|02.21.15 at 1:31 pm ET|
Talking with the media following the first official day for pitchers and catchers at JetBlue Park, Sandoval responded to the buzz that followed the circulation of some unflattering images.
“I’m ready. I’ve been working out,” he said. “Everybody’s posting pictures of me. I don’t care.”
Regarding the photos, Sandoval added, “I love them. I’m making fun of it. I’ve put other pictures out there making fun of it (see below) because I want [the photographer of the aforementioned photos] to spend one day with me to see how hard I work. So I’m ready.”
(Note: On his way out of the clubhouse, Sandoval reiterated the invitation to Boston.com’s Steve Silva, who took the pictures in question, to join the player in a workout. Silva said later that he told Red Sox PR he would accept the challenge.)
According to Sandoval, the out-of-the-gate controversy as a member of the Red Sox isn’t consuming the third baseman, who hit with a batting practice group that included Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Mike Napoli.
“Every single day, in and out. Bad days. Good days. You have to be happy,” Sandoval said. “Nothing you can lose out there.
“I love it. Motivate me to work hard and show up and keep his mouth shut. That’s what I do.”
|02.21.15 at 10:35 am ET|
The team and its manager finalized an agreement Saturday that will extend the 52-year-old manager through the 2017 season, with a club option for 2018. Farrell was in the final guaranteed year of his contract, which included an option for 2016.
General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement through a club press release on Saturday morning as the team was conducting its first pitchers and catchers workout of spring training.
Over his first two seasons with Boston, Farrell has led the club to a combined 168-156 (.519) record and the 2013 World Series Championship. In 2013, he became just the sixth skipper to win a World Series with Boston, and only the fourth to do it in his first year at the helm. Farrell took over for Bobby Valentine in Oct. 2012 and was hired as the 46th manager in team history.
The last time a Red Sox manager was in this position was 2011, when Terry Francona entered the last year of his contract without an extension. His 2012 option was declined by the organization and he was fired after the team collapsed in September.
Farrell, Francona’s pitching coach from 2007-10, finished second in 2013 AL Manager of the Year voting and was named AL Manager of the Year by the Sporting News after guiding Boston to a 97-65 record, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best mark in baseball. The Red Sox took first place in the AL East and went on to win 11 of 16 postseason games in securing the Fall Classic.
Last season, he saw 55 players and 19 rookies contribute to the Red Sox, both his most as a manager as the club finished fifth in the division at 71-91 (.438). He piloted the AL to a 5-3 win over the National League in the 2014 All-Star Game at Minnesota’s Target Field.
In four years as a major league manager for the Blue Jays (2011-12) and Red Sox (2013-14), Farrell has a career record of 322-326 (.497). Read the rest of this entry »
|02.21.15 at 9:52 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia has had enough of hand surgeries. He’s also had enough of last place finishes.
He and the Red Sox have proven the ability to overcome both over the last two seasons. He’s hoping to repeat the comeback story again in 2015.
Last September, Pedroia had season-ending surgery on his left wrist to relieve tendon pressure and remove scar tissue buildup. In Nov. 2013, after helping the Red Sox to a World Series title, the second baseman had UCL surgery on his left thumb. Pedroia suffered an initial thumb injury on a head-first slide into first base on opening day at Yankee Stadium in 2013. In last year’s home opener against the Brewers, Pedroia slid head-first into second base and re-injured the hand.
Pedroia said Saturday morning upon arriving at JetBlue Park that he’s all set and ready to go, with no restrictions.
“Yeah, I feel great,” Pedroia said. “I’m ready to go. I’m excited. It’s fun. Getting back to work. It’s a new year. Everyone’s excited so it should be fun.”
As for his offseason?
“Lifted weights. Got ready, man,” Pedroia said. “Same as every other offseason except the last couple I’ve had to deal with surgeries and stuff. I got this one done quick so I was able to have a normal offseason of lifting weights and conditioning and all that stuff. I’m ready to go.”
