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Russell Martin clarifies past comments of hating Red Sox

07.14.15 at 11:06 am ET
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CINCINNATI — Back in 2011 when catcher Russell Martin was with the Yankees and the Red Sox were fighting to get into the playoffs during their disastrous September, Martin made his thoughts perfectly clear — he didn’t want the Red Sox to make the postseason.

“Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” said Martin at the time.

“Because I hate the Red Sox,” he added when asked to clarify his comments.

The Red Sox finished the month 7-20 and missed the playoffs, which led to manager Terry Francona being fired.

Martin, now a member of the Blue Jays, clarified his comments Monday.

“They were kind of taken out of context,” Martin said. “I’ve always felt like it’s fun playing the Red Sox. I feel like when you play against them in their place the fans are always electric. It’s always a great atmosphere playing. I love playing against the Red Sox. I had some comments taken a little out of context because they were so good. They were tough to play and I always feel like they are tough to play. They have that gritty type of attitude.”

The Red Sox were in the market for a catcher this past offseason, and with Martin being a free agent, the catcher said last September he would consider signing with the Red Sox, but he said Tuesday the Red Sox were never in the hunt.

“No, I don’t think Red Sox were in the hunt too much,” Martin said. “I think they were happy with what they had in the minors and what they had on their roster already.”

Martin signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Blue Jays. The catcher was born and raised in Canada, which played a role in his decision.

“I let the process unfold,” he said. “I wasn’t going to concern myself with too much of anything until I had a better idea. I ended up going to Chicago and talked to the Blue Jays’ guys quite a bit. I think L.A. was in the mix a little bit and it came down between Chicago and Toronto and we sat down. Before it was set and done Toronto went with the fifth year and just the fact that I was going to have an opportunity to play at home for a team that I cheered for as a kid, everything made sense.”

Read More: Russell Martin,

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Marco Hernandez continues hitting streak in Portland loss; Trey Ball struggles for Salem

07.14.15 at 9:34 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (39-52): Scheduled off day (All-Star break). Next action Thursday at Durham (Rays)

Mike Augliera

Mike Augliera

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (32-59): L, 7-2, vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— Starter Mike Augliera took the loss Monday, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander leads the Eastern League in losses, falling to 2-13, and his ERA rose to 5.88 through 17 starts. Augliera’€™s last win came on May 25.

— First baseman Sam Travis led the Portland offense, driving in both runs and finishing with a 3-for-4 day. The 21-year-old is hitting .286 with nine RBIs in 19 games in a Sea Dogs uniform.

— Shortstop Marco Hernandez hit a leadoff single to center in the bottom of the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. The 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic went 1-for-4 with two runs scored. He leads the league with a .326 average and has 21 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 31 RBIs in 68 games this season.

Portland is off Tuesday for the All-Star break. Jantzen Witte will represent the Sea Dogs in the Eastern League Home Run Derby, which will be held Wednesday just before the All-Star Game at Portland’s Hadlock Field.

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Read More: jake cosart, Marco Hernandez, Mike Augliera, Trey Ball

Michael Wacha: John Lackey ‘has done wonders’ for Cardinals

07.14.15 at 6:00 am ET
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CINCINNATI — Red Sox fans may not want to hear it, but John Lackey, who was under the Red Sox’ control for 2015 until they traded him to the Cardinals at the trade deadline last year, is putting together a solid season in his first full year in St. Louis.

The 36-year-old is 7-5 with a 2.99 ERA as the veteran leader of the Cardinals’ rotation with Adam Wainwright lost for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.

“He’s done wonders. He’s pitching like an animal out there,” fellow starter Michael Wacha said. “He’s had an unbelievable first half. Just a great leader for our staff. Once [Wainwright] went down, he’s the one that stepped up. He’s become the leader on our staff. He had a lot of experience throughout his years and he understands what us younger pitchers are going through because he’s already been through it. He helps out a lot and he’s meant a lot to the staff.”

The way the right-hander goes about his business makes it easy for the younger pitchers on the staff, like Wacha, to look up to.

