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Dustin Pedroia on Big Show: Relationship with Terry Francona wasn’t the problem 11.16.11 at 4:27 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia joined The Big Show Wednesday, discussing the Red Sox, his relationship with former manager Terry Francona and the departure of closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Pedroia, who is currently hosting Papelbon at his house, said he was “devastated” when he learned the right-hander was leaving the Red Sox.

“He’s my family,” Pedroia said of Papelbon, whom he called a “special” player. When you find out that he’s going to another team, it crushes you.”

Pedroia said the Red Sox’ historic September collapse still crosses his mind every day. The Sox went 7-20 in September, losing their nine-game Wild Card lead and missing out on the playoffs.

“Shoot, I think about it every day,” he said. “As a player, that’s the last thing you want to do, is have a big lead and let it slip away and not even get in and not even get an opportunity to accomplish our goals. I keep thinking if there was something I could have done as a player to impact a game, andy one of those games in September. I think about it all the time and it’s definitely upsetting and frustrating.

“You’ve got to move on from it and get stronger and be better next year, but I think all of us, when our careers are over, we’re going to always think of 2011 as something that is a negative, and it hurts. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”

Pedroia denied a Comcast Sportsnet report that indicated some players felt he “couldn’t be trusted” because of his close relationship with Francona during the Red Sox’ September collapse.

“If people think I was part of the problem because I was close with our manager, that’s ridiculous,” he said.

Added Pedroia: “If anybody had a problem, come talk to me. That’s the way I looked at it, and nobody did that. My teammates know how much i care about everybody’€¦ they all know I’ll do anything for any of them.”

As for the team’s next manager, Pedroia said he has been paying “extremely close” attention to the process. He didn’t indicate what his preference is, and instead left that to general manager Ben Cherington.

“That’s Ben’s job,” Pedroia said. “That’s a tough job that he has, but I’m sure everyone’s confident [in him]. I’ve known Ben for a while, since I got drafted. He’s a first-class guy, wants to win, works extremely hard, so I think we’re in pretty good hands.

With the screw in his left foot now out, Pedroia said he is “going to get cleared to run and get going on my offseason workouts full-blast” soon.

Hot Stove: Red Sox reportedly interested in Mark Buehrle 11.08.11 at 4:19 pm ET
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According to FoxSports.com, the Red Sox are among the teams “said to be interested” in free agent left-handed starter Mark Buehrle. The report suggests that competition for Buehrle’s services is “intense.” The 32-year-old, who has spent his entire 12-year career with the White Sox, was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA for the White Sox in 2011. Though he struck out just 4.8 batters per nine innings, Buehrle also demonstrated his characteristic command (2.0 walks per nine) and durability.

Buehrle has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last 11 seasons. No other major league starter has reached the milestone in more than eight seasons over that span. His streak of 11 straight years with at least 30 starts is also the longest in the majors.

Buehrle is a four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. He has a career record of 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA. He just completed a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox, and is now a free agent for the first time in his career.

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Hot Stove: More starters could be dangled in trade market 11.05.11 at 1:40 pm ET
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According to FoxSports.com, the Giants are open to trading left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez this offseason. Sanchez, who turns 29 this month, struggled to a 4-7 record and 4.26 ERA in 19 starts last year, as injuries and command issues (a career-high 5.9 walks per nine innings) resulted in diminished effectiveness.

Even so, the hard-throwing left-hander has struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings throughout his career, and he was a significant contributor to the Giants team that won the World Series in 2010, going 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA and 205 strikeouts (as well as an NL-high 96 walks) that season.

Sanchez earned $4.8 million in 2011. He is in his last year of team control before reaching free agency, and is expected, according to the report, to receive a salary bump to the vicinity of $6 million. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Gavin Floyd, Gio Gonzalez, Hot Stove 2011, Jeremy Guthrie
David Page on M&M: Sox players knew they were ‘pulling the plug’ 11.04.11 at 1:37 pm ET
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A day after being fired, former Red Sox strength and conditioning coach David Page joined Mut & Merloni to discuss the circumstances of the Red Sox slip both physically and in the standings as the 2011 season wore on.

