|Red Sox minor league roundup: Xander Bogaerts rebounds, Austin Maddox shows promise||04.17.13 at 10:14 am ET|
A quick look at the action in the Red Sox system on Tuesday…
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-6 LOSS VS. LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)
– David Ortiz, after being scratched on Sunday due to illness and Monday with soreness in his left heel, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play in his third rehab game with the PawSox. He’s now 3-for-11 with three singles in his rehab assignment.
– Outfielder Mitch Maier went 3-for-3 with a walk, and in three games since being activated from the DL, he’s 5-for-11 with two walks and a homer. The 30-year-old’s strong impression in spring training coupled with the ability to play all three outfield positions could make him an outfield depth consideration for the big league roster if the Sox have an outfield need as the season progresses.
– Bryce Brentz snapped a three-game, 0-for-11 stretch by going 2-for-5. It was his third multi-hit game of the year. An early concern related to his approach: Brentz has 12 strikeouts and just one walk in 50 plate appearances.
– Left-hander Chris Hernandez permitted a career high seven runs, though just three were earned. In five innings, he allowed a pair of homers among his six hits, walked just one and struck out four while also getting eight groundball outs. Still, the 24-year-old has struggled with pitch efficiency to date, something that continued in an outing in which he required 97 pitches to navigate five innings. Read the rest of this entry »
|Opinion: Can’t help but like this Red Sox team||04.17.13 at 8:32 am ET|
I like this Red Sox team.
Maybe that’s unpopular and maybe I’m shortchanging the powerful ugliness of the previous year-plus. Or maybe that’s an obvious point and I’m just overreacting to the 9-4 start. But I don’t care.
I like this team.
I like that the Sox removed the bad apples from the bunch. Yes, it was helpful that Magic Johnson’s Venture Capital Firm team was willing to pick up the tab for the necessary bloodletting. But credit Ben Cherington and his staff for finding the right guys to replace the lost talent.
And the right manager, too.
If nothing else, John Farrell (and Juan Nieves) seem to have the co-aces on the right track. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have a combined ERA of 0.88. Every time they take the mound, there is legitimate reason for confidence. The team has yet to lose one of their starts.
I like that the new guys have contributed to wins. Shane Victorino had a huge Opening Day and added a walk-off hit against Tampa. Mike Napoli added a walk-off two days later and put the series opener in Cleveland out of reach with his third double in as many at-bats. Ryan Dempster should have two wins already.
I like that the lineup has speed and OBP at the top, power in the middle, and a bottom third with promise. It’s well-balanced and multifaceted. It’s helped the Sox win with home runs one night, walks the next. One day it’s defense, the next day it’s aggressive baserunning. It should serve them well as the schedule throws its numerous challenges at them throughout the season.
I like that the bullpen is deep with a slew of different weapons.
All of those components make the team fun to watch and should lead to wins. But the reason to really like this team goes beyond that.
I like that this team likes itself. You can see it on the face of Jacoby Ellsbury, who finally is running wild on the field and smiling again in the clubhouse. It’s obvious when the players joyously tackled each other after their second walk-off win in three days. It’s apparent when they blast music before a game or support each other after a (so far rare) loss.
|Closing Time: Seven-run second leads Red Sox past Indians||04.16.13 at 10:38 pm ET|
As baseball games go, it was hardly dramatic. There were no signature moments for the Red Sox in their 7-2 victory over the Indians, mostly just the methodical routine of Red Sox lineup members willing to sit tight and take their walks as Indians start Ubaldo Jimenez proved unable to harness his stuff in the strike zone. But, at a time when Red Sox players shared the confusion and concern of the residents of the region where they play, there was, perhaps, something reassuring about a victory no matter the form it took.
