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Humberto Quintero will wait ‘a couple of more days’ to make decision on opt-out

03.31.15 at 9:21 am ET
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Humberto Quintero

Humberto Quintero

FORT MYERS, Fla. — For a brief time, when news first came down that Christian Vazquez’s right elbow was going to sideline the catcher for quite a while, Humberto Quintero thought there was a window to make the Red Sox‘ Opening Day roster.

It was unlikely that the Red Sox would promote Blake Swihart so soon, leaving Quintero has the next logical option to play alongside newly-tabbed starter Ryan Hanigan.

But then came Monday, when the Sox traded for Quintero’s former teammate from the Venezuelan Winter League, Sandy Leon, and then the landscape suddenly changed.

“I’€™ve been playing in the big leagues for a few years so I know, it’€™s baseball,” said the 35-year-old Quintero. “I’€™ll just try and do my best every time they put me in the lineup. I’€™ve hit the ball well, blocked the ball, and I feel great.”

Now both the Red Sox and Quintero have to make a decision.

The catcher has an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to get out of the minor-league deal he has been in camp under which officially kicks in today. If he did accept a minor-league assignment and not opt-out, the Red Sox would be obligated to pay Quintero $100,000.

But the veteran of 471 major league games has decided to wait a while before making any decisions, with Leon scheduled to get his first start with the Red Sox Tuesday in Port Charlotte against the Rays.

Despite a solid camp, Quintero would seem to be once again pushed back on the depth chart considering the 26-year-old is out of options and resides on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster.

“You never know,” Quintero said. “I’€™m going to wait for a couple of more days to see what they’€™re going to do.”

Quintero, who last played regularly in the major leagues in 2011 with Houston, also has another opt-out on June 1 if he chooses not to enact the clause this time around.

“It’€™s a decision that’€™s part of baseball,” he said. “The only thing I can do is every time they tell me to play is try and do my best.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Humberto Quintero,

David Ortiz wants to clarify one part of Players’ Tribune article

03.31.15 at 12:15 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz has made it perfectly clear why he chose to publish 2,300-plus-word, March 26 article on the Players’ Tribune web site defending himself against allegations of using performance enhancing drugs.

He wanted to attempt to have what he hoped would be the last say on the matter.

“People are always focused on things that really don’t matter. I just want to make myself clear that I don’t want to keep talking about this,” Ortiz told WEEI.com Monday afternoon. “People are always bringing the subject to me, over and over. People look at me, like why does he keep bringing this subject back? It’s not me, bro. I get that question asked. Every year, people come and ask me the same question. I’m just tired of it, bro. That article that came out, hopefully it’s the last time I talk about it.”

But while Ortiz was satisfied with the overall presentation of the article, he did regret how one part was represented.

The three sentences Ortiz felt an obligation to clarify while sitting in front of his locker prior to Monday’s game at JetBlue Park were: “I grew up in a house where my father used to hit my mother. There was a fight in my house pretty much every other day. It was normal.”

Ortiz explained the message he intended to relay regarding his upbringing.

“The one part where it said that my dad [Enrique] used to beat up my mom [Angela Rosa] and stuff, that was wrong. What I was meaning to say was that in my house, it was an argument all the time, fights and stuff.

“There were things that you don’t want to see as a child. But it wasn’t that my dad was an abuser, because my mom was a tough lady. I’m not going to give too much of the details into that, because that’s my personal life. My dad has always been a great dad. I don’t want people to look at him like he was the wrong person.

“My whole thing was based on the argument they used to have. At some point my mom and dad ended up divorcing and that was the end, everyone went on their own. Then, once they were away from each other, the true respect that you expect from a husband and wife started showing up even more. Their relationship got better, even if they weren’t together. But that’s the way I was raised, though. To make myself clear, I was basically just saying I grew up in a tough situation.

