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What did Red Sox do during All-Star break?

07.17.14 at 12:40 am ET
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With Jon Lester and Koji Uehara the lone All-Star representatives in Minnesota for the Red Sox (besides the coaching staff), many members of the team had a chance to relax before the grind of the second half of the season gets underway. Some decided to share their activities on social media.

First baseman Mike Napoli had dinner with some long-time friends in the North End.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, jackie bradley jr., john lackey, mike napoli

Red Sox acquire LHP Ryan Verdugo from Royals

07.16.14 at 5:58 pm ET
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The Royals announced that they’ve traded left-handed pitching Ryan Verdugo to the Red Sox for cash considerations. Verdugo, 27, has made one big league appearance in seven professional seasons, allowing six runs in 1 2/3 innings in a start in 2012.

After opening the year on the sidelines for six-plus weeks due to a sports hernia, he’d made nine starts this year for Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, going 5-2 with a 4.24 ERA, 8.5 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings. He’d been effective against both lefties (.216/.326/.324) and righties (.231/.279/.377) while working with a fastball around 90 mph, a solid changeup and slider.

Verdugo, who is not on the 40-man roster, is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket with the versatility to offer left-handed bullpen or starting depth. The former LSU pitcher (who was teammates for a year with Anthony Ranaudo) does have options left if eventually added to the 40-man roster.

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Red Sox release A.J. Pierzynski

07.16.14 at 3:40 pm ET
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One week after they designated catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment, the Red Sox announced that they had released the 37-year-old.

Pierzynski, signed by the Red Sox this offseason to a one-year, $8.25 million contract with the hope that he would offer solid offensive production against right-handed pitching while serving as a one-year placeholder to permit prospect Christian Vazquez to conclude his development in the minor leagues, hit .254 with a .286 OBP and .348 slugging mark in 72 games. That offensive struggle, according to GM Ben Cherington, was at the heart of the team’s decision to release Pierzynski and call up Christian Vazquez in the final days of the first half.

Pierzynski is now a free agent.

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Buster Olney on MFB: ‘I feel bad that everyone involved has to pretend that this [All-Star Game] matters’

07.16.14 at 2:31 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the controversy surrounding Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter during the All-Star Game, Jon Lester‘€™s contract negotiations with the Red Sox and the season outlook for Boston. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

After surrendering a leadoff double to Jeter to open the All-Star Game, Wainwright admitted after his outing that he gave Jeter, who was playing in his final Midsummer Classic, a few “pitches he could handle.”

Wainwright later backtracked from his comments, adding that it was supposed to be a joke. Olney leaned in favor of Wainwright, as many pitchers have done the same thing before in an effort to honor a retiring player on the national stage.

“I kind of felt bad for [Wainwright],” Olney said. “First off, Adam Wainwright is one of the really great people in the sport. He’s honest and he’s earnest and to what he originally said, he just spoke the truth. What he originally said that he did, that’s been going on for years and years and years. … It’s a pitcher’s way of honoring a hitter.”

Olney added: “I feel bad that everyone involved has to pretend that this game matters, which is really the basic problem in this thing, where Adam can’t really come out and say, ‘Hey, it’s an exhibition game and I wanted to give Derek an opportunity to enjoy the stage,’ and instead everyone has to do all this backtracking and pretend that something happened than what actually did happen.”

While Jeter received a large amount of praise during the All-Star Game, there was no mention or ceremony for either Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn or long-time manager Don Zimmer, both of whom passed away this year. Olney said that he was shocked that there was no dedication for Gwynn during the game.

“I was surprised,” Olney said. “It’s certainly, in the case of Tony, because he’s a Hall of Famer, we see it at the Oscars every year, where they roll the videotape of all those who’ve been lost the year before in the film industry, and I was surprised at the very least that that wasn’t done on behalf of Tony.”

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Read More: Adam Wainwright, buster olney, Derek Jeter, Jon Lester

‘Miracle at Fenway’: 10 years later, Red Sox’ historic 2004 season recalled fondly in new book

07.16.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Red Sox‘ 2004 World Series championship team that ended an 86-year title drought, local author Saul Wisnia has come out with a new book, “Miracle at Fenway.” The book focuses on the building of the ’04 squad — following the heartbreak of the ’03 season — and recounts the memorable ’04 postseason from the viewpoint of fans, players and front-office personnel.