“He’s just a bulldog on the mound,” Wacha said. “He goes out there and it doesn’t matter who he’s facing, what the situation was, he was attacking the hitter and getting outs. Pitching very well. Whenever you see that as a young guy, coming out of him, it’s very cool to see and you learn a lot from him.”

Lackey was on the books to pitch for the veteran-minimum of $500,000 for the Red Sox this season.

Read More: john lackey, Michael Wacha,

Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable talk thrilling HR Derby, Jonathan Papelbon and Brock Holt

07.14.15 at 12:48 am ET
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CINCINNATI — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable break down a thrilling HR Derby won by hometown hero Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. They also discuss the news of the day from media availability with both American League and National League All-Stars, including the chances that Jonathan Papelbon returns to Boston in a trade.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt, HR Derby, Jonathan Papelbon

Todd Frazier wins HR Derby in dramatic fashion: ‘I can’t let [Pete Rose] down’

07.14.15 at 12:24 am ET
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CINCINNATI — Fans in Cincinnati finally have a hero they can really rally around.

Todd Frazier pulled off one of the more dramatic finishes in 30-year history of the Home Run Derby here in his home of homer-friendly Great American Ball Park.

Needing 15 home runs in the final round to beat Dodger rookie sensation Joc Pederson, Frazier tied Pederson with a home run late in the final round and hit his first offering from his nervous brother, Charlie, to left to become the first player since the Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg in 1990 to win the contest in his home park.

The Frazier line drive to left sent off loud fireworks and pandemonium in the stands of the win-starved Cincinnati crowd. The PA, sounding like Yankee Stadium after a Yankee win, played Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” for the New Jersey native and Cincinnati hero.

“I had no clue they were going to do that,” said Frazier, who has Sinatra’s “Send Me To The Moon” as his walk-up music. “That was pretty nice. I do enjoy that music. It’s a beautiful thing once you win something. To hear that makes it even better.”

With the threat of rain, storms and lightning late in the evening, Major League Baseball decided to shorten each of the three rounds by a minute, from five to four. Frazier, who seemed gassed at times in each of the three rounds, found new energy just in time in each round, beating two-time champ Prince Fielder, 14-13, in the first round, Josh Donaldson, 10-9, in the second and Pederson, 15-14, in the final.

“It made for a little more opportunity,” Frazier said. “It meant you were going to have to pick the pace up a little bit. You swing at everyting, really, once you’re down. I felt like a little kid out there sometimes, in the backyard, swinging at everything. It was pretty cool.”

The Great American Ball Park crowd played a huge role in Frazier’s heroics. Starting with the first round, when he beat two-time champ Prince Fielder on a last-second blast to left, the crowd roared every ball over the fence. Frazier beat Josh Donaldson on another last-second shot in the second round before clubbing 10 home runs in the final three minutes to come from behind and beat Pederson.

“Big-time impact,” Frazier said of the 43,587 in the park. “Just hearing the crowd roar, call my name, adrenaline. And those last minutes of each round really picked me up and drive the ball out of the park a lot more. It was a lot of fun. I appreciate that a lot.”

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Read More: 2015 All-Star Game, 2015 Home Run Derby, Cincinnati Reds, MLB

Brandon Crawford: Pablo Sandoval is ‘a lot more athletic than he looks’

07.13.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

CINCINNATI — Not many people know more about Pablo Sandoval than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, as the 28-year-old shared the left side of the infield in San Francisco with Sandoval from 2011-14.

Sandoval has committed 10 errors already this season, this after only 11 all of last year. Besides a stretch of four in just over a week’s span in mid-June, the third baseman’s defense has been much improved.

Crawford was surprised when told Sandoval’s defense has been questioned at times in Boston.

“I think Pablo is a very athletic third baseman,” he said. “I haven’t been able to watch him a whole lot this year, but playing on the left side with him for a few years, he’s a lot more athletic than he looks. He does a good job over there.”

Sandoval won three World Series titles with the Giants in his seven seasons before signing a five-year, $100 million with the Red Sox last December. Without Sandoval, the Giants are 46-43 following a miserable April where they went 9-13.

“I think we miss his energy probably sometimes,” catcher Buster Posey said. “He was always a really loud, or is I’m sure, loud and excitable guy. That’s something that you can’t teach, some people just have it.”

