|Ben Cherington: Mike Napoli announcement more than a couple of days away||01.17.13 at 11:49 pm ET|
PROVIDENCE — Speaking prior to the Red Sox’ town hall meeting at La Salle Academy, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington declined to confirm multiple reports that the Red Sox and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli had finally agreed to new terms on a contract after physical issues delayed his signing for over six weeks.
“No, but we’re making some progress,” Cherington said. “It’s fair to say we’ve made some progress in the last day or so. Hopefully I’ll have something more formal to say soon, but not tonight.”
The Sox and Napoli first agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal earlier in the offseason, but hip issues prevented the deal from being finalized. The sides reportedly agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with incentives that could boost the pact’s value to $13 million.
Though Cherington wouldn’t confirm that the deal was done, he did say that he was never pessimistic as the negotiations dragged on.
“I don’t know that ‘doubtful’ was a word that I thought about,” he said. “We’ve just kept talking the entire time. I think when there’s dialogue there’s always a chance to get somewhere. It means there’s an interest on both sides, and when there’s an interest on both sides, there’s a chance and you’re hopeful.”
Cherington added that he does not believe the Sox will require Napoli to re-take a physical, though he said there are “still some things we’ve just got to work through.” He added that something could be made official “hopefully soon, but it won’t be in the next couple of days or anything like that.”
|Jon Lester finally loses to Orioles||09.21.12 at 11:15 pm ET|
Friday night’s loss was nothing out of the ordinary for the Red Sox, but it was for their starting pitcher.
The loss, Boston’s 84th in what’s been a dreadful season, marked the first time Jon Lester suffered a defeat against the Orioles in his career. He entered the night 14-0 lifetime against Baltimore in 20 starts, but the streak — the longest such streak against the Orioles to start one’s career since at least 1901, according to STATS LLC — was snapped Friday with Baltimore’s 4-2 victory over the Sox.
“It was bound to happen sometime,” Lester said after the game. “They’re playing good this year. They’ve always had a good offense. They’re just putting everything else together. Like I said, it was bound to happen.”
Lester threw seven innings for the Sox, allowing four earned runs on eight hits and walking three while striking out three. He also threw a wild pitch. The loss dropped Lester’s record to 9-13 in a season in which he will finish with a losing record for the first time in his career. Lester had won at least 15 games in the previous four seasons.
Though it wasn’t a bad outing for Lester (“His pitches were crisp. He battled the whole way,” Bobby Valentine said of the outing), one could have figured that Lester’s dominance over Baltimore would eventually end due to the Orioles’ resurgence. Baltimore currently holds the top wild-card spot and is one game behind the Yankees for the AL East lead.
“I think Buck [Showalter]‘s done a good job over there as far as trying to change the mentality of the players,” Lester said of the Orioles. “The offense was always there. They could always hit the ball and run and do the little things inside the game, but they lacked a little pitching whether it was the starting or the back end of the bullpen. They’ve done a good job of filling those pieces and it’s finally coming together for them.”
The silver lining for Lester and the Sox is that his woes from earlier in the season (three straight starts without getting out of the fifth inning in July, three games of seven earned runs or more in the first four months of the season) appear to be behind him. Lester has thrown seven innings in back-to-back starts, and has six quality starts over his last 10 outings. His earned run average has dropped over half a run from 5.49 at the end of July to 4.96 after Friday’s outing.
“If he pitches like that, for the way he’s pitched for the last couple months, month and a half, whatever the heck it’s been, even the whole second half, he’s going to win a lot of games,” Valentine said. “He’ll be up there in wins. Balls are going to be hit at people more in the future I think.
“If he stays healthy, he’s a very good pitcher. Every time he’s out there, we just don’t get the runs in double digits to get him a cushion. He has to make every pitch a crucial pitch and every once in a while it just doesn’t work for him.”
|Bobby Valentine: Jacoby Ellsbury dealing with ‘a little situation’||09.21.12 at 5:19 pm ET|
Jacoby Ellsbury was not in the Red Sox’ lineup Friday, with Bobby Valentine saying the center fielder is dealing with some undisclosed plain.
“He has a little situation that we’re making sure is nothing more than a little situation,” Valentine said. “He really shouldn’t have played yesterday.”
Added Valentine: “He’s just got a little — I’m not even sure how to define it, so I’m not going to to try.”
- The Red Sox also made some call-ups Friday, recalling third baseman Danny Valencia and pitchers Pedro Beato and Zach Stewart.
Stewart will get a start “coming up next week” in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka according to Valentine, possibly next Friday. He’ll throw on Tuesday. Valentine said that Valencia and Beato will be ready to be used as needed.
