|Dave Dombrowski on Kirk & Callahan: John Farrell’s job was never in jeopardy last season||02.23.17 at 9:38 am ET|
Dave Dombrowski joins us now live from JetBlue Park! pic.twitter.com/a3SM6vtjDd
— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 23, 2017
At various points last season, there were questions about whether Red Sox manager John Farrell was on the brink of losing his job. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said on Kirk & Callahan Thursday the thought didn’t cross his mind.
“I don’t think we were ever in that spot. We had a good consistent season,” he said from JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. “I don’t think we lost more than three games in a row at any point last year. I think last year our club played well, we played solidly, we won 93 games. So no, not at all.”
When Dombrowski announced last October Farrell would return to the club in 2017, he said in-game strategy isn’t the most important job for a manager. He reiterated that claim in his conversation with K&C.
“I think an example of the most important part is your ability –– and I always tell mangers this, I’ve talked to Leyland, La Russa –– [your] ability to get your players to play up to their capabilities on a consistent basis is the most important part for a manager,” Dombrowski said. “Now, you just can’t be motivational also. You have to be a lot of other things, but your players coming in and playing hard on a consistent basis, having the respect of the players is extremely important for a manager. Having control of the clubhouse, communication skills. There’s just so many things that make up a good manager to me in today’s world.”
Even though Dombrowski doesn’t put in-game managing at the top of his list, it doesn’t mean he thinks Farrell is incapable of making sound strategic decisions. He says he has full confidence in Farrell’s abilities.
“I think he is a good in-game manager,” Dombrowski said. “It’s interesting people talk about that. I always say, point to examples. But the realty is, you start with the pitching staff. He handles the pitching staff very well. He’s, I think, very well-regarded in the industry at handling the pitchers. He’s got a good pulse of his bullpen, how guys should be used, when they should not be used. From an offensive perspective, I think in our league, the reality is that you don’t do a lot of maneuvering during games very often. You’re really in a spot with the DH where you keep your guys out there most of the time. It’s really a determination most of the time when somebody needs rest or somebody needs a day off. And then if you point to, well, somebody –– I hear often, well, somebody is a good in-game manager from an offensive perspective. We led the league in runs scored by 101 last year. I’m not saying he’s the reason behind that, because the hitters are very involved and the main reason. But I think the reality is, he does a fine job.”
|Chris Sale on Kirk & Callahan: Media distractions are ‘just a bunch of crap’||02.22.17 at 9:14 am ET|
— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 22, 2017
It’s apparent that Chris Sale has the right attitude to not just play in Boston, but flourish.
In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Wednesday from Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers, Florida., the southpaw said he’s unfazed by the pressure that comes with stepping inside Fenway Park on a nightly basis.
“It’s just a bunch of crap,” Sale said. “Working hard, being a good teammate and leaving it all out there when I’m out there. Those are the important things. It’s not this [or] that stat, this year [or] that year, or anything else. It’s about winning games and being a good teammate.”
While it’s been a drama-free camp so far for the Red Sox, Sale caused quite a stir with the White Sox last year. He was involved in a number of controversies, including an incident in which he cut up the team’s throwback jerseys prior to a game in July. Sale also feuded with White Sox management over whether Adam LaRoche’s teenage son would be permitted to hang around the team on a daily basis.
Though those issues may have expedited Sale’s departure from Chicago –– there are two years left on his contract –– he says the media exaggerated them.
“That’s another thing that I think gets blown out of proportion a little bit. I was there for, what, seven years, and there were maybe two or three incidents,” he said. “I think people make it out like we were at the Royal Rumble and boxing gloves were the next step. It was nothing like that, it couldn’t have been further from that. It’s just one of those things when you’re passionate about something and you have drive and you care a lot, stuff like that is going to happen.”
The Red Sox traded two of their top prospects, infielder Yoan Moncada and flamethrower Michael Kopech, to acquire Sale this offseason. He says the steep price the Red Sox paid to bring him aboard only further motives him to produce on the field.
“When someone makes a move like that, and they put all of their marbles out there, it’s exciting,” Sale said. “They put a lot on the line to get me here, and I’m very appreciative of that. I want to try to do everything I can to help this team get to the championship, get to the postseason, get to the World Series and win it. I’ve said it before: this was one of the best teams in the league without me. So I’m just here to help them push through and get over that hump.”
