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Chris Sale after allowing two runs in Red Sox spring training debut: ‘Happy? I don’t know’

03.06.17 at 2:37 pm ET
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Chris Sale, pictured earlier this spring, made his debut on Monday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale, pictured earlier this spring, made his debut on Monday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Chris Sale’s first Red Sox start is in the books. You may now commence forgetting everything about it or that it even happened.

Sale wasn’t exactly pleased with his spring training debut against the Astros on Monday. Expected to throw three innings, he instead departed after two on a windy day. He allowed four hits and two runs (1 earned), while throwing 37 pitches and 26 strikes.

“Happy? I don’t know,” Sale said. “We got some good work in. I’m not a fan of sitting here and saying spring training doesn’t matter. You still want to get results, but I felt good. The ball felt great coming out of my hand. Felt strong throughout. I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes. That was a step in the right direction.”

“I’ve been waiting for this for a while,” Sale added. “It’s tough just sitting around just doing practice and things like that. This is why we’re here. We like going  out there and playing the game. Especially as a starting pitcher. I have enough downtime. It was fun. I enjoy doing what I do and I love pitching.  Today was fun to get out there and get the ball rolling.”

Sale was clocked as high as 97 mph, though the stadium radar gun is said to run a couple of mph fast.

The Astros struck quickly when Sam Travis dropped George Springer’s leadoff pop-up behind first base in swirling winds. A double, pop-up, and Evan Gattis sacrifice fly plated Chicago’s first run before Josh Reddick grounded out to end the frame.

“Even right out of the gate, you’ve got second and third and nobody out,” Sale said. “Those are good situations to be in. It’s going to happen sometime throughout the year. It’s nice to be able to get into those scenarios and try to work your way out of them. Obviously I didn’t. It’s nice to get out there — the whole being comfortable with being uncomfortable type of thing. You’ve got to work on that, too.”

Sale struck out two in the second, but a series of bloop singles plate a second run. He struck out Marwin Gonzalez looking at an offspeed pitch to end his afternoon.

” I feel fine,” Sale said. “The first few days maybe you’re shaking off the cobwebs and kicking off the dust. With the players, with the staff, with everyone involved, they’ve made me feel right at home here. And I am.”

Sale wanted to pitch longer.

“I understand why,” he said. “I racked up a pretty good amount of pitches, which is another thing I’d like to get down. I’d like to go out there for maybe 13 to 15. That’s the range as a starter you like to get. It gives you a chance to finish the game and save the bullpen. This is the first time out. It is  what it is. We’ll take it for what it is and we’ll roll with it. We’ll try to be better the next time out. If I had gone out there and thrown two perfect innings, I’m still going to try to get better from that. I’ve got some things to work on and a week to get ready.”

Read More: chris sale, Red Sox,

An undershirt-less Sam Travis continues to build on his spring training legend

03.06.17 at 2:33 pm ET
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Sam Travis (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Sam Travis (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Sam Travis hit a home run Monday. Ho hum.

The three-run blast against one of the best relievers in baseball a year ago, Houston’s Chris Devenski, boosted Travis’ Grapefruit League batting average to .357, having come into the the exhibition game in West Palm Beach, Fla. with a 1.333 OPS in his previous six games.

If that kind of success sounds familiar, it’s for a reason. Travis dominated in his 18 spring training games last season, finishing with a batting average of .469 with a 1.147 OPS.

What continues to impress regarding Travis is his ability to hit the ball hard, even when making outs, against lefties and righties. Devenski, for instance, only allowed a single home run to a right-handed hitter in 205 plate appearances in 2016.

And while it’s still early, and pitchers are prioritizing mechanics over making outs, it’s tough to ignore what Travis is doing.

This is the reason the Red Sox dug in on Travis when not wanting to block him from the major leagues with even a three-year contract for Edwin Encarnacion. It’s why even when he wasn’t hitting for a lot of power in the minor leagues, folks in the organization raved about what he would be.

In some corners, he was nicknamed “Captain Caveman” because, in part, he doesn’t wear batting gloves over an undershirt. When pressed on why he doesn’t wear anything under his uniform top, the 23-year-old only said, “No reason, really. That’s how I’ve always done it since I was in Little League.”

Will Travis make the Red Sox out of spring training? Not unless there’s an injury to Hanley Ramirez or Mitch Moreland. But what he continues to do is make the team’s blueprint for life beyond 2017 look pretty good. (Moreland is on a one-year deal, while Ramirez is signed through 2018 with a vesting option for 2019, having to total 1,050 plate appearances in ’17-18.)

(To read more about Dave Dombrowski’s comments on prioritizing keeping Travis, click here.)