Aside from Matsuzaka getting skipped, there aren’t any current changes expected to come to the rotation. As is, there are no plans of shutting anybody down.
- In addition to the players called up, the Red Sox have also brought up Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler and pitching coach Rich Sauveur fresh off a trip to the Triple-A championship.
“Really good guys,” Valentine said of the coaches. “Really great baseball men who both came off a season with a lot of the guys who are on our team playing for them on and off and winning a championship. I’m going to use them as much as I can to help define what I’m looking at as often as possible. They’re really good guys. I really enjoyed being with them in the spring, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy having them here. It gets a little crowded in that coaches room, and I even offered them my office.”
- Valentine had planned on giving Dustin Pedroia the day off given that the team got in early this morning and Pedroia has a newborn, but the second baseman insisted upon being in the lineup.
“I know him with family and business, but he really wanted to play today,” Valentine said.
|John Lackey faces hitters for first time since surgery||09.08.12 at 5:13 pm ET|
Red Sox starter John Lackey threw live batting practice Saturday, marking the first time the veteran right-hander has thrown to hitters since getting Tommy John surgery last Nov. 1. Lackey, 33, threw 15 pitches in the session as teammates looked on.
“[It was] the first step in a new world for him after a real hard summer of rehab,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “Better than how he looked is how he felt. He said he felt great afterwards, and that’s what’s really important.”
Valentine said that he felt Lackey’s session was “OK considering that it’s the first time” he’s thrown to hitters in quite some time.
“His breaking ball was really good, which is usually the last thing,” Valentine said. “He’s been working on that less. It was good, he just didn’t have real good control of his two-seamer.”
The manager said that the next step for Lackey is “more of the same,” and while he said he wasn’t positive when he would face hitters again, Valentine said he “wouldn’t be surprised if it’s four days from [Saturday].”
Valentine also said he wasn’t sure whether Lackey would get into any game situations at any level before the end of the season, and the pitcher told ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald that he will not pitch in games this season.
Lackey is in the third year of the a five-year, $82.5 million deal he signed in December of 2009. In two seasons with the Sox, Lackey is 26-23 with a 5.26 earned run average.
A couple of other notes from Saturday:
- Valentine offered no update on David Ortiz. The designated hitter has been out since suffering an Achilles strain on July 16.
- Felix Doubront said he doesn’t feel the change in pitching coach last month has had anything to do with his recent struggles. The left-hander has seen his earned run average rise in five consecutive starts, with his latest lackluster showing coming Friday in the form of a four-plus inning, five earned-run performance against the Blue Jays. Valentine said prior to Saturday’s game that any discussion regarding shutting Doubront down has yet to take place.
|Highlights from Ben Cherington’s conference call discussing Bob McClure, Carl Crawford||08.20.12 at 7:54 pm ET|
On a conference call to discuss the firing of pitching coach Bob McClure and the Carl Crawford‘s upcoming Tommy John surgery, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the dismissal of McClure was “performance-based,” but that the Sox also have to look inward at their pitching struggles.
“He’s a quality guy, a good coach,” Cherington said of McClure. “It just didn’t work out the way we’d hoped. Whenever it doesn’t work out, we have to look at ourselves first and ask what, if anything, we could have done differently to make it work better, so we’ll do that, but it just wasn’t working out. We felt like we needed to make a change. We felt like the right thing to do was to give everyone a fresh start and Bob will get a fresh start, and I fully expect him to get a good opportunity somewhere else.”
Red Sox starters rank 25th in a majors with 57 quality starts, while Boston’s 4.30 team ERA ranks 23rd. Randy Niemann will take over as the team’s pitching coach.
Cherington noted that he does not foresee any more changes for now.
Here are other highlights from Cherington’s conference call:
On why they let McClure go:
“This was a performance-based decision. As I said yesterday and as I think bobby has said, I think there’s been a real good effort on the part of the staff to work together and iron out any communication issues that may have existed previously. We simply felt like we needed to make a change to put our pitchers in the best position to do what they needed to do the next six weeks. We feel like the next six weeks are important, no matter what our record ends up and there are things we need to accomplish the next six weeks to create a foundation going into the offseason. We felt like this change was needed to give ourselves the best chance to do that.”
On Niemann as the new pitching coach:
“Randy’s got a lot of experience, too. He knows our guys well. He’s been involved with the pitching staff pretty intimately since the beginning of spring training. There won’t be any learning curve, that’s for sure. He’s done most jobs in the game. He was obviously a major-league pitcher himself and has had a long coaching career and has a lot of experience, and we felt like he can be part of the solution to making sure that we get a lot of good work done with our pitchers the rest of the season.”