As for his team, Pedroia is well aware of the worst-to-first-to-worst trend from 2012 through 2014. Now, with a rebuilt starting rotation and the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, there are great expectations again after a 71-91 finish last year. And Pedroia shares that optimism.
“Yeah, we’ve obviously done it before. But you have to take it one day [at a time]. We have to worry about today’s practice and go out there and try to get better today,” Pedroia said. “You can’t look at the big picture. If you do the right things every day, at the end you’ll be where you’re at.
“We made a lot of great moves. Obviously, we have a very talented group. It’s our job to form it together and play together. Everyone’s excited and ready to play baseball. It was kind of a long winter. Everyone’s fired up and ready to go.” Read the rest of this entry »
|02.20.15 at 2:03 pm ET|
The player presumably most affected by Farrell’s statement wants to make two things clear. One, there’s no animosity between him and Victorino. And two, he can’t dispute anything Farrell said.
“Shane Victorino is Shane Victorino,” Betts told WEEI.com on Friday. “He’s a Gold Glover. He’s won the World Series, had huge hits in the World Series. I completely understand that. That doesn’t hurt my feelings at all.”
If anything bothers Betts, just a little, it’s the perception that the competition for the right field job has driven a wedge between the two. The fact is, the veteran admires the youngster and has worked with him to improve his game.
“I have no problem being behind him, watching him go,” Betts said. “He has taught me, and he’s still teaching me, even though people are trying to make it like we have a big rivalry going on or something. I feel like we’re brothers, the way we talk. Nothing’s changed between me and him. The first time I met him, I asked him a bunch of questions, and I’m still asking him questions.
“I have nothing bad to say about anything to do with him. At the end of the day, it’s not about me and Vic. It’s about the Red Sox. I think we both have that in our vision. We were talking earlier. It’s just about winning. Whether it’s me or him (starting), I just would love to be a part of winning a World Series.”
The irony of the situation is that if there’s a player who reminds Victorino of his young self, it’s Betts. And to hear Red Sox personnel discuss Betts, it’s easy to think they’re talking about Victorino. Both play with a fearlessness belying their size, both can make things happen on the bases, both are table setters atop the order, and both bring an edge.
Betts discussed his admiration for Victorino’s toughness and swagger.
“He’s kind of inadvertently shown me that,” he said. “I’ve picked that up just watching him playing. I’ve taken that into my game, I feel like.”
Betts recognizes what Victorino has accomplished during an All-Starcareer that includes four Gold Gloves and a pair of World Series titles, which is why he won’t throw a tantrum if he ends up sitting behind the veteran.
“I still have a long way to go,” Betts said. “He’s where he needs to be, that’s why he’s been around for so long. I see what it takes. He’s showing me the steps of what it takes. That’s the type of person he is, the type of player he is.”
Both players want the starting job. Victorino has made no secret that he believes it’s his. But they’re not rooting against each other, as often happens when a veteran is pitted against a youngster.
“It says a lot,” Betts said. “Going in, I didn’t know what to expect. But now that I’ve gotten to talk to him ‘ I didn’t act any way at all, and he hasn’t acted any way at all. It’s just like we’ve always been. We both talked, no matter what, let’s win. Whatever it takes is what it takes. He said, ‘If it takes me sitting and helping you and guiding you the way, that’s perfect.’ And if it takes me sitting and watching him and doing what he does, that’s fine with me as well.
“As long as we win and both get better, that’s the main thing.”
|02.20.15 at 1:19 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — If Shane Victorino needed any pat on the back from his manager for his offseason work to rehab from back surgery, he got it and then some Friday.
“I think the most encouraging one is the way Vic has reported,” John Farrell declared Friday outside the JetBlue clubhouse. “He is full-go baseball activity. I think the way he is talking in the clubhouse indicates that he feels good about himself. We’ll find out as we go through camp here the durability from day-to-day and the volume that increase throughout camp.”
Farrell, unprompted, went even further when raving about the physical shape of his 34-year-old veteran outfielder.
