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Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts to participate in Red Sox Rookie Development Program

01.09.15 at 4:21 pm ET
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According to team officials, the Red Sox have solidified which players will be in attendance for next week’s Rookie Development Program.

The participants will be: Eddie Rodriguez, Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar, Brian Johnson, Zeke Spruill, Sean Coyle, Rusney Castillo, Blake Swihart, Henry Ramos and Mookie Betts.

The Rookie Development Program is a week-long program designed to help players make the transition to major league players. It includes workouts that focus on condition, strength training and fundamentals, as well as seminars that feature a number of guest speakers.

Red Sox won’t wear Red Sox uniforms against Boston College (for good reason)

01.09.15 at 3:56 pm ET
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Those watching the Red Sox play Boston College in the teams’ annual spring training game — kicking off the exhibition schedule at JetBlue Park, March 3 — will see an unfamiliar site.

The Sox and BC players will both be wearing the same style uniform (just different colors) in honor of former Eagles standout Pete Frates.

The uniforms will carry slogan and patch symbolizing Frates’ remarkable fundraising effort in the quest to cure the disease he has been stricken with, ALS.

After the game, all of the uniforms will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the battle against ALS.

To learn more about “Pete Frates #3 Fund,” as well as more about Frates’ story, click here.

John Farrell just handed out his January lineup card

01.09.15 at 12:09 am ET
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Things change, and nothing is set in stone. But John Farrell is offering just enough information that we can at least surmise what the Red Sox‘ regular lineup might look like.

Appearing on the Arbella Hot Stove Show Thursday night, Farrell handed out some explanations as to what he is thinking in regards to his lineup as we draw closer to spring training.

Of note …

– He currently sees both Mookie Betts and Brock Holt as the most viable leadoff options.

– While Rusney Castillo impressed in his role as a leadoff man while in Puerto Rico, the Red Sox manager wasn’t leaning toward putting the outfielder at the top of the Sox’s lineup to begin with.

“I think what Mookie showed in the time that he was in the leadoff spot was very encouraging,” Farrell said. “His on-base skills have been consistent at every level through the minor leagues. It was the same when he came to Boston. Brock Holt is another guy that could fit into that spot when he is in the lineup on a given day. I think in Castillo’s case — while he shows you that ability to steal a base, he has some, I think very good gap power and he swung the bat good for us in the 10 games that he played — I think it is probably best that we bring him along maybe a little bit along the way. Maybe give him some at-bats, whether that is in the bottom third of the order, not to pin him into that spot, but I think that is the best way to acclimate him as we go forward.”

– Farrell likes the opportunity to go lefty-righty-lefty-righty in the middle of the order. That would put David Ortiz at No. 3, Hanley Ramirez hitting cleanup, Pablo Sandoval slotted in at No. 5 and Mike Napoli right behind the third switch-hitting third baseman.

“The one thing that clearly stands out is we have balance left- and right-handed,” the manager said. “I have always liked David in the three-hole. You know he is going to come up in the first inning. That puts Pedroia in that two hole that he feels most comfortable in, and probably has been the best spot for him over the course of his career. This is where when we were at our conversations — and meetings prior to, or right after the season — we were able to aquire both Ramirez and Sandoval. We thought we would be able to get one, the fact we were able to get two, certainly lengthens the lineup. I think Hanley gives David some protection behind him. Then you start to create some protection and we want to keep Sandoval on the left side of the plate as much as possible, so if you sandwich him in between Ramirez and Napoli you start to have a formidable middle of the order where you’re going left-right-left-right all the way through there.”

In the aforementioned scenario, after Napoli that would leave Xander Bogaerts, followed by one of the outfielders (Castillo, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig) and finally a catcher (Christian Vazquez, Ryan Hanigan).

