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Larry Lucchino confirms Jon Lester contract negotiations tabled until after season 07.24.14 at 9:28 am ET
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During his appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Thursday, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino confirmed that contract talks with Jon Lester have been put on hold until after the season, just before the left-hander officially becomes a free agent.

“[Ben Cherington] may still have some continuing discussion with [agent] Seth [Levinson] on other issues or other matters, but certainly the negotiation, the parties have agreed to let’s step away and do this after the season,” Lucchino said, adding: “Jon made very clear to us that that was his preference.”

Lucchino said Lester wants to concentrate on his pitching for now.

“It’s done in part out of respect for Jon Lester and his desire to postpone this until after the season,” Lucchino said. “He’s on an extraordinary roll. His last five or six games, his ERA is I don’t know, 0.90 or something like that. He’s leading this team, leading the rotation, and his very strong preference, as I think you might have heard from him just a day or two ago on national television was not to have his family and himself distracted and focused on something other than pitching and winning baseball games.”

Lucchino said the move does not mean the Red Sox have given up on re-signing the pitcher, but he refused to talk about any specifics.

“I’m not going to answer a question about the analysis of the stages of this negotiation, because the negotiation will continue,” he said. “It will continue after the season, to be sure, but there will be an opportunity for us to resume negotiations with Jon and with his agent — they have made that abundantly clear to us. So, looking back and doing an analysis of, ‘Was this a wrong step or was this the right step,’ would only be counterproductive.

“I think that your listeners care about whether Jon Lester is likely to stay as a member of the Boston Red Sox for future years. And that probability will be diminished if we talk prematurely or excessively about various stages of the negotiation along the way. That’s not the way to sign Jon Lester. I know it makes for less good radio because you don’t have stages and details and ‘Who shot Jon’ analysis of various parts of the negotiation. But if the goal is to sign Jon Lester, it seems to me, and to keep him a member of the Boston Red Sox, again, negotiation on the radio waves is not the way to do it.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino,
Red Sox reportedly will open 2015 season in Philly, play Nationals in home opener 07.23.14 at 6:56 am ET
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Based on the most recent version of the 2015 schedule, the Red Sox will open next season April 6 against the Phillies in Philadelphia followed by a three-game series at Yankee Stadium before playing the Nationals in the home opener April 13, according to an ESPNBoston report.

The schedule is being reviewed by all major league teams and could be revised.

The Red Sox will play all National League East teams, squaring off against the Braves in back-to-back two-game series in Boston and Atlanta in June, hosting the Marlins in July then playing in Miami in August, and visiting the Mets in late August. The last interleague series would be against the Phillies at Fenway in early September.

The Orioles are scheduled to play at Fenway for the annual Patriots’ Day game. The Yankees‘ first visit to Fenway is May 1-3. The Sox close the season Oct. 4 against the Indians in Cleveland.

Gabe Kapler on MFB: A.J. Pierzynski ‘a harmless individual’ who ‘just didn’t perform’ in Boston 07.10.14 at 12:07 pm ET
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Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler

Fox Sports 1 analyst and former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Red Sox’ struggles and the controversy surrounding A.J. Pierzynski. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox released Pierzynski on Wednesday, and reports indicate the veteran catcher — who came to Boston with a reputation of being abrasive — had issues with teammates in the clubhouse. Kapler knows Pierzynski, having played winter league ball with him in Hawaii in the late 1990s.

“I got to know him well, and he’s a harmless individual,” Kapler said. “Big heart, sweetheart of a guy. Has the propensity to rub some folks the wrong way if things aren’t going well for him. And I think that’s the most important thing to look at here. He’s having his worst season ever offensively.”

Added Kapler: “We all have to be careful not to kick a guy on his way out, right? I think that that is the common thread, it’s the easiest thing to do. While I think there was certainly an element of clubhouse chemistry and his ability to connect with his teammates, I think the bottom line here is that he just didn’t perform. And that’s what Boston Red Sox front office members want to see — does a guy come in and perform? At some point you have to say, look, we don’t see this getting better.”

Christian Vazquez was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace Pierzynski on the roster, and the young catcher showed promise in his debut Wednesday night.

“The other part of this equation — and it’s irresponsible not to illuminate it — is that the Red Sox want to see Vazquez: plus defender, a guy who can shut down a running game,” Kapler said. “[John] Farrell‘s a big fan — actually, all of baseball is a big fan. And they want to see what this guy can do behind the plate, stopping the running game.”

With Wednesday’s win, the Red Sox improved to 40-51. The defending World Series champions are 9 1/2 game behind the first-place Orioles in the American League East. Kapler said he does not hold Farrell entirely responsible for this year’s struggles.

“I think John Farrell‘s doing a fine job,” Kapler said. “Look, a lot of things have gone wrong for the Boston Red Sox. Last year they were sort of playing like superhero versions of themselves. A lot of them have sort of regressed back to the mean. You have a group of guys that — particularly in the lineup — that aren’t doing a very good job of scoring runs. And sans [Jon] Lester and [John] Lackey, there hasn’t been a whole lot of dependability in the starting rotation. The bullpen has been a pleasant surprise in a lot of different ways.

“But look, Farrell can’t walk into the batter’s box and hold the bat for these guys. And until they are scoring runs like we saw last year, it’s going to be a pretty tough road for them.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: A.J. Pierzynski, Gabe Kapler,
Former Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard released by Rangers 06.19.14 at 12:47 pm ET
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Daniel Bard‘s latest attempt to resuscitate his career ended with his release by the Rangers organization Thursday.