Page said an eye-opening moment for him came in the final series of the season in Baltimore, when he asked a player why they weren’t giving as much.

“I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ It seems like you’ve pulled the plug a little bit. Why?’ He looked down at the ground and looked back at me and said, ‘I don’t know why. I can’t answer that question.’ [That] was kind of a shock.”

Page also said that upon being fired, he received a text message from a player taking responsibility for his fate.

Said Page: “He texted me and said, ‘I feel this is all my fault.”

Page said that by the end of the season, there were four players — one starting pitcher, one position player and two relievers — who were not in optimal shape. When he would notice a player’s conditioning slipping, he would approach the front office or coaches hoping to further his message to the player.

“There were a couple of times when someone from the front office or the uniformed coaches would come to me and say something, but for the most part, it was me going to them saying, ‘Hey, I’m having trouble reaching this guy. Can you give me some backup here? Let’s try to use my words and your voice and see what happens.”

Asked whether he felt that backup was there, Page responded, “I would say it’s been a lot better in the past.”

Still, Page was surprised when he was fired given that so much time had passed.

“I was very surprised. It was a tough thing to hear,” he said. “Kind of shocking, the fact that they waited this long. I know they had some bigger fish to fry with the whole Theo [Epstein] situation, Tito [Francona] and all that stuff, but the far that they waited 33, 34 days from the end of the season to do it, it led me to believe things weren’t going to change. It really kind of limited my opportunities to move on with another team, so it was very surprising.”

Here are a few more highlights from Page’s appearance:

On the players getting out of shape:

“We do a pretty solid battery of tests. We got to the end of the year where — without naming names — we had four guys that we thought didn’t make it to that part of the season where we’d hoped they would be. One position player, an every day guy. One pitcher, a starting pitcher, and two bullpen guys. For the most part, everybody else had either stayed where they would be, or they were what he expected.”

On if he saw a difference in Josh Beckett as the season progressed:

“Yeah. Josh has always worked hard for me. He really has. He’s been probably one of the guys that we’ve wanted guys in the past to emulate. [We’d] say, ‘This is the guy that you need to follow.’

“He did express some concerns himself. In fact, he brought it up to me and the other members of our training staff, that he felt he was getting a little sideways, so to speak, with his weight. I don’t think it was something that was just noticed by us. I certainly think he felt the same way.”

On whether Beckett was the player with whom he spoke in Baltimore:

“No.”

On players drinking beer and eating chicken in the clubhouse:

“I really didn’t see chicken in the clubhouse all that often. I’m in and out of there a lot. I spend the first two or three innings every night just getting ready for post game stuff and my computer stuff. ‘€¦ I rarely saw the chicken. If they’re drinking beer, it’s probably upstairs, and I wasn’t up there. You see a guy drinking a beer when he comes out of the game, the starting pitcher might have one. That’s pretty common. It wasn’t as rampant as it’s gotten made out to be.”

On how he would let the front office know when players were getting out of shape:

“I sent a report every Sunday morning, a weekly report that goes to everybody pretty much in our front office. It goes to all our team doctors, our team physical therapists, our trainers. It went to Tito, Curt Young, the pitching coach. I think there was 13, 14 people that I sent it to every Sunday morning, so that spreadsheet would have what everybody did for the week on it. If somebody wasn’t represented on that sheet, everybody knew about it every week.”

On whether he felt he was made to be a scapegoat:

“Yeah, I think you could probably say that.”

Who would have thought the Red Sox’ season would come to this … video? 10.15.11 at 6:12 pm ET
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Get ready for the big game by chatting Red Sox with Lou Merloni at 2 p.m. 09.28.11 at 12:23 pm ET
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Join Lou Merloni immediately after the Mut and Merloni Show ends at 2 p.m. Lou will talk all things Red Sox leading up to their make-or-break game with Baltimore Wednesday night …

Merloni live chat

Closing Time: Red Sox lose to Orioles; fall into tie with Rays with two games left 09.26.11 at 10:25 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — It has gotten very, very uncomfortable for the Red Sox.

