|09.29.14 at 1:47 pm ET|
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who missed the final homestand of the season with soreness in his right hand/wrist (an area that had been injured when hit by a pitch in May), is expected to return to complete health with rest. That said, the 26-year-old has decided against the team’s recommended course of going to winter ball.
GM Ben Cherington said that Middlebrooks gave the matter consideration, and while the team did want him to play in more games after missing roughly half of this season due to injuries, the decision about whether or not to play this winter would not impact whether the team views him as major league-ready in the spring.
“He’s made a decision that he’s going to focus on other things this winter. He feels he can address what he needs to address without playing winter ball. That’s a decision that he’s made,” said Cherington. “I don’t think whether or not he plays winter ball should be a determining factor on where he is next March or April. We talked to him about it. We felt there was some merit. But players have to make some decisions that they think is in their best interests.
“We’re going to present information and what we feel like might be helpful, but ultimately offseasons belong to players, and they need to do what they think is in their best interests,” added Cherington. “He gave it consideration. He thought about it. I think he understood where we were coming from. I think he just feels like it’s in his best interests to focus on an offseason without playing, to get strong, get ready for spring training.”
Cherington said that the 26-year-old is expected to be healthy after resting for the next month. Middlebrooks hit .191 with a .256 OBP and .265 slugging mark in 63 big league games this year, his season compressed by a pair of stints on the DL for a calf strain and broken right index finger.
Middlebrooks discussed his view of the 2014 season, and his reluctance to go to winter ball, here.
|09.29.14 at 11:02 am ET|
Once again, Jon Lester will occupy center stage in the postseason. The left-hander is slated to start the Athletics’ one-game playoff against the Royals on Tuesday night, his opponent (in almost comical coincidence) Kansas City ace James Shields.
With Lester on the mound following a 16-11 season, career-low 2.46 ERA, career-high 219 1/3 innings, 220 strikeouts (9.0 per nine) and career-low 48 walks (2.0 per nine) and on the cusp of free agency, the baseball world will be watching closely. That, of course, includes the Red Sox organization that traded him on July 31 (along with outfielder Jonny Gomes) for Yoenis Cespedes.
The negotiations — or lack thereof — between the Sox and Lester after the pitcher had stated a desire to sign a long-term deal to remain with the Sox, even if it meant taking a discount to do so, lorded over the Sox’ season. That was true while Lester was with the team, and it’s true now that he’s gone, given that the Red Sox make no secret of the fact that they have a significant amount of work to do regarding the rebuilding of their rotation, and more specifically, the front of their rotation.
“Hopefully we can get right back into it if we fix the top of the rotation,” Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said.
“That’s absolutely our intention,” team chairman Tom Werner said on Sunday about whether he believed that the Sox could build a rotation to return to contention in 2015. “We have the resources. Hopefully it will all fall into place soon.” Read the rest of this entry »
|09.28.14 at 10:31 pm ET|
It was the season of the selfie.
‘ Joseph Kelly Jr. (@JosephKellyJr) September 29, 2014
Yet, as well-executed as Kelly’s photo turned out, his wife’s tweet after the moment may have been even more impressive.
Perhaps the real highlight of the ceremony, however, was the introduction of former Boston College baseball star Pete Frates, who is battling ALS and served as the impetus for the ice bucket challenge, helping raise awareness to combat the disease.
Here is the more from the ceremony.
|09.28.14 at 8:20 pm ET|
The wave of tributes to Derek Jeter came and went at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon during his final major league game. In the midst of them all was this video tribute from Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Chris Rock (courtesy “Funny or Die”), played on the center field video board:
|09.28.14 at 8:05 pm ET|
In the end, he was ready to cross the finish line.
Derek Jeter acknowledged that, after the nearly overwhelming emotion that accompanied his final Yankee Stadium contest on Thursday, he gave some consideration to never playing again, to sitting out the entirety of his team’s final three games of the year against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. But ultimately, he decided that while he wouldn’t play shortstop, he was ready to complete his career in Boston, with two at-bats in the final two games of the season.
“A lot of fans told me that they came a long way to see these last games and I felt it was right to play here,” said Jeter. “Don’t think I didn’t think about it, I thought about it.”
Sunday marked the final game of a disappointing season for the Red Sox, but the focus of the afternoon was primarily on Jeter as he played in the final game of his stellar 20-year career.
After an extravagant pre-game ceremony that included appearances from the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Bruins legend Bobby Orr, former Celtic Paul Pierce and former Patriot star Troy Brown (among many others), Jeter served as the DH for two at-bats, ending his career on an infield single that drove in a run.