Red Sox announce Rich Gedman, Bob Kipper as new PawSox coaches

01.08.15 at 1:56 pm ET
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Rich Gedman will serve as the PawSox' hitting coach in 2015. (Photo courtesy Pawtucket Red Sox)

Rich Gedman will serve as the PawSox’ hitting coach in 2015. (Photo courtesy Pawtucket Red Sox)

Rich Gedman keeps getting closer to a return to the big leagues.

The former Red Sox catcher has been named as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Gedman, who interviewed with the Sox for their hitting coach job earlier in the offseason, has spent the last two seasons guiding hitters for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. It’s his fifth year in the Red Sox minor league system, with his coaching career beginning as an Can-Am Independent League manager from 2005-10.

Dave Joppie, who was the hitting coach for the PawSox last season, will take Gedman’s place in Portland.

Also new to the PawSox’ staff is Bob Kipper, who spent the last five seasons as the Sea Dogs’ pitching coach. He replaces Rich Saveur, who has left the organization.

Kipper is entering his 17th season in the Red Sox organization, serving as the Red Sox’ bullpen coach for the 2002 season.

Returning as the PawSox’ manager is Kevin Boles, who guided his team to the International League‘s Governors’ Cup for the 2014 season. In so doing, the PawSox became just the third team in the 131-year history of the IL to go to three straight Governors’€™ Cup Finals with three different managers. (Arnie Beyeler in 2012 when the PawSox won the Cup, Gary DiSarcina in 2013 when the PawSox lost in the Cup Finals, and Boles in 2014 when the PawSox recaptured the Cup.)

Also returning on Pawtucket’s staff will be Bruce Crabbe.

Dan Butler looking at bright side of being designated for assignment

01.08.15 at 11:57 am ET
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Dan Butler

Dan Butler

Dan Butler will always have a soft spot for the Red Sox.

This was the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona, and then gave him his big break to play in the majors in 2014.

And now, it’s the Red Sox who are potentially allowing Butler to take a step he might not have gotten if the Sox were still signing his paychecks.

The catcher was designated for assignment by the Red Sox Wednesday to make room on the 40-man roster for newly-signed pitcher Craig Breslow. What that means is that the Red Sox have 10 days to attempt to trade Butler, or put him on waivers for the rest of the major leagues to have a crack at the 28-year-old. If there is no trade made or he clears waivers, Butler could be reassigned to the Red Sox minor leagues.

What that it means for Butler is potentially the kind of shot at the big leagues he has never possessed.

Even if the Red Sox kept him on the 40-man, there were going to be two catchers — Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez — ahead of him heading into Opening Day. With another team, there might be a clearer path.

“It just creates and opportunity and gives me a chance to see if any other teams are interested and kind of see what happens,” Butler said by phone from Arizona. “If nothing happens, the worst-case scenario is you’€™re back with the Red Sox in the minor league system, and that’€™s worked out with me pretty well so far.

“I feel like there are probably teams interested. There’€™s not a lot of catchers out there. You always hear people are looking for catchers. I’€™m assuming that’€™s why they were hesitant to do this. It might create a different type of possibility for me to maybe continue on with another team. But, again, worst-case scenario you’€™re back with the Red Sox, and that’€™s not a bad thing.”

In Butler’s mind, the chance to get a clearer road to the majors comes at a perfect time. Having gotten his first taste of big league baseball under his belt via seven games with the Red Sox (going 4-for-19 with a walk and three doubles), the backstop is ready to make the majors a regular thing.

“It doesn’€™t matter who you’€™re playing for, along as you get the opportunity to play in the big leagues,” he said. “It creates a huge opportunity for me to go to a team, whether they traded for me or if I went through the waiver process. That means that team wants you, so that’€™s always a good feeling, too. That means you have the chance to make the club and maybe start a new journey to make a run at staying in the big leagues. It might mean making a career in the majors instead of floating around in the minors.

“You never know how you’€™re going to act, or how you’€™re going to do until you’€™re presented that opportunity. I definitely have always thought I could play in the big leagues and that kind of solidified that by getting up there. I know that I have more than the capabilities to play in the major leagues.”

