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Stephen A. Smith on Curt Schilling: ‘Your ass is gone because you did not want to listen’

05.17.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling’s war of words with ESPN is unlikely to abate anytime soon now that the loudest of the networks loudmouths — Stephen A. Smith — has weighed in with some pointed criticisms of gehrig38.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s MadDog Radio show, Smith blasted Schilling not for his political views, but for airing them when he knew it could get him fired.

“Let me speak up on behalf of ESPN when I say this to Curt Schilling: You are gone not because you have conservative views instead of liberal views. Your ass is gone because you did not want to listen,” Smith said, per the New York Daily News. “ESPN tells me to shut up, they’re my employer whether I like it or not. If I want to keep my job, I’ve got to shut the hell up.”

Smith took particular offense to Schilling’s contention that ESPN employs “some of the biggest racists” in the sports media. Smith noted an example of being tough on Redskins coach Jay Gruden for seemingly hold quarterback Robert Griffin, who is black, to a different standard than replacement Kirk Cousins, who is white.

“What I was lamenting was the treatment of Jay Gruden and how specific he was in dissecting Robert Griffin III, compared to how celebratory he was about Kirk Cousins,” Smith told the show. “At no time did I imply or state that is why RGIII wasn’t playing because he is black. That is a lie.”

Continued Smith: “I can’t stand people who worked for ESPN that depart from ESPN clearly harboring whatever bitterness they harbor and try to throw talent under the bus — like talent has something to do with them being gone. I have nothing to do with it.”

Smith challenged Schilling to a debate.

“You want to sit here and have a debate about what really went on?” he asked. “Name the time and place and I’ll show up, with the permission of ESPN, of course. I guess listening to my boss makes me a bad guy. Well guess what? I’d rather be bad than stupid.”

Read More: Curt Schilling, ESPN, Stephen A. Smith, Stephen A. Smith Curt Schilling debate

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Yordano Ventura

05.17.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Following Monday’s rainout in Kansas City, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will take the mound Tuesday night against Royals righty Yordano Ventura.

It’s been an impressive start to the year for Porcello, who is 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. The six wins are tied for second best in the American League, while Porcello’s WHIP sits at fourth in the league. In his last start, a 13-3 win vs. the Athletics on Wednesday, he allowed three earned runs and six hits while recording five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

The Red Sox plated 10 runs in the first five innings of the game, allowing Porcello plenty of breathing room on the hill.

“The way the guys have been swinging the bats, you just have to minimize big innings and keep us in the game,” Porcello said after the win. “I can’t say enough about what they’ve been doing. It’s unbelievable top to bottom, the damage they’re doing and the quality at-bats they’re putting up and wearing pitchers down.”

Monday night’s game will be Porcello’s 21st start against Kansas City. In his career vs. the Royals, Porcello holds an 8-6 record with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. His last start against Kansas City was a 7-4 loss on June 20 of last year. The 27-year-old surrendered six earned runs and eight hits in five innings pitched for his eighth loss of the 2015 season.

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Joe Kelly throws 6 1/3 scoreless innings with Triple-A Pawtucket, appears ready to rejoin Red Sox

05.16.16 at 9:00 pm ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Joe Kelly appears ready to rejoin the Red Sox.

Making his third rehab start Monday night with Triple-A Pawtucket, Kelly was dominant as he went 6 1/3 shutout innings while scattering five hits, walking a batter and striking out 10.

Kelly departed with the PawSox leading 1-0 against the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Orioles.

“Terrific,” manager Kevin Boles said. “Power stuff. Power mix. Command of the zone. Showed life to his fastball. He was explosive tonight. Attacked the hitters and took a good step forward.”

His fastball stayed steady throughout, holding in the 93-94 mph range after getting warmed up following the first inning on a cool, windy night at McCoy Stadium. Kelly was also able to keep the opposing hitters off balance with his off-speed pitches. He totaled 11 swing-and-misses in the game and retired the last six batters he faced.

“It was a mix bag,” Boles said of the off-speed pitches. “That slider tonight that he threw — he threw a couple of good breaking balls. The slider was sharp tonight. It just looked like he had better overall pace and tempo to his delivery. He was aggressive. He attacked the zone. Threw a lot of strikes.”

He only had one rough inning — the fourth. Three straight hits (one infield single) loaded the bases with two outs, but he was able to get the third out on a swinging strikeout to end the threat.

With the Red Sox getting rained out Monday and playing a doubleheader Wednesday, they will need a starter for Saturday at home against the Indians. It seems it would line up perfectly for Kelly on the usual four days of rest.

“He’s there. He was really good,” catcher Sandy Leon said. “I think he’s ready for the major leagues. He looked amazing today.”

Kelly has been on the 15-day disabled list since suffering shoulder impingement on April 20. In three rehab starts, Kelly has gone a total of 14 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out 16.

