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David Ortiz destroys new MLB pace of game rules, thinks pitchers get off easy

02.25.15 at 2:12 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — When Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Players Association, announced last week new rules and guidelines for speeding up the pace of games starting this season, one Red Sox batter immediately took offense.

And on Wednesday, the whole world found out just how ticked off David Ortiz is with rules designed to make sure batters keep one foot in the batter’s box while the pitcher has the baseball between pitches.

Ortiz was asked about the new rules Wednesday and it didn’t take much to get him started.

“Is that new? [Shoot], it seems like every rule goes in the pitcher’s favor. After the pitch, you have to stay in the box, basically? One foot?”

Told baseball executives were just trying to speed up the game, Ortiz wasn’t buying.

“I call that [bull crap],” Ortiz said. “Bro, when you come out of the box, you’re thinking about what the [pitcher] is trying to do. This is not like you go to the plate with an empty mind. When you see guys pitch and guys are coming out the box, we’re not doing it just for doing it. Our minds are speeding up. I see one pitch, I’m thinking what is this guy going to try to do to me next. I’m not walking around just because there are cameras all over the place and I want my buddies to see me and this and that. It doesn’t go that way.

“When you force a hitter to do that, 70 percent you out because you don’t have any time to think. And the only time you have to think about things is that time. So, I don’t know how this baseball game is going to end up.

“It don’t matter what they do, the game is not going to speed up. That’s the bottom line. When you argue for the pitch and then they have to go review it, that takes some time. Is that our fault? No. It’s their fault. But we still have to play the game.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, pace of game

John Farrell would like to see pitchers work faster, too

02.25.15 at 2:07 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hitters aren’t the only ones who can speed up the pace of play in baseball. Pitchers can do their part, too, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Major League Baseball recently unveiled changes designed to speed up the pace of play, from batters keeping one foot in the box at virtually all times, to managers staying near their dugouts during challenges.

“I’€™ve always subscribed to the fact that if you ingrain (the idea) into a pitcher of working fast, changing speed and throwing strikes, that’€™s a recipe for success for a number of years,” Farrell said. “I think that will assure a steady flow of the game, but that’€™s not always the case and that’€™s why these changes are being implemented.”

One Red Sox pitcher who could stand to work a little faster is right-hander Clay Buchholz, who recently acknowledged that he wants to speed up his tempo this year.

“If any part of it is on the pitcher, you’ll have to step up your pace a little bit,” Buchholz said. “Actually, I’ve been trying to work on that anyway, getting the ball and getting back on the rubber and letting the hitter determine whenever I throw the ball, instead of me lagging.”

Farrell described the benefits for a quick worker.

“If you have a good tempo on the mound, the game should flow,” Farrell said. “We recognize the TV broadcast is going to drive a lot of this with the time in between innings, but that’€™s an area we can adhere to more strictly, is make sure we start on time coming out of an inning break.

“I think it needs to be given a chance to let it play out and see what happens. I’€™ve talked to a number of pitchers in the offseason when it was focused on the pitch clock. They thought, ‘Why is it always us being targeted?’ I think everybody is going to look upon themselves as ‘Why me?’ a little bit, but I think it’€™s important to let these changes take hold.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, John Farrell,

Tom Werner on Bill Cosby allegations: ‘I feel for everybody involved’

02.25.15 at 11:33 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner made a name for himself in the ’80s and ’90s as a powerhouse producer of such cultural landmarks as “Mork & Mindy,” “Taxi” and “Roseanne.” But the show he is most remembered for was one of the most important of that generation — “The Cosby Show.”

The sitcom’s reputation has been tarnished by allegations that star Bill Cosby serially and habitually drugged and raped dozens of women starting in the 1960s. Werner has not addressed the issue beyond a statement he and longtime collaborator Marcy Carsey released in November, but Wednesday at JetBlue Park, Werner touched on the subject.

“We made a statement about that, which I’m sure you saw, and beyond that, today, I really don’t want to be thinking about that,” Werner said after addressing the state of the Red Sox. “It’s a sad situation. I feel for everybody involved, but beyond that, I really don’t want to talk about it.”

Werner did, however, address the impact of the allegations on the show’s legacy. “The Cosby Show” was a touchstone for children of the ’80s, a program that brought family values into the living room every Thursday night at 8. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to view the show in that light now, but Werner hopes that changes.

“I do think it was a landmark show,” he said. “And I’m hoping that when people reflect on the show, that they can differentiate between this, and the joy and good feeling that that show brought to everybody. In the short run, it’s been tarnished. But ‘The Cosby Show’ is more than just what’s going on right now.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Bill Cosby, Tom Werner,

John Farrell on D&C: ‘I believe in and I like the talent that we have’ on pitching staff

02.25.15 at 11:09 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning to talk about the outlook for the team this season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The biggest question mark as spring training begins is the pitching staff, with the lack of a true No. 1 starter.