John McDonald nails art of announcing a retirement

01.08.15 at 9:28 am ET
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How do you announce your retirement after playing for 16 seasons for eight different teams? John McDonald was asking himself that very question.

McDonald knew that as solid a career as the former Providence College star possessed, there would be no press conference or even press release. But he also understood that the time had come to move on, having played in 95 games, as primarily a defensive replacement, for the Angels in 2014.

But during a conversation with Jay Stenhouse, the Blue Jays’ media relations director, McDonald was finally able to formulate a plan. He was going to turn to Twitter, the mechanism he had no previous relationship with.

It was determined that, with the help of Stenhouse, and his counterparts with the Angels and Indians, Tim Mead and Bart Swain, three teams would simultaneously release tweets at 2 p.m. Wednesday to announce the retirement.

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Red Sox designate Dan Butler for assignment to make room for Craig Breslow

01.07.15 at 11:12 am ET
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Dan Butler

Dan Butler

In the end, Drake Britton’s potential was too good to part ways with quite yet.

The Red Sox designated catcher Dan Butler for assignment to clear up room on the 40-man roster for newly signed Craig Breslow.

The decision always appeared like it would come down to either Butler or Britton. The case for keeping the catcher was that if something happened to Ryan Hanigan or Christian Vazquez early in the season, the former undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona would be needed. Top prospect Blake Swihart is the only other catcher on the Red Sox‘ 40-man roster, and he wouldn’t seem to be a major league option until later in the season.

Britton also was out of options, meaning if he didn’t make the team in spring training he couldn’t be sent down to the minor leagues. Butler does have options.

But with the Red Sox needing another lefty in the bullpen, and with Britton bouncing back from a horrific minor league campaign in 2014 to impress in his seven outings with the Sox at the end of the year (6 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs), the value of the reliever was too much to part ways with quite yet.

Butler, who could re-sign with the Red Sox on a minor league deal, was one of the best Sox stories in ’14. The 28-year-old made his major league debut and appeared in seven games, hitting .211 with three doubles.

The Breslow announcement comes after the lefty agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Red Sox on Dec. 19. The lefty passed his physical, which was taken Monday. (To read about how Breslow landed back with the Red Sox this offseason, click here.)

Read More: Craig Breslow, Dan Butler, drake britton,

Curt Schilling to D&C on Hall of Fame balloting: ‘I can’t spend my time being concerned about people’s opinions of me that I’ll never meet’

01.07.15 at 10:46 am ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday, after falling short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the former Red Sox star said he believes some writers won’t ever vote for him because of his political leanings. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling received 39.2 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Four players were elected: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and former Sox star Pedro Martinez, whose surprisingly low 91.1 percent result was more evidence to Schilling that something is wrong.

“The process isn’t flawed; stupid people do stupid things,” Schilling said. “I’ve seen so many in the past, voters making their vote into a news article, protesting this or protesting that, except just voting the player on his playing merits. And that’s normal, I guess, because we’re human, we all have bias, we all have prejudice. When Pedro gets 91 percent, that tells you something’s wrong.”

A case could me made that Schilling’s statistics are comparable to those of Smoltz, yet the Braves legend received 240 more votes. Schilling said Smoltz deserves enshrinement, but he noted that Smoltz’s political views are more consistent with many media members.

“I think he got in because of [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think his ‘Swiss army knife versatility,’ which somebody said yesterday, I think he got a lot of accolades for that, I think he got a lot of recognition for that. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schilling said. “And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that, as a Republican, that there’s some people that really don’t like that.”

A proud conservative, Schilling has been outspoken in his support for Republican candidates. He also received heavy criticism when he moved his video game company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to take advantage of government assistance and then the company went bankrupt.

