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Do Red Sox know what they’re getting into without David Ortiz?

04.03.17 at 9:40 am ET
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David Ortiz (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

What is it going to be like without David Ortiz?

Each and every time the question is posed to a member of the Red Sox organization, the answer is virtually the same. And Sunday was no different.

“You can’t replace David,” said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “That’s obvious. We saw what he did for his entire career here. It’s going to take everybody to kind of step up and different roles and overcome his absence and play together. We plan on doing that.”

“For the last decade he’s been a bedrock here,” added manager John Farrell. “He’s been a cornerstone player and his importance continues to grow. As players have moved on, Pedey is still the one guy who’s still in his prime and has had a fantastic spring training. Coming off the scope of the offseason, we had a very detailed plan for his progression. He’s responded very good to it. Even a guy in his stature here in Boston, the number of years he’s been here, he’s still growing daily as the leader of our team and is more and more comfortable in that role.”

Now, with the Opening Day lineup officially announced and Ortiz not in it, the Red Sox’ new lot in life has become a reality.

But Ortiz was Ortiz, and when you have a player of that importance replacing him with projections is a dangerous — albeit, unavoidable — thing.

This is a presence that led the entire major leagues in OPS last season, the only person to eclipse 1.000 (1.021). For context, this would be the equivalent of the Nationals playing without the 2015 leader in the stat, Bryce Harper, last season.

Those first three months of 2016, it was Ortiz who once again anchored this Red Sox lineup. Do we think that anybody is going to hit 19 home runs by July 1, or turn in 51 extra-base hits? Mookie Betts was in the midst of doing his thing on the way to just missing out on American League MVP, but during that span, when the Sox were officially entrenching themselves as a playoff contender, even he wasn’t close to the team’s designated hitter.

From the seventh inning on this is a guy who hit .331 with a 1.044. Only one Red Sox hitter managed a batting average of .284 or better in such situations. In short, when things were stuck in the mud when it came to offensive production, Ortiz was almost always the fail-safe.

None of this is a news flash.

Neither is the fact that when the rubber hit the road in the clubhouse, this was the biggest voice in there. As much as Pedroia, a veteran like Chris Young, or the maturing foundation made up of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, etc. might bring, that dynamic — for the time being — is gone.

Why would all of that matter? Because over the course of a Major League Baseball season, the ups and downs can push a team down the wrong road without the hard-stop that Ortiz offered both on, and off, the field. Heading into 2017, that should be recognized as an uncomfortable reality.

The Red Sox could very well be fired out of cannon this month, even without Ortiz. Mitch Moreland could turn a career corner in his new home park, and the option of using Chris Young against left-handers as a designated hitter might actually offer well above-average production.

Heck, the Tigers finished with baseball’s third-best team OPS in 2015 after the major league leader in the category, Victor Martinez, dropped to a sub.700 guy.

But after gliding through the semi-meaningless Grapefruit League days, when Ortiz usually exited with less than a handful of hits, it’s time to start taking stock of what life will look like without the DH. That starts Monday.

How much will the Red Sox miss David Ortiz?

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Red Sox lineup: Mitch Moreland fights off flu to make Opening Day lineup

04.03.17 at 9:16 am ET
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Mitch Moreland (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Mitch Moreland (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have their Opening Day lineup.

The only question coming into the team’s regular season-opening game against Pittsburgh Monday morning was whether or not Mitch Moreland would be well enough to participate. The first baseman had missed the Red Sox’ trip to Washington due to the flu.

But with Pirates righty Gerrit Cole on the mound for the visitors, Moreland will get the start and hit fifth.

With Rick Porcello on the mound for the Red Sox, here is John Farrell’s first batting order of the season:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Sandy Leon C

For all the Red Sox coverage throughout Opening Day, go to the team page by click here.

