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Video: Injury update on John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill 02.28.12 at 2:03 pm ET
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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.

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Photos from Red Sox spring training at JetBlue Park 02.27.12 at 2:16 pm ET
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This spring training is a special one for the Red Sox as it is their first in the brand new JetBlue Park at Fenway South facility. WEEI is down in Fort Myers, Fla., covering the team as well providing a behind-the-scenes look at the park. To see photos of players, coaches, front office personnel and the beautiful new park, click here or on the image below.
A few quick highlights of JetBlue Park, courtesy of Alex Speier‘s blog post from earlier in the month which included a video tour of the park:

‘€“ The complex, with the 11,000-seat park sitting as the crown jewel, will open for games on March 3 when the team hosts Northeastern and Boston College in a day-night doubleheader.

‘€“ The ballpark offers some elements familiar at Fenway Park, including a left-field wall with similar dimensions to the Green Monster in the team’€™s home ballpark in Boston, a triangle in right-center field and a right-field fence that angles back steeply from the foul pole. The scoreboard on the left-field wall is a restored version of the actual manual scoreboard that was used at Fenway Park from 1976 until the middle of last decade.

‘€“ The left-field fence has an interesting wrinkle. A few feet above the scoreboard, there is a net in front of 258 seats that are ‘€œinside’€ the wall. Balls hit off the net remain in play. In order to be a home run, the ball must be hit a few more feet above the net. There is a ‘€œMonster Deck’€ atop the left field wall, from which spectators can see both the ballpark and the six practice fields behind it.

‘€“ Field 1 identically replicates the dimensions of the playing field at Fenway, including the curvature and heights of the various walls.

‘€“ A familiar ensemble of retired numbers is on display in right field: No. 9 (Ted Williams), No. 4 (Joe Cronin), No. 1 (Bobby Doerr), No. 8 (Carl Yastrzemski), No. 27 (Carlton Fisk), No. 6 (Johnny Pesky), No. 14 (Jim Rice) and No. 42 (Jackie Robinson).

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Poll: What is your opinion of Josh Beckett’s priorities? 02.27.12 at 12:22 pm ET
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Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett revealed in an interview with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that he shifted his primary focus from the team to his family last season, as his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child only hours after the season-ending loss to the Orioles.

“If somebody reads this or somebody thinks I’m wrong, they can go [expletive] themselves,” he said of those who are critical of his decision. “That’s the truth. That’s what’s important to me. I’m not saying baseball is not important. I could differentiate on the day I was pitching. I went out there and I was still as competitive. I’m not saying my mind was only focused on just this pitch because I did have other things on my mind. Whether you want to understand that or not, I don’t care because I know who I am and what I’m trying to do.”

What is your opinion of Josh Beckett now?

  • He can prioritize his family, but he should keep comments like these to himself. (35%)
  • He is right to prioritize family over team and everyone should respect that. (35%)
  • For what he gets paid, he should be more focused on his job. (24%)
  • He should be 100 percent focused on baseball from April to October. (6%)
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LouTube recap: Merloni answers Red Sox spring training questions 02.22.12 at 6:38 pm ET
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Watch live video from WEEI Live Stream on Justin.tv

Terry Francona on The Big Show: ‘Blowing off steam’ with Manny Ramirez comment 02.22.12 at 6:00 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, now an analyst for ESPN, joined The Big Show Wednesday to discuss the upcoming baseball season and his days as the team’s skipper. Francona discussed Manny Ramirez, Carl Crawford and the Sox’ rotation, among other things.

A column written in November by Peter Gammons quoted Francona as saying “Manny Ramirez is the worst human being I’ve ever met” in the 2008 season. Francona wasn’t sure he said those exact words, but did say he was angry with Ramirez after he had pushed traveling secretary Jack McCormick.

“I actually talked to Peter this morning,” Francona said. “I don’t remember ever saying that about somebody. I think what probably happened is — I know it was the Jack McCormick incident — I was probably blowing off some steam, and I was having a conversation with Peter, not an interview. I don’t want to sit here and say I was misquoted, because it wasn’t an interview. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about somebody.”

Francona said that Gammons said he shouldn’t have written the quote, but Francona’s fine with it now.

“I was probably blowing off some steam,” he said, “but when you blow off steam sometimes you learn the hard way, so whatever.”

The former manager did admit that he was very upset when Ramirez shoved McCormick, reportedly over the number of tickets McCormick could secure for a game in Houston.

“That was probably the hardest thing that happened to me with the Red Sox, and it just bothered me so much and it ate at me so much, that yeah, it was hard,” Francona said. “It was very difficult.”

Francona couldn’t guess what the Athletics, who signed the slugger Monday, might be getting with Ramirez.

“Manny might be in a great place. I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t been around him for a while. There were a lot of good moments with Manny. There were just some that were tough, and some that were tougher than others, but it wasn’t just [problems] like every day. ‘€¦ That’s not how I felt. It was probably a bad day, and we’ve all said things like that.”

