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Dave Dombrowski: ‘[Pablo Sandoval] should be proud of himself’

10.11.16 at 4:24 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval got his body into much better shape this summer in Fort Myers. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Pablo Sandoval got his body into much better shape this summer in Fort Myers. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It was a lost season for Pablo Sandoval.

After playing in just three games and going 0-for-6, Sandoval was lost for the season after needing shoulder surgery. This came after showing up to spring training out of shape and losing the starting third base job to Travis Shaw.

Following the surgery, Sandoval spent the majority of summer working out at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers with a goal of getting healthy enough for the ALCS, although he likely wouldn’t have been on the roster given his extended time away.

Sandoval was seen during the Tampa series late in the year where he clearly was in much better shape.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski praised Sandoval during his end of the year press conference on Tuesday when discussing his status for next year.

“Well I think that in Pablo’s case, and we have a long haul until we get to the beginning of the season, the beginning of spring training, we’ve got four months ahead, so a lot of things could happen in four months,” Dombrowski said. “He should be proud of himself for how he’s handled the time since he left this club. I don’t know if you were in Tampa or not, you can see he’s appreciably got himself in better shape. He’s worked very hard for us down in Fort Myers, he’s been down there every day. He’s been a model with the young kids. Some of the people told Mike Hazen that he’s treated the younger kids better than anybody they’ve ever had down there from a Major League perspective, buying them food.

“His goal was to be ready, physically, to play in the ALCS. I don’t know that that would’ve happened, because our other people had been there all year, but from a health perspective, he’s really right there, so I think he’ll be healthy next year. There’s other guys that I’m sure say they should be the third baseman. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. But he’s been a proven big league performer. If he’s healthy and ready to go, he has a chance to be a good performer for us. I know people say, “Well . . . ” but the same thing was said about Hanley last year at the same time. Hanley worked very hard. That’s why there’s still a long haul ahead for him.”

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Dave Dombrowski doesn’t care that you hate John Farrell’s in-game managing, because he considers other skills more important

10.11.16 at 4:17 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

John Farrell’s most vocal critics inevitably cite his perceived deficiencies as an in-game manager when pushing for his dismissal.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a response for those people: it’s nowhere near the most important part of the job.

“I do not feel in-game strategy is the biggest thing as a manager,” Dombrowski said on Tuesday, hours after the Red Sox were swept from the American League Division Series by the Indians. “I think it’s important, but there are other things that are probably more important.

“To me, the most important thing for a manager is that their club plays up to their capabilities day-in, day-out, which means they’re communicating with their players and getting everything they can. That means their club is playing hard. In-game strategy, of course, is very important. But having been through this so much, and I’ve answered the question in the past here and I hope I’m not being too redundant, I think that’s what makes our game so interesting. A lot of people think they know more than the manager when it comes to strategy.”

Dombrowski noted that he has extensively talked strategy with Tony LaRussa, Jim Leyland, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox, four Hall of Fame-caliber skippers.

“There’s a man on first base in a 2-2 game in the eighth inning and this is how it shapes up,” Dombrowski said. “One of them bunts, one hits-and-run, one steals and one does nothing. They all have their reasons in doing it. I think it’s most important that they are able to have a reason why they’re doing it, and so for me it’s a situation where there’s a lot of different ways to go about that. I think it’s having a pulse of your personnel and what works for you.

“John Farrell, you’re going to sit up there and you are not going to agree with the strategy all the time of anyone that is your manager. I learned that having Jim Leyland and Tony LaRussa. Tony’s already in the Hall of Fame and Jim should be. It’s just one of those things that comes with the territory.”

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Dave Dombrowski announces that John Farrell and entire Red Sox coaching staff will return in 2017; Torey Lovullo will be allowed to interview for managerial openings

10.11.16 at 2:10 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

John Farrell will be back in 2017.

Wasting little time at his post-season postmortem press conference, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday announced that Farrell and his entire coaching staff will return next season.

“John Farrell will be our manager for 2017,” Dombrowski said. “He is all set and his whole staff will be invited back. . . . He has the respect of the clubhouse. We played well.”

Farrell is signed through 2017, with a team option for 2018. Dombrowski broke the news to Farrell as the two passed each other in the hall between their respective press conferences.