David Ortiz may not immediately agree to post-career role with Red Sox

04.03.17 at 9:12 am ET
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David Ortiz appears to be comfortably retired as the 2017 season begins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz appears to be happily retired as the 2017 season begins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz will be at Fenway Park this season when the Red Sox retire his No. 34 on June 23. But besides that, Big Papi may not be around too often during his first year of retirement.

In an interview Sunday on Comcast SportsNet’s “The Baseball Show,” team president Sam Kennedy said the organization may not work out a post-playing deal with Ortiz until late in 2017.

“We’d like to have a more meaningful role and helping him with his marketing partnerships, have him have a meaningful role with our young players. And so we’re talking through it,” Kennedy said. “There’s no rush to get it done, because at least according to him, he is not coming back. So we’re talking and I would expect we’ll get something done this year, but he’s really enjoying taking time off. He’s been traveling a lot. My understanding he’s going to be gone for sort of the first month of the half of April.”

Earlier this year, in an appearance on Boston Herald Radio, Kennedy floated the possibility of Ortiz joining the NESN team. Despite those overtures, the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reported last month Ortiz is undecided about his future in broadcasting. Finn says Fox Sports has also expressed interest in the slugger’s services. Ortiz was a part of the network’s 2014 World Series coverage.

On WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” Monday, Kennedy reiterated his desire to see Ortiz in the booth.

“I think [Ortiz] has mild interest in broadcasting,” he said. “I personally would love to see him on NESN. I think our viewers would love to see him on television. We’ll see if he wants to do that.”

Author’s note: this post has been updated to include Kennedy’s comments on K&C.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz,

Dustin Pedroia compares himself to a housefly before starting 12th year with Red Sox

04.02.17 at 5:12 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia will be playing his 12th season with the Red Sox. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia will be playing his 12th season with the Red Sox. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia has been with the Red Sox a long time — 12 years in fact.

On Monday he will start at second base for the 11th straight Opening Day, but he doesn’t know what to make of that.

“I don’t know what that means. I guess I’m kind of like a housefly. You can’t get rid of them or something,” Pedroia said Sunday before an optional workout at Fenway Park. “I don’t know, man. I’m just trying to show up every year and play. I enjoy playing. I enjoy playing here. And it’s great place when you win.”

Pedroia is coming off a solid 2016 season where he hit .318, the second-highest mark of his career. He appears ready to build off last season, as he had a terrific spring batting .463 with three doubles and four RBIs in 17 games.

With David Ortiz no longer around, Pedroia could be forced into more of a leadership role.

Manager John Farrell knows just how important he is to the club.

“For the last decade he’s been a bedrock here,” Farrell said Sunday. “He’s been a cornerstone player and his importance [to] our club continues to grow. As players have moved on, Pedey is the one guy who’s still in his prime and had a fantastic spring training.”

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,

What’s the latest with David Price and his elbow?

04.02.17 at 2:35 pm ET
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David Price is slowly progressing back from his elbow injury. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Price is slowly progressing back from his elbow injury. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Price is slowly progressing towards a return from a left elbow strain, but there’s no timeframe for when that might be.

The left-hander threw for a second straight day on the field at Fenway Park, but has yet to make it to a mound. Price played catch at roughly 110 feet on Sunday, but needs to make it out to 120 feet before he can get on a mound.

“I’m unaware of a point that’s going to say we’re going to have to go to another direction,” manager John Farrell said. “At the outset of the diagnosis, there wasn’t this Plan A/Plan B. It was, this is the recommendation: Put a ball back in your hand after a prescribed number of days down.”

Price hasn’t thrown on a mound since Feb. 28 when he felt discomfort and then visited Dr. James Andrews. Some have speculated the longer he takes to get on to a mound, perhaps the likelihood of surgery increases.

Farrell doesn’t think so, but did say more will be known once he gets to throwing off a mound.

