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Video proves Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi has been working out

01.17.17 at 5:25 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi didn’t play like a rookie when he was promoted to the big leagues. Now he doesn’t look like one, either.

Benintendi finished his first foray into major league baseball hitting .295 with an .835 OPS and two home runs. He also went 3-for-9 with a homer in the postseason.

He’s evidently put the physique tailored for playing high school basketball in the rear-view mirror, as this Cincinnati Enquirer photo suggests …


After Jae Crowder controversy, David Price comments, Jackie Bradley Jr. offers his thoughts on racial climate for Boston athletes

01.16.17 at 10:04 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Talking to Jackie Bradley Jr., it’s clear that the Red Sox outfielder has a deep respect for those who came before him.

He has discussed in length about his admiration for Jackie Robinson, while also making a point to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last season. And when it comes to honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Bradley Jr. noted while appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, “[King Jr.] just wanted everybody to be treated equal and that was the message that he preached. And to this day everybody would want that, or at least I know I do.”

So when the topic of living life as an African-American major league baseball player in Boston came up on the podcast, Bradley Jr. was predictably insightful

It is a topic of particular interest, not only because of the man the nation celebrates on Jan. 16, but also because of recent news items involving the Celtics’ Jae Crowder and Bradley Jr.’s Red Sox teammate, David Price, who told the Boston Globe he has heard racial taunts at Fenway Park.

“Overall experience, I have had nothing too terribly negative said about me,” he said. “I can only speak about my experience. As a whole, you will have people here and there, but that’s just some people. That’s not a majority. You can link everybody as a majority. It was definitely an adjustment period for me because I’m from the South so the weather, for one, was an adjustment. Just people’s personalities. LIke opening doors for people and not hearing ‘Thank you,’ I would always say, ‘You’re welcome’ to get them to have a response. But that’s not everyone. I’ve enjoyed my time in Boston. I have nothing negative to say about it. I know my wife enjoys it. I’ve been very welcome and I haven’t heard anything personally directly to me said negatively.

“Social media is social media. Anybody can write something. But those same people are probably the same people who are first in line to speak to you, or get an autograph. You kind of just take it how it is and go about your business.”

Growing up in Virginia, and going to college at the University of South Carolina, Bradley Jr.’s had also heard about, and researched, the sometimes uncomfortable history of race relations in Boston, and involving the Red Sox.

“I’ve heard a lot of different things, knowing Boston was the last American League team to have an African-American player in MLB. I kind of researched a little bit about [former Red Sox owner Tom] Yawkey … ,” he said.

“I’m definitely able to speak on certain things and speak my mind, because I feel comfortable talking about certain situations. Those are things you know coming in, but I don’t let that kind of stuff distract me from the goal at hand. I’m here to compete, help my team win, provide for my family and kind of everything else is everything else. I’m focused and I want to win, and that’s what it all boils down to.”

While Bradley Jr. downplays the effect any perceived racial issues have had on him during his time in the Red Sox organization, he also hasn’t totally immune to the kind of vitriol Price spoke of.

“I definitely had a lot of struggle in 2014. I think that was most racist type things that were directed toward me during that time,” Bradley Jr. said. “But it’s all growing pains. If you don’t know what somebody has been through, the adversity they’ve been through, it’s kind of hard to make that judgment. They’re judging solely off of performance in my career, which, by the way, was just getting started. There is definitely a lot of room to grow and improve. I’m willing to put the work in and I feel like last year was a stepping stone in showing that.”


Jackie Bradley Jr. offers sound reasoning why he’s not playing in World Baseball Classic

01.16.17 at 8:43 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. isn't playing in the World Baseball Classic. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t playing in the World Baseball Classic. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

When it comes to the World Baseball Classic, Jackie Bradley is saying thanks, but no thanks.

Appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, the Red Sox outfielder explained that he was presented the option of playing for Team USA in the upcoming tournament. But a combination of factors made Bradley Jr. respectively decline the opportunity this time around.

A good portion of the decision was based on Bradley Jr.’s desire to spend more time with his 7-month-old daughter.

