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Curt Schilling on D&C: No interest in debating ‘racist’ ESPN host Stephen A. Smith

05.18.16 at 10:23 am ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Former ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling, making his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane, did not hold back in expressing his opinion of Stephen A. Smith, calling the ESPN “First Take” co-host a “racist” and a “bigot.” To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Smith, appearing on Sirius XM radio earlier in the week, called out Schilling for accusing ESPN of firing him because of his conservative views. Smith said Schilling was fired simply because he did not heed the network’s warning to avoid making political comments, and he challenged the former Red Sox pitcher to debate the issue.

Responded Schilling to D&C: “What am I going to debate about? I have no interest. I’m 49 years old. I have had cancer, I’ve had a heart attack, I’m losing my hair. I’m not going to waste my time with people I don’t respect.

“I don’t respect him. I think he’s a racist, I think he’s a bigot. There’s nothing to debate, No. 1. And No. 2, there’s not a chance in hell that I would do anything that would bring that station another viewer, ever.”

Added Schilling: “I felt like I was back in fifth grade and I was being challenged on the playground at recess. What are we going to debate about? When the debate’s over, he’s not going to be any less racist. So, I don’t get that. He’s a tough guy for calling me out, that’s all.”

Schilling said he only briefly met Smith and has heard good things about him.

“I’m sure he’s a nice guy,” Schilling said. “I’ve met racists before who are really nice people. I’ve met bigots that are nice people. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. I have an issue with someone who walks into [boxer] Floyd Mayweather’s house and tries to tell us what an awesome guy he is. Or a guy who tries to say, ‘Listen, for the most part, ladies, it’s the guy’s fault [in domestic abuse], but let’s talk about provoking them and how you should avoid provoking men to hit women.’ Like, wait, what?”

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Read More: Curt Schilling, eduardo rodriguez, Kirk Minihane, Stephen A. Smith

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Royals Game 1 matchups: Steven Wright vs. Ian Kennedy

05.18.16 at 9:09 am ET
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The Red Sox and Royals will play a doubleheader Wednesday with first pitch for Game 1 scheduled at 2:15 p.m. The Sox will send Steven Wright to the hill opposite Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy.

Wright (3-3) is looking to bounce back after his worst start of the season last week against the Astros. On a rainy Friday night Wright lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on nine hits in what ended up being a 7-6 loss for the Sox. He walked two batters and struck out three.

“I’ve always known the rain is never good for a knuckleballer,” Wright said after the game. “So I kind of knew that going in. There’s really not much you can do to prepare for it. Hopefully it stops. Change out the balls as much as you can, and we did. But it’s just really hard to throw a pitch with conviction when the ball’s slipping out of your hand. But I knew that going in. I was just trying to do everything I can to get through the fifth, possibly the sixth, trying to get as deep as I can. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that today.”

Despite his last start, Wright is enjoying a solid start to the season. Wright’s 2.36 ERA leads the team and his 1.14 WHIP is second amongst his fellow pitchers.

Wright has faced the Royals three times in his career — all in relief — and has a 3.86 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 4 2/3 innings.

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Read More: Ian Kennedy, steven wright,

Closing Time: Royals tee off on Rick Porcello, mostly stifle Red Sox offense in victory

05.17.16 at 11:09 pm ET
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Eric Hosmer celebrated a homer on Tuesday. (Denny Medley/USA Today Sports)

Eric Hosmer celebrated a homer on Tuesday. (Denny Medley/USA Today Sports)

KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox may have designs on being a championship team, but the defending World Series winners reminded them on Tuesday night that the road to contention still passes through Missouri.

Stifling the Red Sox offense outside of a Travis Shaw three-run homer, the Royals picked apart Sox starter Rick Porcello and then let their dominant bullpen do the rest in an 8-4 victory that left the Red Sox in a virtual tie for first with the Orioles and pulled the Royals to .500.

The vaunted Red Sox offense had a hard time getting untracked in this one after Jackie Bradley’s RBI double extended his hitting streak to 22 games in the second. The Red Sox didn’t score again until the sixth, when Shaw launched a three-run homer to right. But the Red Sox already trailed 5-1 at that point and got no closer.

That’s because the Royals had already chipped away at Porcello, who entered the game 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA, but failed to pitch at least six innings for the first time this season. The Royals knocked him out with a leadoff double in the sixth, having already gotten to him with two runs in the third and three in the fourth, the big blow a home run to center by Eric Hosmer.