Schilling said there’s no question that he would have received more votes had he been more mainstream in his beliefs and less outspoken and controversial.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. Listen, 9 percent of the voters did not vote for Pedro. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me [out] or anything like that, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I said or did. That’s the way it works.”

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Read More: Curt Schilling, hall of fame, john smoltz, mike piazza

Pedro Martinez: ‘Great honor’ to ‘embarrass’ PED users when playing

01.06.15 at 6:25 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez earned 91.1 percent of the vote to become the 16th first-ballot Hall of Famer. (Ryan Hannable/WEEI.com)

Pedro Martinez earned 91.1 percent of the vote to become the 16th first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher. (Ryan Hannable/WEEI.com)

Playing in the era that he did, Pedro Martinez could look to make excuses for a few of the home runs he gave up, a few games he lost, etc.

After all, he did play in the height of the steroid era, but that isn’t who Martinez is — he embraced it and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way — and that is why Martinez was voted into the Hall of Fame Tuesday on his first year on the ballot.

Martinez received 91.1 percent of the votes (500 of the 549) and will be inducted along with Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio on July 26 in Cooperstown. He became one of 50 players ever to be inducted in their first-ballot and one of 16 first-ballot pitchers.

“I appreciate the fact that I had to face probably the toughest matchup out there, and guess what? I didn’t want it any other way,” Martinez said Tuesday at a press conference at Fenway Park. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wanted to beat the best. I wanted to be the best I could be every time I went out there. I wanted to embarrass the best team out there. I wanted to. I meant to. Sometimes they embarrassed me, but when I got a hold of them, I did embarrass them.

“Anytime I had an opportunity to embarrass any team in the big leagues, including the ones that used PEDs, it was a great honor to do it. The same way every homer I surrendered, every game I lost, I am proud of. I am proud that I did it in an era that the challenge was at the top.”

The right-hander was a three-time Cy Young Award winner and an eight-time All-Star. During his 18-year career he went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA. His career .687 winning percentage ranks second among modern major leaguer’s since 1900. Among pitchers with at least 2,500 career innings in the majors, only Nolan Ryan (.204) has a lower opponent batting average than Martinez (.214).

Martinez said he had plenty of chances to go the “long way” and not be clean, but instead he chose to miss two or three starts a year, which sometimes came with criticism in the media. He said that is all worth it now.

“I went the long way, the way I had to go,” said Martinez. “The way that the integrity my mom and dad taught me to have, led me to. And when I said I kept it clean — I did it clean — I did it the only way I know. I didn’t believe in anybody’s choice to go out there and I wanted to do it clean. I had an opportunity more than once, [probably every day] to take the short path to a more successful year and escape the criticism from the media and being singled out for someone who is going to miss two or three outings a year. Yes, I chose to miss those three outings and now have the respect and appreciation guys are having for me today.”

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Read More: Craig Biggio, john smoltz, pedro martinez, randy johnson

It’s official: Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio newest Hall of Famers

01.06.15 at 2:00 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez officially became a first ballot Hall of Famer Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez officially became a first ballot Hall of Famer Tuesday. (Getty Images)

To nobody’s surprise, former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday afternoon.

Joining Martinez in the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 will be Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz.

Martinez received 91.1 percent of the votes, with Johnson leading the pack at 97.3 percent. Smoltz got 82.9 percent, while Biggio finished with 82.7 percent. Just missing out on induction was Mike Piazza, who fell short of the 75 percent needed by receiving a total of 69.9 percent.

After Piazza, the leading vote-getters were Jeff Bagwell (55.7 percent), Tim Raines (55 percent), Curt Schilling (39.2 percent), Roger Clemens (37.5 percent), Barry Bonds (36.8 percent), Lee Smith (30.2 percent) and Edgar Martinez (27 percent).

(For a complete list of results, click here.)