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

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Red Sox infield coach Brian Butterfield breaks down Rougned Odor vs. Jose Bautista fight

05.16.16 at 7:26 pm ET
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Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays gestures after getting punched by Rougned Odor of the Rangers. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays gestures after getting punched by Rougned Odor of the Rangers. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY — Brian Butterfield doesn’t typically condone violence on a baseball field, but in the case of Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista on Sunday night, he’ll allow it.

Butterfield is uniquely qualified to dissect the play that led to Odor landing an overhand right flush to Bautista’s jaw. Not only is he an infield instructor wise to the nuances of the slide that precipitated the brawl, he also coached Bautista in Toronto.

“As far as the fight goes, you’d rather not see it happen, but when guys get hit and there’s a history, that’s going to happen every once in a while,” he said. “I’m fine with it. I’m sure it’s a different feeling in both of those clubhouse, but I was really fine with everything that went on.”

Bautista enraged the Rangers last October by authoring one of the great bat flips in history on a crucial home run in the playoffs. The Rangers waited to seek retribution until his final at-bat of the season series before drilling him on Sunday.

An annoyed Bautista took first, and then slid hard and late on Odor, whose submarining relay to first practically scalped Bautista.

The two got in each other’s faces before Odor unloaded on Bautista’s, sparking a benches-clearing melee.

Butterfield first broke down the slide, which he considered borderline but appropriate.

“He stayed low,” he said. “He stayed below the knees. It was a firm slide, but there was nothing else, except he went beyond the base. When he started to slide, it was right around the base, so it was a little later, he was probably still pissed off. But no, I didn’t think he went in there with the intent to hurt anybody. I think he was still pissed off where he wanted to make his presence felt.”

In that situation, Butterfield noted, Odor must hold his ground and the low throw is one way to defend himself.

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Read More: brian butterfield, Jose Bautista, Rangers-Blue Jays brawl, Red Sox

Jackie Bradley named American League Player of Week after monster homestand

05.16.16 at 6:08 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley was named AL Player of the Week. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley was named AL Player of the Week. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

KANSAS CITY — Jackie Bradley’s emergence isn’t a secret anymore.

The Red Sox outfielder, who owns a Major League-best 21-game hitting streak, was named the American League Player of the Week after a huge homestand that helped the Red Sox win six of seven games.

Bradley hit .469 for the week with three homers and 15 RBIs. He recorded five multi-hit games and a pair of six-RBI games to claim his first player of the week honor.

Bradley said his goal is, “not just make it a week, just to be a player who’s producing day in and day out, being able to be there whenever they need me, take advantage of the opportunities and the main goal is to definitely win.”

He’s not sure what has helped flip the switch, though it’s worth noting he put together a huge August last year, too.

“I don’t feel like there’s anything different,” he said. “Just trying to be a hard out, putting together some quality at-bats, and hitting the ball hard.”

Bradley loves being part of the Red Sox’ impressive young core.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Anytime you’re able to grow up with the guys you played with, it makes things more comfortable just because they’ve experienced things you’ve been through, they’ve been through some of the same places that you’ve been through at the same time, so we have that mutual understanding of each other.”

On the season, Bradley is hitting .331/.374/.588 with six homers and 30 RBIs.

Read More: AL Player of the Week, jackie bradley, Red Sox,

Red Sox game vs. Royals postponed, to be made up during doubleheader on Wednesday

05.16.16 at 5:31 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox and Royals were rained out on Monday and will make up the game as part of a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.

With slow-moving storms forecast to soak Kansas City through Tuesday afternoon, the decision was made to push the doubleheader back to getaway day on Wednesday. The Red Sox have Thursday off.

“From the report I have, it sounds like this system isn’t going to clear out until mid-to-late afternoon [Tuesday],” said manager John Farrell. “That being said, not that we were given much of a choice, but that was the reason behind it. As the day has progressed today, the weather forecast has changed. We thought we might have a chance to get tonight in, but that’s back-filled. This is a slow-moving system.”

The rotation will stay on turn, with Rick Porcello starting on Tuesday, Steven Wright getting the 2 p.m. day game on Wednesday, with David Price taking the 8 p.m. nightcap.

Rehabbing right-hander Joe Kelly starts on Monday at Pawtucket, putting him on turn to start Saturday, if needed.

“Him pitching today and obviously it lines up on time, but we haven’t gotten to that point to name anyone or anything,” Farrell said. “We’ve got a few things to look at first.”

Red Sox recall Marco Hernandez, designate right-hander Sean O’Sullivan for assignment

05.16.16 at 2:32 pm ET
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Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox bench is finally receiving reinforcements.

Infielder Marco Hernandez was recalled on Monday and will be in uniform when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Royals.

The 23-year-old, who has played second, third, and short in the minors but is primarily a middle infielder, gives the Red Sox a much-needed left-handed bat off the bench and adds infield depth alongside Josh Rutledge.

The 23-year-old has appeared in two games for the Red Sox this year and on April 17 against the Blue Jays recorded a hit, walk, steal and run in his big league debut. In 24 games for Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .333 with a .386 on base percentage and a home run. In addition to starts at the above three infield positions, he has also started one game in left field, the first of his pro career.