“They did a good job of bunching their hits together, particularly the bottom third of the order,” said manager John Farrell. “He’d get to a spot to where he’d get ahead in the count, the finishing pitch might not have been there tonight. I thought Hosmer went down and got a decent changeup that was down the bottom of the strike zone that he squared up. As we draw near, a one-run difference, [Cheslor] Cuthbert, who found a couple of holes with base hits, squares one up for the double and that was going to be the night for Rick. But to me, more than anything, it was probably the lack of that finishing pitch when he got behind in the count.”

The Royals salted the game away with three runs in the eighth off of reliever Koji Uehara, sending the Red Sox to just their second loss in nine games.

Farrell watched the final two innings from his office after being ejected for the second time in two weeks for arguing balls and strikes.

Closing Time note

Courtesy the @RedSoxStats twitter account, Red Sox starters own a 5.93 ERA in their last 11 starts.

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Red Sox manager John Farrell on Eduardo Rodriguez setback: ‘Game action is going to be held off for right now’

05.17.16 at 7:37 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez won't be making his next rehab start. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez won’t be making his next rehab start. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY — Red Sox manager John Farrell shed more light on the condition of left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who will miss his next rehab start because of soreness in his injured right knee.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday before the Red Sox faced the Royals, Farrell followed up on comments he had made earlier in the day to WEEI’s Dale & Holley.

“He has felt, on occasion, some soreness in the right knee,” Farrell said. “He was obviously going through his starts, but there’s a reason why — and this now becomes the reason why — some restriction on his part to get that final five percent effort and related velocity that’s still not there yet. He went through a full workup today with Dr. [Peter] Asnis. We’re targeting Friday for another bullpen so we can still keep his arm in shape to a certain extent, but the game action is going to be held off for right now.”

Rodriguez injured his knee during spring training while shagging fly balls and has made three rehab starts since. His velocity has been down, however, and he reported discomfort during fielding drills, as well as in games.

“More with the PFP drills, the change of direction,” Farrell said. “All the reports in the last two starts were that he felt more natural with his delivery and was getting out over the front side with better extension, but, subconsciously, there’s still some restriction on his part, and we’re not going to risk anything with the potential of trying to do more with your arm to put him position for potential injury in that way. We felt like the best case was to recall him from the rehab, and he’s not going to start Thursday.”

Farrell said the team isn’t considering surgery at this point, and when asked if he expected Rodriguez to pitch in the big leagues this year, he paused before saying, “We fully expect him to, yeah, even with this most recent slowdown.”

The Red Sox halted Rodriguez’s rehab clock, which has 11 days remaining. If he’s inactive for seven days, they can reset his clock to 30 days, though they’re not thinking in those terms at the moment.

“For a pitcher in particular, it’s always that last 5-10 percent of energy and drive in the delivery that you’re trying to achieve,” Farrell said. “This is something that was restricting him to do that. We felt all along, with the progression he was making in terms of the number of pitches thrown and some increase in velocity, he was making some satisfactory progress, but he has admitted to feeling some occasional discomfort, and we don’t want to push it right now.”

Carson Smith still managing elbow injury, which has limited ability to recover between outings

05.17.16 at 3:21 pm ET
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Carson Smith

Carson Smith

KANSAS CITY — Red Sox right-hander Carson Smith has pitched just three times since being activated two weeks ago, and it’s because he’s still feeling the effects of a spring training elbow injury.

The Red Sox acquired Smith this winter to bring his wipeout slider to the late innings, but he has pitched only 2 2/3 scoreless innings since debuting on May 3. He has gone six and five days, respectively, between appearances, which he attributes in part to his recovery time not being where it should be

“Sometimes I feel great the next day,” he told WEEI.com. “Sometimes there may be a hint of something there. They told me that’s what happens with these types of injuries, so we’re just taking it day by day.”

Smith last pitched in Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Astros, sandwiching two singles around a double-play grounder in the seventh before yielding to Tommy Layne.

Before that, he threw an inning on May 9 in a 14-7 shellacking of the A’s, and he debuted with a scoreless seventh against the White Sox on May 3.

“There still are stages throughout the injury I had of recovering that I’m working through,” he said. “It’s just part of it. The way I bounce back is obviously one way to gauge that. We’re working it, working me in there as often as they can, and I’m getting sharper every time.”

Smith left a spring training outing on March 21 with right forearm soreness. Both pitcher and organization breathed a sigh of relief when he was placed on the disabled list with a flexor strain, and he opened the season on the DL before making two rehab appearances innings at Double-A Portland on the last two days of April.