Farrell led the Red Sox to the playoffs for the second time in four seasons. The Red Sox went worst-to-first en route to 93 wins and their second AL East title on Farrell’s watch.

His coaches include Carl Willis (pitching), Chili Davis (hitting), Brian Butterfield (third base), Ruben Amaro (first base), Brian Bannister (assistant pitching), and Victor Rodriguez (assistant hitting).

Dombrowski added that bench coach Torey Lovullo will be allowed to interview for managerial openings, but that the team hopes to retain him.

He also said that Bannister will remain in uniform at the big-league level, but also have other responsibilities on the analytical side.

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Joe Kelly explains why he left tickets for ‘American hero’ Ken Bone

10.11.16 at 11:05 am ET
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Former NFL coach Jerry Glanville used to leave tickets for Elvis Presley. For ex-Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, it was Erin Andrews. And Monday night, Joe Kelly found his guy.

Prior to Game 3 of the American League Division Series, the Red Sox reliever told the Twitter world that he was extending a personal invitation to the man who became an Internet sensation after asking a question at Sunday night’s presidential debate, Missouri resident Ken Bone.

After the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss, Kelly explained to WEEI.com the motivation behind the offering.

“Obviously, playing for St. Louis before, I just felt in my heart that I needed to leave an American hero tickets,” he said. “Obviously, the game didn’t end up the way we wanted to. He probably didn’t see it. All those Twitter accounts must be fake because he was using a disposal camera at the end of the night, so I doubt that he saw it. Maybe he heard it. One kid on Twitter told me that his grandma was next-door neighbors with him, so he would tell his grandma to tell him. Maybe next year or one day down the road we can meet up, hang out and share a couple of conversations.”

Would Kelly kept leaving tickets for Bone if the Red Sox moved on?

“One hundred percent,” the pitcher said. “If we won tonight, I would have had to leave them throughout the World Series.”

Red Sox now left without David Ortiz, ‘the greatest teammate ever, there ever was’

10.11.16 at 3:19 am ET
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David Ortiz said his farewells to his teammates, and the Red Sox fans, Monday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz said his farewells to his teammates, and Red Sox fans, Monday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Some were brought to tears. Other just chose to reflect.

But what was evident following the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Indians on Monday night was that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill reaction to a season-ending defeat. Almost as impactful as the end of the the Sox’ season, was the realization that it was the end of David Ortiz’s career.

“I haven’t cried after a baseball game since I was in Little League probably, but tonight was different,” said the Red Sox’ starting pitcher for their Game 3 American League Division Series game, Clay Buchholz. “I’ve been around him my whole career, and knowing how much he loves the game and how much he would be around the game. If it was a possibility, he would be here. But I think his decision is made and that’s tough to swallow. What a great guy.”

Ortiz said his farewells after the game, first to his teammates in an impromptu post-game meeting, and then to a Fenway Park crowd that was still almost at capacity well after the final pitch.

The moment wasn’t lost on anyone in attendance.

“It’s was one of the coolest things,” said Red Sox pitcher Drew Pomeranz. “You think about getting traded over here and I get to be part of this, and get to watch one of the best there is. It was just really cool to see all that unfold. I did an interview at the All-Star Game and they were asking guys, ‘What has Big Papi done for baseball?’ At the time I had no idea I was coming here. Now, I have a whole different perspective, being here for the last few months.

“It’s one thing to hear people say that stuff, but it’s another thing to be a part of it. He’s great. He’s probably the greatest teammate ever, there ever was. Definitely the best one I’ve ever had. I feel honored to be part of that, to see who he is as a person and a baseball player.”

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Mookie Betts on potentially winning MVP: ‘It would be pretty cool’

10.11.16 at 1:13 am ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

Although the Red Sox’ season ended without a playoff win, it could end with one of their players taking home an American League MVP trophy — 24-year-old Mookie Betts.

Betts hit .318 with 31 home runs and 113 RBIs during the regular season. His average was second-best in the American League, while the RBIs were fourth. Not only was he terrific at the plate, he played outstanding defense in right field. His 9.6 WAR was second in baseball only to Mike Trout.