“I don’t want people to think that my dad was an abuser, because my dad is the reason I am who I am, besides God. He’s a good man who taught me how to the right thing. It was just the kind of relationship that, they didn’t agree with a lot of things. That brings a fight. A fight’s not just when a man hits a woman. Arguments can be called fights.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Read More: 2015 spring training, David Ortiz,

Observations from Red Sox’ rout of Twins: Mike Napoli clubs broken bat homer, offense explodes, Justin Masterson commands

03.30.15 at 10:31 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — As spring training games go, Monday night’s 14-2 pummeling of the crosstown Twins was about as good as it gets for the Red Sox.

Exactly one week before the season opener in Philadelphia, John Farrell rolled out a lineup that fans can expect to see against the Phillies (and hopefully most of the season). And that lineup produced just as Red Sox management hoped when they put together the new offense over the winter.

Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts continued his scorching spring with two more hits, including an RBI double high off the Monster in a six-run fourth. He scored twice and is now batting .467 on the spring.

Mike Napoli looks as comfortable as anyone in the lineup not named Betts. He has also carried a blazing bat in spring, even when he’s breaking it in half and homering as was the case in the fourth. He muscled up and clubbed a solo homer that carried over the Monster. The barrel of the bat wound up in the dirt next to the third base bag and he ran around it as he circled the bases on his fourth homer of the spring.

“It’s never happened before,” Napoli said of the broken bat round-tripper. “I think I broke it on my at-bat before when I hit the ball to right. I wasn’t sure but I thought I hit it on the barrel. It was just a weird feeling. The bat exploded and I was just kind of sitting there. It’s a weird feeling anytime you do that. I don’t know. I can’t really explain it.

“I was just kind of running around the bases like, ‘What just happened?'”

Napoli, with two hits Monday, is now batting .433 with an .867 slugging percentage in 13 games.

“I feel good. My hands are getting stronger,” Napoli said. “My timing is getting good. Just working hard every day in the cage and my BPs and just trying to take it into the games.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, justin masterson, mike napoli

John Farrell: ‘We’re not a perfect team but I like our team’

03.30.15 at 7:36 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell took a fun swipe the constant questions about his roster Monday before the game with the Twins at JetBlue Park.

“We’ve got some short-term questions with health that are apparent that we’ve talked about a lot,” Farrell said with a smile.

But the Red Sox manager certainly understands the daily queries about his roster given the health of Koji Uehara, Joe Kelly and the loss of Christian Vazquez. Those three changes alone have exponentially increased the complexity of his roster decision in the last week of spring training.

But there are still quality cogs on the roster that Farrell think can be part of the offensive machine that carries his team. On top of that, Farrell beamed about what he’s seen from his projected rotation this spring, starting with Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello. He’s also seen enough from Wade Miley and Justin Masterson.

He made it clear Monday that all four plus Kelly is what he projects heading into the season with as a starting staff.

“I like it. But I like our team,” Farrell said. “I think our rotation is going to pitch well, I really do. We’ve had some performances in spring training that, with guys in the bullpen, give us weapons to match up. Getting Koji back will certainly be a boost. We’re not a perfect team but I like our team.”

Farrell indicated that he was not inclined to keep an extra outfielder, even with the health questions of Uehara and Kelly.

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox,

Koji Uehara admits ‘I don’t know when I’ll be back’

03.30.15 at 6:55 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

FORT MYERS, Fla. — After Koji Uehara again felt something in his sore hamstring after a 30-pitch bullpen Monday, John Farrell can count on his closer not being ready for the start of the season.

“I don’t think there’s anything to suggest that come next Monday he’s in our bullpen,” Farrell said Monday. And that was before Uehara threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session that was far from 100 percent.

“Same as last time. It’s the same. I feel something in the same area so I’m not throwing as hard as I want to be,” Uehara said.

The question now is just when might the 39-year-old right-handed closer return to action.

“I don’t know when I’ll be back,” Uehara said Monday. “It’s a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready.”

Uehara hasn’t pitched since March 14. He has allowed seven hits and two earned runs in three one-inning stints this spring.