The following are the credentials distributed by the Hall of Fame for each inductee:


1st year on the ballot … Played 18 season for Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies … Posted two 20-win seasons (1999, 2002)€ … Won three Cy Young Awards (1997, 1999-2000) and received votes in four other seasons: 1998 (2nd), 2002 (2nd), 2003 (3rd), 2004 (4th)€ … Finished ninth in 1993 National League Rookie of the Year voting with Dodgers … Finished in Top 10 of his league’€™s Most Valuable Player Award voting twice: 1999 (2nd) and 2000 (5th) €… Named to eight All-Star Games (1996-2000, 2002, 2005-06), earning nod as his league’€™s starting pitcher in 1999 when he was named the Game’€™s Most Valuable Player€ … Led his league in WHIP six times (1997, 1990-2000, 2002-03, 2005), earned-run average five times (1997, 1999-2000, 2002-03), strikeouts-per-nine innings pitched five times (1997, 1999-2000, 2002-03), strikeout-to-walk ratio four times (1999-2000, 2002, 2005), strikeouts three times (1999-2000, 2002), winning percentage three times (1999, 2002, 2003), wins once (1999), complete games once (1997) and shutouts once (2000) … Won 1999 American League Pitching Triple Crown after leading the league in wins (23), earned-run average (2.07) and strikeouts (313) €… Posted WHIP of .737 in 2000, the best single-season mark by any pitcher in big league history €… Career winning percentage of .687 ranks sixth all-time and first among pitchers who began their careers after 1950 €… Career WHIP of 1.054 ranks fifth all-time and first among non-relievers whose career began after 1920 €… Career strikeout-to-nine innings pitched ratio of 10.04 and career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.15 each rank third all-time .€.. Struck out 3,154 batters, 13th all-time … Posted two 300-strikeout seasons (1997, 1999) … Appeared in 10 postseason series over five seasons with the Red Sox and Phillies, posting a record of 6-4 with a 3.46 ERA in 16 appearances€ … Member of 2004 Red Sox World Series-winning team, earning win in Game 3 with seven shutout innings.


3rd year on ballot … Played 20 seasons, all for the Astros€ … Seven-time All-Star (1991-92, 1994-98) and five-time NL Silver Slugger Award winner (1989, 1994-95, 1997-98)’ … Named to one All-Star team as a catcher (1991) and six as a second baseman (1992, 1994-98)€ … Named Silver Slugger Award winner once at catcher (1989) and four times at second base (1994-95, 1997-98) … Won four career Gold Glove Awards (1994-97) at second base €… Also spent two seasons (2003-04) as one of Astros’€™ starting outfielders €… Finished in Top 10 of NL MVP voting three times: 1995 (10th), 1997 (4th) and 1998 (5th) … Led NL in runs scored two times (1995, 1997), doubles three times (1994, 1998-99), stolen bases once (1994), hit-by-pitches five times (1995-97, 2001, 2003) and plate appearances five times (1992, 1995, 1997-99) €… Led NL in games played three times (1992, 1996-97) and appeared in at least 150 games in 11 seasons €… Scored 100-or-more runs in eight seasons (1995-99, 2001, 2003-04) … Recorded at least a .300 batting average in four seasons (1994-95, 1997-98) €… Ranks fifth all-time in doubles (first among right-handed hitters) with 668 … Ranks 13th all-time in at-bats (10,876), 15th in runs scored (1,844), 16th in games played (2,850) and 21st in hits (3,060) €… Only player in baseball history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs … Batted .234 in nine postseason series, with 39 hits and 23 runs scored in 40 games … Played in NLCS in 2004 and 2005 … Member of Astros’€™ 2005 NL Championship team €… Won 1997 Branch Rickey Award, 2005 Hutch Award and 2007 Roberto Clemente Award.


