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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘I give [Brian Cashman] credit for his forthrightness’ 01.27.11 at 9:31 am ET
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During an in-studio appearance on the Dennis and Callahan Show, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino talked about a variety of subjects involving the team’s offseason moves, Fenway Park, and the upcoming season. Lucchino also addressed some of the issues surrounding the Sox’ rival, the Yankees.

Regarding comments made by New York general manager Brian Cashman saying that he was not on board with his team signing free agent reliever Rafael Soriano, Lucchino applauded Cashman.

“I give him credit for his forthrightness,” the Red Sox executive said.

As for the statement by Yankees’ co-chairman Hank Streinbenner that the Yankees didn’t complain about injuries last season, while the Red Sox did publicly bemoan their situation, Lucchino simply said, “Let Hank talk.”

Lucchino touched on a variety of other subjects:

  • On the term ‘Bridge Year’ and the impetus to make this offseason’s moves: “I think that term was misunderstood last year. ‘€¦ What really drove us was finishing third.”
  • On the temptation to simply get healthy and come back with relatively the same team: “That sentiment was expressed, but failed for a lack of seconding.”
  • Regarding competitors for the services of Carl Crawford: “We were aware of the Angels’ keen interest in him.”
  • On the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez: “It did help when Jed [Hoyer] went out there [to become general manager of the Padres]. He had a deep knowledge of our players. ‘€¦ We didn’t steal Adrian Gonzalez.”
  • In regards to failing to work out a contract extension with Gonzalez prior to making the trade for the first baseman: “If we didn’t think we weren’t within shouting distance, we would have gone through with the trade.”
  • Talking about the plan to expand the bullpens, thereby moving in the right field wall Lucchino said while the idea has been tabled for now, there has been discussion about moving the bullpen out rather than in, with the possibility of going underneath the ground, as well.

To listen to the interview, click here. For more on the Red Sox, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Source: Mike Napoli wasn’t on Red Sox’ radar to be full-time catcher 01.21.11 at 9:44 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox weren’t interested in dealing for catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli after they acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The Sox, who had claimed Napoli off waivers in August, viewed the 29-year-old more of first baseman and third catcher than full-time backstop.

Napoli was dealt to the Blue Jays Friday night along with outfielder Juan Rivera in exchange for outfielder Vernon Wells. Napoli is in his third offseason of being arbitration-eligible, and will be eligible for free agency following the 2011 season. In 140 games he hit .238 with 26 home runs, playing 70 games at first base and 66 behind the plate.

Despite the fact Wells is owned $86 million over the next four seasons ($23 million, and $21 million each season after that through ’14), the Blue Jays weren’t forced to send any money to the Angels in the deal.

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

Jed Lowrie: ‘In my mind, I’m an everyday player’ 01.21.11 at 12:34 pm ET
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Speaking prior to the 72nd annual awards dinner for the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie said the Red Sox haven’t spoken to him about his specific role heading into spring training, but that the 26-year-old is entering camp with the idea that he is more than just a part-time player.

“In my mind, I’m an everyday player,” he said. “In the last two years, if I’ve learned anything it’s to be prepared and be prepared to perform, and then everything will take care of itself. I’ve won the job [in spring training of 2009] and then needed surgery. I’ve had so many questions over the last two years, I’m just going to be prepared.

“I haven’t really talked to them about [a role], but I’m going to prepare myself to be the everyday player I know I am.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Thursday that he expects Marco Scutaro to be the team’s starting shortstop, but was pleased with the progress of Lowrie heading into the new season.

‘€œI think we’€™re thrilled,’€ Francona said of Lowrie’€™s recovery from a wrist injury and mono. ‘€œThis kid went through a lot. He had the wrist injury, had mono, was in Fort Myers for the whole first half of the year. We didn’€™t see him. Then he comes up and gets an opportunity because we had a lot of guys beat up, and he hits the ball all over the ballpark, and he has the ability to play four different infield positions. So rather than worry about an infield competition, because Scutaro is our shortstop, this guy gives us something that I don’€™t know how many teams can say they have.’€

Lowrie, who sat out much of the season with mononucleosis, explained that the 55 games he did get a chance to appear in during the ’10 season has helped build confidence heading into ’11. After coming back on July 21, the infielder hit .287, with nine home runs and an OPS of .907. Perhaps most impressive was the switch-hitter’s performance against right-handed pitching, which he hit .250 against with four homers, a dramatic improvement from when he struggled partly due to a wrist injury.