Miracle at Fenway book coverFollowing is an excerpt from the book, a section about Dave Roberts‘ steal in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees that ignited Boston’s unforgettable comeback.

“Running Man”

The first thing he thought about was Maury Wills.

In this, the biggest moment of his baseball life, Dave Roberts was trying to focus on the topic at hand. It was the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox trailed, 4-3, and Roberts stood on first base representing the tying run.

If the Sox lost, their season was over; the Yankees led the best-of-seven series three games to none, and were set to celebrate on the Fenway Park grass after just three more outs. They had the right man on the mound to get those outs in Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of his or any generation.

The home fans were abuzz, urging on a Boston rally, but Roberts could not hear them. Inserted into the game moments earlier as a pinch runner for Kevin Millar, whose leadoff walk against Rivera had raised the masses to their feet, Roberts knew it was his feet that everybody in the ballpark and millions of TV viewers were now watching.

He was a reserve outfielder who had not played in a week, and he had been put in here for one reason: to steal second base and give the Red Sox a chance to tie the game on a single. The crowd knew it, the TV and radio analysts were pontificating on it, and the cameras were bracing for it — zoomed in and ready to capture the moment.

Roberts could feel the sense of urgency, could anticipate the eyes upon him. Still, poised on the grandest of stages, he had the clarity to think back 10 months to moments in a near-empty ballpark 3,000 miles away. Moments spent with Maury Wills.

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Read More: Dave Roberts, Mariano Rivera, Maury Wills, Miracle at Fenway

Red Sox minor league roundup: An intriguing tools combo for Manuel Margot; Yoan Aybar and the Sox’ lower levels position wave

07.16.14 at 12:30 pm ET
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Outfielder Manuel Margot has eight homers and 30 steals in 2014. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

Outfielder Manuel Margot has eight homers and 30 steals in 2014. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: OFF DAY

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: OFF DAY

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: OFF DAY

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 9-4 WIN AT ROME (BRAVES)

(BOX)

– Outfielder Manuel Margot went 1-for-2 with a stolen base, his 30th of the year. The 19-year-old is one of 24 players in all of minor league baseball with 30 or more steals. Of those two dozen players, Margot is tied for the lead in home runs with eight. Margot is hitting .265 with a .331 OBP and .418 slugging mark.

Margot was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fourth inning, after he’d been involved in a number of plays in the top of the fourth. The reasons were not immediately clear. Read the rest of this entry »

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Giancarlo Stanton on The Bradfo Show: ‘Rumors are rumors’

07.16.14 at 10:31 am ET
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Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton joined Rob Bradford on The Bradfo Show to discuss transactions and trade rumors. To hear the interview, go to the The Bradfo Show audio on demand page.

Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton has been involved in a number of trade rumors throughout his career, including some with the Red Sox.

Stanton said the first time he was involved in trade rumors was as a minor leaguer in 2008 when he was discussed as a potential trade chip in a deal for Manny Ramirez.

“I actually didn’t understand the business side of it as much or pretty much at all at that point so I was like, ‘Wait a minute, me for Manny Ramirez. This makes no sense. That can’t be even close to true,’ ” Stanton said.

“As I grew up and got older I understood how it works a little better and understood that was a possibility.”

Stanton said he first found out about the rumors on the Internet.

“It was actually pretty flattering to be compared to that caliber at that time,” he said. “It’s a huge risk when you do that for a minor league guy that’s never touched foot in the big leagues.”

Stanton said the first person he contacted after he saw the rumors was his agent.

“It’s usually something me and my agent talk about,” he said. “That’s the easiest route to know legitimacy or not, so that’s pretty simple. You talk to him on what matters then get back to what I’m supposed to do.”

That was only the first of multiple trade rumors Stanton’s name was in. He said he gets sick of being asked about them.

“Rumors are rumors, but then again the route of all truths could be some rumors, so you never know,” Stanton said.

Stanton’s first time at Fenway Park came in an interleague series in 2012.

“It was kind of like a fantasy field,” he said. “It’s like one of those fields you design in a video game and kind of just play in. It’s different seeing something for so many years on TV then walking into it. That was the awe that I was in.”

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