David Price mocks proposed new extra-innings rule on Twitter

03.06.17 at 11:02 am ET
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After a scare last week, David Price reportedly won't have to undergo Tommy John surgery this season. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

After a scare last week, David Price reportedly won’t have to undergo Tommy John surgery this season. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Count David Price among those who are opposed to starting extra innings with a runner on second base.

In a tweet Monday, the Red Sox hurler mocked the proposal rule change, which will be implemented during the World Baseball Classic. The first game of the tournament between Israel and South Korea went into extras, with the Israeli team scoring the upset win after an infield single in the 10th inning. During the WBC, teams will start with runners on second and first base from the 11th inning onwards.

In addition to the WBC, the rule will also be tested in the low minor leagues this season. MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre told Yahoo! last month the change is supposed to shorten game times and save pitching staffs.

“Let’s see what it looks like. It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time,” he said.

It’s difficult to argue with Torre’s logic. Considering stadiums routinely empty out during extra innings, it seems like fans wouldn’t be against changing the format. But Price’s objection to the idea is a reminder of the uphill climb MLB faces whenever it wants to mess with tradition.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Price,

Kyle Kendrick impresses in Red Sox victory over Braves, easing concerns about rotation depth

03.05.17 at 7:48 pm ET
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Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick may be in Red Sox camp on a minor league contract, but don’t let that fool you. He could end up playing a role in the big leagues before this season is over.

With left-hander David Price shut down while he tends to a sore elbow, starters Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz slowly returning from injuries, and Clay Buchholz long gone and hard to find in Philadelphia, the Red Sox need someone to step up and provide depth.

That someone could very well be Kendrick, a 32-year-old right-hander who tossed four hitless innings in an 11-1 victory over the Braves on Sunday.

“I understand the position that I’m in,” Kendrick said. “Results kind of do matter for me, so I just want to go out there and show them that I’m healthy, that’s the main thing, and throw well, put up some good results. That’s kind of where I’m at, it’s kind of what I have to do.”

Only two runners reach against Kendrick. The first, after shortstop Deven Marrero committed an error leading off the game, was promptly caught stealing by what might have been Christian Vazquez’s best throw since he underwent Tommy John surgery. The other walked.

“Very happy with it,” Kendrick said. “Just attacked the strike zone, getting some early contact which was nice, get some early outs and threw strikes, just wanted to be aggressive. Vazquez, we worked well together, he did a good job. It was nice, enjoyed it.”

Kendrick went 7-13 with the Rockies last year with a 6.32 ERA, but never felt healthy. He has reached 10 wins six times in his career. He’ll likely open this season in Triple-A Pawtucket, but there’s always the chance the Red Sox could need him.

“Like I said, I understand the position I’m in,” he said. “Last year I had to take a minor league deal, so mentally it was different for me. This year I’ve accepted it and I’m happy to be here, honestly. Everyone from my teammates to the training staff has been really good. I’m happy where I’m at and taking it day by day.”

Read More: Kyle Kendrick, Red Sox,

Red Sox notebook: John Farrell talks David Price’s elbow, Tyler Thornburg’s mystifying struggles, and what he’d change about spring training

03.05.17 at 1:10 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

FORT MYERS — With the Red Sox set to square off against the Braves on Sunday, here are some notes from John Farrell’s lengthy pregame session with reporters.

— Farrell said left-hander David Price will continue to work on conditioning and range of motion, with light strengthening, while he recovers from an elbow strain. He’ll remain shut down for another week or so.

“I know David is probably feeling better today than he has yesterday and all those are encouraging signs, but there’s going to be range of motion, light strengthening, the cardio and conditioning from a general standpoint continues until we put a ball back in his hand,” Farrell said.

Price will not throw until he’s symptom-free.

— Reliever Tyler Thornburg is off to a woeful start, and will throw on flat ground Sunday and work in the bullpen on Tuesday before returning to game action later this week in an attempt to fix his mechanics. Thornburg has allowed seven hits and nine runs in just 1.1 innings, good for a staff-worst 47.25 ERA.

“It’s been more timing in his delivery,” Farrell said. “He’s out of sync right now. His body is drifting to the plate too quick, you see a number of pitches left up of the strike zone up to his arm-side. To see him hit a guy the other day with a changeup, that just says his timing right now needs a lot of work.”

— What does Farrell dislike about spring training? “We don’t have all day, do we?” Farrell joked.

His basic issue is with the push and pull of preparing his team vs. entertaining the fans who pack JetBlue Park on a daily basis.

“We still see it as this is our vehicle to get players ready physically,” Farrell said. “And yet you walk in and there are 11,000 people, so there’s this conflict of big business and getting players ready. Not that you lose sight of that and you’re playing players all the time, but when you start getting pushback because four or five big-leaguers haven’t traveled across the [state]. There’s a lot more to balance now.”

