|10.24.15 at 7:40 pm ET|
Are the Red Sox closing in on an outside-the-box hire?
According to a major league source, former Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is one of a “small group” of finalists for the Red Sox’ vacant first base coaching job.
The source does insist, however, that no decision on the position had been made as of Saturday night.
Amaro Jr. has never served in the capacity of an on-field instructor, having joined the Phillies front office immediately after his nine-year major league career as an outfielder.
The 50-year-old, who was let go Philadelphia after serving as its GM since 1998, was a teammate of Red Sox manager John Farrell with the Indians in 1995. His father, Ruben Amaro Sr., did serve as a first base coach with the Phillies.
The Red Sox are thought be looking for a first base coaching candidate who can serve as an outfield coach.
|10.23.15 at 2:24 pm ET|
After conducting a PET [positron emission tomography] scan Wednesday to determine the status of his cancer, Farrell was told Thursday that his lymphoma is, indeed, in remission, and he should face no limitations heading into spring training.
He is scheduled to attend the Red Sox‘ organizational meetings in Arizona, flying across the country Saturday.
“There’s no restrictions,” said Farrell, who has been walking on the treadmill between 2-3 miles, 4-5 times a week. “As a matter of fact, the more you can push yourself physically, and obviously listen to your body when you need to slow down, you listen to it. To regain 100 percent stamina, it’s a matter of the workout routine that will get that back there. I’ve got a series of followup exams that are scheduled and there will be a close monitoring of the situation going forward, probably over the next 12 months, which is normal. That’s routine for what someone has come through similar to this. No restrictions.”
The Sox manager later elaborated, “The restrictions are going to be to listen to my body and what am I capable of and that’s where my workout routine is ramping up relatively quick, nutrition has not been a problem through this. Either you know someone or you’ve heard of people going through chemo treatment, it can be harsh on the body. Fortunately I never vomited one time. I didn’t lose weight, unfortunately, I would have hoped to have had but I haven’t. No, I’m confident my strength will continue to ramp up here in a pretty good amount of time.”
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Farrell’s explanation of his ordeal was the need to undergo the equivalent of six months of chemotherapy in about an eight-week span due to the aggressive nature of the lymphoma.
According to Farrell, the process included lying on an infusion bed, hooked up to an IV 7-10 hours a day. He would take a total of seven different kinds of medicine throughout treatment.
“It was very intense, and shortened down or concentrated regimen,” he said. “So it beat me up a little bit physically, but honestly right now I’m feeling pretty darn good.”
Farrell added regarding the process, “[His chief oncologist] Dr. [Jeremy] Abramson was phenomenal through this. There were no surprises. He’s an incredibly intelligent and talented physician. Everything that he described played out to a T. there were no surprises. And through that, you gain a lot of confidence in the regiment that is prescribed and administered and you trust that’s going to do the job. Until that, you can’t really take anything for granted in something like that. Until that scan comes out, which was the news given yesterday, that was a tremendous relief or exhale when he told me that.”
Farrell noted that he received well-wishes from more than a thousand people, relaying he had numerous routine conversations with Minnesota Timberwolves Flip Saunders (who is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The manager also noted he had communication with former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona “every single day,” since being diagnosed.
But it was a letter that Farrell received shortly after announcing his condition which he chose to highlight in the conference call’s opening remarks.
“There’s some things that have come out of this,” he said. “Shortly after the announcement on the 14th of August I got a letter from a person whose dad had watched the press conference and because of the pain that that person felt in their groin area they went and got checked and low and behold came away with Burkitt’s lymphoma.
“I know there’s a message in here and an awareness that can be further heightened. But, again, I go back to being fortunate to have this addressed and am really excited about getting back to work and not have to lay in an infusion bed, which was needed for a couple of months. I just want to say thanks for all of you who have reached out a number of times and checked in, whether it be walking in the office or some of the conversations we’ve had over time.”
|10.22.15 at 7:37 pm ET|
Dave O’Brien won’t be the only change to the Red Sox‘ television broadcasts.
NESN announced Thursday night that both Steve Lyons and Dennis Eckersley will serve as game analysts for “a significant number of games” for the 2016 season. Jerry Remy will return for his 29th season, joining new play-by-play man O’Brien, with Lyons and Eckersley participating in a three-man booth for select games.