Smith describes himself as a work in progress.

“Obviously I’m still trying to . . . I’m not in midseason form right now,” he said. “I had a shortened spring training as far as outings, but I feel pretty comfortable out there. I’m not the guy that needs to touch the ball every other day to stay sharp, so right now I’m comfortable with the outings I’m getting and see where it goes from here.

“I’m hopefully always getting better, regardless of an injury or not, but there’s room for progress to be made and maybe a little sharpness to be refined.”

Fangraphs has the velocity of his sinker down about 1 mph (from 92.5 last year to 91.3), and the numbers suggest his slider isn’t breaking horizontally as hard, either, but it’s not as if Smith’s stuff is egregiously diminished. It’s just going to take time.

In the meantime, he’s happy to watch the offense purr and limit the need for high-leverage relief innings.

“It’s been awesome to watch,” he said. “Those guys put up 10-plus every day last homestand. The way they’re swinging the bats is fun to watch. Being down there in the bullpen, it’s always a comfortable feeling knowing that your offense can go out there and put up runs.”

Eduardo Rodriguez suffers setback in right knee, will miss Thursday start

05.17.16 at 3:01 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Red Sox manager John Farrell said on Dale & Holley Tuesday that Eduardo Rodriguez will miss Thursday’s rehab start in Pawtucket due to knee soreness.

“There’s been a little bit of a development here with Eduardo,” Farrell said. “He was scheduled for a start on Thursday. He was feeling some occasional soreness in that right knee. People have asked, ‘What are the updates on Eduardo?’ and the questions around velocity, the question around performance. I think any time you’re dealing with a pitcher and a player that’s coming back, you’re always kind of focusing in on that last five, 10 percent of effort. There’s been some restriction that Eduardo has felt, and as he has described this occasional soreness, we don’t want to put him at risk and we’re holding him out of that start on Thursday.

“He went through a full exam today with Dr. [Pete] Asnis. We’re continuing to work on his mechanics, the strengthening of the quad and knee area, so we don’t feel like for him to try to get that extra velocity puts him at risk. The thing that we fear is if he doesn’t feel right in his lower half, that added exertion is going to come from solely the arm, and that may show up in something we’re not seeing right now. We don’t want to put him at risk for a potential arm injury, so we’re backing him off the start on Thursday.

“He’ll continue to throw the baseball; long toss, he’ll still have bullpen situations, but this is something we feel we need to address to accomplish that last 10 percent of that energy and effort in his delivery.”

Rodriguez has not pitched in the majors this season, as he twisted his knee during a drill in late February. He has a 4.29 ERA in four rehab starts for Pawtucket.

Source: Torey Lovullo contract allows for manager interviews in-season, but Braves haven’t contacted him

05.17.16 at 12:40 pm ET
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Torey Lovullo

Torey Lovullo

KANSAS CITY — A source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the Braves have not yet reached out to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo about becoming their new manager, but that Lovullo’s contract allows him to interview for in-season managerial openings.

The Braves fired manager Fredi Gonzalez on Tuesday after a 9-28 start that is the worst in franchise history and the worst in baseball this year.

Lovullo, 50, led the Red Sox to a 28-21 record as acting manager last summer after manager John Farrell was diagnosed with cancer. He has previously interviewed for openings with the Rangers, Twins, Dodgers, and Indians, and was linked to the Cubs after the 2013 World Series, though he never interviewed.

Down the stretch last season, Lovullo proved adept at handling young players, which could be appealing to the Braves, who are attempting to rebuild around youth. Atlanta has named Triple-A manager Brian Snitker its interim manager, and ESPN reported that he’ll hold the job through the end of the season.

Other candidates for the job, according to reports, include former Padres manager Bud Black, who’s now in the Angels’ front office, and ex-big league infielder Mark DeRosa.

The Braves will move to a new park in 2017. They’ve gutted their roster over the last two years, trading All-Star outfielder Jason Heyward, closer Craig Kimbrel, starter Shelby Miller, and Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, among others.

Lovullo chose in the offseason to remain in Boston out of loyalty to Farrell, his longtime friend and former teammate. He signed a tw0-year deal that makes him one of the highest-paid bench coaches in baseball, but the contract does not prevent from interviewing for managerial opening during the season, the source said.

The Providence Journal was the first to report about this aspect of Lovullo’s contract.

