japan, reiterated his stance to WEEI.com that he hasn’t yet retired.

“I guess to be retired you have to file your papers,” Gomes said. “Before you file your papers you have to mentally be there. I’ll tell you what, 10 or 15 years from now, when I’m on my third job description and you asked me if I wanted to play I would probably say, ‘Yes.’ Painters paint, firefighters fight fires and baseball players play baseball. At the same time, knowing where the game is, where it’s young and it being results driven and knowing my biggest asset that I could bring is helping. Are organizations looking for help with a guy in uni? I’ll be in the game. That’s all I know is the game.”

Gomes last played in the big leagues in 2015, winning another World Series ring as a member of the Kansas City Royals. The 35-year-old spent 13 years in the majors, playing for seven different organizations.

Asked if his plan was to keep eyeing an opportunity to play in 2017, Gomes said, “Yes, but at the same time if I were to stop working out or if I was to get a job elsewhere in the game, I would still workout and hit just in case. Those are my hobbies. That’s what I like to do.”

Gomes, who has long professed a desire to one day manage in the major leagues, did also say, however, that if another opportunity in the game presented itself he would have to listen.

“Yes, definitely,” said Gomes when asked if he would be interested if something outside the lines might come up. “Even with that side, I’m going to have to pick a path to I want to take. Is it helping the youth? Collegiate? Is it minor leagues? Is it front office? Advance scouting? On the field, coaching or managing? That’s probably a lot bigger decision I’ll have to make.”

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