“I am not,” said Bradley Jr. when asked if he would be playing in the upcoming WBC. “They reached out to ask about my interest. At first I thought it might be something I would be very interested in and if I would want to be a part of. But then as sat back, I’m still just kind of jump-starting my career. Obviously I have a little daughter now. I didn’t think it would be worth those 2 1/2 to three weeks of time I was going to miss, with being in spring training I’m on a routine so get to come home every single day. If I play in the World Baseball Classic I wouldn’t be able to do that. The travel is constant, being on the West Coast. At the end of last year when my daughter was born, we went on a lot of long road trips so I got to miss her 12 and 13 days at a time. This is just important to me to stay here for a couple of months and maybe next time if I get that opportunity again, if it arises. I’ll be at a different time in my life and my career.”

The outfielder also wanted to place importance on keeping the same kind of routine he had leading into a breakout 2016 season, which saw the 26-year-old hit 26 homers with an .835 OPS in 156 games.

“I’m not going to be able to workout the way I want to if I’m doing the World Baseball Classic,” he noted. “It’s something that I’ve been able to establish and I feel comfortable with. I have to continuously get better. I’m not saying I couldn’t with the Baseball Classic, but this is where I want to be right now, and that’s home with the family.”

Bradley Jr., who just agreed to a $3.6 million, one-year deal with the Red Sox, has previously experienced playing for his country, suiting up for USA Baseball’s collegiate national team while at the University of South Carolina.

“Obviously representing your country is a big thing,” he said. “I definitely enjoyed in when I was in college, putting Team USA on my chest. But at this stage in my particular career I still need to get things done before taking it to that step.”

Red Sox players who have tentatively committed to play in the WBC include Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic) and Sandy Leon (Venezuela). Starting pitchers Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcell have declined the opportunity, while it isn’t yet known if closer Craig Kimbrel (who played in 2013) and/or Mookie Betts will participate for Team USA.


David Price tells Globe he heard racial taunts in Fenway Park

01.13.17 at 8:12 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

Before David Price ever joined the Red Sox, he intimated that their fans could be particularly nasty towards him on social media.

It appears that behavior extended to Fenway Park.

In a lengthy interview with the Boston Globe from his native Nashville, Price said that bullpen catcher Mike Brenly and security had to stand up for him as he took abuse while warming up during a disappointing debut season.

The taunts occasionally turned racial in nature, the paper reported.

“I got it all,” Price told the paper. “It’s all right. I don’t care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I’ve heard that since I’ve been in school. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I’m trying to do. But I feel sad it’s still out there.”

For more on Price’s comments and how we should interpret them, click here.

Read More: Boston, David Price, Red Sox,

Bo Jackson saying he wishes he would have never started playing football offers ultimate what could have been

01.12.17 at 2:37 pm ET
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Bo Jackson. (Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports)

Bo Jackson. (Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports)

He was so good.

If you weren’t alive, or too young, to watch Bo Jackson do what he did on the football gridirons and baseball diamonds, you missed out. The best example I can give in terms of comparing Jackson to today’s baseball player? Think Mike Trout.

Before you start screaming that this guy who finished his 694-game major league career with a career .250 batting average and .784 OPS shouldn’t be uttered in the same breath as Major League Baseball’s best all-around player, understand that we have to deal in the “what might have been’s” when it comes to Bo. And while that doesn’t do anything for the argument supporting his skills, it should be a very real conversation after what he told USA Today:

“If I knew back then what I know now,” Jackson tells USA TODAY Sports, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.”>Jackson told the publication, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.

“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.

“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.'”

So what would have happened if Jackson never played football? For one, we know that he would have played baseball a lot longer since it was a football injury that ended his playing days. And secondly, the holes in his game (he had a big league high 172 strikeouts in his All-Star season of 1989) would most certainly have been tightened up.

Here’s something to chew on: Jackson had 141 home runs in his 2,626 plate appearances. In the same number of trips to the plate (getting him to Aug. 2, 2015), Trout totaled 130.

