|03.02.15 at 11:27 pm ET|
Join Kirk Minihane of the Dennis and Callahan Show for a live chat, Tuesday morning starting at 11. Get your questions in now …
|03.02.15 at 7:39 pm ET|
Not only is Ortiz also living the life of a high profile sports figure immersing himself in the world of Twitter, but he has experienced the good and bad when it comes to using the social media tool for personal recognition.
It’s why Ortiz exhibited a passionate response when informed of the Schilling saga, in which the former pitcher’s post congratulating his daughter, Gabby, led to some vicious tweets directed at the high school senior.
“It’s personal,” said Ortiz. “I tweeted about my daughter graduating a while ago and most everybody was supportive. I think one or two people put up something stupid and you try to not pay attention to that but you see it. Every man would want to congratulate their kids. When you talk about your son or your daughter graduating, you’ve made it. You put a lot of work into it so your kids can be somebody in the future for society. Every time I heard somebody’s kid graduating I feel proud because I know how much it takes. So for anybody to criticize that, it’s wrong.
“Now I’m going to dig into it because I’m going to support him 100 percent. If you have some personal issues with Curt about something he has done before, that’s your problem. But now, when he’s tweeting about his daughter, you respect that because if you’re the one tweeting about your daughter graduating you like to hear good things.”
Ortiz explained that the best course of action for Twitter trolls is to look the other way, but often times that’s easier said that done.
For instance, just recently he was put to the test with what would appear to be a seemingly congratulatory post for his native country’s birthday.
“The other day I tweeted something about Indepedence Day back in [the Dominican Republic],” Ortiz said. “I tweeted in Spanish and English. I first tweeted it in Spanish and then English because I wanted everybody to understand what I was trying to say. This jerk comes out of nowhere telling me that wrote it wrong in Spanish. But the way he wrote it was wrong. It pissed me off because, first of all, he didn’t know how to write something in Spanish, and No. 2, you’re trying to get me to write something in Spanish when you can’t even in Spanish. I put something back, but I took it off.
“It’s hard, I’m not going to lie to you. The best thing to do is just leave it alone but there are always going to be jerks out there trying to get your attention.”
Still, as much as Ortiz understands the dynamic of social media criticism, when ridicule of family members enter into the conversation then he — like most — still has a difficult time understanding such actions.
“It’s kind of hard,” he said. “I know there are a bunch of [expletives] out there just waiting for you to say something or to do something so they can criticize you no matter what you say or what you do. Why would you criticize guy that has been through the whole thing he’s been through, and then they’re talking about his daughter who is graduating, for God’s sake? Really. Why would you criticize something like that. It makes you angry.”
|03.02.15 at 3:15 pm ET|
‘ MLB (@MLB) March 2, 2015
This will be Lester’s fifth straight opening day start, with the added bonus that his appearance against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field will actually kick off the entire 2015 season on the night of Sunday, April 5.
Lester went 1-1 with a 3.70 ERA on Opening Day with the Red Sox, beating the Yankees in 2013, taking a tough-luck loss against the Orioles in Baltimore last year, and pitching poorly (Texas, 2011) and well (Detroit, 2012) in no-decisions.
The 31-year-old left the Red Sox this winter to sign a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs.
|03.02.15 at 12:08 pm ET|
Curt Schilling went on the attack Sunday night after seeing vulgar tweets about his daughter, a high school senior whom Schilling congratulated for deciding to play softball at Salve Regina University next year.
One of the most offensive tweeters, identified as Adam Nagel, a student at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey who hosts a sports talk show on the school’s radio station, was suspended for his actions. [Update: The school emailed to say the student had an hour-long weekly slot on one of the radio station’s student radio streams.]
The school announced the discipline on Facebook, writing:
Students and community members have rightfully expressed concerns regarding recent social media comments made by a Brookdale student.
The Twitter comments posted by this student are unacceptable and clearly violate the standards of conduct that are expected of all Brookdale students.
The student has been summarily suspended and will be scheduled for a conduct hearing where further disciplinary action will be taken. The Brookdale Police are actively investigating this matter. Brookdale takes this behavior very seriously and does not tolerate any form of harassment.
Our sincerest apologies to Gabby Schilling. Her achievement should be celebrated and not clouded by offensive comments.
|03.02.15 at 9:45 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia seems pleased these days.