On coming to the decision for Crawford to get surgery:
“The medical staff, Pete Asnis, Rick Jameyson, our team physician and head trainer, ultimately make the recommendation, but there’s other people involved. We did consult Dr. Andrews again recently just to fill him in on the way it’s been and what Carl has gone through more recently and, ultimately, the medical staff, factoring in all the information including the recent increase in symptoms, made a recommendation that it’s probably something that needs to get done, and it’s just a question of when it gets done. We felt like the time was now.”
On Crawford getting the surgery:
“I think it became clear over the last few days that surgery was going to happen, it was just a question of when. We felt like after talking about it more this weekend and with Carl, the right thing to do was to get it taken care of now. Give Carl credit. He played through the injury and played pretty well. but the symptoms, it wasn’t getting better. the symptoms were getting worse. We just decided to ask him to keep going out there. we decided to take care of it now and he agreed with that.”
|Josh Beckett: Happy in Boston, Red Sox’ clubhouse ‘the exact opposite’ of dysfunctional||08.07.12 at 12:54 pm ET|
A notably chipper Josh Beckett joined WAAF’s Hill Man Morning Show Tuesday to discuss his situation with the Red Sox and the upcoming sixth annual Beckett Bowl.
Following is a complete transcript of all baseball and Red Sox-related questions. To hear the complete interview (and it’s recommended just for the sake of hearing how cheery the generally stoic Beckett sounded), click here.
On how he’s feeling:
“I’m good. Just muscle spasms. We traveled in late from New York, and I didn’t sleep particularly well. I had a lot of anxiety and stress things going on, exterior distractions. I don’t think a lot of it was great for my back. Then going out and pitching on that mound, it was very wet and my back just locked up on me.”
On making his start tomorrow:
“Oh yeah. I think I could have went today, Jonny [Lester]‘s day. He pitched so well last time that it was kind of up to him when he wanted to pitch. He was going to go today on his normal day and I’ll go tomorrow.”
On whether this season has been harder:
“Well I think just this past week [regarding trade rumors] was different for me, and I alluded to that, I did a little press conference after my start the other day and I alluded to that. Just that week was so much different for me because they were all rumors. They were apparently not being brought up by the Red Sox, because I was hearing from everybody that none of this was true and everything like that, but I still had to answer questions about it, so it was very confusing. That’s where I think the anxiety comes in. It’s not so much stress, it’s more anxiety than anything because you’re not real sure how things are going.”
On whether he feels he’s misunderstood by fans and media:
“I think for me, I’m just me. I don’t pay too much mind to when people have their opinions about it. I’m not going to change and I think sometimes that’s kind of what the media outlets want you to do here. They want you to be who they want you to be instead of just who you are. I’m just me, and I have a really good support group around me. As long as I don’t do anything to piss my wife off, I’ll be OK.”
On players potentially ratting Bobby Valentine out to upper management:
“I don’t even know. I heard something about the Will Middlebrooks thing, but I’m almost positive that Bobby was the one that brought that up to the media. I don’t know. Like I said, you can’t pay attention to it. I’ve got too many other things to do, basically. I don’t have time to pay attention to what Joe [expletive] is writing.”
On Curt Schilling saying he would take a swing at a manager for what Valentine said to Middlebrooks and whether he’d do the same:
“No, not if he’s my manager I wouldn’t. I think that’s easy for Schill to say now that he’s not on the team.”
On whether he’s happy in Boston:
On if the Red Sox have a dysfunctional clubhouse:
“No, it’s the exact opposite. There’s people who want it to be that way, and it’s not so it makes them mad when they come in there and we’re laughing and joking and having a good time. They want the perception to be something, and that’s what they’re going to write. There’s some very, very good media outlets here and there’s some very, very not good ones. The ones that are not good are the ones that want to perception to be what they want it to be no matter what, and that’s what they’re going to write.
“There’s nothing you can do about it, and that’s the way it’s been here for a long time. I talked to Jim Rice about it a few days ago. Jimmy was obviously not a fan of the media at all when he was here and had a lot of trouble with that and ended up to where he thinks it actually cost him a couple years on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. That’s just the way it is, that’s the way it’s always been here apparently. They talk about Ted Williams had problems with it when he was here.”
|Report: Red Sox interested in Stephen Drew||07.19.12 at 3:09 pm ET|
According to a report from FOX Sports, the Red Sox are among the teams interested in Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew. The report names the Pirates and Tigers as other teams interested.
The former 15th overall pick, who is the brother of former major leaguers J.D. and Tim Drew, has played in 15 games this season after dealing with an ankle injury. Drew is hitting .192/.246/.250 this season with three runs batted in. His deal calls for $7.775 million this year with a $10 million mutual option for next season.
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