— Farrell saluted the job first base coach Ruben Amaro has done as a third base coach in camp, but reiterated that Brian Butterfield will return to that spot in time for the start of the season. Butterfield has been slowed by a knee replacement.

“If Butter can get out there with a crutch, he’ll be out there,” Farrell said. “He’s our third base coach.”

Read More: David Price, John Farrell, Red Sox,

David Price gets good news on elbow, but long-term questions remain: ‘This was something that’s happened over a long period of time’

03.04.17 at 10:07 am ET
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David Price got some good news on Friday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price got some good news on Friday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two of the foremost elbow specialists in the nation gave David Price exactly the news he wanted to hear on Friday. But by no means is the Red Sox left-hander out of the woods just yet.

Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache examined Price in Indianapolis on Friday and told him his sore left elbow didn’t need surgery or an injection at this time. They recommended seven to 10 days of rest, based at least in part on Price’s “unique” elbow, which is apparently built to withstand the attrition of a decade in the majors.

Price said the doctors told him the issue is in a muscle, not ligament, though he wasn’t specific with the exact nature of his injury, just that the doctors, “expected it to be much worse than it was.”

“Everything that they said, honestly, couldn’t have went any better,” Price said on Saturday. “It was almost like I paid them to tell me the stuff that I wanted to hear. That obviously wasn’t the case, but it was a good meeting, just to hear it from those two guys.”

Still, Price made it clear that whatever ailed him is the result of his long career.

“This was something that’s happened over a long period of time,” Price said. “It’s not something that just happened on Tuesday or whatever day I threw the sim game. It didn’t just happen. This is something that’s happened over the course of my career, and I’ve continued to be able to do it at a high level. That was something they both talked about. If I wasn’t still pitching at a high level, it’s something that might be a little bit different. If I was 25 or 26 years old, it might be a different scenario. But for the fact that this has gone on for a while, and I’ve continued to be able to eat up innings and to be able to throw the ball at a high level. They’re like, ‘Your elbow is extremely unique. It’s found a way to kind of heal itself.’ So it’s pretty neat.”

What this means for Price moving forward is anyone’s guess. He declined to put a timetable on his return, and acknowledged that if things don’t improve in 10 days, he’ll be meeting with more doctors.

Price said he felt some soreness while warming up for Tuesday’s sim game, though this isn’t out of the ordinary, since he typically hears a “pop” at the start of spring training that tells him his arm is loose and ready for the season. The soreness increased that night.

The difference came when he woke up completely stiff the next morning.

“The stiffness kind of set in that night, and came in in the next morning and felt like my arm wouldn’t move,” he said. “To me, that’s what was different. The stiffness, to a degree, that was nothing new, it was something you get as a pitcher especially at this stage of the season and it’s something you just get into the trainer room and you work it out and if you need to take a day from not throwing, you do that. We weren’t going to mess around and wait around, it was something we felt like was in the best interest. It’s not something you want to fiddle around with.”

He said he feels night-and-day better even now.

“From the night it happened to the next morning when I came in and then from getting the treatment that day with the training staff, I saw how much of an improvement it made in that short of a time period and then going out there and seeing those guys and the progressions it’s made on a day-to-day basis has been really, really good,” he said. “I’ve probably had 40 hours straight of no treatment, no ice, no anti-inflammatories, no nothing, nothing was in my system and for it improve the way that it has, that’s a very good sign.”

So how stiff was it?

“It was probably just a little bit more stiff,” he said. “If I felt the way that I felt yesterday right now, it’s probably something I wouldn’t even mention or I wouldn’t even say. It’s just the normal aches and pains of spring training. It’s something I prepare myself to go through every spring training and something I’ve always gotten through. It’s just a little bit more stiff this time, a little bit more inflammation and that’s why we made the decision that we made.”

As for when we might see Price again, he’s not indulging in timetables.

“If I’m not out there in 10 days, I’m sure that’s going to be the next story,” he said. “And if I’m not out there in five days, that’ll be the next story as well. So there is no timetable.”

 

Read More: David Price, james andrews, Red Sox, Spring Training

David Price gets ‘best-case scenario’ after second opinion; No surgery, will be shut down 7-10 days

03.03.17 at 4:44 pm ET
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David Price (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

David Price (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell called the news the “best-case scenario” for David Price. All things involved, it was hard to argue.

After the Red Sox’ 9-1 win over the Braves Friday at the Wide World of Sports Complex, Farrell passed along the news that Price would not need surgery, or even a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection, on his ailing pitching elbow.

Following the second opinion given by noted elbow experts Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Red Sox will go forth with the plan to shut down Price for 7-10 days, receiving treatment and medication. After the rest, the team reevaluate the pitcher’s elbow before proceeding.