“I think we’re all pretty clear, too, that once he gets back on the mound and gets closer to game intensity, that’s going to be the real test of where he is in terms of a routine date,” he said.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: David Price,

Red Sox notes: Opening Day lineup almost finalized, how Steve Selsky and Ben Taylor made 25-man roster

04.02.17 at 2:21 pm ET
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Mitch Moreland should be good to go for Monday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Mitch Moreland should be good to go for Monday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Opening Day is exactly a day away, but manager John Farrell isn’t quite ready to reveal his lineup –although, he’s very close.

First baseman Mitch Moreland, who was sent back to Boston last week with the flu, needs to make it through Sunday’s workout to officially be cleared to play, but Farrell fully expects him to.

“He’s clear and good to go for tomorrow,” Farrell said prior to an optional work out on Sunday. “We’re hopeful to get him on the field here today and get some BP and really just start to get some activity back under him after three days or so being out.”

The flu bug is still working its way through the clubhouse with bullpen catcher Mike Brenly and assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez being the latest victims, but it is not expected to impact anything for Monday.

“I don’t think we’re completely out of the woods,” Farrell said. “I think there are some minor effects, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we’re going to be missing anyone [Monday].”

After being sidelined for all of spring training recovering from knee replacement surgery, Brian Butterfield will be on the field for the first time and coach third base. He served as the bench coach during spring training.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

— On Saturday, the team announced its 25-man roster and the final two players to make the squad were infielder/outfielder Steve Selsky and reliever Ben Taylor.

Farrell said Selsky made the roster mostly because of his ability to play first base, which Marco Hernandez cannot. However, he’s been impressed with how far Hernandez has come since coming over from the Cubs in the Felix Doubront trade as a player to be named later.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Ben Taylor, brian butterfield, John Farrell, Mitch Moreland

Steve Selsky, Ben Taylor make Red Sox Opening Day roster

04.01.17 at 11:05 pm ET
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Steve Selsky (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steve Selsky (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox are starting their 2017 with plenty of names on the 10-day disabled list.

David Price (left elbow strain), Tyler Thornburg (right shoulder impingement), Josh Rutledge (left hamstring strain), Carson Smith (recovering from Tommy John surgery), Drew Pomeranz (forearm strain) and Roenis Elias (right oblique strain) all won’t be on the 25-man active roster for Opening Day.

The injuries do allow for a couple of surprise members of John Farrell’s club to start the season.

Both outfielder Steve Selsky and relief pitcher Ben Taylor will be active when the Red Sox take on the Pirates at Fenway Park Monday afternoon.

Selsky, who is on the 40-man roster, impressed throughout spring training, ending up his Grapefruit League stint hitting .356 with 1.120 OPS. The 27-year-old, who can also play first base and a little third, has major league experience, playing in 24 games for the Reds last season.

Selsky made the team over infielder Marco Hernandez in large part because he hits from the right side, which was a skill-set the Red Sox were going to rely on Rutledge to bring to the table.

The hard-throwing Taylor, who hasn’t pitched above Double-A, may have just about a week to impress, with the Red Sox carrying an extra reliever in the days leading up to what figures to be a start by Pomeranz Sunday. The organization is already high on Taylor, who struck out 42 and walked just 12 in 34 innings with Double-A Portland last season.

If the 24-year-old right does show value, there is a chance he could stay, with the left-handed Robby Scott also carrying options. Right now, the Red Sox boast three lefty relievers with the presence of Scott, Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

Red Sox start punctuating spring training with tour of Naval Academy

04.01.17 at 11:02 am ET
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For the last two months, the Red Sox’ players’ mornings have been made up of driving to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers around 7 a.m., partaking in weight room activities, clubhouse ping-pong, and whatever else was on the docket to get ready for that day’s spring training activities.

Saturday, the team got a wake-up call that life was changing a bit.