O’Sullivan started a pair of games for the Red Sox, including Sunday’s 10-9 victory over the Astros. He didn’t receive a decision in that one after departing with two outs in the fifth. He went 1-0 with a 7.94 ERA in two starts for the Red Sox.

He fared better at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 32 strikeouts (vs. just 5 walks) in 33 innings.

Read More: Marco Hernandez, Red Sox, Sean O'Sullivan,

Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Sam Travis hits 2 home runs; Ty Buttrey struggles yet again

05.16.16 at 10:51 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (18-19): W, 12-7, vs. Gwinnett (Braves)

— Sam Travis belted two home runs, collecting five RBIs in the process. Travis, 22, made Gwinnett pay right away in the first inning with a three-run shot. He struck again in the sixth, clobbering a two-run homer that almost landed past the Pawtucket bullpen. Including Saturday’s doubleheader, Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com hit three home runs in six plate appearances.

“Travis made the wind look like it was blowing out to left field today,” manager Kevin Boles said after the game. “He had a great approach.”

After the productive weekend, Travis has a .290 AVG/.805 OBP/.457 SLG stat line. He leads the team in hits (40), runs scored (22), doubles (8) and RBIs (23).

— Despite getting the win, southpaw Henry Owens had another shaky outing. Owens, who continues to get starts in Pawtucket after being demoted from Boston earlier this month, allowed seven earned runs on eight hits in five innings and 99 pitches. He also gave up three home runs.

“When he’s right, he’s hitting the fastball cross-corner to right-handed hitters, and everything else sets up from there,” Boles told the Providence Journal. “But he’s had this pattern now where he’s missing high to his arm side. We’ve got to get it on the other side of the plate.”

On the season, Owens is 3-1 in Pawtucket with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. The 23-year-old also has recorded 33 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched, which leads the team.

— Marco Hernandez had a strong showing at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. He also managed to be on base for both of Travis’ home runs. Boston’s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com, the second baseman is batting .333/.827/.441 with seven doubles and 11 runs scored.

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Read More: danny mars, joseph monge, sam travis, Ty Buttrey

Rick Porcello has some major problems with MLB’s approach to PED problem

05.16.16 at 10:41 am ET
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Rick Porcello has some strong thoughts on how MLB is approaching the PED problem. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello has some strong thoughts on how MLB is approaching the PED problem. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello is not happy with how baseball is approaching its performance-enhancing drug issue. And the Red Sox pitcher isn’t hesitating in voicing his anger.

So, is it realistic to expect any kind of change, particularly when the collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of this year?

“It better be realistic because obviously what’s going on right now isn’t getting it done,” he said.

Porcello is the latest player to come public with his disgust as to how things are being handled by MLB, with his former teammate, Justin Verlander, recently taking issue with suspended players being allowed to play during their appeals.

The Sox starter very much shares Verlander’s anger.

“I have an absolute problem with them playing under the appeal or due process because you’re taking a guy who has tested positive for something,” Porcello said. “clearly playing with that advantage at that particular time, and he’s impacting games. The whole idea behind the system is to prevent guys who tested positive have an unfair advantage in a game, then why would they be allowed to play during the appeal process when they clearly have that in their system. To me, that doesn’t make sense.

“You break down the season and you look at all the years it comes down to one or two games, and you have a player out there playing with that advantage, just because it’s in April or May and not late in the year, doesn’t mean that one game isn’t important. If he goes out there and out-performs the other team or does something huge in that game to win and your club gets edged out by a game at the end of the season, that guy who is playing with the banned substance in his system had a direct impact on his team and the season. I don’t think that’s right. It’s not the same as appealing a suspension for getting thrown out of a game or something like that. We’re talking about two completely different things.”

The subject has come up numerous times this season, with five players receiving the 80-game suspension (which also includes a ban from that year’s postseason), with the Mets Jerry Mejia getting a lifetime suspension for his third strike.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Yordano Ventura

05.16.16 at 8:57 am ET
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Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello will take the mound Monday night against right-hander Yordano Ventura of the Royals in the first game of a three-game series in Kansas City.

It’s been an impressive start to the year for Porcello, who is 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. The six wins are tied for second best in the American League, while Porcello’s WHIP sits at fourth in the league. In his last start, a 13-3 win vs. the Athletics on Wednesday, the right-hander allowed three earned runs and six hits while recording five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

The Red Sox plated 10 runs in the first five innings of the game, allowing Porcello plenty of breathing room on the hill.

“The way the guys have been swinging the bats, you just have to minimize big innings and keep us in the game,” Porcello said after the win. “I can’t say enough about what they’ve been doing. It’s unbelievable top to bottom, the damage they’re doing and the quality at-bats they’re putting up and wearing pitchers down.”

Monday night’s game will be Porcello’s 21st start against Kansas City. In his career vs. the Royals, Porcello holds an 8-6 record with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. His last start against Kansas City was a 7-4 loss on June 20 of last year. The 27-year-old surrendered six earned runs and eight hits in five innings pitched for his eighth loss of the 2015 season.

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