Read More: Braves, Fredi Gonzalez, Red Sox, torey lovullo

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Joe Kelly impresses; Andrew Benintendi struggles in Portland debut

05.17.16 at 12:12 pm ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (18-20): L, 3-1, vs. Norfolk (Orioles)

— In the third start of his rehabilitation assignment with Pawtucket, pitcher Joe Kelly threw an efficient 6 1/3 innings against Norfolk. The right-hander held the Tides to no runs and only five hits on 92 pitches. Kelly also recorded 10 strikeouts in the start. Monday night’s game was the third double-digit strikeout game of his career.

“He had command of the zone and was explosive tonight,” manager Kevin Boles said after the game. “He attacked the hitters and it was a good step forward.”

Kelly, 27, now is 1-0 with Pawtucket with a 1.26 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP through 14 1/3 innings pitched. He has 16 strikeouts with the team and has allowed only three walks. Boston recently sent Kelly down to Pawtucket after he injured his throwing shoulder on April 20.

— The Red Sox were able to take an early 1-0 lead and hold it for most of the game. Blake Swihart walked to start the second inning, then would eventually cross home plate on a Deven Marrero ground ball.

However, Norfolk woke up offensively in the top of the eighth inning, plating three runs off Pawtucket reliever Anthony Varvaro. The right-hander gave up an infield single, a triple and a home run to allow the Tides to score the go-ahead run.

Drafted in 2005 by the Mariners, Varvaro, 31, has a 1-1 record with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 10 games. He is also 0-for-2 in save opportunities.

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Read More: aaron wilkerson, Andrew Benintendi, Joe Kelly, jose almonte

Stephen A. Smith on Curt Schilling: ‘Your ass is gone because you did not want to listen’

05.17.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling’s war of words with ESPN is unlikely to abate anytime soon now that the loudest of the networks loudmouths — Stephen A. Smith — has weighed in with some pointed criticisms of gehrig38.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s MadDog Radio show, Smith blasted Schilling not for his political views, but for airing them when he knew it could get him fired.

“Let me speak up on behalf of ESPN when I say this to Curt Schilling: You are gone not because you have conservative views instead of liberal views. Your ass is gone because you did not want to listen,” Smith said, per the New York Daily News. “ESPN tells me to shut up, they’re my employer whether I like it or not. If I want to keep my job, I’ve got to shut the hell up.”

Smith took particular offense to Schilling’s contention that ESPN employs “some of the biggest racists” in the sports media. Smith noted an example of being tough on Redskins coach Jay Gruden for seemingly hold quarterback Robert Griffin, who is black, to a different standard than replacement Kirk Cousins, who is white.

“What I was lamenting was the treatment of Jay Gruden and how specific he was in dissecting Robert Griffin III, compared to how celebratory he was about Kirk Cousins,” Smith told the show. “At no time did I imply or state that is why RGIII wasn’t playing because he is black. That is a lie.”

Continued Smith: “I can’t stand people who worked for ESPN that depart from ESPN clearly harboring whatever bitterness they harbor and try to throw talent under the bus — like talent has something to do with them being gone. I have nothing to do with it.”

Smith challenged Schilling to a debate.

“You want to sit here and have a debate about what really went on?” he asked. “Name the time and place and I’ll show up, with the permission of ESPN, of course. I guess listening to my boss makes me a bad guy. Well guess what? I’d rather be bad than stupid.”

Read More: Curt Schilling, ESPN, Stephen A. Smith, Stephen A. Smith Curt Schilling debate

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Yordano Ventura

05.17.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Following Monday’s rainout in Kansas City, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will take the mound Tuesday night against Royals righty Yordano Ventura.

It’s been an impressive start to the year for Porcello, who is 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. The six wins are tied for second best in the American League, while Porcello’s WHIP sits at fourth in the league. In his last start, a 13-3 win vs. the Athletics on Wednesday, he allowed three earned runs and six hits while recording five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

The Red Sox plated 10 runs in the first five innings of the game, allowing Porcello plenty of breathing room on the hill.

“The way the guys have been swinging the bats, you just have to minimize big innings and keep us in the game,” Porcello said after the win. “I can’t say enough about what they’ve been doing. It’s unbelievable top to bottom, the damage they’re doing and the quality at-bats they’re putting up and wearing pitchers down.”

Monday night’s game will be Porcello’s 21st start against Kansas City. In his career vs. the Royals, Porcello holds an 8-6 record with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. His last start against Kansas City was a 7-4 loss on June 20 of last year. The 27-year-old surrendered six earned runs and eight hits in five innings pitched for his eighth loss of the 2015 season.

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Read More: rick porcello, Yordano Ventura,
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