His baseball numbers are so far off from Cooperstown-worthy it’s hard to even bring up the argument that he might already be in the Hall of Fame if football never entered into the equation. But, considering the transcendent type of talent Jackson was, it’s worth at least a passing thought.

Bo always knew how to get us the edge of our seat, and, with one comment, today is no different.

Would Bo Jackson be in the Baseball Hall of Fame if he didn't play football?

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Here’s reminder Yoan Moncada no longer plays for Red Sox

01.12.17 at 12:10 pm ET
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We don’t have video of Chris Sale pitching in a Red Sox uniform quite yet, so the reality of seeing Yoan Moncada in a White Sox uniform might be tough to take. But, it’s time to face reality: the guy who was going to start his superstar status with the Red Sox in 2017 is now taking batting practice wearing White Sox garb.

The video was taken at the White Sox’ mini-camp in Arizona. It is uncertain if Moncada is going to break spring training with the big league club, with Chicago initially wanting to keep the Red Sox’ former top prospect at second base.

Talking with reporters (including MLB.com), Moncada revealed the change of organizations was a bit of shock.

“That was unexpected. I thought I would stay with [Boston] for a long time,” said Moncada, who has been joined by his parents, Manuel Moncada and Maria Caridad in the United States. “But that’s when you realize this is a business and I have the opportunity to play with this team now, and to be great for this team.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell on Hot Stove Show: No timetable on Eduardo Rodriguez

01.11.17 at 8:31 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell joined the Hot Stove Show on Wednesday night and provided a number of Red Sox updates, including who might play in the World Baseball Classic, the physical status of Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright, and his thoughts on who might start on Opening Day.

Here are some highlights.

— Red Sox starters Chris Sale and David Price have already said they won’t be pitching in the WBC. The Red Sox are allowed to keep Rodriguez out of the tournament following the minor knee injury he suffered in winter ball in his native Venezuela.

— Speaking of Rodriguez, he’s getting his visa sorted out and will be in Boston shortly to have a followup exam on his knee. An MRI in Venezuela was negative. Farrell didn’t want to put a timetable on his possible return. “He’s been able to do some light exercise,” Farrell said. “There’s no reason to think spring training is going to be delayed.” That said, Farrell acknowledged that Rodriguez’s history means the team will proceed cautiously with him.

— Wright, the knuckleballer, is throwing from 90 feet as he continues his return from a shoulder injury.

— Carson Smith has started a throwing program. He’ll be in Fort Myers on Feb. 1 to continue his program. He won’t be ready for the start of the season.

— President Dave Dombrowski recently told Buster Olney that Drew Pomeranz and Wright are penciled in to the last two spots in the rotation. That doesn’t mean there won’t be competition, however, because Farrell wants that culture to continue. E-Rod remains in the mix.

— Farrell is impressed with how the trimmer Sandoval has looked this winter, but he also knows that it will be about how he looks in spring training. He’s not ready to say there will be a platoon at third base, noting that Sandoval looked better hitting right-handed last year before his injury. “He’d be the first to admit he’s got a lot of ground to make up,” Farrell said of Sandoval’s overall outlook.

— Could Andrew Benintendi bat second? “It’s a possibility, no doubt,” Farrell said. Farrell likes the idea of breaking up four righties atop the order, and acknowledged that Benintendi could be a candidate for that spot, though nothing has been decided.

— Asked if Xander Bogaerts could hit down in the order, as he did in the playoffs last year, Farrell offered a reminder that Bogaerts was a tremendous hitter for much of last season. “In the first half of the season you wanted Bogey to the plate as many times as we could,” Farrell said. Farrell added that he wouldn’t commit to any lineup positions until talking to the players involved.

— With the potential of four left-handers in the rotation, Farrell was asked about Rick Porcello starting on Opening Day. He’s not ready to make that decision, though he did praise Porcello for all he accomplished last year.


Read More: eduardo rodriguez, John Farrell, Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox

Pablo Sandoval shows off trim physique, as well as quick hands, in Instagram boxing video

01.11.17 at 7:52 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval isn’t messing around this winter.