It’s also worth mentioning up until two years ago, Betts was a second baseman.

Following the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Indians in the final game of the season, Betts was asked about what it would mean to win the MVP.

“It would be an accomplishment. Nothing that I set out to do,” Betts said. “Obviously, I set out to win a World Series, but just to win it would be pretty cool.”

The most recent Red Sox player to win a MVP was Dustin Pedroia in 2008, while the franchise has a total of 11.

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

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Early playoff exit will only help young Red Sox players in future

10.11.16 at 12:57 am ET
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It was a tough series for some of the Red Sox' younger players. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It was a tough series for some of the Red Sox’ younger players. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Maybe the Red Sox weren’t ready for the big stage.

Of the nine starters, five players made their postseason debuts this past week and their inexperience may have shown up as the Red Sox were swept 3-0 in the ALDS by the Indians.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts. Mookie Betts went 2-for-10. Sandy Leon went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts. And even though Xander Bogaerts played in the 2013 playoffs, he was a rookie and he too struggled in the series going 3-for-12 with four strikeouts.

“It’s definitely a great experience,” Bogaerts said. “A lot of pressure, but you have to learn how to control it, you have to learn how to think in that moment and just not over think a lot of stuff. Just be in the moment and be focused.”

For Betts, a MVP candidate, it looked like at times particularly in Cleveland the big stage may have got to him a bit.

“It’s the same game it’s just pressure — if you add pressure,” he said. “Everything counts. Every pitch counts. Every at-bat counts. It’s something new for a lot of us. Next year we have to be ready for it.”

Added Betts: “We’ll be OK, I know that. We are going to take this as a positive. Now we know what to kind of expect going into the playoffs.”

There were two players making their playoff debuts who had good series’ as Brock Holt went 4-for-10 and Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-9. A good sign for the future.

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What did Drew Pomeranz think when he let go curveball to Coco Crisp? ‘Crap’

10.11.16 at 12:21 am ET
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Drew Pomeranz reacts to giving up a sixth-inning homer to Coco Crisp Monday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz reacts to giving up a sixth-inning homer to Coco Crisp Monday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz’s storybook postseason became a nightmare in a hurry.

After his standout outing in Game 1 of the Red Sox’ American League Division Series, in which the lefty kept his team in the game with 2 1/3 shutout innings, Pomeranz came out of the bullpen again in Game 3, cruising through a flawless fifth inning.

But then came the sixth.

After a Jose Ramirez walk, and subsequent sacrifice, up came Coco Crisp. After getting to 1-2 on the switch-hitter — who had hit just three homers against lefties this season — Pomeranz decided to try and bury the batter with his trademark knuckle-curveball. What happened next ultimately sealed the Sox’ fate, with Crisp lofting the pitch just over the left field wall to give Cleveland a 4-1 lead.

“It was a curveball that didn’t do anything,” he said after the Red Sox’ season-ending, 4-3 loss. “I probably threw that guy the one pitch he can do something with. It’s just a [expletive] feeling. Two strikes on a guy and I’m trying to throw a good, two-strike curveball and try and get him out. It just stayed up and didn’t break as much as it was supposed to.

“It was one of those things as soon as it was coming out of my hand, I’m saying, ‘Crap!’ in my head. I’m hoping he doesn’t swing and he hits it, and I’m thinking at least hit off the wall. But he it just enough to get it out of there.”

It would be the last batter of Pomeranz’s season, punctuating by far the southpaw’s best campaign in the majors.

The year started with Pomeranz making a starting rotation for the first time in his career, which led to a berth on the National League All-Star team. And then, after being dealt to the Red Sox just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, he finished up his final few months by helping his new club’s march to the postseason.

And while the end was anything but what Pomeranz had planned, there was a sense a satisfaction as he headed toward an offseason that will start with his wedding next month.

“For me, this is just the beginning,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve had a full year of doing everything and given a chance to run out there and make every start. I never had that chance the last six years. This is only the beginning for me. I’ve had a huge learning experience, and it’s been an awesome year. Especially coming here, being around some of these pitchers and absorbing all this information. These one-pitch mistakes should never happen again because I’ve been through it now. This is going to be like my first season it feels like because it’s the first year I’ve been there the whole time and had a full year. I feel like it’s only the beginning for my career. It all starts here.”

