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Buster Olney on MFB: Dustin Pedroia’s power biggest takeaway from Opening Day 04.08.15 at 11:58 am ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on with Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox after their impressive start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox opened the season with an 8-0 victory over the Phillies, hitting five home runs — two each from Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez.

“The fact that Pedroia hit for power to me was the thing that jumped out,” Olney said. “Because I know all of last year — and look, nobody engenders more respect around baseball than Dustin Pedroia does, and people love the way he plays, but I heard it from a lot of people, whether it was scouts or other players, they wondered if Dustin was ever going to get back to being able to hit for any kind of power, because he’s had so many nagging injuries — wrist, hands, the whole thing — and that was a great sign on the first day that he was able to do something.

“When you’re playing the Phillies right now it is a little bit Christians and the lions situation because they are really bad. But that’s a great start for them.”

The much-maligned Clay Buchholz pitched like a No. 1, allowing no runs and just three hits through seven innings.

“We’ve seen it in the past, he’s certainly capable of pitching really well,” Olney said. “And you’re right, it’s a good sign, it doesn’t matter who you’re facing. You can only compete against the guys who are in front of you. … Everything that I saw, he looked in command. Most of the time you liked the tempo, which I always thought was a barometer when you watch Buchholz is how quickly is he working between pitches. The faster he works, the better it seems he is; the slower he works, the more uncertain he seems to be. The other day he seemed like he was very comfortable.

“It’s a great first sign from a team that needs, let’s face it, contributions from all ends of their rotation.”

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Read More: buster olney, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester
SI’s Tom Verducci on MFB: Red Sox ‘the best team in a very weak division’ 04.06.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Tom Verducci

Tom Verducci

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday to talk about the Red Sox and other news from around the majors. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Verducci is predicting the Red Sox to win the American League East, but he didn’t voice very much confidence in them.

“I do think the Red Sox are the best team in a very weak division,” he said. “It could be 90 wins or maybe even less to win this division. You could make a case for any team to finish first — and maybe even last. … But to me the Red Sox are a team that has the best offense in all of Major League Baseball. And I think their pitching is just good enough to be the best in a weak division.”

There’s been speculation that the Red Sox will go after a premier pitcher sooner rather than later, but Verducci said that might not be as crucial as some people think.

“I’m not a real big believer in that,” he said. “I know a lot has been focused on the fact that the Red Sox don’t have an ace. The team that won the division last year with 94 wins didn’t have an ace — the Baltimore Orioles. I just think the way the game is played now is entirely different than what it was 10 or 20 years ago.

“Listen, in a perfect world I’d rather have the Nationals rotation than anybody else in baseball — I’d want five aces. There’s just not enough of those pitchers to go around. But with a dynamic offense, I think they have a premier defense, I think their defense could be one of the top three in the American League.

“To me, actually, the key is going to be the bullpen. Whether they have the right pieces now, whether they make changes during the course of the season. I think you can win with basically average starting pitching as long as you have a great offense, really good defense — which they have — and a really good bullpen. And I think the key is actually figuring out how they use their bullpen and what the construct is of that bullpen.”

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Read More: Alex Rodriguez, Jon Lester, Josh Hamilton, Tom Verducci
David Ortiz: ‘Dehydrating is part of being human’ 03.25.15 at 11:57 am ET
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After being questioned for taking time off at spring training due to dehydration, David Ortiz detailed his health situation to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford and vowed to be ready to go soon.

Ortiz said the dehydration issue led to him becoming sick, and the Red Sox medical staff decided it would be best for him to rest.

“Everything just tied up on me and I started feeling sore. I couldn’t run,” he explained. “I’ve had it before. The minute I started feeling that way I went to the doctor and they already knew.

“I don’t know why people would criticize. Dehydrating is part of being human. You know how hot it’s been down here? I dehydrate and then I caught a bad cold. So all these symptoms get all your joints tied up, which normally happens. I started feeling soreness, so they shut me down. Now I’m starting to regroup and feel better. I have this thing I’ve got to manage the right way.”

Ortiz has made 19 plate appearance this spring (he had 40 last year), and he said he isn’t concerned with his limited preseason action. He noted that he has been working on his swing, although he’s still feeling sore.

“I’ve got to be smart about it. I’m not 20 anymore, and this ball club needs me for the season,” he said. “I see people getting worried about me in spring training and I’m like, ‘What’s going on? I thought the season was more important than spring training.’ But I understand. I get the memo. I know when people don’t see you playing out there, which is something everybody normally does, they start worrying. But everything is going to be fine for the season.