The 28-year-old right-hander retired only two of the 18 batters he faced in four games with the Hickory Crawdads of the Low-A South Atlantic League. He continued to be plagued with wildness, walking nine and hitting seven. He had an astronomical ERA of 175.50 with a 13.43 WHIP.

Bard was a solid set-up man for the Red Sox from 2009-11, posting a 2.88 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 213 strikeouts in 197 innings. He struggled during the team’s infamous collapse in September 2011, and his command got worse after he was moved into the starting rotation at the start of the 2012 season. He could not regain his form even after being returned to the bullpen.

Bard appeared in two games for the Red Sox in 2013 before being sent back to the minors and eventually designated for assignment. He then had a brief stint with the Cubs organization late last year.

Bard, who had January surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which affected a nerve in his shoulder, signed with the Rangers as a minor league free agent in February.

Read More: Daniel Bard,
Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt moves to RF for finale vs. Twins 06.18.14 at 10:23 am ET
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One day after making a sensational play in center field, do-it-all infielder/outfielder Brock Holt will shift to right field for Wednesday’s matinee against the Twins. Holt, the team’s top hitter (.338/.378/.464), again will bat leadoff as the Sox face right-hander Kyle Gibson (6-5, 3.55 ERA).

After posting wins in the first two games of the series despite scoring a total of three runs, the Red Sox look to complete the sweep as they send John Lackey (8-4, 3.24) to the mound. The Red Sox have allowed three runs or fewer in their last 11 home games (nine of which were wins). The team record is 12, set in 1914 and repeated a year later, when the staff was led by the likes of Ernie Shore, Rube Foster, Dutch Leonard, Smoky Joe Wood and a young left-hander named Babe Ruth.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, RF

Xander Bogaerts, 3B

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Daniel Nava, LF

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Stephen Drew, SS

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

For a breakdown of the pitching matchup, click here.

Larry Lucchino on if Red Sox will renew Jon Lester negotiations during season: ‘I certainly expect so’ 05.29.14 at 9:30 am ET
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Negotiations with Jon Lester have stalled, but Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino made it clear during an appearance on Thursday’s Dennis & Callahan show that the team still holds out hope of a deal with the pitcher before he hits free agency in the offseason. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

While members of the front office previously expressed discouragement about the way the negotiations have gone, Lucchino acknowledged that the team anticipates renewing discussions with Lester’s representatives during the season.

“I certainly expect so,” Lucchino said.

The Red Sox were roundly criticized for their initial lowball offer, reported to be around $70 million for four years.

“I think it’s a mistake to discuss the status of ongoing negotiations as it is a mistake to get fixated on an opening offer,” Lucchino said.

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino,
Kristina Hill on D&C: ‘I’ve said my piece about the Remys’ 05.28.14 at 9:38 am ET
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One day after giving a victim impact statement in court following a guilty plea from Jared Remy for the murder of Jennifer Martel, former neighbor Kristina Hill joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the situation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Hill, who was a close friend of murder victim Jennifer Martel, said Tuesday’s court appearance was difficult but provided some emotional relief.

“It felt good to talk about Jen and to talk about what my life’s felt like since that night,” Hill said. “But at the same time, like I said in the statement, this is not going to bring Jen back, and that’s the only thing I could ever really want.”

Remy surprised many observers by entering a guilty plea to first-degree murder and accepting a life sentence with no chance of parole.

“I do know that the prosecution had a really solid case, so I’m not sure if it was done out of selflessness or out of smarts or for financial reasons or for whatever else,” Hill said. “I don’t know what his motives to pleading guilty yesterday were. But I’m glad that he did, and I’m glad that it saves twofold the trauma and the horror of going through the trial in October.”

Jared Remy claimed in court Tuesday that Martel had a knife on the night of the murder and threatened to limit his contact with the couple’s young daughter, Arianna.

“I think that he has to say whatever he has to say to help him sleep at night,” Hill said. “We’ll never know what happened behind close doors. But I’d like to think that I knew Jen pretty well, and that seems extremely out of character for her. She was totally opposite from being violent or ever using Arianna against him. She was very much about Jared being a father and being involved. So it seems extremely improbable. But I’m sure that the guy that’s pled guilty and knows he’s going away for the rest of his natural life, so maybe he has to tell him something to sleep at night.”

In previous interviews, Hill implied that Remy’s parents encouraged Martel to drop her restraining order against Jared the day before the murder. Jerry Remy strongly denied that insinuation and made dismissive comments regarding Hill.

“I said my piece about the Remys and I’m no longer going to speak about them,” Hill said. “I think it’s great if we all move on from that. I spoke up on that when I felt it was my duty to do back when Eric [Moskowitz] first put out his article [in The Boston Globe]. I said my peace and I think that’s the only thing I need to say. I think at this point we need to move forward and start to figure out how we find ways to make sure people like Jen don’t end up like Jen and focus on healing.

“I’ve said my piece on the Remys. I’m going to let them move forward now and mourn, as I hope people will let me do as well.”

Hill said she paid for the funeral of her friend in an effort to help the Martel family.

“My husband and I reached out. The Martels were suffering seriously financially — or were going to be from having to raise Arianna and hopefully put her through college and moving up from Virginia,” Hill said. “We felt like it was our duty as Jen’s friends to be able to help not only the Martels out but lay her to rest the way that I would have liked her to be laid to rest. We knew that they were going to and still do have an extreme financial burden. So we did that as a gesture to them, and as well because I know 100 percent if it had been me that Jen would have done the same thing.”

Martel said the Remys did not contribute to the funeral costs.

“There was no involvement whatsoever from that perspective,” Hill said, noting that she is not aware if the Remys were asked to contribute.

Read More: Jared Remy, Jennifer Martel, Jerry Remy, Kristina Hill
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