“We all know that there’s a label that certain pitchers have earned. But I tell you this: I feel very good about the five that are in the rotation,” Farrell said. “There’s talent. There’s some question with the bounce-back capability of Justin Masterson, with an injury late in 2013 that seemingly affected last year; Clay Buchholz‘s durability, consistency, comes to mind, but when he has been healthy he’s pitched equivalent to a No. 1; and, to me, Joe Kelly, who’s got the stuff to be that type of guy — we’ve got to extend his overall innings workload.”

Kelly’s name has been mentioned as perhaps the most likely candidate to be the team’s top starter.

“I think Joe Kelly’s got the ability to go I think a step up as he’s learning himself as a pitcher. He’s got the best stuff in our rotation,” Farrell said. “You’re looking at a guy who’s mid- to upper 90s with a very good breaking ball, a strong, competitive streak that we saw in the starts that he made for us last year. I’m going to talk optimistically, there’s no doubt about it, because I believe in and I like the talent that we have.”

ESPN analyst Curt Schilling appeared on D&C before Farrell and questioned Buchholz’s inner drive to succeed.

“I wouldn’t agree with that,” Farrell said. “Everyone certainly has the right to their own opinion. But having been with Clay for a number of years now, he loves to compete. He loves to be the best to his abilities. Now, there’s been some things that have held him back, and durability over the course of a career to date has come into play here a little bit. But I can tell you this: He’s driven and he’s got — as we all do — a lot of motivation coming off the year we just finished.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, Joe Kelly

Morning Fort: Brock Holt ready to prove he can do it all again as Red Sox begin full squad workouts

02.25.15 at 11:07 am ET
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Larry Lucchino (left) and Tom Werner meet with reporters Wednesday outside JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Larry Lucchino (left) and Tom Werner meet with reporters Wednesday outside JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — No one was more versatile in all of baseball in 2014 than Brock Holt. He started at seven different positions throughout the course of the season.

He was so versatile that he became an everyday player.

That dynamic has changed entering 2015 with the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez and the emergence of Mookie Betts.

“I think kind of similar spot as last year, move around, give guys days off when they need them but be ready to play all the time,” Holt said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that again and it’s something I enjoyed last year and something I’m looking forward to doing again.”

With a crowded outfield, Holt said he expects to used primarily in the infield.

“The majority of my [work] is probably going to be in the infield and then I’ll definitely go out in the outfield and do some stuff,” Holt said. “During [batting practice] it’s easy to go out there and get some reads during BP, too. I’ll probably spend most of my time in the infield but move around, depending on how I feel and how the day is going, move to do some outfield.”

Holt still has two gloves ready to go at all times.

“I’ve got all of them broken in right now. I’m waiting for some new ones to come in so I’ll have to do a little more work with those but I’ve got one infield glove for every position and then one outfield glove so it’s pretty easy,” he said.

Holt hit .281 with a .331 on-base percentage in 106 games last year, double his playing time over his previous two seasons combined.

“It was a lot of fun,” Holt said. “I was just happy I got an opportunity to play. Looking back on the season, obviously it didn’t go as we hoped as a team but for me to be able to get a chance to prove myself and be on the field was a huge thing for me. So, I’m looking forward to this year and the team we’ve got and we’re all ready to get going.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt, Tom Werner

Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘You don’t have to have an ace to win’

02.25.15 at 10:24 am ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the American League East, pitching, the Red Sox and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As it usually is in February, but more this year than others for Schilling, it’€™s tough to judge how good the American League East will be. There are question marks around many of the teams in the division, and different aspects of different clubs put them in position to fight for the first spot in the division or end up at the bottom.

“I don’t know that it’s terrible,” the ESPN analyst said. “The team that, to me, that could win by 15 games and I wouldn’t be shocked is Toronto.

“If you look around the division,” Schilling continued,”in Baltimore, they have by far one of the division’s best game managers and a roster that’s talented, but there are more talented rosters. I think if you look at Boston, you have a guy who’s a great communicator, probably not even, I don’t think anybody is the game manager that Buck Showalter is, and a very talented roster, but again, it’s February and there has never been a year for me more so than this year where they’re saying, ‘Hey, I want to see where they are at the end of camp.'”

Though the Red Sox have added some offense to the lineup, Schilling isn’t as enamored with the additions as some have been.

“I think it makes their lineup deeper,” he said. “As long as they’re healthy and David [Ortiz] is David and Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is back. I don’t know, and maybe it’s personal, I never get overly emotional about offensive signings just because you can score as many runs as you want, but if you can’t stop them from scoring it doesn’t matter.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Buck Showalter, Curt Schilling, David Ortiz

Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘My job is pretty much the same that it has always been’

02.25.15 at 10:07 am ET
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning and downplayed reports that his power may have been diminished in the front office. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Red Sox minority owner Michael Gordon has increased his importance since purchasing more shares of the team, but Lucchino explained that Gordon’s role is more crucial with Fenway Sports Group than the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox.