“Opening Day is a big deal, but not to me. It’s just another day. I want to be good for the season. I want to be able to do what I do for the season, and that’s what I’m worried about right now. I’m not really worried about stressing out about spring training. Spring training doesn’t mean [expletive] for me.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, David Ortiz,
Reports: Jerry Remy’s Fenway Park restaurant closes for good 03.04.15 at 11:50 am ET
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According to multiple reports, Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill, located just outside Fenway Park, has been closed.

The franchise’s other three locations — Logan Airport, the Seaport District and Fall River (Remy’s hometown) — remain open.

The blog Boston Restaurant Talk reports that the establishment is in bankruptcy and the landlord — the Red Sox — will not renew the lease due to the financial problems.

The restaurant, at 1265 Boylston Street, opened in March 2010. Its roof deck overlooks Fenway Park’s right-field wall.

Remy came under heavy criticism last year when a Boston Globe report detailed how he had enabled and protected his son Jared, who had a long history of violence toward women before pleading guilty to first-degree murder last year in the 2013 killing of his live-in girlfriend.

Remy, who also has battled cancer, took some time away from his job as NESN Red Sox color commentator before returning to the booth.

Read More: Jerry Remy,
College suspends student for vile tweets about Curt Schilling’s daughter 03.02.15 at 12:08 pm ET
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Curt Schilling went on the attack Sunday night after seeing vulgar tweets about his daughter, a high school senior whom Schilling congratulated for deciding to play softball at Salve Regina University next year.

One of the most offensive tweeters, identified as Adam Nagel, a student at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey who hosts a sports talk show on the school’s radio station, was suspended for his actions. [Update: The school emailed to say the student had an hour-long weekly slot on one of the radio station’s student radio streams.]

The school announced the discipline on Facebook, writing:

Students and community members have rightfully expressed concerns regarding recent social media comments made by a Brookdale student.

The Twitter comments posted by this student are unacceptable and clearly violate the standards of conduct that are expected of all Brookdale students.

The student has been summarily suspended and will be scheduled for a conduct hearing where further disciplinary action will be taken. The Brookdale Police are actively investigating this matter. Brookdale takes this behavior very seriously and does not tolerate any form of harassment.

Our sincerest apologies to Gabby Schilling. Her achievement should be celebrated and not clouded by offensive comments.

Read More: Curt Schilling,
John Farrell on D&C: ‘I believe in and I like the talent that we have’ on pitching staff 02.25.15 at 11:09 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning to talk about the outlook for the team this season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The biggest question mark as spring training begins is the pitching staff, with the lack of a true No. 1 starter.

“We all know that there’s a label that certain pitchers have earned. But I tell you this: I feel very good about the five that are in the rotation,” Farrell said. “There’s talent. There’s some question with the bounce-back capability of Justin Masterson, with an injury late in 2013 that seemingly affected last year; Clay Buchholz‘s durability, consistency, comes to mind, but when he has been healthy he’s pitched equivalent to a No. 1; and, to me, Joe Kelly, who’s got the stuff to be that type of guy — we’ve got to extend his overall innings workload.”

Kelly’s name has been mentioned as perhaps the most likely candidate to be the team’s top starter.

“I think Joe Kelly’s got the ability to go I think a step up as he’s learning himself as a pitcher. He’s got the best stuff in our rotation,” Farrell said. “You’re looking at a guy who’s mid- to upper 90s with a very good breaking ball, a strong, competitive streak that we saw in the starts that he made for us last year. I’m going to talk optimistically, there’s no doubt about it, because I believe in and I like the talent that we have.”

ESPN analyst Curt Schilling appeared on D&C before Farrell and questioned Buchholz’s inner drive to succeed.

“I wouldn’t agree with that,” Farrell said. “Everyone certainly has the right to their own opinion. But having been with Clay for a number of years now, he loves to compete. He loves to be the best to his abilities. Now, there’s been some things that have held him back, and durability over the course of a career to date has come into play here a little bit. But I can tell you this: He’s driven and he’s got — as we all do — a lot of motivation coming off the year we just finished.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, Joe Kelly
Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘My job is pretty much the same that it has always been’ 02.25.15 at 10:07 am ET
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning and downplayed reports that his power may have been diminished in the front office. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Red Sox minority owner Michael Gordon has increased his importance since purchasing more shares of the team, but Lucchino explained that Gordon’s role is more crucial with Fenway Sports Group than the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox.