“If Shane Victorino is fully capable and fully healthy, he’s our right fielder,” Farrell said. “That’s pretty simple. He was one of the best right fielders in the game two years ago. When you come back from injury, you shouldn’t have lost your job because of an injury. He’s rehabbed it successfully to date, and going forward, we just have to monitor the recovery rate. And we’ve got a full spring training to do that, and probably into the first part of the year.”
Victorino only played in 30 games in 2014, spending much of last season on the disabled list. He had season-ending back surgery on Aug. 5. In those 30 games, he batted exclusively right-handed. Farrell did not say Friday if he expects Victorino to return to switch-hitting, or when that might take place in camp.
Here are some other takeaways from Farrell Friday morning as the full compliment of pitchers and catchers invited to camp reported for physicals and 1-on-1 interviews.
On whether he or the organization is concerned about the physical condition and weight of Pablo Sandoval: “No, not concerned about his weight. There’s a number of people he’s working with here to make sure he’s on the field every day. And that would be the case throughout the course of the regular season. We were well aware of Pablo’s career, who he is as a person, long before he signed here. We’re looking forward to getting him on the field and acclimating him into this roster.
“You’ll get to know that Pablo has an infectious personality. He cares about his teammates and plays the game the right way. We’re extremely excited that he’s in our uniform. He’s going to be a productive player for us.”
On the main spot of competition on the pitching staff: “There’s probably an area in the bullpen that we’ve got some competition for, whether that’s one or two spots we have some guys competing for, that will work itself out during camp.”
On his rebuilt starting rotation: “I’m excited about the five guys in the rotation. I think this is a group that has established themselves at the big league level. There’s been All Star performance capability to that level and there’s been a lot of talk that we lack a true No. 1 guy. I like the fact that this is a deep and talented rotation and I’m confident in it.”
On his excitement on the eve of the first pitchers and catchers workout on Saturday: “Even as far back as a week ago, we had 40-plus players that had already reported to camp and I think it is an indication of the eagerness and the want in the attitude of the players to get spring training underway and put last year behind us even further and establish a tone in camp that will carry us through the start of the season.”
|02.20.15 at 1:14 pm ET|
Mike Napoli joined Rob Bradford and Mike Mutnansky on the Hot Stove show on Thursday to talk about his thoughts on the Red Sox entering spring training, as well as his career and the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.
Napoli has suffered from sleep apnea, and had surgery to correct it in the offseason.
“It’s all worked out,” Napoli said. “I’m really excited, working out hard, and I think it could be a really good year.”
The Red Sox first baseman admitted that his condition caused him to consider retirement after last season.
“At the end of the year, I wasn’t playing at all,” Napoli said. “I was banged up, but it was so frustrating that, in my mind, I was like, I don’t know if I can go through another year of just feeling like this.”
“[Last year] we had a lot of different guys and a lot of younger guys and there were a lot of challenges for us last year, and it just didn’t work out,” Napoli said. “But we brought in a lot of veteran good hitters and some veteran pitchers that, you know, as I’ve been here early, and a lot of guys are showing up early, it’s been a great vibe.”
Many players and fans attribute the team’s 2013 success to the camaraderie in the clubhouse. Napoli said that he has already noticed a better atmosphere than last season.
“It’s been great,” Napoli said, adding: “We had a lot of young guys, and I feel like they learned and saw some things and they’re a little more comfortable around in the clubhouse just being able to talk to with some of the veterans and stuff. It’s just been different.”
Added Napoli: “We don’t even have [Dustin] Pedroia here yet, and it’s been great. Once he gets here and he’s all over everybody, it’s going to be fun.”
|02.20.15 at 11:15 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The question to Sean Casey was, “What happened to you last year?”
“Some crazy stuff,” the former Red Sox first baseman responded.
What happened was that the 40-year-old almost died.