The Red Sox walked five times in the second inning against Jimenez, seeing a total of 44 pitches from the starter, just 19 of which were strikes. Jimenez could not pitch his way out of the second, getting bounced after just 1 2/3 innings, at which point the Sox — despite some inefficiencies and strike zone difficulties from their own starter, Felix Doubront — were able to cruise to their fourth straight win, improving to 9-4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox players hope that playing offers relief, reprieve to Boston||04.16.13 at 9:30 pm ET|
News circulated shortly after the Red Sox team bus left Fenway Park for Logan Airport on Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. Will Middlebrooks received a phone call from his father, and slowly, the word spread from the front of the team bus to the book. The players noticed, Jon Lester told reporters, that the police escort that typically accompanies the team to the airport left before the bus left the ballpark. As the enormity of the Marathon bombings dawned on the players, shocked silence set in.
“Our bus ride was silent. We were just trying to figure out what was going on,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia told reporters in Cleveland. “When we got on the plane, they had those TVs, and we were watching Fox News and CNN and, I’m sure like all of the info you guys got, that’s what we were getting. It was just the whole night. Now, everything, it’s the worst thing. It’s awful.
“It’s obviously the worst — the worst thing you could ever imagine,” he continued. “We’re thinking and praying for everybody and hoping everybody is OK.”
The players, like everyone else, felt a degree of helplessness until they confirmed the whereabouts of their friends and loved ones. Many reflected on the shocking familiarity of the bombing sites, stretches of Boylston Street whose shops and restaurants are frequented by the members of the club.
“It is weird. You see these things, it’s like movies,” Jon Lester told reporters. “For it to hit home like this, like you said, to be on that sidewalk plenty of times, to have eaten down in those restaurants plenty of times. You know, it’s just, it hits right at home. I’s a scary deal. But you know like I said, you can’t, you can’t live in fear. You’ve got to keep doing what you’re doing and not let these people ruin our lives by doing stuff like this.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox injury updates: Why Joel Hanrahan went on DL, a step forward for John Lackey||04.16.13 at 8:29 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell offered updates on the health and well-being of a few members of his roster. Among them:
– Farrell told reporters that the decision to place closer Joel Hanrahan on the disabled list was made when an evaluation on Monday suggested that he would need to be shut down from throwing for a total of five to seven days due to his sore right hamstring. Because he would have to go that duration without throwing before he could start working his way back to games with some throwing sessions, Farrell told reporters that the decision to place Hanrahan — saddled with an 11.57 ERA — “was pretty clearcut.” Given the right-hander’s struggles, there is also the benefit that he will have an opportunity to pitch in games without attaching importance to the outcomes.
“This will also give us a chance to get him a couple of rehab appearances to get back going and test it at full speed,” Farrell said of the decision to DL the closer.
With Hanrahan on the shelf, the Sox added knuckleballer Steven Wright to the roster as a multi-innings option out of the bullpen.
– John Lackey, on the disabled list retroactive to April 7 due to his right biceps strain, played catch for the first time since having to cut short a throwing session on April 9 due to tightness in his biceps. The session went well, as Lackey threw out to 120 feet without experiencing any discomfort. Read the rest of this entry »
|Terry Francona: Marathon tragedy felt ‘personal,’ facing Red Sox … not so much||04.16.13 at 6:24 pm ET|
For Terry Francona, there is now distance from the Red Sox. Even so, as he watched the horrifying images documenting what took place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, the experience remained deeply personal, though Francona suggested that it was as much because of his natural human reaction to the events as it was because of his former residence in Boston.
Francona said that one his daughters called him repeatedly on Monday until she got through and informed Francona about the tragedy. Once the Indians manager was able to turn on a TV, he recognized immediately the area that he saw.
“It’s personal for just about everybody. Some of those views, you can see the church my daughter got married in. It’s very unsettling, for everybody,” he said. “[But] I’m not sure you have to have roots in Boston to care about that.