“Mike plays a new and different role than he played the first few years since he acquired a much greater interest,” Lucchino acknowledged. “John addressed that yesterday. Very active in FSG matters, particularly Liverpool. But we use him as a consultant on Red Sox matters. He’s got a terrific financial mind.”

As for Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy questioning if Lucchino is “losing a power struggle at Fenway,” Lucchino brushed off that assertion.

“He may hear rumors that he believes. Believe me, I can’t explain Dan Shaughnessy’s machinations, nor do I try,” said Lucchino, who turns 70 in September. “I certainly am getting older, that’s a fact of life. At some point there will be some changes. But I don’t know what Dan’s sources are and where he’s getting that.”

Lucchino is one of the members of the group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, adding to speculation that he might be looking for another venture as he eases out of his role with the parent club. He says that’s not the case.

“It’s pretty much been the same situation that we’ve had for 14 years except that Mike is more involved now, his role in FSG has expanded,” Lucchino said. “But no, my job is pretty much the same that it has always been. And even the new Pawtucket responsibilities will be more advisory and ballpark-oriented and will not change my day-to-day job.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Larry Lucchino, Michael Gordon,
Report: Former Sox coach Wendell Kim dead at 64 02.16.15 at 8:52 am ET
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Wendell Kim

Wendell Kim

Wendell Kim, who served as Red Sox third base coach from 1997-2000, died Sunday at the age of 64, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kim was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease following his retirement from baseball 10 years ago.

Kim played minor league ball for the Giants in the 1970s and then coached in the organization’s minor league system in the 1980s. The diminutive Hawaiian moved up to the majors and coached for the Giants from 1989-96 before joining the Sox for four years.

He left Boston to serve as manager of the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Indianapolis. After one season, he returned to the majors, becoming the bench coach for the Montreal Expos. He moved on to the Cubs in 2003 and served as third-base coach for two seasons before leaving the game for good.

Known for his aggressiveness in sending runners home, Kim was nicknamed “Windmill Wendell” and “Wave ‘em in Wendell.”

Kim reportedly started suffering short-term memory loss while with the Cubs, and his situation worsened as he was taken care of by his family in Arizona.

Read More: Wendell Kim,
Former Red Sox coach Don Bryant dead at 73 01.28.15 at 1:52 pm ET
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Don “Bear” Bryant, who was a bullpen coach for the 1975 Red Sox team that won the American League pennant, passed away last Thursday in Gainesville, Florida, the team announced Wednesday. He was 73.

Bryant, a former major league catcher best known for catching Don Wilson’s no-hitter for the Astros against the Reds in 1969, spent his final three seasons in the Sox’ minor league system. He was a player/coach for Triple-A Pawtucket under manager Darrell Johnson in 1973, and when Johnson was promoted to manager in Boston in 1974, Bryant followed him.

Bryant also followed Johnson when he was hired to be manager of the Mariners in 1977, serving there until 1980.

Read More: Don Bryant,
Curt Schilling to D&C on Hall of Fame balloting: ‘I can’t spend my time being concerned about people’s opinions of me that I’ll never meet’ 01.07.15 at 10:46 am ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday, after falling short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the former Red Sox star said he believes some writers won’t ever vote for him because of his political leanings. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling received 39.2 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Four players were elected: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and former Sox star Pedro Martinez, whose surprisingly low 91.1 percent result was more evidence to Schilling that something is wrong.

“The process isn’t flawed; stupid people do stupid things,” Schilling said. “I’ve seen so many in the past, voters making their vote into a news article, protesting this or protesting that, except just voting the player on his playing merits. And that’s normal, I guess, because we’re human, we all have bias, we all have prejudice. When Pedro gets 91 percent, that tells you something’s wrong.”

A case could me made that Schilling’s statistics are comparable to those of Smoltz, yet the Braves legend received 240 more votes. Schilling said Smoltz deserves enshrinement, but he noted that Smoltz’s political views are more consistent with many media members.

“I think he got in because of [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think his ‘Swiss army knife versatility,’ which somebody said yesterday, I think he got a lot of accolades for that, I think he got a lot of recognition for that. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schilling said. “And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that, as a Republican, that there’s some people that really don’t like that.”

A proud conservative, Schilling has been outspoken in his support for Republican candidates. He also received heavy criticism when he moved his video game company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to take advantage of government assistance and then the company went bankrupt.

Schilling said there’s no question that he would have received more votes had he been more mainstream in his beliefs and less outspoken and controversial.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. Listen, 9 percent of the voters did not vote for Pedro. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me [out] or anything like that, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I said or did. That’s the way it works.”

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Read More: Curt Schilling, hall of fame, john smoltz, mike piazza
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