Despite finishing in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in each of the last five years, Sale has never pitched in the postseason. His performance on the mound will ultimately dictate whether the Red Sox play in October, but right now, he’s saying all of the right things.
|David Ortiz might join Red Sox broadcast team this season||02.21.17 at 12:12 pm ET|
There are two ways to interpret David Ortiz’s beach selfie from over the weekend: Either the slugger is enjoying his retirement, or he misses baseball dearly and wants affirmation that he made the right decision to walk away. Regardless, Ortiz will be around Fenway Park this season –– and may announce some of the action on the field as well.
In an interview with Boston Herald Radio Tuesday, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said there’s a chance Ortiz will show up in the broadcast booth sometime in 2017.
“It’ll be fun to watch the next stage of his career,” Kennedy said. “He’s got a lot of different interests. Broadcasting is certainly one. It’d be interesting to see if he goes into national broadcasting. We’d certainly love to have him part of our local broadcast team on a limited basis. He wanted to dip his toe into that water.”
Ortiz has been a part of Fox’s postseason broadcasts in the past, most recently during the 2014 World Series. His former teammates, Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar, have carved out lucrative television careers with the MLB Network and TBS, respectively. Earlier this year, Ortiz reportedly met with the Red Sox to discuss joining the NESN team.
The Red Sox will retire Ortiz’s No. 34 on June 23.
|Takeaways from Red Sox Grapefruit League game No. 14: David Price finding his groove, Hanley Ramirez passes another test||03.16.16 at 1:31 am ET|
FORT MYERS — Curt Schilling hated pitching to American League East rivals in spring training. Why give opposing hitters more looks than they need?
David Price, however, has spent virtually his entire career in the division. He’s a mystery to no one.
Might as well remind everyone what they’re in for.
Price certainly did that on Tuesday night in a 6-3 loss to the Yankees. He allowed one run on two hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out six, despite throwing mainly fastballs.
“I don’t really care who I’m facing whenever I’m out there,” Price said. “A lot of the time, I don’t even know who’s on deck. I don’t look at the hitters on deck next. Sometimes I might not be able to tell you who I’m facing while they’re in there. I don’t look at that stuff. If I can go out there and execute my game, I feel like I can record outs.”
Price had success against a Yankees lineup that included Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, as well as Aaron Hicks, who homered in the third. Price struck out A-Rod twice and Teixeira once. In addition to fastballs, he worked on a changeup and cutter.
“It’s part of the process, continuing to go out there, command my fastball the way that I did today,” Price said. “If I can do that, it just opens up everything that I want to do with all my secondary stuff. That’s always a big emphasis on me, just making sure I’m hitting spots with that fastball — two-seam, four-seam, both sides of the plate, moving it in, up, down. A fastball can turn into a lot of pitches for you — a fastball away looks slower than a fastball in to hitters. Using the knowledge that I have, pitching off my fastball.”
|David Murphy describes ‘surreal’ return to Red Sox, nearly 10 years after leaving||03.01.16 at 10:08 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Murphy can come home again.
The former Red Sox outfielder, drafted with the first pick of Theo Epstein’s GM career, officially joined Red Sox camp on Tuesday after signing a minor league deal.
Murphy, 34, was the team’s first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2003 draft out of Baylor and has gone on to a productive 10-year career since being traded to the Rangers for reliever Eric Gagne in 2007. He entered a clubhouse that included a couple of minor league teammates (Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez), as well as veteran slugger David Ortiz.
“It’s really surreal,” Murphy said. “When we first had contact with the Red Sox, there was just a lot of good feelings. There’s a lot of sentimental feelings, even if I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with the Red Sox at the big league level — all my minor league memories through just random things.
“My oldest daughter was born in Boston when I was playing in Pawtucket. Being down here, my wife and I got engaged during spring training in Fort Myers in 2004. Just a lot of great on-field memories with the guys. Dustin’s still here. Hanley. Two guys I played with through the minor leagues. David Ortiz is still here. Various members of the training staff, coaching staff. In a lot of ways, it’s sort of a homecoming. Happy to be back.”
Murphy was surprised to remain unsigned this late in camp. The Angels declined his $7 million option after he hit .283 with a .739 OPS last year. For his career, the left-handed hitter owns a .795 OPS against right-handed pitching and is capable of playing both corner outfield spots, as well as center in a pinch.
“It was kind of the perfect storm,” Murphy said. “I know that I’m getting older. I know that the game is being analyzed differently now in terms of numbers and sabermetrics. I don’t know if that played into it. I know that there was a lot of good free agents out there on the market this year. I don’t know if I’m going to point to one thing.