With two days until Opening Day, the Red Sox eased into their final spring training game — against the Nationals Saturday afternoon at Max Bishop Stadium — with a tour of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Third Annual Not-So-Special Section: Previewing the 2017 Red Sox in a very average way

03.31.17 at 6:51 am ET
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It's that time again (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

It’s that time again. (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Those special sections are great, aren’t they? Chock full of insightful stories and information about these 2017 Red Sox you’re about to digest. Awards will be won. Pats on the back will be had. Advertising dollars will be made. They are the ultimate spring-in-your-step elixir for journalists heading into this six-month reality show.

But, as we first pointed out two years ago, there’s a problem.

It’s really hard to commit two hours to uncover all that good work when nobody has more than two minutes. We have become a 140-character society. Either you’re reading your news of the day in that construct, or you’re using that burst of words/GIFs/emojis to be convinced it’s worth your precious time to dig a little deeper.

The days of sitting down, putting your life on hold and unfolding page after page to preview a season you simply want to get going are over. Hence, our attempt to accomplish the job while satisfying both your and our laziness … I mean efficiency.

If we could do this solely through one post using Siri, Instagram, Snapchat or even Tinder, we would. But we can’t. We will have to settle for a good old fashioned blog entry. If you’re feeling old fashioned, feel free to print it out and use to wrap those presents or start that fire. It is, after all, the spirit of the special section.

What is your predicted order of finish in the AL East?

@Bradfo: Blue Jays, Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Rays. Don’t sleep on what might be the best starting rotation in the division.

@Jtomase: Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays. The Red Sox still have most talent, though not by much. Don’t discount Yankees.

@RyanHannable: Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Rays. Another prediction: Division will not be clinched until last weekend of season.

@AlexReimer1: Blue Jays, Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays. A dominant Blue Jays starting rotation leads the way; Kendrys Morales picks up enough of Edwin Encarnacion’s production.

How many games will the Red Sox win?

@Bradfo: 90. I have an uneasy feeling about this team.

@Jtomase: 92. @bradfo stole “uneasy” from my column the other day.

@RyanHannable: Noventa y uno (91).

@AlexReimer1: 79. David Price won’t start one game this season, and a shallow bullpen will be in disarray all summer long.

True or false: The AL East champ won’t even win 90 games.

@Bradfo: Insert lazy question/lazy answer emoji here.

@Jtomase: False. I just said 92 above. Who writes these questions?

@RyanHannable: False. In fact, two teams will win more than 90 games.

@AlexReimer1: False. The division winner has won at least 90 games every season since 2001.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Red Sox special section,

Drew Pomeranz is on disabled list, but that doesn’t mean he won’t pitch in first week

03.30.17 at 10:30 am ET
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Drew Pomeranz (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Photo)

Drew Pomeranz (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Photo)

The Red Sox announced Thursday morning that Drew Pomeranz was headed to the 10-day disabled list with a left forearm flexor strain.

It sounds ominous, but in reality might be more procedural than anything.

Thanks to the new 10-day disabled list, and the ability to backdate DL stints, Pomeranz could still very likely pitch in the second series of the regular season, which would pit him against the Tigers April 9.

It allows the Red Sox to keep an extra player on the roster heading into Opening Day, with Robby Scott and Fernando Abad both now slated to make the team. The duo will join fellow lefty Robbie Ross Jr. in the bullpen, which also boasts Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and potentially one more reliever (perhaps Ben Taylor).

The Red Sox could also go with an additional position player, possibly carrying both Marco Hernandez and Steve Selsky, with Josh Rutledge headed to the disabled list and Mitch Moreland under the weather.

While Pomeranz has managed to not miss any time after suffering a sore triceps in his second Grapefruit League start, he hasn’t been as effective as the Red Sox would like. Coming in relief Wednesday, he allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in four innings.

Pomeranz is slated to stay behind in Fort Myers and pitch in a minor-league game Sunday, which might determine if he would be deemed fit to make his first big league start.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO DREW POMERANZ TALK ABOUT HIS SITUATION ON THE BRADFO SHO PODCAST

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