Dustin Pedroia becomes longest-tenured Red Sox player after saying goodbye to David Ortiz

10.11.16 at 12:09 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia (15) will take the leadership mantle from David Ortiz (right). (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia (15) will take the leadership mantle from David Ortiz (right). (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

This is Dustin Pedroia’s team now.

The Red Sox second baseman officially became the team’s longest-tenured member after Monday’s 4-3 season-ending loss to the Indians sent veteran slugger David Ortiz into retirement.

Pedroia debuted in 2006, two years after being drafted out of Arizona State in the second round. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 en route to his first World Series title, and then won an MVP award in 2008.

He was the youngest member of veteran teams at the time, but now the 33-year-old takes the mantle of leadership from Ortiz.

“It’s a little different,” he admitted. “Obviously it hasn’t sunk in that David won’t be around. But you know, it’s tough. . . . I mean, your mind tells you he’ll be here when the game ends and be here tomorrow. It’s got to end some way. But this is definitely not how we expected it to. It’s going to be tough not having him around.”

Pedroia had no explanation for baseball’s best offense getting shut down in the American League Division Series.

“We just couldn’t find our rhythm,” he said. “We couldn’t string consecutive hits or at-bats or anything. And to be honest with you, it’s more a credit to them. I mean, they were on the corners with good stuff. I mean, they pitched good. They played great. Sometimes, as frustrating as it is, you have to tip your cap. That’s why they’re moving on.”

Pedroia believed the Indians played near-perfect baseball in completing the sweep.

“It’s surprising, but they’re good, too,” he said. “It’s not what we expected to happen, but they played great. They played great. They played flawless, man. There wasn’t one part of their game that was off. They were on, and that’s why they’re winning, moving on.”

Pedroia couldn’t call the season a disappointment, not after the Red Sox went worst-to-first and won the American League East.

“I mean, everybody looks at it different,” he said. “We made a ton of steps forward. Obviously our goal is to win the World Series, and we didn’t do that. But I’m proud of every guy in here. I’m sure nobody in this room can sit back and say they could’ve done something different. We played as hard as we could. They just played better than us.”

And now the Red Sox move on to the next chapter, without Ortiz. Pedroia will have to fill that void.

“We made a ton of steps,” he said. “We’re in good shape. I think, especially what David did leadership-wise with a ton of guys, you know, he’s leaving us in good shape. We’ll be all right.”

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David Ortiz reflects on final moments at Fenway Park after getting emotional on field

10.11.16 at 12:06 am ET
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People who stuck around Fenway Park following Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Indians where Cleveland swept the Red Sox in the ALDS may have witnessed something that will never happen again in sports.

With it being David Ortiz’s final game, the crowd chanted, “Thank you Papi” following the final out and continued for several minutes with thousands of Red Sox fans still cheering for the slugger to come back on to the field one last time.

After roughly 10 minutes, the fans got their wish when Ortiz returned to the field and stood on the pitchers mound for several minutes saluting the fans who stayed in their seats where he showed a rare side of sadness.

“We went into the clubhouse after the last out and John [Farrell] had his moment with all of us,” Ortiz said. “I also said something to my teammates and the PR group came to me and told me that — right after the meeting they came and told me that the fans were expecting me. They were calling my name out there. I definitely always want to show the love to the fans.

“I start thinking I have my moment once I walk on to the mound, start looking around. That moment hits you, you know you’re never going to be able to be performing in the baseball world, in front of all this — no disrespect to anyone, but I think we have the best fans worldwide. It’s something that – it kind of hit me a little bit. I’m not going to lie to you.

“Like I’ve said, I’ve been trying to hold my emotions the best I can, but that last second I couldn’t hold it no more. That’s how we feel about what we do because we love what we do. I respect this game so much and love this game so much that as long as I play I want to always be one of the best. Not because of me, not because of my person, because I don’t really care about that. I really care about the fans. I really care about the emotion that they live through. I really care about everything that comes with it, community-wise, what we do off the field. It’s the whole package. It comes with a lot of things, so I really care about all that.”

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