“With all the circumstances under consideration it was probably two of the best months of baseball that I’ve had in a really long time,” Lowrie said. “I feel like I can play like that over an extended period of time, but that’s just a matter of me continuing to stay healthy and being on the field.”

Lowrie also relayed his optimism regarding not having to worry about the mononucleosis, which put him out of action starting in early March last year. He gives a great amount of credit to the Atlanta-based specialists he has conferred with throughout the recovery process.

“It’s just been about maintaining my health and getting my strength and conditioning back to where it needs to be,” Lowrie said. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of change in my routine, but rather just a different in the quality I’ve been able to put in. I’m certainly stronger. I feel like I’m in better shape conditioning wise.

“I’m just trying to stay on top of living healthy and making sure my body has the best chance to fight that stuff off. I’m doing some really simple stuff that really helps. Before [the right nutrition] was more a general thing, now it’s more specific for my body. It’s exactly what I need, as opposed to a multi-vitamin that I might get over the counter.”

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Clay Buchholz: Red Sox haven’t broached new deal 01.20.11 at 1:13 am ET
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LOWELL — Speaking prior to being honored at the Lowell Spinners Alumni Dinner at Tsongas Arena Wednesday night, Clay Buchholz said that the Red Sox have yet to approach him about a contract extension.

“I haven’t spoken money with anybody,” said the 26-year-old Buchholz. “It’s been basically go out and play until somebody approaches me about it. That’s sort of how I’m looking at it.”

Buchholz is closing in on the same service time teammate Jon Lester found himself with when agreeing to his five-year, $30 million contract extension prior to the 2009 season, his last campaign before becoming arbitration eligible.

“They’ve got a lot more on their plate than to worry about me,” Buchholz said. “They don’t have to do anything with me. That’s the way I’m looking at it, and if something happens and they want to talk about it I’m sure I’ll hear about it.”

Buchholz made $443,000 in 2010, a season in which the righty went 17-7 with an ERA of 2.33 in 28 starts. He is currently under the Red Sox’ control through the 2014 season.

When constructing contract extensions with players either not yet arbitration eligible or in the midst of their arbitration years, the Red Sox have a team policy of buying out at least one season of free agency while also including a team option.

As for comparing his situation with Lester’s, Buchholz explained that the two scenarios have their differences.

“When I think about Jon Lester, I think about a kid who came up through the organization, battled cancer, beat cancer, came all the way back through and made it to the big leagues and now is, if not the best, is one of the best, left-handers in the game,” Buchholz said. “They are two completely different paths.

“With his whole contract thing, I think the Red Sox sort of owe him for all of the struggles he went through to make it to where he was.”

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, contract extension, Jon Lester,
Jonathan Papelbon: Bobby Jenks sees the potential of the Red Sox 01.18.11 at 8:34 am ET
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Speaking to the Providence Journal at halftime of the Celtics‘ game against Orlando at TD Garden Monday night, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said he can understand why Bobby Jenks would want to join up with the Sox to become a set-up man.

“With him, [Jenks] sees the potential that he has to come to the Red Sox and be on a championship ballclub,” Papelbon said. “I don’t really see anything wrong with that. Players want to win, and that’s it.”

Papelbon was effusive in his praise of the Red Sox front office when talking about how the team is constructed heading into spring training.

“I’m excited,” he told the Journal. “I can’t really explain it well because I’m so excited. The offseason acquisitions we’ve made have been above and beyond my expectations, for sure. Theo [Epstein] is putting together a ballclub to where everybody can go out there and do their own job and putting the pieces together to where nobody this year should have to go out there and expect more than what they normally should have to do.

“If everybody goes out there and stays healthy, we definitely should have a title-contending team this year, for sure.”

Papelbon was in town to attend the wedding of manager Terry Francona’s daughter, and has been working out with the participants of the Red Sox’ Rookie Development Program. The reliever said he is anxious to learn from last season, in which he finished with a 3.90 ERA and 37 saves.

“Basically, every season, you take information from it,” he said. “For me, I was able to gain tons of valuable information from last year and take it into my offseason this year and use it to better myself. That’s what I’ve done. This year, especially with the great team we’ll have, that’ll really help me out. That’s what all athletes do.”