“Even talking with David on his way up there, he felt with each passing hour he was becoming more free,” said Farrell. “As we talked about him experiencing this type of forearm issue in spring training, it may be a little more intense this year, but it’s still the kind of spring training arm that he goes through. A very positive, full exam considering some of the concern. … We definitely feel this is the best-case scenario in light of him still having to miss some time. And there’s no timetable for his return. But we have a definitive plan for him going forward, and an encouraging one.”

Rick Porcello takes mound in game for first time as American League Cy Young Award winner

03.03.17 at 3:54 pm ET
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Rick Porcello (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — For the first time in his life, Rick Porcello took the mound as the American League Cy Young Award winner, Friday. (At least the initial foray into pitching with the title in front of people who actually paid money to attend.)

Sure, the outing will never go down in the history books. Grapefruit League starts never do. But, nonetheless, Porcello’s three innings against the Braves did mark the beginning of his journey toward trying to become the first back-to-back winner of the A.L. Cy Young since Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000.

He didn’t disappoint. The right-hander allowed just two hits over his three innings, while striking out four.

“Felt pretty good,” Porcello said. “Arm is still attached. That’s always a bonus, first time out.”

The Red Sox had reeled in Porcello a bit this spring due to the World Baseball Classic-induced extended exhibition schedule. Prior to the outing against the Braves, the righty’s only action vs. hitters came in a two-inning simulated game at JetBlue Park.

“The more opportunities you get to get off the mound, to take things slow and work on the mechanical things you need to work on the better off you’re going to be,” he said. “Try to use that opportunity wisely and there were still some things that happened out there, delivery-wise, that were a little inconsistent. Just trying to get my bearings and my timing down. The last inning was a lot better. I think that time helped and I’ll continue using these opportunities to sharpen my delivery.”

While it was somewhat notable that Porcello made his spring training debut, the news of the day remained waiting on news from Indianapolis regarding David Price’s elbow. Even Friday’s Red Sox starting pitcher understood that.

“My heart goes out to him,” Porcello said of Price. “Not only is he a teammate and a huge part of our team but he’s a really good friend of mine. It’s a tough time for him right now and we’ll see what happens. Like anything else, like any other outside distraction, you have to compartmentalize. You still have a job to do. But he’s definitely in all our thoughts. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back soon.”

David Price on Twitter: Jokes about leaving NFL scouting combine to return to Fort Myers; still no word on elbow

03.03.17 at 3:01 pm ET
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If nothing else, David Price appears to be in good spirits.

The Red Sox left-hander, who left the team on Friday to seek a second opinion on his sore elbow from the renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews, at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, took to Twitter to joke about rejoining the Red Sox.

Price leaves the biggest question of all — how he’s doing — unanswered, but judging from the tone of his message, perhaps the news he received from Andrews was positive.

Price visited the famed physician after complaining of soreness on Wednesday morning, one day after throwing 38 pitches in two simulated innings. He felt fine after his outing, but woke up sore the next day. The Red Sox gave him an MRI and thought the findings were concerning enough to seek out Andrews.

The Red Sox remain in a holding pattern for now, as John Farrell mentioned to reporters in Orlando this morning.

Perhaps Price’s jocular tweets will give them a reason to exhale.

Read More: David Price, Red Sox,

Wondering what it’s like to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews? Tyler Thornburg gives us a primer

03.03.17 at 2:09 pm ET
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Tyler Thornburg (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Tyler Thornburg (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tyler Thornburg has a pretty good idea what David Price is going through.

When it comes to getting second opinions on elbows from Dr. James Andrews — which is what Price is experiencing in Indianapolis Friday — Thornburg has been there, done that. It’s an expertise that can be attributed to the reliever’s 2014 check-up after experiencing a season-ending elbow issue.

“I just wanted to get the opinion from the guy who knows the situation the best of anybody in the world,” Thornburg said.

“It was cool to go down there [to Andrews’ office in Pensacola, Fla.]. The second opinion is already a weird thing to talk about because you’re not saying you don’t trust the team doctor, but you want to get another opinion. It’s always a tough situation.”

As it turned out, the two-hour visit — which involved another MRI and a hands-on examination — was well worth it for Thornburg.

Dr. Andrews ultimately determined that Brewers’ medical staff had under-played the pitcher’s diagnosis. And while there would still be no surgery, Thornburg did receive a PRP injection with a much more cautious timeline.

“[Milwaukee] said that the tear in there was a previous wound that I had my freshman year of high school in 2004,” he remembered. “So when they sent me to Andrews, he said it was a high grade tear, leaking fluid and I should take 4-6 weeks and if it didn’t heal than to have surgery.”

And, as is often the case with those getting second opinions from Dr. Andrews, the biggest payoff might have been ultimate piece of mind.

“Yeah, just because you’re getting it from the guy who is the best at what he does,” Thornburg said when asked if there was a sense of relief after visiting the world-renowned orthopedist. “People go to him for a reason.”

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