“I’ve thought it over, because when my option got turned down by the Angels in early November, first of all I thought there might be a decent chance that I would go back, and then after it got turned down, there wasn’t one bit of thought in my head that said I might have to accept a minor league deal late in the offseason. I wasn’t expecting to get a multi-year deal, but I was expecting to get a major league deal somewhere in the one-year at, I didn’t know exactly what [the money] was going to be.”
As was the case a decade ago when he made his big league debut, Murphy just hopes the Red Sox give him a chance.
“They said there could be opportunity,” Murphy said. “A lot of it is going to be on my end, working hard and showing them I’m in shape, having a good spring, and we’ll see what happens.”
|Mike Petraglia, Rob Bradford on John Lackey, David Ortiz, Jon Lester and Daniel Nava||03.22.14 at 6:00 pm ET|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Rob Bradford assess the next-to-last spring outing of Red Sox starter John Lackey, who gave up 10 hits and five runs, including two home runs, over 4 2/3 innings Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Petraglia and Bradford discuss the latest on contract negotiations for David Ortiz and Jon Lester and the base running lessons involving Daniel Nava.
|John Lackey takes a beating, hits a wall and lives to tell, Red Sox running game runs afoul||03.22.14 at 2:59 pm ET|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — John Lackey took quite the beating Saturday at Disney.
The veteran right-hander allowed 10 hits, including a pair of high-fly homers, and five runs over 4 2/3 innings as the Red Sox fell to the the Braves at Champion Stadium, 6-3, in his third start of the spring. He’s given up 20 hits and 13 earned runs over 12 1/3 innings this March. Lackey did not walk a batter and struck out six. His spring ERA rose to 9.49. Lackey, the projected No. 2 starter, will make one more spring appearance on Thursday before taking the mound for real on April 2 in Baltimore.
Lackey was not concerned about the number of hits he’s given up in three starts.
“It’s spring training, man. I’m not real concerned about a whole lot right now,” Lackey said. “I’m just trying to build up some arm strength and get ready for the real deal.
“I feel pretty good. I’m definitely not quite ready. I’ll still be building arm strength for a few more weeks, to be honest with you. I’ll be good enough to compete and should be just fine.”
The third inning was the most eventful of the day for the Red Sox right-hander. He struck out pitcher Alex Wood. Then speedy Jordan Schafer attempted to bunt his way on with a drag attempt to the first base side. Schafer popped it up a bit and it landed in the triangle between first base, second base and the pitcher’s mound. Lackey fielded the ball, lost his footing but not before scooping it with his glove hand to Daniel Nava at first for the out on a terrific play.
Lackey was slow to get up after falling on his right knee somewhat awkwardly, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski called out manager John Farrell and trainer Rick Jameyson. After about 30 seconds on the mound, Lackey went back to work and gave up a high, wind-blown home run just over the wall in left to Andrelton Simmons, the first homer he’s allowed in three spring starts.
The next batter, Braves slugger Freddie Freeman, then ripped a liner back to the box that hit off Lackey’s backside. Lackey recovered quickly but could not retire Freeman, whom Lackey drilled on the back trying to throw him out as Freeman crossed the bag at first.
“Makes a heck of a play, came out of it without turning an ankle,” manager John Farrell said. “It kind of looked like an awkward play. But then the line drive drive fortunately catches him in the flesh part of the leg. We were able to avoid anything more severe.”
“It got me in the thigh, the big part so I’m fine,” Lackey said of the Freeman liner.
As for the bunt?
“A.J. was just being funny, giving me a rest,” Lackey said. “I was fine, nothing happened on that.
Dustin Pedroia was laughing with Lackey coming off the field and congratulated Lackey on his Pedroia-like scoop play. “I just asked if he liked that. He was pretty fired up,” Lackey said.
|Jon Lester says his contract talks are ‘headed in the right direction’||03.21.14 at 4:51 pm ET|
CLEARWATER, Fla. — While a new contract is not on the table yet, Jon Lester spoke like a man Friday that feels he definitely has reason to be optimistic he and the Red Sox will eventually work out a new deal.
Lester, after making his fifth start of the spring and lowering his ERA to 0.71, acknowledged that the Red Sox are busy right now. Not only are the Red Sox considering the future of their left-handed ace, they’re also trying to close in on a one-year extension for David Ortiz.
“I know they’ve been pretty busy with dealing with David’s stuff and all that,” Lester said Friday afternoon. “It’s a negotiation. No matter how optimistic people are about it, it’s a tough process. We’ll keep grinding it out and see where we get. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
In the final year of a five-year, $30 million deal paying him $13 million this season, Lester also said he would be willing to have talks extend into the regular season if there’s a reasonable expectation that a new contract is imminent.