“Mike plays a new and different role than he played the first few years since he acquired a much greater interest,” Lucchino acknowledged. “John addressed that yesterday. Very active in FSG matters, particularly Liverpool. But we use him as a consultant on Red Sox matters. He’s got a terrific financial mind.”

As for Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy questioning if Lucchino is “losing a power struggle at Fenway,” Lucchino brushed off that assertion.

“He may hear rumors that he believes. Believe me, I can’t explain Dan Shaughnessy’s machinations, nor do I try,” said Lucchino, who turns 70 in September. “I certainly am getting older, that’s a fact of life. At some point there will be some changes. But I don’t know what Dan’s sources are and where he’s getting that.”

Lucchino is one of the members of the group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, adding to speculation that he might be looking for another venture as he eases out of his role with the parent club. He says that’s not the case.

“It’s pretty much been the same situation that we’ve had for 14 years except that Mike is more involved now, his role in FSG has expanded,” Lucchino said. “But no, my job is pretty much the same that it has always been. And even the new Pawtucket responsibilities will be more advisory and ballpark-oriented and will not change my day-to-day job.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Larry Lucchino, Michael Gordon,

Video: Yoan Moncada arrives at Red Sox spring training

02.25.15 at 8:37 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Yoan Moncada arrived at Red Sox spring training Wednesday at 8:15 a.m., accompanied by a group that included his representative, David Hastings, and Red Sox assistant international scouting director Gus Quattlebaum.

Moncada was scheduled to take a physical in Fort Myers and then fly to Boston for a second round of medical testing.

The 19-year-old Cuban switch-hitting infielder agreed to a $31.5 million signing bonus with the Sox on Monday. After his physicals, he is slated to report to the team’s minor league camp March 2.

Read More: 2015 spring training, yoan moncada,

Ben Cherington isn’t pressured by center field battle or outfield roster spots

02.24.15 at 4:44 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The way Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington sees it, the wealth of candidates for the team’s center field starting job is a good thing. He made that much clear Tuesday when he said he could envision a scenario where every outfielder remains on the organizational roster by the time the team heads north for Philadelphia and opening day April 6.

He also made it clear that he really, really thinks the world of one of the three candidates for center field, Mookie Betts. Cherington was asked about the rumored interest of the Phillies in acquiring either Betts or Blake Swihart should the Red Sox come calling for lefty ace Cole Hamels. Cherington stopped short of calling Betts untouchable but barely.

“We think he’s an exceptionally talented young player, does a lot of things well and obviously has shown an ability to make adjustments quickly and has an aptitude and gives us a chance to help us win games for a long time,” Cherington said. “That’s kind of player we want on our side. I don’t get into the whole untouchable [not] untouchable thing. I’m not even sure what it means. We know what we think he can be and we’re really happy he’s here, and we expect him to be here.”

With the addition of Hanley Ramirez and the return of Shane Victorino, the Red Sox also have a potential glut of outfielders. Three of them, Betts, Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. (whom John Farrell called the best defensive center fielder in the game) will battle for the center field job. Victorino comes in as the right fielder with Daniel Nava and Brock Holt as possibilities. Ramirez will play left. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, jackie bradley jr.

Ben Cherington says Red Sox have ‘a lot of motivated players’ in camp, not worried about Opening Day starter

02.24.15 at 4:24 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Earlier in the week, Mike Napoli made the observation that there’s a “good vibe” in Red Sox camp, even before the first full squad workout on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Napoli‘s general manager agreed.

“I think we have a lot of good players and a lot of motivated players here,” Ben Cherington said. “I think there’s a focus that we’ve seen already in camp that you can feel. But we haven’t won any games yet so we have to work hard and make good decisions and make sure that that focus stays in the right places as we prepare for April. But I believe that can happen and will happen and we have a chance to win a lot of games this year.”

Perhaps the biggest question of camp for Cherington, even more than competition in the outfield, is the pitching staff, and more specifically the starting rotation.

“We feel about good about the guys that are here. We have 29 pitchers in camp,” Cherington said Tuesday. “We’ve got we think 10, 11 or 12 guys that either are or will be or capable of being starting pitchers in the big leagues. Again, certainly some of them are still developing and haven’t reached their full maturation yet. There are guys we think there is some untapped potential with. There are guys who have been extremely successful in the major leagues, and maybe for different reasons, struggled a little bit last year and look to be pointing in the right direction now. There’s guys with different things they’re working on with different recent histories. Together we think it’s a group that can be really successful and make up a really good pitching staff.”

As for declaring a No. 1 pitcher or an Opening Day starter, Cherington is hardly concerned about that at this stage.

As John [Farrell] and Juan [Nieves] have said, we’re not that concerned about declaring someone an Opening Day starter or whatever right now,” Cherington said. “We know that by the time we get to April, we’ll have five guys in the rotation and whoever we’re playing that night, someone’s going to start and we think that we’ll have enough options where that guy’s going to give us a chance to win a game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, yoan moncada
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