Archive for February, 2012

Rays’ Luke Scott rips Red Sox fans

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Luke Scott was unable to play for the Orioles in the final game of the 2011 season. Even so, when Baltimore beat the Red Sox to complete the biggest September collapse in major league history, Scott — now a member of the Rays — was elated.

Scott told MLB.com that he took immense satisfaction in being on the team that ended the Red Sox’ season owing to his contempt for Sox fans.

“[Red Sox] fans come in and they take over the city. They’re ruthless. They’re vulgar. They cause trouble. They talk about your family. Swear at you. Who likes that? When people do that, it just gives you more incentive to beat them,” Scott told the website. “Then when things like [the last game of last season] happen, you celebrate even more. You go to St. Louis — classiest fans in the game. You do well, there’s no vulgarity. You know what? You don’t wish them bad.”

Scott described an Orioles clubhouse that celebrated the victory like it had won the World Series, and then took the celebration to another level when the Rays won on a walkoff homer over the Yankees to eliminate the Sox.

“We’re like, ‘Go home Boston! Pack your bags. See you next year,’” Scott told the website.

“I got to see a priceless thing driving back to my apartment,” Scott continued. “I see all the Boston fans walking around, and I mean they were crying crocodile tears. … It was like someone shot their dog. I rolled down the window and I’m like, ‘Ah, hah, sucks doesn’t it, when someone laughs or makes fun of you when things aren’t going your way.’”

While one might think that Scott’s outspoken criticism would make him vulnerable to anger from the Sox or their fans, it is worth noting that the outfielder — whom the Rays signed to a one-year, $6 million contract for 2012 — carries weaponry in the clubhouse.

Red Sox notes: Change is starting with the warning track

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ For the first time in the ballpark’€™s young history, JetBlue Park served as the site for the Red Sox‘€™ batting practice.

But while it was interesting to witness Cody Ross launching a home run over the left field, onto the practice fields in back of the stadium, with other players peppering the wall’€™s net three-quarters the way up the structure, the real value came elsewhere.

‘€œI know this $80 million facility wasn’€™t built for me,’€ said new Red Sox third base coach Jerry Royster, ‘€œbut it surely is helping.’€

Royster and the rest of the coaches are taking full advantage of the dimensions of their new spring training home, which conveniently offer many of the intracacies of Fenway Park.

For example, it was determined that warning track at JetBlue Park was much softer than the one at Fenway, a discovery that will lead to one of the first changes at the new facility.

‘€œI’€™ve walked around with [Tim Bogar]. It helps all of us,’€ Royster said. ‘€œWe’€™re able to find all the kinks and see what’€™s going on. Just talking to the guys and seeing what is like Fenway and what isn’€™t.

‘€œIt really helps me tremendously. They can tell me what the ball does off the wall. I can learn that here. Also, coaching third and not being able to see down the line, I can do that here where he didn’€™t get to do that. Bogie had to do his first game, trying to figure out what to do on the fly.’€

Along with batting practice, virtually the entire team was on the main field, practicing calling out pop-ups, with the ball being sent skyward via a pitching machine.

At first either the outfielder or the infielder called for the ball, but then the infielders were instructed to not call for anything and wait for the outfielder to make the call.

‘€œThat stuff’€™s just called pop-up priority,’€ said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. ‘€œWho has the priority? It’€™s basic, one of those things everyone checks off. When it goes up, we want to catch it and not collide with each other. I know that’€™s simplifying it, but that’€™s basically it. There could be more than one person going after it, let’€™s not collide and let’€™s catch it.’€

In other news from Wednesday ‘€¦

  • Aaron Cook and Chris Carpenter threw batting practice for the first time as members of the Red Sox.
  • Ryan Kalish came away from his first game of catch in nearly six months in fine fashion, making 30 throws fro 45 feet.’€œFirst day, feeling it out. It was rusty,’€ Kalish said. ‘€œIt’€™s a milestone, obviously, because I’€™m happy I’€™m throwing. But in scheme of things it’€™s just the beginning of the process.’€ Asked if he saved the ball, he said. ‘€œI’€™ll save a ball when I get back to where I need to be, the big leagues.’€