“If you’re at the 5-yard line and you’re kind of closing in on the thing then, yeah, you’ll just spill it over but if we’re so far apart and it still doesn’t matter, then I think we’ll sit down and talk about it and see what the best interests are for both sides on that,” Lester said. “But as of right now, things are progressing and we’ll just keep hashing it out and see where it goes.”
Does Lester feel he’s in the red zone of closing in on a new deal?
“Not in the red zone right now. No, no, definitely not there but I think it’s going in the right direction. We’ve had good dialogue so that’s good.”
Lester’s comments come on the heels of a report from WEEI’s Rob Bradford that a deal is not close to being finalized.
|Jon Lester continues his dominant spring, A.J. Pierzynksi knocks in two as Red Sox tie Phils||03.21.14 at 4:21 pm ET|
CLEARWATER, Fla. — In many ways, it was the perfect outing for Jon Lester in what has been a nearly perfect spring training.
He retired the side in order in the first, worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings. And he batted twice without getting injured.
All in all, the lefty starter in line for the opening day nod in Baltimore accomplished what he wanted to in the next-to-last start before his March 31 assignment at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Lester threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering four hits, allowing one walk while striking out five as the Red Sox tied the Phillies, 2-2, in a game called after 10 innings at Bright House Field. Lester lowered his spring ERA to 0.71 in five spring starts. Lester threw 81 pitches, 55 for strikes, right on pace with what manager John Farrell had hoped for entering Lester’s third start of the spring.
“I felt good,” Lester said. “I felt like I got into a rhythm a little bit earlier than I did last time. Still didn’t have too good of a feel for my breaking ball and my changeup but that’ll come. I was overthrowing a little bit on those pitches but all in all, I was happy with fastball command and threw some cutters to both sides so it was good.
“I don’t know what it says as far as velocity but I feel like it’s coming out pretty well right now, just continue to build the pitches up.”
|Friday notes: John Farrell says Grady Sizemore ‘likely’ as his every day center fielder when ‘durability’ is on his side||03.21.14 at 12:53 pm ET|
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Grady Sizemore may or may not be the starting center fielder for the Red Sox when they take the field on March 31 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. But John Farrell made it clear that at some point, likely early in the season, when he does start to play, he’ll be the starting center fielder to stay.
“We have every reason to believe at this point that he is a likely candidate to become an every day player, with durability on his side at some point,” Farrell said of the veteran outfielder who is batting .360 in eight games this spring.
Recovering from chronic knee and back ailments over the past two seasons, Sizemore came into camp not having played a competitive game since Sept. 2011. Sizemore, who’s also had a sports hernia and a bad elbow, has impressed coaches and fans alike with athletic plays in the field and a compact, efficient swing at the plate.
“There’s a progression we’re following to get to everyday play but the most encouraging thing is he has not hit the proverbial wall where we’ve bumped up against the limits and have to pull back,” Farrell said before Friday’s game against Philadelphia at Bright House Field. “We haven’t reached that yet, which is all extremely positive.”
Sizemore played in all nine innings for the first time Thursday against the Yankees and Farrell said he came through it very well and is on schedule to return to the field in a minor league game Saturday. He’ll play for the Red Sox again on Sunday and Monday and be evaluated on Tuesday morning to see how he handled the three straight games and five in six days.
“The medical exam, the medical information is guiding us with a progression. But every piece of feedback from the medical staff has been positive with the end thought that he’ll become an every day player,” Farrell said. “”There’s no template. That why we have experts in [Sports Medical Director] Dan Dyrek and our medical staff that give us that guidance.”
Despite the encouraging tone, Farrell still would not commit to Sizemore even heading north with the team when they break camp on Saturday.
“I don’t know that I would go to that point yet,” Farrell said. “I think we need to get through this coming week first.”
If Sizemore does indeed start every day in center, he will likely be the leadoff hitter as well. Thursday night, he batted first, followed by Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. That is a scenario that could easily translate into the regular season.
“If we have Grady in the leadoff spot, it gives us another good player,” Farrell said. “The lineup we saw [Thursday] is one scenario, one version, right-handed, left-handed matchups that are there, rest requirements might be needed. I think you know who our guys are and roughly the spots they’re in the lineup. I think we showed early in the season and late in the season that we would make changes based on matchups or who’s swinging the bat a little bit better at a given time.”
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