Jeter said that the plan was to get a couple of at-bats, regardless of the results. But he was glad to collect a hit in his final plate appearance, even if it was just an infield chopper.
“I would have loved to hit a home run like everyone else, but getting hits is not easy to do,” Jeter said. “My first at-bat I hit a line drive [to shortstop Jemile Weeks], unfortunately it was caught, but I feel a whole lot better getting a hit. I don’t care how far it goes, where it goes — I have no ego when it comes to hits. It’s either a hit or an out. I’ve gotten a lot of hits like that throughout my career and they all count the same.”
With one more hit this season, Jeter could have tied Ty Cobb‘s record of 19 consecutive 150-hit seasons. But the record wasn’t all that important to the 40-year-old.
“I wasn’t aware of [the record] until [manager] Joe [Girardi] told me this morning. But I never played this game for numbers, so why start now?” Jeter said. “With one more hit I would have tied Cobb’s record but I’m tied with Hank Aaron, that’s enough for me.” Read the rest of this entry »
|09.28.14 at 7:05 pm ET|
The long, painstaking, sometimes interminable procession to the finish line finally sputtered to its conclusion. With a 9-5 loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox wrapped up a 71-91 campaign that represents both a disappointment and embarrassment for the team that still claims the title, at least for another month, of reigning champions.
The record did not fall to the same depths as 2012 (69-93), nor did the atmosphere assume the quality of a daily train wreck, but the reality of the record is hard to hide from.
“We didn’t anticipate the final record, but you play the games to determine that and it is where we are. We’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of that has already begun. When we took the field on Feb. 15, this is not what we envisioned,” said manager John Farrell. “We know where our shortcomings have been this year. We have a clear to-do list. How we get to that point remains to be seen.”
Farrell did suggest there are elements of the roster that offer some promise going forward, and he believes that there are participants to the decision-making process who likewise offer the possibility of changing course.
“With all people involved we’re confident we’ll achieve that. There’s a number of good things in place right now in terms of guys on this roster,” said the manager. “We’ve got some meetings starting the second week of the offseason to put together our in-depth review of where we stand and begin to strategize how we’re going accomplish the objectives set out.”
Still, the fact that Farrell’s October now includes plans for fishing on the Cape followed by meetings about how to move on from this year’s struggles represents a form of finality to games that he does not relish.
“That today was the final game, we knew that for a while,” Farrell said. “That’s not something that sits well because of what our expectations are every year so it’s disappointing. The game of baseball has been put to bed for the time being, like I said, it’s not what we anticipated.”
|09.28.14 at 4:53 pm ET|
For most in attendance, including those on the field, the reason to care about the 162nd game of a very, very long season boiled down to this:
Beyond the final at-bat of the magnificent career of Derek Jeter, however, there were other important final notes to the season in the Sox’ 9-5 loss to the Yankees that dropped the curtain on a 71-91 last-place campaign.
— Aside from the four-run third inning that included the last hit of Jeter’s career (an infield chopper to third), Clay Buchholz pitched adequately through six innings, allowing five hits and walking one while punching out four. But his season ends with a cover-your-eyes 5.34 ERA. Among the 395 pitchers in Red Sox history who have had enough innings in a season to qualify for an ERA title, Buchholz’s mark ranks 388th. The Sox saw enough down the stretch, and they have enough holes ahead of him in the rotation, that a combination of belief and necessity will dictate that they rely on Buchholz to be a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter for them next year. Perhaps with the benefit of a fully healthy offseason, he will be able to claim such a role. And it’s worth noting that he’s responded to adversity at other points in his career, including recovering from a horrific rookie year (6.75 ERA) in 2008 to become a rotation staple by the second half of the following year. Still, there’s a considerable amount of uncertainty about who he is going forward. Read the rest of this entry »
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Help Wanted: Writers
- Top 40 in Review: Michael Kopech and Sean Coyle
- Top 40 in Review: Wendell Rijo and Edwin Escobar
- Top 40 Season in Review: Travis Shaw and Sam Travis
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Marrero dominates in AFL
- Top 40 in Review: Nick Longhi and Teddy Stankiewicz
- Top 40 in Review: Heath Hembree and Steven Wright
- Top 40 Season in Review: Javier Guerra and Henry Ramos
- Top 40 in Review: Simon Mercedes and Carlos Asuaje
- Top 40 Season in Review: Anderson Espinoza and Alex Hassan