‘€œHe looks pretty healthy,’€ Valentine said of the outfielder, who underwent shoulder surgery in November. ‘€œOf course you have to see, once guys start new activities, how they feel later. But he did a workout and then he went down and bunted with Bogie for a while. He was bouncing around. He’€™s a pretty good-looking athlete. That’€™s about where we are right now. But he’€™s not hurt. He seems to be recovered pretty nicely. Maybe not 100 percent, but pretty nicely.’€

  • The Red Sox will play a ‘€˜B’€™ game against the Twins across town at Hammond Stadium Thursday (1 p.m.), with nine pitchers ‘€“ including Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves ‘€“ each pitching an inning. Included in those position players participating are catcher Ryan Lavarnway and shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Is Bobby Valentine turning Carl Crawford into a bunting machine?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ For Carl Crawford, something good might come out of this wrist injury after all.

The outfielder, who has been limited in his participating throughout spring training after wrist surgery, has been using his time to work on what has previously been an untapped aspect of his game: bunting for a hit.

‘€œIt’€™s something he wants to do,’€ Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ‘€œHe thinks it will open up the field for him a little more. I’€™m sure it would. He’€™s not swinging as much. He kind of overdid it yesterday. He was actually sore from what I’€¦ He did two rounds of bunting from what I gathered. If he practices a mechanic there, I think he’€™ll be good. But he didn’€™t have one coming into camp.’€

Valentine has not only worked on the art of bunting for a base hit out on the fields with Crawford, but the manager has also exposed his left fielder to video of some fairly prominent bunters, Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo. Pierre, for instance, has more bunt hits (154) since 2003 than any player in the big leagues.

‘€œThere really isn’€™t much for me to do, and that’€™s something I can get better at, so I’€™m just trying it right now,’€ Crawford said. ‘€œHe showed me some video from other guys who bunt really well. There isn’€™t one way to do it, so we’€™re trying to find out what’€™s comfortable for me.’€

Crawford had at least attempted to utilize his speed via bunts early on his career, although without much success. In his first five seasons, the lefty hitter came away with just 18 hits in 100 bunt attempts. The next five years he pretty much abandoned the practice, notching three hits in 21 bunt attempts, going 0-for-2 in 2011.

‘€œI think I could always get better at it, I just never felt comfortable doing it,’€ he said. ‘€œI probably got the reputation of not wanting to do it. If you’€™re not comfortable the way somebody is teaching it to you, you’€™re not going to be comfortable. We’€™ve just been trying to find that comfort zone.

‘€œLast year I don’€™t think I tried to lay down many bunts for base hits, so that should open things up for me a little bit more.’€

Random Red Sox notes from Wednesday morning

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

FORT MYERS — Here are some things you may or may not care about emanating from the Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday morning:

Andrew Bailey tested his ailing lat muscle, throwing from 200 feet away and reporting no lingering pain. The plan, he said, is to now get the go-ahead from the medical men to toss a bullpen in the next couple of days.

– Another throwing-related note comes from Ryan Kalish, who on Wednesday is throwing for the first time since August.

– The theme for Wednesday’s positive-reinforcement video — which has been playing in the clubhouse each day to identify aspects of the game the team will be working on — was simply Red Sox hitters hitting. There were a litany of home runs, a few bat-flips, and some hard-hit doubles. Mike Aviles identified it as the “hurting pitchers’ feelings” loop.

– One of those shown executing a bat-flip in the video was Cody Ross, who could also be seen wearing his pants just under his knees. With uniform fitting scheduled for Thursday, it was asked was the strategy was there. Ross explained that the only time he wears his pants lower is in cold weather, but he still has pants measured out just midway down his calf, the highest tailoring job usually on the team.

Bobby Jenks made a quick appearance, stopping to say he is still just doing a lot of pool work to take pressure off his back. There is no timetable to advance in his exercise regimen.

– Since Ryan Sweeney came away with the team’s best vertical jump (37 inches), he was asked to identify his best athletic achievement. Answer: dunking in eighth grade. In case you’re wondering, he was recruited to play basketball by more than a few Big 10 schools.

Jose Iglesias was one of the first to get his new shipment of bats, a development he was clearly excited about, partly due to his decision to switch to a new model. Iglesias is using a Louisville Slugger B363 instead of a C271, which means he will be wielding a bigger barrel. It’s a practice he started at the end of last season.