The latest bit of good news was clubhouse manager Tommy McLaughlin presenting the second baseman with the stickers for the handle end of his bats. The excitement was only amped up upon seeing the stickers image that had a silhouette image of Sasquatch with the number “15” in the background.
But the true elation for Pedroia is not having to show up each morning and get treatment, and then actually swinging a baseball bat with a confidence he hasn’t had since 2011.
“I feel normal,” he said. “I can tell just picking up a bat my hand strength is back. That’s the most important part to me. When you grab a bat, how does it feel? Can you manipulate where you want to hit the ball? It’s all back.
“I knew before I got here. You could tell. Balls come off the bat different. It sounds different. If I’m fooled and I’m out in front I had the strength to flip it the other way or still turn on it. Those are the things I couldn’t do. … My swing is normal. My follow through is normal. There’s finish.”
The difference in the physical security was evident from his very first outside batting practice at Fenway South, when he purposely unloaded on the high left field wall on Field 2.
“How did it look? I’m not messing around,” Pedroia said regarding his initial BP salvo.
|03.01.15 at 3:05 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all the talk about Yoan Moncada — the 19-year-old Cuban who is on the verge of signing minor league deal with a $31.5 million signing bonus with the Red Sox — it’s interesting to note there’s another infielder, just 2 1/2 months older than Moncada, already walking through Red Sox camp carrying a fair amount of expectations.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” said the Red Sox‘ first-round pick last year, Michael Chavis, of the Moncada deal. “I try not to get wrapped up in the money concept, but if the point is to go out and get the best players possible, why not?
“He might be 19, but I’ve seen how he handles himself and I’ve seen him and I’ve seen how he handles himself. He’s very mature as a person. Obviously he’s shown himself on the field, so I don’t think the age really matters. Wasn’t [Ken] Griffey like 19 when he was in the Show. It’s proven that you can be young and play in the Show. It’s just about talent level and I think he’ll be just fine.”
It was just about eight months ago that Chavis was the teenager put under the microscope, having inked a $1,870,500 signing bonus after being selected out of Sprayberry Senior (GA) High with the 26th overall pick.
But now, the hype has given way to Moncada.
One of the topic of conversation following around the Cuban infielder is how physically put together he is for his age. But the stocky Chavis points suggests such size shouldn’t be shocking for kids their age.
“Walk in the locker room. We’ve got a bunch of big guys,” the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Chavis said. “Every time you see a bigger younger guy they’re going to have questions and stuff like that. But they’re just looking for reasons why he’s so talented. People never want to accept they put in hard work and it’s a talented kid.”
|03.01.15 at 2:33 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval brought a football into the clubhouse this afternoon and threw a strike to outfielder Quintin Berry … with his left hand. A minute later, he made another toss, again with perfect form, but this time righty.
It turns out that Sandoval, who throws a baseball right-handed, also has a pretty lively left arm.
“I was born lefty,” he explained. “I learned to throw right-handed when I was 9.”
And why would the native of Venezuela do that, when lefties are more prized?
“I wanted to play shortstop,” he said with a grin.
Sandoval said that he pitched with both hands — sometimes within the same game — as a child.
“It was a long time ago, but I did it a couple of times,” he said. “In between innings, I would switch gloves and throw with the other hand. I couldn’t do it in the same inning.”
Sandoval estimates he can throw 85-86 mph left-handed, and the above video from his days in San Francisco would seemingly support that point, with Sandoval exhibiting a natural motion and some zip on his warmup tosses.
So has he ever had a reason to throw a ball left-handed in a professional game?
“No,” he said with a laugh, “and I hope I never do.”
|03.01.15 at 2:17 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mookie Betts is finally starting to feel like an outfielder.
Lost in the good feelings of his debut last season was the fact that he posted excellent offensive numbers while learning a new position. A second baseman for virtually his entire pro career, Betts basically moved to the outfield in the big leagues and learned literally on the fly.
It was more of a challenge than the natural athlete expected.
“I didn’t know it was going to be as hard as it was,” he said. “I knew it would be a tough adjustment. Being at the big league level and everything, it gets kind of magnified. It was a bigger adjustment than I thought, but I feel like I’m taking strides.”