NESN also announced that Remy had renewed his agreement to serve as the “primary color analyst,” with the agreement stating he work at least 100 games per season.
The network released the following statement to announce its broadcast plans:
NESN announced today that the network has finalized plans for the 2016 Boston Red Sox broadcast team. Jerry Remy (@Jerry_Remy) returns for his 29th season as NESN’s Red Sox color analyst. In addition, Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley (@Eck43) and Red Sox alum Steve Lyons (@SteveLyons12) will serve as game analysts for a significant number of games alongside new Red Sox play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien. During select games, NESN also will employ a three-man booth with different combinations of Remy, Eckersley and Lyons.
“We’re very excited about our expanded broadcast booth composition for next year,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. “This will be the most in-depth and dynamic lineup we’ve ever had in our history, providing Red Sox fans a greater diversity of perspective and analysis.”
|10.22.15 at 5:37 pm ET|
After undergoing tests at Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday, John Farrell received news that his cancer is in remission. Farrell, who was informed of the diagnosis earlier Thursday, has been battling stage 1 Non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt lymphoma since learning he had the disease on Aug. 14.
“I am extremely thankful for the outpouring of support I have received from the Red Sox, my family, friends and fans throughout this process,” Farrell stated in a press release. “I am also especially thankful for the talented doctors who cared for me in Detroit and here at MGH. I look forward to getting back to work and bringing another championship to Boston.”
Assuming his health keeps trending in the right direction, Farrell has been told by Red Sox president of baseball operations that he will return as manager of the Red Sox. Interim manager Torey Lovullo inked a new contract to remain Farrell’s bench coach, mandating he not interview for any major league managerial openings for 2016.
Farrell has continued to be a mainstay at Fenway Park throughout his chemotherapy treatment, both during the regular season and into the offseason.
“We are thrilled to hear the great news about John today,” Dombrowski added in the release. “Foremost, we are extremely happy for him and his family, knowing what he has gone through over the past two months. We all admire him for his strength and courage, and look forward to having him back as our manager.”
Farrell is scheduled to hold a conference call with the media Friday, at 1 p.m.
|10.20.15 at 3:05 pm ET|
Could Jason Varitek be headed back where it all started?
According to a major league source, the Mariners recently interviewed Varitek for their managerial opening. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was first to report the interview.
A special assistant with the Red Sox, Varitek began his career with the Mariners in 1994 before the ill-fated 1997 deal that shipped him to Boston with starter Derek Lowe for closer Heathcliff Slocumb. Varitek developed into an All-Star with the Red Sox and won World Series rings in 2004 and 2007.
He’s the third candidate with Red Sox ties to be linked to the Seattle job, with former bench coach Tim Bogar one candidate, and ex-utility man Alex Cora another.
Varitek, who retired after the 2011 season, has no coaching or managing experience, though he was known as a player for being fastidiously prepared behind the plate.
One complication, the CBS story notes, is that the 43-year-old has settled on the East Coast and may not want to work on the other side of the country, away from his daughters.
|10.20.15 at 2:40 pm ET|
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox may choose to not have their top prospect play for Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League due to the infielder’s bruised right hand.
Moncada was slated to play his winter ball in Puerto Rico under former Sox infielder, and current Caguas manager, Alex Cora. But after being hit on the hand with a pitch during the Red Sox’ Fall Instructional League, and the 20-year-old still not feeling 100 percent by the time the league broke up more than a week later, the organization is taking a cautious approach.
The Puerto Rican Winter League begins Oct. 30 and ends Jan. 4. Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Travis Shaw are both scheduled to participate in the league, as well.
The second baseman played in 81 games with Single-A Greenville during his first professional season, hitting .278 with an .817 OPS and eight home runs. He also stole 49 bases in 52 attempts, ultimately being named the South Atlantic League‘s top prospect by Baseball America.
|10.15.15 at 11:25 pm ET|
“It was good to get away,” said Pedroia by phone.
After what he endured for the majority of the ’15 campaign, few would blame the 32-year-old for getting as far away as he could, as fast as he could.
Now Pedroia’s ready to turn the page, starting with what he figures to be a fairly normal offseason. But before moving on to another four or so months at his Arizona home, he took the time to clarify what exactly happened with that injury which limited the nine-year veteran to just 93 games.
Why was his injured right hamstring keep him out of action so long? (There had been a total of just about 73 days of disabled list inactivity sandwiched around an ill-advised six-game return following the All-Star break.) How come he came back in the first place? And what was the exact injury?