– Iglesias clearly is in Dustin Pedroia‘s torture chamber. First Pedroia said he doesn’t touch bats that don’t hit bombs, but then asked to see Iglesias’ new bat, asking if it was made out of balsa. The second baseman then promptly put up a sheet of paper that had two columns, with three checks under “Me (champ)” and none under “Iggy.” Evidently there is a fielding contest going on between the two.

Bobby Valentine has every intention of improving the outfield arms

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012


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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox held their first formal workout inside the brand new jetBlue Park Tuesday morning as manager Bobby Valentine threw and batted balls off the left and right field walls to simulate cutoff plays and throwing in the park that has the identical outfield dimensions as the club’s Fenway Park home.

Valentine said he is making a point this year of improving outfield defense and throwing strength, trying to improve the throwing arms of all of his outfielders.

“Part of the program today was cutoffs and positioning with our relays,” Valentine said. “This is our ballpark and we’€™re going to play at least 81 games in it and it’€™s great to have it and practice in. So, because there are a couple of nooks and crannies that are particular to ours, I think, obviously, our cutoffs and relays are a little different at times so, it’€™s good.’€

Eight-time Gold Glover Dwight Evans paid a visit to Red Sox camp on Tuesday.

“I’€™d love to talk to Dwight about that,” Valentine said. “He’€™s one of the good men. And, I hear [Carl Yastrzemski] comes to camp, too. I hope I can get him over. There hasn’€™t been an invite out only because I didn’€™t know he’€™d be down here.’€

While Valentine was poking fun at Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for fighting the now-retired Jason Varitek, Valentine took a shot at another Yankee, Derek Jeter, and his famous cutoff play near the plate that resulted in a crucial put out of Jeremy Giambi in Game 4 of the 2001 ALDS.

‘€œWe’€™ll never practice that. We’€™ll never practice that. I think the ball gets him out if he doesn’€™t touch it, personally. But the Jeter-like simulation today is the idea what the first baseman and third baseman do as the ball is coming in.’€

Outfield prospect Che-Hsuan Lin has already impressed with his arm in the outfield in workouts.

‘€œI know we have one outstanding thrower according to [outfield instructor/first base coach]Alex Ochoa, and it’€™s not Alex and he was an outstanding thrower. Lin is in a different place. From reports, a couple of the arms are a little lower on the rating scale, and we’€™re going to try to adjust for that.’€ (more…)

Stuffy McInnis getting no love from Red Sox fans

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Red Sox are conducting an ongoing poll to see who might be the best players ever to man their respective positions for the Sox during Fenway Park’s 100 years. (To do your part by voting, click here.)

Thus far, folks have been able to vote for four positions: first base, catcher, right-handed pitcher and left-handed pitcher. Here are the results to date:

catcher Jason Varitek 51.49
catcher Carlton Fisk 47.10
catcher Rich Gedman 0.97
catcher Rick Ferrell 0.26
catcher Sammy White 0.18
catcher Birdie Tebbetts 0.09
firstbase Jimmie Foxx 46.77
firstbase Kevin Youkilis 21.44
firstbase Mo Vaughn 17.23
firstbase George Scott 10.15
firstbase Bill Buckner 4.00
firstbase Stuffy McInnis 0.41
lefthandedpitcher Lefty Grove 22.66
lefthandedpitcher Jon Lester 20.93
lefthandedpitcher Babe Ruth 19.52
lefthandedpitcher Bill Lee 14.32
lefthandedpitcher Mel Parnell 10.77
lefthandedpitcher Bruce Hurst 8.23
lefthandedpitcher Dutch Leonard 2.19
lefthandedpitcher Ray Collins 1.12
lefthandedpitcher Herb Pennock 0.24
righthandedpitcher Pedro Martinez 50.92
righthandedpitcher Roger Clemens 16.99
righthandedpitcher Tim Wakefield 16.45
righthandedpitcher Luis Tiant 5.62
righthandedpitcher Smoky Joe Wood 3.87
righthandedpitcher Jim Lonborg 2.74
righthandedpitcher Dennis Eckersley 2.28
righthandedpitcher Bill Monbouquette 0.91
righthandedpitcher Tex Hughson 0.22

Video: Injury update on John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Rob Bradford is joined by Dr. Nick Leung of Newton Wellesley Orthopedic Associates to discuss Tommy John surgery and the recovery process associated with it. Red Sox pitchers John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill all underwent the surgery in 2011 and continue their rehab as the Red Sox prepare for their 2012 season.