He didn’t need a reminder, but two days ago he was offered one anyway thanks to the death of former NBA player Jerome Kersey. The 51-year-old passed away from a pulmonary embolism after experiencing a blood clot in his left calf. It was all too similar to what Casey endured about a year ago.
“For me, it was one of those life-changing moments,” Casey said. “It makes you take a step back and enjoy every movement. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about what happened.”
Casey survived what is called a saddle embolism, which shuts down both lungs, not just one. His doctor told him after the fact that surviving such an incident is almost unheard of. Now, 13 months later, he has been afforded another chance to reflect on his good fortune.
Here’s what happened:
It was Dec. 15, 2013, and Casey and his wife were traveling back from David Ortiz‘s celebrity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic when he experienced a cramp in his calf. While his wife encouraged him to make a doctor’s appointment, the former ballplayer saw no need.
“Knee surgeries. Orbital surgery. Broke my back. Broke my pelvis. Shoulder surgeries,” he said. “I was walking wounded my whole life. Cramp in my calf? Are you kidding me? I’ll stretch it out a little bit.”
Later that week, however, he started surfacing a strange cough, leading his wife to another plea to see a doctor. Once again, he didn’t. But while traveling to New York for his work on MLB Network, Casey was forced to reassess.
|02.20.15 at 11:15 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Wade Miley is hoping to go back to the future with the Red Sox.
Just three years ago with the Diamondbacks, the lefty hurler, selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft, finished behind only Bryce Harper for National League Rookie of the Year. He was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April 2012, pitching 3’0 with a 1.29 ERA, striking out 15 in 21 innings in two starts. Miley took a no-hitter into the 6th inning of a start against Miami. He was also named a NL All-Star in his rookie season after beginning the 2012 season with a 9-5 record with a 3.04 ERA.
Miley won 16 games for the Diamondbacks in 29 starts in 2012 with a 3.33 ERA in 194.2 innings, which also included three relief appearances.
But in 2013, Miley took a step back from his strong rookie season, managing just 10 wins in 33 starts, despite pitching over 200 innings. Last year, Miley made another 33 starts but fell to 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA. For Miley, this offseason has been filled with anticipation, knowing that a fresh start could mean better results.
“You get that adrenaline when you come to spring training,” Miley said Friday morning. “It’s a long season but those four months get pretty long too and you get excited to get back after it. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
The Red Sox are banking on Miley turning around a two-year slump. For that reason they acquired the 28-year-old left-hander from Arizona on Dec. 12 for pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and infielder Raymel Flores. Then, on Feb. 5, 2015, Miley and the Red Sox agreed on a three-year $19.25 million dollar contract extension.
Clearly with a commitment of nearly $20 million, the Red Sox are projecting Miley as part of their starting rotation for this season, and the next two in Boston. But Miley still has that sense he is competing for a job in the rotation.
“It’s very important,” Miley said. “You have to come out and be prepared and do your best in spring training and hope for the best.” Read the rest of this entry »
|02.20.15 at 10:31 am ET|
Fox Sports first reported the changes, which aren’t wholesale and won’t involve the pitch clock that tested in the Arizona Fall League.
Among the changes:
- The league plans to enforce the batter’s box rule, which requires hitters to keep one foot in the box between pitches, unless an exception such as a foul ball, wild pitch, or call of time occurs.
- Timers will count down 2:25 for a locally televised game and 2:45 for nationally televised ones during commercial breaks, with play expected to resume immediately.
- Pitchers will only be allowed their traditional eight warmup pitches if they can complete them 30 seconds before the at-bat is scheduled to begin
- Managers must now request replay challenges from the dugout, rather than standing on the field and waiting for a coach to signal that a play should be reviewed.
It’s important to note that violations won’t result in extra balls or strikes, but warnings and fines.
“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play,” said commissioner Rob Manfred in a release. “The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”
|02.19.15 at 4:36 pm ET|
On a windy Thursday at JetBlue Park, they hit, they threw, they lifted and all the Red Sox position players in attendance participated in fine-tuning their footwork. Last day before spring training becomes official …
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