1st year on the ballot … Pitched 22 seasons for Expos, Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Giants … Posted three 20-win seasons (1997, 2001-02) … Won five Cy Young Awards, including a record-tying four straight (1995, 1999-2002) … Received Cy Young Award votes in five other seasons: 1993 (2nd), 1994 (3rd), 1997 (2nd), 1998 (7th), 2004 (2nd) … Finished in Top 10 of his league’€™s Most Valuable Player Award voting twice: 1995 (6th) and 2002 (7th) … Named to 10 All-Star Games (1990, 1993-95, 1997, 1999-2002, 2004), drawing his league’€™s starting assignment four times (1995, 1997, 2000-01) … Led his league in strikeouts nine times (1992-95, 1999-2002, 2004), third-most all-time behind Walter Johnson (12) and Nolan Ryan (11) … Led his league in strikeouts-per-nine innings nine times (1992-95, 1997, 1999-2002) and holds the all-time record in that category with a career mark of 10.6 … Led his league in earned-run average four times (1995, 1999, 2001-02), winning percentage four times (1995, 1997, 2000, 2002), complete games four times (1994, 1999-2000, 2002), games started three times (1999, 2000, 2004), WHIP three times (1995, 2001, 2004), innings pitched two times (1999, 2002), shutouts two times (1994, 2000) and victories once (2002) … Won 2002 National League Pitching Triple Crown for leading league in wins (24), ERA (2.32) and strikeouts (334) … Posted six 300-strikeout seasons, tied with Nolan Ryan for most ever and representative of 18 percent (6 out of 33) of all 300-strikeout seasons in the modern era … Career total of 4,875 strikeouts ranks second all-time … Totaled 303 career victories, 22nd all-time and fifth among left-handers … Career winning percentage of .646 ranks 29th all-time and fifth among 300-game winners … Ranks 21st all-time in games started (603), 38th in innings pitched (4,135.1) and 57th in shutouts (37) … Pitched two no-hitters, defeating the Tigers 2-0 on June 2, 1990 and authoring a perfect game in a 2-0 win over the Braves on May 18, 2004 … Appeared in 11 postseason series over eight seasons with Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks and Yankees, posting 7-9 record with 3.50 ERA in 19 appearances’€¦Struck out 132 batters in 121 postseason innings … Named co-MVP of the 2001 World Series after going 3-0 for champion Diamondbacks.


1st year on the ballot … Pitched 21 seasons for Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals … Won 1996 National League Cy Young Award and received Cy Young Award votes in four other seasons: 1998 (4th), 2002 (3rd), 2006 (7th), 2007 (6th) … Named to eight All-Star Games (1989, 1992-93, 1996, 2002-03, 2005, 2007), earning the NL’€™s starting assignment in 1996 … Finished eighth in NL Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2002 … Won Silver Slugger Award for pitchers in 1997 … Led league in games started three times (1992, 1997, 2006), strikeouts twice (1992, 1996), innings pitched twice (1996-97), winning percentage twice (1996, 1998), wins twice (1996, 2006), strikeouts per nine innings once (1996) and saves once (2002) … Reached 20-win mark once (1996) and 200-strikeout mark five times (1992-93, 1996-97, 2006) … Topped the 40-save mark three times (2002-04), the only three full seasons he served as his team’€™s closer … Ranks 16th all-time in strikeouts (3,084), one of only 16 pitchers in history with at least 3,000 strikeouts …. Ranks 75th all-time in saves (154) …. Only pitcher in big league history with at least 200 victories (213) and 150 saves …. Set NL single-season mark (since tied) with 55 saves in 2002 …. Won 2002 NL Rolaids Relief Award …. Pitched in 25 postseason series over 14 seasons with Braves and Cardinals, posting 15-4 record in 41 appearances (27 starts) with 2.67 earned-run average and four saves, striking out 199 batters in 209 innings …. In 11 Division Series, posted 7-0 record with three saves …. Named 1992 NLCS Most Valuable Player …. Member of 1995 Braves World Series champions …. Won 2005 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, 2005 Roberto Clemente Award and 2007 Branch Rickey Award.

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