“Obviously I do, as you guys do, too. It just seems when you turn the TV on, it’s hard for everybody. Whether it’s personal or not, it seems like it gets personal. You turn on the TV and you hear left wing, right wing. I wish there were no wings. I just wish people would get along. I don’t understand it and I don’t pretend to. I hope there are people way smarter than me who are somehow, some day able to figure this out, so stuff like this doesn’t happen. It’s hard enough being an adult. Can you imagine being a little kid growing up now? It’s hard. It just makes you feel bad.” Read the rest of this entry »
|David Ortiz: News of bombing, Martin Richard death ‘devastated me’||04.16.13 at 5:08 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The news hit home for David Ortiz, in more ways than one.
First came word of Monday’s bombing, near a place he had been just hours before. Then something came the next wave of emotion — a boy the same age as his own son, 8-year-old D’Angelo, had been killed.
“Last night I had problems sleeping just thinking about it and this morning I woke up, watching the news and I heard about this 8-year-old kid waiting for his dad at the finish line … dying … his sister getting hurt and his mom having surgery today. That devastated me,” said Ortiz following his rehab appearance with the PawSox at McCoy Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
“I put myself in the same place. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. It’s a beautiful nation and I think our President will get to the bottom of this and make sure this country goes back to what it’s always, been, a safe place to be and what everybody wants it to be, a happy place like all of us know.”
Upon hearing the news regarding Dorchester’s Martin Richard – who was killed waiting for friends to finish the Boston Marathon (initial reports mistakenly indicated he was watching his father run) — Ortiz immediately called all members of his family. D’Angelo was on Cape Cod with family friends, while the designated hitters’ wife, Tiffany, was with his daughter, Alex, on a missions trip for Unicef.
“When I was watching the news I definitely called all of them,” he said. “I heard my son’s voice on the phone and, man, just thinking about how that went down. To hear about this 8-year-old kid, and my son is 8 right now, that just devastated me. I got very emotional. I had people calling me from my country asking me about this whole thing. My phone didn’t stop yesterday.”
An emotional Ortiz was clearly affected the events Monday afternoon, just more than 24 hours later. And, evidently, his had even spilled over to D’Angelo.
“He was concerned. They know,” Ortiz said of his son. “Today’s communication is very simple. They know and they get concerned about it, especially when they hear somebody their age is hurt. It was pretty bad. It’s going to take us some time to recover from that. The one thing I want to tell everyone is to stay together. This is a tough time that everybody needs to stay together. Yesterday was the biggest example of what this country is all about. That thing went off and you see nothing but everyone helping out each other. That’s why God bless America.”
Added Ortiz regarding the tragedy: “Horrible, man. Everybody knows that. It’s something that nobody expects and nobody wants to see. This beautiful nation going through a situation like that is something that will stay in our minds and is hard to process. Hopefully our President and everybody in charge with this gets to the bottom of this and stops people walking around the city freaking out, not feeling safe. I know our police department and everybody does a pretty good job about it. This is a beautiful nation. A day like yesterday, it’s a big day for all of us. That marathon we have going on, Patriots Day, it’s something that’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. People trying to raise money to help people out, it’s something that all of us, one way or another, are related with. I’ve been in Boston 11 or 12 years, and it’s a day everybody looks forward to. Going through a tragedy like yesterday is devastating. I’ve been pretty much very emotional with the situation and I just want to keep praying for those families affected by it and sending a message to stay strong, stay together. That’s all you can do.”
And while some are suggesting that the incident will put the Red Sox’ season in a different light, one with saddled with more importance to do the proximity of the organization, Ortiz insisted the two worlds should be separated.
“This is something I don’t relate what we do or anything else. This is something that is our nation,” said Ortiz, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008. “This is our country suffering a pain. It doesn’t matter how many games you win. It doesn’t matter how many homers you hit. It doesn’t matter what happens on the field. We’re suffering. It’s something that there are a lot of families out there struggling right now because of that and we have to be concerned about it. We’re humans.
“This is a great country. I’m very proud of being part of this country. Myself, my family, all of us. This country gives us the opportunity to give my family a better future and I love this country. I will do anything for this country. To see things struggling that way, it gets into your feelings. You’ve got family. You’ve got kids here growing up. You depend on everything that is going on. You don’t want to see anything like that.”
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