The explanations had always been fairly vague.
Thursday afternoon, Pedroia offered some added insight.
“Basically, I slipped and hurt the back part of my hamstring, like the back of my knee. The lower part where it attaches. The biceps femoris,” he said. “I went and got an MRI and it was a 2 ½ [grade tear]. It was black and blue for about 10 days.
“They give you a timeline of how long you’re going to be out. Throughout my career I have obviously healed quick. And with that injury everybody is different. Some people take two months. Some people take six weeks. Some people take longer. I think I came back in about 24 days.
“It was one of those things where I probably should have waited longer, but I was cleared by our guys to go. I think I played six games and it was starting to get black and blue again, so we did another MRI and they shut me down.”
What was of some concern was the identification of the injury being to the biceps femoris, which helps make up the hamstring. Earlier in the season, Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart had seen his year end abruptly thanks to an injury involving the same ligament.
Pedroia didn’t go seeking the kind of doom and gloom found within Cozart’s diagnosis (although that also involved a damaged knee ligament). “I didn’t really Google anything,” he noted.
But there was an awareness that something might not be quite right.
“Did it worry me? I can only go with what I’m told by the people,” he said. “That’s basically it. I think looking back we might have gotten ‘¦ I think we were six games out or something after the break. Obviously, I was hitting batting practice. Running was the issue. But I was driving the ball and looked good. They would say, ‘How do you feel?’ And I felt good. Obviously, looking back, we’re six games out and we’re going to Anaheim and Houston for big series and you want to gain some momentum. I think we all looked ahead of ourselves instead of looking at the big picture.
“I kicked myself, and I’m sure everyone else does too. If we waited a week or so after maybe I would have done what I did the second time and we would have had better success.”
What Pedroia did when returning from the injury for a second time was proceed with extreme caution. Playing in 18 of the Red Sox‘ 25 remaining games, he would hit .308 with an .886 OPS.
When it was all said and done, Pedroia boarded the plane for Rome finishing his season carrying a .291 batting average, .797 OPS and, most important, some long-awaited peace of mind.
“I came back with 25 games left and they said, ‘Listen, we know you want to play, we want you to play, but you have to be smart. We’re not going to let this happen again. Let’s get through the rest of the way with you playing, we’ll be smart, manage the days off,’” he said. “In the offseason I have to break down the scar tissue, build back my strength and then I’ll be back to normal.
“Obviously, when I was running at the end, I had an extra gear but I was just a little timid because they told me be smart when you’re running. You’ve come this far, so don’t do anything that will have a setback going into the offseason because that will definitely hamper you next year. So I did whatever they asked.”
|10.15.15 at 2:01 pm ET|
Through all the drama that surfaced during Wednesday night’s American League Division Series’ do-or-dies, it was Jose Bautista’s bat-flip after hitting his go-ahead, three-run homer that has dominated the conversation.
That got me to thinking … Who was the best bat-flipper we’ve seen in a Red Sox uniform.
The first one that jumps to mind is Cody Ross, who actually talked about his propensity to bat-flip …
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) October 15, 2015
(Let Batting Stance Guy explain, 1:47 in)
But then people started utilizing Twitter in productive fashion and reminded me that Dante Bichette was no bat-flipping slouch.
So, I looked it up …
That led me to this this convenient video of best bat flips:
And then there is this kid …
|10.14.15 at 9:29 am ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Wednesday to talk about the playoffs and explain his controversial tweet about Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential candidates debate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
During the Democratic debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump tweeted: Who is winning the debate so far (just last name)?
Responded Schilling: ISIS.
Not surprisingly, the critics went after Schilling for the sarcastic remark, especially considering Schilling’s last ISIS reference on Twitter ended up with him getting suspended by ESPN.
“Somehow people were saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you support ISIS.’ I swear to God,” Schilling said. “I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ I thought it was a joke, but then they started getting liberal and vile, so I figured it wasn’t.”
Added Schilling: “First of all, I didn’t see one minute of the debate. So the answer was going to get that way no matter what. I was watching the game. But I thought, ‘I know who’s up there. And I know what they’re saying. So I know who’s going to win.’ ”
Turning to baseball, Schilling said he’s not cheering against anyone in the postseason out of respect for the challenge they face, but there are teams and players he would like to see advance.
