Archive for January, 2013

Source: Red Sox agree to minor league deal with Lyle Overbay

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Lyle Overbay has agreed to a minor league deal with the Red Sox. (AP)

According to a baseball source, the Red Sox reached an agreement with first baseman Lyle Overbay on a minor league deal. Overbay, who turned 36 three days ago, spent 2012 with the Diamondbacks and Braves, hitting .259/.331/.397/.727 in 65 games, including a .292/.367/.448/.815 line with the Diamondbacks through July before an injury wiped out his August. He struggled after being dealt to Atlanta, where he served primarily as a pinch-hitter in 20 games, hitting .100/.143/.150/.293 in 20 games that spanned 21 plate appearances.

In 12 big league seasons with the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Blue Jays, Pirates and Braves, Overbay is a career .270/.353/.438/.791 hitter who’s averaged 16 homers and 39 doubles per 162 games. If Overbay makes the Sox roster, he represents a potential left-handed complement to Mike Napoli, who was signed to be the Sox’ everyday first baseman. Aside from Overbay, the Sox also have Mauro Gomez and Mark Hamilton as potential backup options at first base.

For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.

Precedent suggests five-month recovery for Ryan Kalish

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Ryan Kalish seems likely to be out until roughly mid-season following shoulder surgery. (AP)

On Tuesday, Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right (non-throwing) shoulder, a procedure that included a repair of a posterior labrum tear. The Red Sox described the surgery as successful. But what does that mean? A couple of position players to undergo similar procedures offers a glimpse.

In 2008, B.J. Upton proved a uniquely destructive source against the Sox in the American League Championship Series. His spectacular performance (4 homers, 11 RBI in the seven-game series) occurred while he had a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Upton underwent surgery in mid-November. After opening the 2009 season on the disabled list — partly a precaution against Tampa Bay’s season-opening roadtrip to cold-weather venues — Upton was back by mid-April, almost exactly five months after his procedure. (more…)

Ryan Kalish undergoes labrum surgery

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The Red Sox announced that outfielder Ryan Kalish underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder with a repair of the posterior labrum in his right (non-throwing) shoulder on Tuesday. The 24-year-old is expected to miss all of spring training and multiple months of the big league season.

A year ago, after he underwent surgery to repair the labrum on his left (throwing) shoulder in early December, Kalish played his first game for a minor league affiliate at the end of May. This year, with his surgery coming nearly two months later, the Sox expect that his 2013 campaign will start even later, even as the fact that the surgery was done on his non-throwing shoulder suggests that the rehab might not require quite as much time.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Jason Varitek not a likely candidate to replace Gary Tuck

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Jason Varitek is not expected to join the Red Sox coaching staff this year (AP)

There will come a time, and it may be in the near future, that former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek can commence his big league coaching career with virtually his pick of jobs. But for now, even though the Red Sox have a newly created need for a bullpen coach and catching instructor on their big league staff with the sudden retirement of Gary Tuck, it does not appear that Varitek is being considered — or even wants to be considered — for a full-time return to uniform, according to a major league source.

Varitek retired because he wanted to spend time with his family, and while the 40-year-old embraced the opportunity to return to the Sox as a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington, that job seemingly represents the work-life balance that Varitek would like to maintain for now. There’s little question that a coaching future is available to him, but for the present, he’s likely to remain in his role.

That, in turn, means that the Sox must work to find a replacement for Tuck with less than two weeks before the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers. Given that compressed timetable, while the Sox had yet to contact candidates about interviews as of Wednesday afternoon, the team plans to select from an internal pool of candidates already within the organization.

Three stand out as fairly obvious:

Chad Epperson spent the last two years as the Sox’ roving catching instructor, a capacity in which he’s worked with the likes of Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (as well as minor leaguers such as Dan Butler, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart) for years. Last year, when Tuck had to take a leave of absence for personal reasons, Epperson joined the big league staff as his fill-in. He also knows a number of the team’s homegrown pitchers, having coached or managed players like Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubront and Daniel Nava while they were coming up through the system. (more…)

Report: Bobby Valentine interviews for Sacred Heart University AD job

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine, fired in October after one year as manager of the Red Sox, apparently is eager to find new employment. According to a report in the Connecticut Post, Valentine is a candidate to become athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

The report indicates that Valentine, a native of nearby Stamford, visited the SHU campus two weeks ago and interviewed for the opportunity to replace Don Cook, who is retiring after 20 years in the position.

Valentine, 62, has done some radio work since leaving the Sox. Before his stint in Boston, he was an analyst for ESPN for two years.

Bullpen coach Gary Tuck leaves Red Sox

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Gary Tuck

Multiple major sources have confirmed that Red Sox bullpen coach Gary Tuck has chosen not to return for the 2013 season. It is unclear why Tuck has chosen not to return after initially agreeing to join manager John Farrell‘s coaching staff earlier in the offseason.

Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox had retained the services of Tuck, who was in the option year of his contract. The 58-year-old had been with the Red Sox since 2006, serving as both the team’s bullpen coach and catching instructor, having been courted by John Farrell to become the Blue Jays bench coach prior to the ’11 season.

Tuck, who had left the Red Sox for a stretch during the 2012 regular season due to personal reasons and also required time to recover from double hernia surgery in spring training last year, would have been the lone member of the Red Sox’ 2012 major league coaching staff to return for ’13. At this time, there is no known replacement for the highly regarded instructor, though it is worth noting that Chad Epperson, the team’s minor league catching coordinator, filled in for Tuck as the bullpen coach during his leave in 2012.

Tuck was hugely protective of both his catchers and members of the Red Sox bullpen, forming a pirate-themed club among Sox relievers that carried over from season to season. Besides working with the backstops, he also was credited with the development of numerous Sox pitchers, with one example being former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima. Early in the 2007 season, Tuck taught Okajima the changeup (or “Okee-doke”) that helped turn the lefty into an All-Star.

Tuck is believed to be the only coach in major league history to have won World Series rings with both the Red Sox and Yankees. He has developed a reputation as one of the game’s premier catching instructors, having played professionally at the position during a three-year minor league career with the Montreal Expos.

Former Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison signs with Mets

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Scott Atchison agreed to a minor league deal with the Mets on Tuesday (AP)

Reliever Scott Atchison, who spent the last three years with the Red Sox, is moving on.

The New York Mets announced that they’ve agreed on a minor league deal with the right-hander that includes an invitation to big league spring training. While Atchison, 36, was an outstanding performer for the Red Sox in 2012, forging a 1.58 ERA in 51 1/3 innings (the fourth-best ERA among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched last year) while striking out 6.3 batters per nine innings and walking just 1.6 per nine, an ulnar collateral ligament strain that sidelined him for two months in the second half dampened his free agent market.

Atchison was told by Dr. James Andrews that he could pitch again with a course of rest and rehab, rather than surgery. He did, in fact, end up pitching in five games at the end of the season, logging 5 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out two and walking none.

The reliever told MLB.com on Monday that the Red Sox — after declining to tender him a contract in December, thus making him a free agent — had offered him only a minor league deal. Given that the team added right-handers Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara to an already deep bullpen mix, Atchison felt that he was better served to sign a minor league deal with a different club that presented a greater opportunity to make the Opening Day roster. (more…)