Until playing the outfield, Betts didn’t realize how tricky it was to read the ball off the bat, factor in the pitch type, and then put his head down and run to the spot while trusting he had taken the right route. If all went properly, he’d arrive in time to make a catch. If he didn’t the ball could be rolling around in the gap.
“I didn’t realize how hard it was to learn those routes as far as different hitters and what the pitcher is doing and all those things,” he said. “It’s a lot to take account for. It’s not just running and catching the ball.”
Betts has used BP to train himself to read the ball off the bat, but it’s only useful to a point. His real training will come in game action.
“[BP is] the best I can do,” he said. “Just try to run down everything I can. That’s been working for me pretty well.”
|03.01.15 at 2:08 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Allen Craig is very cautious when discussing what went wrong in 2014, and how it might go right in ’15. But he is offering hints that the form which allowed for a combined .863 OPS from 2011-13 is on the verge of returning.
“It feels a lot better in cage work and batting practice,” Craig said following Sunday’s workout. “As far as mechanics and strength, I feel like I’m in a really good spot right now.
“I’m always cautious talking about it because you don’t make excuses for anything, but there are reasons for certain stuff. I think that was kind of my job this offseason, to figure it out. A lot of things started with some leg strength. When you have a weakness with something you try and compensate for it and try to find ways to get the job done, then you find yourself doing things you haven’t done before. This offseason was a good chance to look at some video and really physically mechanically to get my body in the best spot to hit the ball hard. I’m still working on it, but I feel like I’m in a better spot.”
“There’s much more life in the bat,” he said. “He’s come into camp in great shape. The foot isn’t an issue at this point and we don’t anticipate it to be. We just see increased core strength and better bat speed. I know it’s just BP but he looks different than we got him. And let’s face it, the shock of the trade is in the rear view mirror now, moreso than when he came to us.”
While Craig didn’t want to get into specifics, he insinuated that the foot injury he endured in ’13 had altered various elements of his lower half. The end result of the injuries, and compensation for the ailments, might have led to a ’14 in which he finished hitting just .128 with a .425 in 29 games with the Red Sox.
And after hitting “a ton in the offseason” at his Southern California home, the first baseman/outfielder feels the combination of improving mechanics and strength is paying off.
“I think any good hitter will tell you the legs are an important part of the swing and learning how to use them properly is really important,” he said. “I’m still the hitter that I am. Just some tweaks and giving myself a better chance to succeed. I’m not fighting myself.”
|02.28.15 at 4:28 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thursday, the Red Sox let Daniel Nava hit left-handed against southpaw reliever Dana Eveland. Saturday, he was in a group that went against another lefty, Tommy Layne.
It’s all part of the process. Where it ends up, Nava has no idea. But he figures this is a good a time as any to at least take a few steps down the path toward hitting exclusively from the left side.
“We’re just seeing if lefty-lefty can be a viable option,” said the switch-hitting outfielder. “There’s only one way to find out, give it a shot.
“Obviously, it’s an adjustment because I’ve never done lefty-lefty and something you’ve never done before is going to be an adjustment period but I’d like to think I can do it based on my approach and not trying to pull the ball, remains to be seen.”
Nava explained in the offseason he had been considering the move for some time, with his splits slanting dramatically in the favor of his work as a lefty hitter. Last year, for example, he hit .293 as a left-handed batter, compared to .159 from the right side.
Red Sox manager John Farrell and Nava said after their team’s Saturday workout that the organization had started conversations with the outfielder about a possible alteration at the end of the 2014 season.
“I think it was because last year I struggled from the right side,” Nava explained. “The year before it was all right but last year was a tough year so we thought it was worth a shot.”
He does insist, however, that just because you’ll be seeing him hit left-handed against lefty pitching in spring training (a practice he hasn’t experienced since Little League), that doesn’t mean Nava has dug in on not switch-hitting.
He still has to figure out if this is exactly the best road to go down.
“Just arm angle, way ball comes out, and the way ball moves,” he said regarding the differences he’s noticing when hitting lefty-on-lefty. “Those are things once I get out there — I’ve talked to a lot of guys. I’ve talked to [former major league switch-hitter who changed to just one side of the plate] J.T. Snow as well, as you know he did it. He gave me what he did, as somebody who has walked that road. I’ll try to see what they did and hope that it works.”
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