“The matchup I would really like to see in the World Series is Cubs-Blue Jays,” he said. “But I’d like to see the Mets, because I’d love to see that pitching. I’d love to see the Dodgers because I’d like to see [Zack] Greinke and [Clayton] Kershaw if they can do it. There’s a lot of really cool stories now. The Astros. I’m not rooting against them, but I really don’t want to watch the Royals. … In the context of championship-caliber clubs, I think they’re boring. There’s no 40-home run guy. … [The Astros] have I think the best young player in baseball at shortstop. This kid is absolutely breathtakingly good. I love to watch [Jose] Altuve play the game, because I appreciate guys that are built like that and play like that. I like [Dallas] Keuchel. [Collin] McHugh concerns me today that he’s not a swing-and-miss guy and he’s got the [Blue Jays] lineup that never strikes out. But they’re interesting. They’re fun.”
“They’re not done,” Schilling said. “They’re playing on house money for everybody else. But to them, they believe that they should be holding the big trophy at the end. That’s a deadly combination.”
Schilling also noted that team president Theo Epstein has freer reign than when he was in Boston.
“If you look at what’s happened there, I don’t believe the Ricketts family will meddle in baseball ops. You know that’s one of the reasons Theo left here,” Schilling said. “I think they will leave him to his vices and let him do what he’s going to do. And left alone with the people he’s got, now he’s in a market where — and Joe Maddon‘s managing a team where he doesn’t have to maximize value for five years and watch a guy walk. That’s a deadly combination for me. They could set themselves up to kind of be the Patriots for the next 10, 15 years. With that much talent, and the money, new stadium.
“If they win it this year, it’s going to be — Theo Epstein, what does he do next? Does he go to Cleveland? And then win there?”
|10.13.15 at 4:37 pm ET|
* Asked to estimate the team’s projected payroll, Dombrowski suggested that 2015’s output — which topped the $189 million luxury tax threshold and pushed $200 million — would be a good barometer.
“It’s not going to go backwards,” he said.
* The Hanley Ramirez question. With Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, and Rusney Castillo the current starting outfield, and David Ortiz ensconced at designated hitter, Ramirez’s only position is first base, which he has never played in the big leagues.
The Red Sox have no choice but to hope he makes the transition after failing in the outfield.
“We need to do everything we can to make that work,” Dombrowski said.
Ramirez, who is entering the second year of a four-year, $88 million contract, appears to be one of the most immovable players in the game. He won’t play winter ball, general manager Mike Hazen noted, because the offseason focus is on getting him in shape to be ready for spring training.
“We’re committed to it,” Dombrowski said. “I believe he’s committed to it. His representatives are committed to making it work. Will it work? Time will tell.”
* Dombrowski wants a No. 1 starter.
“Start with one, go from there,” he said.
He believes the bottom of the rotation is fine, between Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Co. While no decision has been made on Clay Buchholz‘s option, it certainly sounds like the Red Sox will pick it up. The question will be finding someone to place atop the rotation and set the tone for everyone else.
“I don’t think the back end of the rotation will be the difficult part,” Dombrowski said.
Hazen sees the value of a true No. 1.
“I think there are various ways we’re going to go about this,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t think there’s anything set in stone yet. For the other guys on the pitching staff, to have a guy that shows them the way in a lot of cases, we have a lot of guys in position to do those things, but that can always help from a makeup standpoint, an experience standpoint, to be ready for a long season.”
* Dombrowski announced changes to the scouting department. Eddie Romero was promoted to VP of international scouting; Adrian Lorenzo was promoted from the dugout, where he coordinated replay challenges, among other responsibilities, to coordinator of international scouting; Brad Sloan was hired as a special assignment scout; Harrison Slutsky was promoted to coordinator of advanced scouting; Alex Gimenez was hired as a professional scouting assistant.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- 2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Garin Cecchini and Yoan Aybar
- 2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Kevin McAvoy and Bryce Brentz
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Travis leads way as Scottsdale wins AFL title
- 2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Travis Lakins and Jalen Beeks
- Light, Jerez, and Hernandez added to 40-man roster
- Light, Hernandez top list of potential Friday roster additions
- 2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Christopher Acosta and Ben Taylor
- 2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Austin Glorius and Jordan Procyshen
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Travis blasts walk-off home run
- 2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Chandler Shepherd and Kyle Martin