Even though he’s only been in Boston half a season, fans are well aware of his upbeat attitude and enjoyment of playing the game, which was what he was most known for in San Fransisco.

“He always has fun playing the game,” Crawford said. “That’s something that anyone can see with Pablo. He just has a good time playing baseball. That’s kind of his thing.”

Read More: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval,

Brock Holt flies the common route to his first All-Star Game

07.13.15 at 8:33 pm ET
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CINCINNATI — No one can ever accuse Brock Holt of getting pampered in his first All-Star appearance, at least not in his travel to the game.

After playing in Boston’s 8-6 loss to the Yankees Sunday at Fenway, Holt flew a regional airline from Boston to Cincinnati Monday morning and joined up with his wife and mother and father, who will be watching Tuesday as the Red Sox super utility player represents Boston at the Midsummer Classic.

“It’s been nice. It hasn’t been as crazy as I thought it would be. We flew in this morning. I got here, checked in, took a little beauty nap upstairs,” Holt told WEEI.com. “I was pretty tired. But it’s been pretty cool. They have everything scheduled pretty nice. It’s pretty easy to know where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be there. It’s been a lot of fun so far.

“I’m just happy to be here. I’m just going to take the memories with me. A lot of people don’t get a chance to do this. Just being here and being around these guys. It’s just going to be fun. Mom and dad are here and my wife, obviously. Her family is here as well. My sister made the trip as well. My brother is the only one who couldn’t make it. He had to work. We’re enjoying the time we spend with them.”

Holt was chosen by Kansas City manager Ned Yost as one of the reserves last week because of his remarkable versatility that Red Sox have grown accustomed since the start of 2014. This year, Holt is batting .292 with a .379 on-base percentage. In 71 games (64 starts), Holt has played and started at every position except catcher and pitcher. He has more starts in the outfield (24) than anywhere in the infield.

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Read More: 2015 All-Star Game, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt,

Cardinals believe in former teammate Joe Kelly: ‘He’ll get it back going’

07.13.15 at 8:25 pm ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

CINCINNATI — Red Sox starter Joe Kelly did not have the best of first halves. In fact, he didn’t even make it through the entire 3 1/2 months, as he was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of June.

Kelly was 2-5 with a 5.67 ERA over 14 starts. The issue for Kelly was he won just once in his last 13 starts. The right-hander was traded to the Red Sox along with Allen Craig from the Cardinals at the trade deadline last year for John Lackey.

His former Cardinals teammates say they still keep tabs on Kelly and believe in him.

“He was an awesome pitcher. He had some of the most electric stuff I had ever seen,” starter Michael Wacha said. “I hated played catch with him in spring training, during the season and everything. He’ll find it and he’ll get it back going. He’s a great pitcher and has some nasty stuff, for sure.”

Kelly raved about his former catcher Yadier Molina and how he “didn’t have to think” about throwing a pitch last season — he just threw whatever pitch Molina called for. Molina discussed how important the pitcher-catcher relationship is.

“That’s the key. Anytime you have pitchers, you have to communicate with them and work with them to find the way they like, find the thing they don’t like,” Molina said. “Communication is important.”

The 27-year-old has a 2.81 ERA when throwing to Molina, the best to any catcher in his career besides Christian Vazquez (2.41 in four games).

Molina remembers Kelly very well.

“I remember a lot about him. He was a great teammate, a great guy,” Molina said. “Great pitcher. He has great stuff — 98 [mph] fastball with a great breaking ball. We really miss him.”

With the Red Sox struggling to find consistent arms out of the bullpen and Kelly having past experience throwing out of the bullpen early in his career with the Cardinals, it’s not out of the realm for him to make the transition to the bullpen during the second half of the season. For his career, Kelly has a 3.25 ERA as a reliever, compared to a 3.92 ERA as a starter.

If the move were to happen, his former teammates have no doubt he would succeed.

“I think his stuff plays there, I think his stuff plays as a starter,” Wacha said. “He keeps his arm strength for the whole game it seems like. He’s a heck of an athlete. I feel like he could be in either spot.”