The presumed Red Sox starting third baseman has been posting Instagram videos all winter illustrating his progress as he returns from shoulder surgery. Overweight last year, he has looked trim this offseason, and his latest video is another example — boxing.

Judge the southpaw’s form for yourself.

Read More: boxing, Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox,

After performing well in Puerto Rico, Rusney Castillo might be re-entering conversation with Red Sox

01.11.17 at 1:46 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rusney Castillo (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

There isn’t much buzz around Rusney Castillo. That’s understandable.

Considering what the outfielder has done since signing his seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox, expectations have diminished to next to nothing. Over parts of three seasons, Castillo’s contributions to the big league club have amounted to a .262 batting average and .679 OPS with seven home runs over 99 games.

So, with that in mind, even one of Castillo’s biggest supporters, Houston bench coach Alex Cora, is tempering expectations even after the righty hitter’s performance with Cora’s team (Caguas) in the Puerto Rico Winter League.

“I’ve been on this train before and I got burned the first time,” Cora said when appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast. “A lot of people on Twitter remind me.” (To listen to the entire podcast, click here.)

But, according to Cora, there has been a change in Castillo.

The first thing he has noticed has been a different demeanor off the field, thanks in large part to the presence of the 29-year-old’s mother and child, who have arrived from Cuba.

“One thing about him, and I’m not going to get caught in all the hype and the numbers and all of that, his Mom is here, his kid is here, and there’s something different as far as off the field stuff,” Cora said.

There is also a slightly slimmed down body, which has, according to Cora, led to better baserunning and improved fielding. (He has primarily played left field with Caguas.)

But the biggest change has been Castillo’s approach at the plate. The league’s playoffs are currently unfolding (he scored a pair of runs in Caguas’ Tuesday night win). But prior to the postseason, Castillo managed a .392 batting average and .892 OPS in 14 games.

“There are a lot of balls he drives to right-center, especially against lefties, but against righties you see the red ‘C’ in between shortstop and third base, the roll over,” Cora said. “He has problems catching up to that pitch, but he doesn’t have problems with pitches outside that he can drive to right field.”

He added, “For me, he’s too passive. He understands the strike zone. It’s more like he sees the ball and he’s going to attack instead of thinking, ‘I’m hitting, hitting, hitting and then I’m going to take.’ I said, ‘You feel discipline enough?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’m discipline.’ ‘So get off the plate and this is winter ball and you see guys throw 87 and guys who throw 95, 96, so don’t go by the results. So, get off the plate and be disciplined enough on the inside part of the plate to take that pitch. You might be 2-0, 3-1, then they have to go outside and that’s your strength.’ So far, so good.”

The challenge for Castillo once spring training rolls around is to get back in the good graces of the Red Sox brass, having to enter camp not on the 40-man roster. But considering how thin the Sox may be in the outfield at the Triple-A level, with Junior Lake and Brian Bogusevic around on minor-league deals, and Bryce Brentz still in the mix, there might be some semblance of an opportunity.


Cubs reportedly set to visit White House before Obama leaves office, avoiding Trump

01.11.17 at 9:49 am ET
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You may have heard Donald Trump’s name in the news today. Apparently the Cubs want no part of that (bleep)-show.

According to Mary Ann Ahern of NBC, the Cubs will be honored at the White House on Monday, before President Obama leaves office. President Trump will be inaugurated on Friday, Jan. 20.

The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, has an up-and-down history with Trump. Todd Ricketts, who sits on the team’s board of directors, was recently named deputy secretary of commerce for the new administration. But Trump has also clashed with the family over political donations to groups dedicated to stopping him during the election, and he threatened to spill dirt on the family in a tweet from last February.

Cubs president Theo Epstein, the Brookline native and former Red Sox general manager, is a known supporter of Democratic causes. While it is often reported that he skipped the White House visit after the Red Sox won it all in 2004 and George Bush was president, he actually just chose not to appear on stage with the team, instead sitting in the audience. He did, however, skip the team’s second visit after winning in 2007, citing family reasons.

Obama is a Chicago native who grew up rooting for the White Sox.

Read More: cubs, Obama, Ricketts family, Theo Epstein
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