With a 6-3 loss to the Orioles Monday night at Camden Yards, along with Tampa Bay’s 5-2 win over the Yankees, the Sox now find themselves tied with the Rays in the wild card race with two games to play in the regular season.

The difference-maker this time was Robert Andino’s inside-the-park, three-run homer with two out sin the sixth inning, capping a four-run frame that gave the Orioles the lead for good. The blast came off Red Sox’ starter Josh Beckett, who finished his six innings having surrendered six runs on seven hits, striking out five and walking four.

It gave the Sox their 19th loss this month, giving the the worst winning percentage of any team in franchise history for September, while claiming the second-most losses, only behind the 1952 club’s 20 defeats.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ 71st loss of the season:

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Beckett was close to escaping the pivotal sixth inning, but couldn’t close the deal. With two outs and one on, the righty walked Mark Reynolds before getting to a 1-and-2 count on Chris Davis. But the Orioles’ first baseman managed to rake a low and inside changeup into the right field corner, scoring Vladimir Guerrero with the go-ahead run. After getting behind 0-and-1, Andino, the Orioles’ batter — who had won the game for Baltimore in Boston a week before — launched a fastball to the center field wall which fell out of Red Sox’ center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s glove as he crashed into the wall, leading to the pivotal homer.

– Ellsbury made a solid bid at catching Andino’s blast, seemingly hauling in the fly ball just before hitting the wall in center. But the ball not only popped out, but trickled away just enough to force the outfielder to have to flip it to nearby right fielder J.D. Drew. Drew’s throw was relayed in by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, whose throw short-hopped catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, allowing for the first-ever inside-the-park homer in Camden Yards history. It was the first inside-the-parker hit against the Red Sox since July 23, 2006 by Adrian Beltre.

– For the third straight game, Beckett fell victim to the home run, this time giving up a Wieters’ solo homer in the second, just over the left field wall, to tie the game at 1-1. The Sox’ starter allowed at least one homer in each of his four outings against Baltimore this season.

– The last legitimate rally by the Red Sox fell short when, with the bases loaded and one out, Saltalamacchia struck out and Marco Scutaro ended the inning with a ground out to shortstop.

– Saltalamacchia was forced from the game in the eighth inning when Adam Jones‘ foul ball ricocheted off the catcher’s left shoulder. The backstop was led off the field by Sox’ trainer Mike Reinold.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– For the second straight game, Jed Lowrie notched an extra-base hit, this time hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning which gave the Sox’ a 2-1 lead. The blast, which cleared the right field fence, was the third baseman’s second homer of the season hitting left-handed.

– Ellsbury stayed red-hot, this time making his presence felt by plating the game’s first run on a double and throwing error by Baltimore left fielder Matt Angle. Angle for some unknown reason launched his throw back in toward the Orioles dugout, leaving catcher Matt Wieters helpless as Scutaro came all the way around from first to score.

– Beckett got out of a huge jam in the fifth inning after loading the bases with one out. With the Orioles having just tied the game via an RBI single from Chris Davis, Beckett got J.J. Hardy to pop out to third base and Nick Markakis to strikeout on a nasty curveball.

Live Blog: Josh Beckett, Red Sox face Orioles in series opener 09.26.11 at 7:20 pm ET
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Red Sox/Orioles live blog

Red Sox issue statement on John Lackey 09.26.11 at 5:36 pm ET
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One day after John Lackey lashed out at the media regarding a text message he’d received regarding a personal matter, the Red Sox issued a statement on the pitcher pitcher John Lackey amidst reports that he has filed for divorce from his wife.

The statement reads as follows:

“John Lackey is dealing with a deeply personal family issue, and it is one the Red Sox do not feel is appropriate for public debate. The Red Sox request that John and Krista’€™s privacy be respected.

The Red Sox will not have any further comment.’€

Krista Lackey has been battling breast cancer since being diagnosed prior to last Thanksgiving.

Live Blog: Jon Lester, Red Sox look to find answers in Yankee Stadium 09.23.11 at 5:12 pm ET
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