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

An interview with the Red Sox’ answer to Rafael Soriano: Bobby Jenks 01.13.11 at 10:40 pm ET
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CHANDLER, Ariz. — Just hours before the Yankees locked up Rafael Soriano, I sat down with the Red Sox‘ own closer-turned-set-up-man, Bobby Jenks. Jenks is working out at the Keith Poole’s Training Zone, with Dustin Pedroia, Andre Ethier and Kevin Frandsen (among others) after having always trained in the Chicago area throughout his previous offseasons.

Below is just a snippet of the sit-down. (For the complete column on Jenks, click here):

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Yankees lock up Rafael Soriano, guaranteeing Red Sox will get Rangers’ pick 01.13.11 at 9:35 pm ET
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According to SI.com, reliever Rafael Soriano has agreed to a deal with the Yankees, thought to be forthree years, $35 million. Soriano will set-up closer Mariano Rivera, who is signed for the next two seasons. The New York Times reports that Soriano has opt-out clauses, allowing him to make $11.5 million for one year, $21.5 million for two, and the $35 million for all three.

The 31-year-old Soriano saved an American League-best 45 games for Tampa Bay in 2010, compiling a 1.73 ERA while striking out 57 and walking 14 in 62 1/3 innings. In 2009 the righty saved 27 games for the Braves, finishing with a 2.97 ERA.

The move would cost the Yankees their first-round draft pick (31st overall) since Soriano was a Type-A free agent. It comes just days after New York general manager Brian Cashman said the Yanks wouldn’€™t be willing to sacrifice a first-round draft pick in order to sign any free agent. The move also guarantees that the Red Sox will be receiving Texas’€™ first-round pick as compensation for Adrian Beltre agreeing to his deal with the Rangers since Soriano was the last remaining free agent with a higher Elias ranking than Beltre. (If Soriano signed with the Rangers, their pick would have gone to the Rays.)

Statement from Red Sox about not moving in right-field fence 01.06.11 at 9:35 am ET
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The following is the statement released by the Red Sox regarding the news first reported by WEEI.com that the team would not be moving in the right-field fence:

“The Red Sox recently sent a letter to the Secretary of State’€™s office withdrawing a request to consider expansion of the right field bullpen area this off-season. As we moved through the review process over the last several months, issues arose regarding implementation that required additional discussion and consideration of other design possibilities.  Given the tight construction timeline we are operating on to have the ballpark ready for Opening Day 2011, and the fact that we’€™re already deep into the off-season, plus the impact any work on the bullpen area would have on other work currently being done on the right field seating bowl, we decided to take this project off the table for 2010-2011 off-season.  We are going to review the feedback received during this process, and determine the next best steps.  It is still on our radar screen, but there is no immediate timetable for this project and, as we do on an annual basis, we will review all potential off-season projects as we get closer to the end of next season.”

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Red Sox won’t be moving in the right-field fence 01.05.11 at 7:43 pm ET
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According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have withdrawn their request to the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of State to undergo construction that would bring in the right field fence at Fenway Park as much as nine feet. The move, which would have expanded the width of the Fenway bullpens fro 21 to 27 feet, had to approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Society. The proposal was met with some resistance from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told WEEI.com in October that part of the impetus for any alteration would be to provide increased safety in the bullpens. ‘€œThey’€™re among the narrowest in baseball, if not the narrowest,” Lucchino said. “It makes it hard for two guys to warm-up. It does have other effects in terms of reducing the depths of right field, which is among the deepest in baseball.’€

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

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The Rangers aren’t signing Adrian Beltre, Adrian Beltre is signing with the Rangers 01.04.11 at 6:57 pm ET
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With word that Adrian Beltre will officially be leaving the Red Sox to sign a reported six-year, $96 million deal with the Rangers, let’s look back at two of the things that will undoubtedly be left in the Adrian Beltre time-capsule:

– First is the remembrance of the “Adrian Beltre Facts,” spawned during a slow August game in Toronto. Thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, a flurry of suggestions came forth in an attempt to define the uniqueness that was Beltre. Click here to see some of the best ones.

– And then there was, of course, Beltre’s issue with people touching his head. Some genius (come forward if you are he/she) made a compilation of Beltre’s head rubs. To watch them click here.

Here is a sample, courtesy of J.D. Drew:

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