“I think I’m going to start on the DL just because I haven’t had the games,” Uehara said. “If that is the case, if I start on the DL, it certainly will be a disappointment. I knew from the beginning that it’s going to be a slow process. It’s from my experience.”

It would appear all but certain that Uehara will start the season on the disabled list as the Red Sox and Farrell try to patch together the backend of their bullpen, which starts with moving Edward Mujica into the closer’s role for the time being.

“I don’t have seven names to give you right now,” Farrell said of his uncertain bullpen. “We’ve still got some things to determine how we’re going to form the rotation, whether we go with an additional left-hander or right-hander, what the ramifications coming out of the mix for the short run, does that likely move Edward back into the closing role, and you’re down to a couple of right-handers, likely three, with two being a little bit better against righties.

“All of these things are factored in. I do know this that we’re in a point in time in camp where guys are throwing the ball as expected, that includes Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes. Brandon Workman’s last time out was encouraging so as we get to final week of camp here, the guys we felt would be in contention for spots are moving in the right direction.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Koji Uehara,

John Farrell hints Sandy Leon has edge over Humberto Quintero, Blake Swihart could start in minors

03.30.15 at 4:57 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — With so many moving parts at once right now, it would be hard to blame manager John Farrell for choosing his words very carefully when asked to project his roster, including the catching position.

Reading between the lines of Farrell’s meeting with reporters before Monday night’s game with the Twins at JetBlue Park, it appeared that 26-year-old Sandy Leon has the inside track to be Ryan Hanigan’s backup over 35-year-old Humberto Quintero, primarily because Leon is out of options and was immediately placed on the 40-man roster Monday while Quintero is not on the 40-man.

“I can’t deny that that is a factor,” Farrell acknowledged. “And it’s probably the same reason why he became available to us. That’s a factor in all of this, particularly when you look at trying to build depth. That’s not to take anything away from Humberto because he’s done a very good job for us.”

Leon walked through the clubhouse doors at JetBlue Park Monday afternoon before the game with the Twins, with his equipment bag in tow, and expressed his desire to help right away.

“It’s really good. I’m happy just to be here and learn a new team, new teammates, new pitchers. Just trying to communicate with them. I was enjoying my spring training, having fun playing. It was really difficult. I didn’t know what was going to happen. This morning I wasn’t expecting this. After 20 minutes, they were like, ‘Hey, you got traded.’ It feels kind of weird. But I feel good, just happy to be here.”

“I think it’s going to be good. I was really positive. I just want to play and help the team to win and get to a World Series. That’s what I want.”

Leon was asked if he was competing for a starting or backup catching job with Ryan Hanigan.

“I have no idea. You just have to wait to get into the games and see what happens,” Leon said. “It’s a really good challenge. I feel good.”

Quintero, who came over to give his native Venezuelan a hug at Leon’s locker, has an opt-out deadline of Tuesday. If he accepts an assignment, he likely would begin the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

“There’s no decisions on where we go but we needed to build depth, for sure,” Farrell said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Humberto Quintero, Ryan Hanigan

NFL’s Brandon Magee thinks he can make Red Sox: ‘If I focus on this, that’s not even a concern’

03.30.15 at 1:40 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Give Brandon Magee this much: He’s not afraid of failing.

The linebacker who was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week is vowing to give his full commitment to the Red Sox, the team that saw his talent on the other side of the field at Arizona State, as an outfielder. All of this despite not having played in a competitive game on the diamond since 2011, his junior year at college.

The Red Sox drafted Magee in the tenth round of the 2012 draft. But instead of choosing baseball, the two-sport star at ASU chose to focus on his NFL dreams. He’s gotten a taste of it with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns before his release last week by the Bucs.

He arrived at the Red Sox complex on Sunday, with his only goal of listening to coaches and taking directions.

“As of right now, I don’t even know exactly what I’m going to do next week,” Magee said. “I’m just taking it day by day and see where it goes.”

Few athletes have been able to pull off what Magee is pursuing. There’s Deion Sanders in baseball and football. Michael Jordan gave baseball a shot while cooling his Hall of Fame basketball heels.