“I think so. He did a good job in both spots,” Molina added.

Read More: Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, Yadier Molina,

Kris Bryant provides Red Sox connection in Home Run Derby

07.13.15 at 6:30 pm ET
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Kris Bryant gives Red Sox fans someone to root for the this year's Home Run Derby. (David Banks/Getty Images)

Kris Bryant gives Red Sox fans someone to root for the this year’s Home Run Derby. (David Banks/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI — Red Sox fans looking for a rooting interest in this year’s Home Run Derby, look no further than Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.

The 23-year-old has taken the game by storm this year, as he was called up to the majors on April 17 and has hit .269 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in his first 78 major league games.

Bryant will have his dad, Mike, be his pitcher in the derby Tuesday night. Mike, who graduated from UMass-Lowell, was the Red Sox’ ninth-round pick in the 1980 draft, but didn’t make it past A-ball.

Just over 35 years later, Mike will finally make it to the big leagues on the biggest of stages.

“Home run derby’s I think are something you grow up watching as a kid and wanting to be apart of,” Kris said. “I always talked to my dad about that growing up and he always said, ‘If you’re ever in one, I’d like to throw to you.’ Doing a lot for him and a lot for myself — the smiles and just enjoying it. We’re going to have a lot of fun tonight.”

Mike has always been a major part of Kris’ baseball career, even selling the family’s patio furniture store so he could get job that would allow him to coach Kris’ youth teams.

“He’s probably more excited than anybody out there tonight,” Kris said. “It will he nice for him just to see the smile on his face and his excitement and enjoying it. It’s going to be a really special nice for us.”

Bryant’s mom, Susie, grew up and lived in Massachusetts before the family moved out to Las Vegas, so Bryant naturally grew up rooting for the Red Sox. He was the No. 2 overall pick by the Cubs in the 2013 draft, with another former Red Sox, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, eventually signing him to a $6.7 million signing bonus.

“I was a Red Sox fan growing up,” Kris said. “I guess I was kind of forced into rooting for them because my dad liked them. I grew up watching David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, who actually is a coach in our organization now, so it’s pretty cool to pick his brain and stand side-by-side with him.”

While Mike surely wanted his big league debut to come back during his playing days, Tuesday night is certainly not a bad way to do it.

Read More: Kris Bryant,

Jonathan Papelbon thinks both Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez ‘100 percent’ belong in HOF

07.13.15 at 5:55 pm ET
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Pete Rose (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Pete Rose (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI — Jonathan Papelbon has faced Alex Rodriguez many times in his career. He’s never pitched to Pete Rose.

He thinks both should eventually have a place in Cooperstown.

The subject of Pete Rose and his 1989 lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games as a player-manager is again front and center this week here in his hometown. This past March, Rose formally reapplied for reinstatement. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was open to sitting down with Rose to discuss it. Some took that willingness to reopen the case as a sign that reinstatement might be around the corner.

ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” reported two weeks ago that there was new evidence that Rose bet on Reds’ games in 1986. Still, there is speculation that Manfred might be willing to listen to the argument for reinstatement and maybe, just maybe, that will lead to a discussion on whether he should be inducted in Cooperstown, which would have to come via the Veterans Committee.

The last time the All-Star Game was here in Cincinnati (1988), Rose was the manager of the Reds. Just over a year later, he was banished from the game in Aug. 1989 by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Tuesday night, he will be permitted to take part in ceremonies in the park he never played or managed in.

“Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, 100 percent, 100 percent,” Papelbon said. “If you don’t want to put him in as a manager, put him in as a player. He made mistakes as a manager but didn’t make mistakes as a player. Personally, I don’t think there’s no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.”

Rodriguez was banned from baseball for the entire 2014 season for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal. A-Rod is 5-for-17 in his career against Papelbon, including two home runs.

Papelbon, who will be in the bullpen for the National League on Tuesday night, was asked who should make the Hall first, Rose or Rodriguez?

“I would hope Pete Rose because he’s already waited long enough and Alex is still playing,” Papelbon said, before adding, “Alex is definitely a Hall of Famer for sure, 100 percent.”

Read More: A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cincinnati Reds
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