Sox left fielder Carl Crawford recently said that he felt that he had to force himself to be a power hitter when batting lower in the order, and that he and Francona hadn’t spoken about it. Francona denied that.

“I think [that's] — what’s the word? — revisionist history,” Francona said. “I probably have a little bit different version of that. As to where we hit him in the order, we started out the season wanting to hit him up high in the order. As the season unfolded rather quickly, the five guys we hit from 1-5, I think they broke records for offensive production. I’m not sure, where, being a responsible manager, if I shoved him in there, I’d have been doing the right thing for the team. There’s no way to get around it. He was struggling. He was having a hard time and he acknowledged that when we sat down and talked to him about hitting him lower in the order and just making sure he understood it.

“Guys remember things differently, and those are the types of stories that come out a year later. I don’t quite remember it the same way. I know I was talking to [former Red Sox bench coach] Demarlo Hale today about that a little bit and he kind of remembered it a little different too.”

Francona also addressed the fact that owner John Henry had not been returning his phone calls. The two have since spoken.

“In the last couple of days, I actually spoke to him at length. ‘€¦ He had texted me right after the season was over, and I called him back a number of times and never heard back from him,” he said. “It was a little miscommunication, but saying that, we had a conversation and it was probably a 30-minute conversation. It was probably five months too late, but it was a good conversation. It was honest from both sides, and I thought it was good. Good for everybody.”

Francona would not divulge what was discussed, saying it was a “personal conversation.”

“I told him, ‘You share whatever you want to share, but I’m not,’” Francona said. “That’s kind of how I left it with him.”

As for this year’s team, Francona shed light on the team’s decision to move Daniel Bard from the bullpen to the starting rotation.

“Daniel Bard’s not going to struggle as a starter,” he said. “The worry that I would have is probably his innings limit. You can’t just take a guy from the bullpen and let him throw 200 innings, and the Red Sox are as aware of that as anybody. They’re so good about watching stuff like that. If you average that out over the course of 35 starts, that’s five innings a start, so then you’re looking for someone to pick up those innings, which is hard because the guy you want to pick up those innings just made the start.

“I think people are forgetting that having a healthy Clay Buchholz back is huge. This kid turned himself into an All-Star pitcher, and all of a sudden once you’re not pitching, people seem to forget that. If he comes back healthy and he can lob 200 innings, wow, what a difference in the rotation.”

Sox sign Ohlendorf, Gomez to minor-league deals 02.16.12 at 12:06 pm ET
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The Red Sox on Thursday announced the signings of free agents first baseman Mauro Gomez and right-handed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf to 2012 minor league contracts with invites to Boston’€™s major league spring training camp as non-roster players. Both have been placed on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster.

Here’s a complete list of non-roster invitees:

Pitchers (15):

Scott Atchison

Jesse Carlson

Aaron Cook

Brandon Duckworth

Justin Germano

Rich Hill

Will Inman

Doug Mathis

Ross Ohlendorf

Vicente Padilla

Tony Pena Jr.

Carlos Silva

Chorye Spoone

Justin Thomas

Alex Wilson

Positional Players (9)

Daniel Butler (catcher)

Max St. Pierre (catcher)

Pedro Ciriaco (IF)

Mauro Gomez (IF)

Nate Spears (IF)

Alex Hassan (OF)

Josh Kroeger (OF)

Juan Carlos Linares (OF)

Jason Repko (OF)

Red Sox introduce new digital ticket initiative for upper bleacher seats 01.27.12 at 7:04 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced today a brand new digital ticket initiative as well as information for tomorrow’s general ticket sale. Below is the full release from the Red Sox:

BOSTON, MA ‘€“ As part of an ongoing effort to provide fans and families with more opportunities to purchase the most affordable seats at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox today introduced a new ‘€œDigital Ticket Initiative’€ that would help prevent the lowest priced seats at Fenway Park ‘€“ the Upper Bleacher seats priced at $12 ‘€“ from being sold on the secondary market at significantly higher prices.

For select high-demand games during the 2012 season, most seats in the Upper Bleacher area of the ballpark will only be offered as ‘€œdigital tickets’€ rather than printed tickets, and require the credit card used by the primary purchaser to be swiped at the gate in order to gain entry into the Park on game day.

‘€œOver the past 10 years, we have intentionally held the price of the Upper Bleacher seating category at $12 per seat in order to provide family-friendly pricing options for Red Sox fans,’€ said Red Sox SVP/Ticketing Ron Bumgarner. ‘€œThe downside of keeping these low price points is that these tickets sometimes end up on the secondary ticketing market at significantly marked up prices. By requiring the primary purchaser of the tickets to attend the game through this Digital Ticketing Initiative, our hope is to gradually eliminate those purchasing these specific tickets solely for the purpose of resale, and instead get these tickets into the hands of fans and families all over New England.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

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