But perhaps the most successful of all of the two-sport stars of the modern era is Bo Jackson. And Bo knows Brandon. Or, more to the point, Brandon has met and talked to Bo. Last spring, Jackson paid a visit to Fort Myers to chat with Magee.

“He’s a great guy,” Magee said. “He’s been here before and he’s an encouragement all the time I’ve talked to him. He’s just encouraged me to stay humble and keep working hard. Try to outwork everybody out here. That’s his main key.”
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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, brandon magee, Cleveland Browns

Red Sox officially place Christian Vazquez on 60-day DL with elbow sprain, add catcher Sandy Leon

03.30.15 at 10:42 am ET
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Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have admitted they’ll be without catcher Christian Vazquez for a while.

The club placed him on the 60-day disabled list Monday with a sprained right elbow. The move allows the Red Sox to add newly-acquired catcher Sandy Leon to the 40-man roster. With the transaction, the Red Sox now have 44 players in big league camp, including 32 active players from the 40-man roster, 11 non-roster invitees, and one player on the disabled list.

Leon, 26, has appeared in 13 games this spring for the Nationals, batting .286 (6-for-21) with one double and three RBI. A switch-hitter, he appeared in 20 games for Washington last season, making 17 starts behind the plate.

The native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, has hit .189 (18-for-95) with three doubles, one home run, five RBI, and nine runs scored in 34 big league games, all with Washington (2012-14). Considered a defensive specialist, Leon has thrown out six of 15 potential base stealers in the major leagues. The Nationals won 16 of his 26 starts (.615) over the past three seasons.

Over four stints with the Nationals in 2014, he went 10-for-64 (.156) with a double, a home run, and three RBI while throwing out five of eight potential base stealers from behind the plate. In 51 games with Triple-A Syracuse last season, he batted .229 with nine doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI, and 23 walks, and caught 12 of 21 would-be base stealers.

Leon, who will wear No. 3, was originally signed by Washington as an international free agent on Jan. 17, 2007. Over his eight minor league seasons, he has thrown out 45 percent (245 of 543) of attempted base stealers. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, Sandy Leon

Live chat: Rob Bradford talks Red Sox (and other stuff), 10 a.m.

03.30.15 at 9:26 am ET
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Join WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford for a live chat to discuss the state of the Red Sox, the best wings in Fort Myers, what Gould’s Distinctive Clothing has planned for Opening Day, the wildly popular Jeld-Wen Window and Doors ad, or anything else you want to throw his way. It all starts at 10 a.m. Jump on in …

Live Blog Bradford/Red Sox Live Chat
 

Source: Red Sox acquire catcher Sandy Leon from Nationals

03.30.15 at 8:42 am ET
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Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have acquired some organizational catching depth.

A source confirms to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that catcher Sandy Leon is on his way to the Red Sox. Details as to who would be going the other way in the deal were not immediately available. Leon first told James Wagner of The Washington Post about the deal Monday morning.

Leon is 26 and out of options, and was considered a long shot to break camp with the Nationals. Christian Vazquez is scheduled for a second opinion on his right elbow with orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews Wednesday in Pensacola. He has been all but ruled out for the beginning of the season and his availability this season is up in the air. Manager John Farrell repeated again Sunday that the Red Sox are focused on internal candidates to fill the role of a second catcher on the team.

With Ryan Hanigan the clear choice to start most of the games, the battle for backup was between super prospect Blake Swihart and 35-year-old veteran Humberto Quintero.

Leon is a switch-hitter who has played sparingly over the past three seasons, totaling just 107 plate appearances in the majors, hitting just .189/.280/.253. Leon has fared better at Triple-A where he’s posted a .257/.358/.414.

Leon has, for the most part, been a minor league catcher, batting .236/.324/.329. Like Quintero, he’s considered a defensive specialist, throwing out 45 percent of would-be base stealers in his minor league career.

Read More: 2015 spring training, blake swihart, Boston Red Sox, Chistrian Vazquez
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