|As the roster churns: Why the Red Sox made six roster moves with more to come||05.24.13 at 6:03 pm ET|
It is the busiest transaction day of the year for the Red Sox, who made six roster moves with more to come in the coming days. Here’s a look at the moves that were made and the moves that likely will be made, with a brief explanation for each:
SHANE VICTORINO PLACED ON 15-DAY DL (LEFT HAMSTRING STRAIN), RETROACTIVE TO MAY 21
Victorino had been unable to play for the last three games. The Red Sox roster is currently running thin, given that the bullpen was nearly emptied in Thursday’s 12-3 blowout loss to the Indians and that Victorino and Will Middlebrooks both faced injuries. While the Sox had planned to wait until closer to the one-week mark of Victorino’s stretch of being unable to play before making a decision on him, the need to summon reinforcements from the minors somewhat forced the Sox’ hands. So, too, did the fitful progress he’d made since suffering the injury. It hadn’t been a straight-line improvement, but instead an up-and-down trajectory. Given that, the Sox, according to manager John Farrell, felt that Victorino was “in need of this extended time and treatment.”
Victorino is hitting .283/.343/.362 while playing dazzling right field defense in 34 games this year. He’s missed 14 games due to back injuries and the hamstring. This is his first stint on the DL this year.
WILL MIDDLEBROOKS PLACED ON 15-DAY DL (LOWER BACK STRAIN) Read the rest of this entry »
The Red Sox executed a flurry of roster moves Friday, calling up both pitcher Alfredo Aceves and infielder Jose Iglesias while putting outfielder Shane Victorino (hamstring) and third baseman Will Middlebrooks (back) on the 15-day disabled list. The Sox also activated catcher David Ross from the seven-day concussion DL, optioning Ryan Lavarnway to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Victorino’s DL stint is retroactive to May 21.
Iglesias, who just started playing third base last week, is hitting .202 with a .262 on-base percentage in 33 games for Pawtucket. He is just 5-for-35 (.143) in his last 10 games. Aceves last pitched May 17, allowing three runs (one earned) over five innings. In four appearances for the PawSox, the righty has 3.13 ERA in 23 innings, striking out 21 and walking 11.
Iglesias gets the start at third base against the Indians Friday night, going up against Indians’ starter Justin Masterson. The third baseman will hit ninth.
Here is the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Daniel Nava RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Mike Carp LF
Stephen Drew SS
Jose Iglesias 3B
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini continues ‘clinic’; Sox’ best 3B depth option; why Anthony Ranaudo’s struggles highlight success; the riddle of Mookie Betts||05.08.13 at 12:09 pm ET|
Garin Cecchini spent all of last year in Single-A Greenville, playing in a league and park where home runs tend to fly. Yet in 526 plate appearances, Cecchini cleared the fences just four times.
The 22-year-old now is in High-A Salem, playing in a league and home park that is anathema to power hitters. (Xander Bogaerts, for one, talked about the feeling of relief when he got to Double-A Portland last year and discovered that balls crushed to right-center actually could clear the fence again.) Cecchini has 120 plate appearances with Salem, and on Tuesday night he launched his fourth homer of the young season, going 2-for-4 with a double (his 10th two-bagger and 18th extra-base hit in 27 games this year).
“That was crushed,” noted Salem broadcaster Evan Lepler. (To hear his call, click here.)
Cecchini looks physically like a big leaguer. At a strong 6-feet-2, 215 pounds, he looks like someone capable of driving the ball. But he’s always been a believer in honing his offensive approach, using all fields, swinging at strikes and working deep into counts with the knowledge that, as he refines his approach, he’d likely see power emerge in his game.
To this point in 2013, amidst a dazzling start, that prognostication is proving spot on. He’s hitting .379/.467/.670 with 17 walks and 16 strikeouts. As much as the emergence of his power has been a headline development in his career, however, it’s the consistent quality of his plate appearances that has been his most impressive attribute both this year and in his career.
“It’s like if you go to a hitting camp and the coach is giving you a speech about hitting, what you should be doing. I feel like that’s Cecchini everyday. He’s out there demonstrating what you should be doing at the plate. It’s ridiculous. It’s like a clinic,” said teammate Sean Coyle. “It’s something I really like watching. I’d love to take some parts from his game. It’s great to watch and learn from.”
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-3 WIN AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)
At a time when Will Middlebrooks and David Ross may need rest following their injurious collision, the Red Sox face vastly different depth equations when it comes to replacing the two players.
In the case of Ross, the Sox are well-stocked in terms of upper-levels catchers, with three players (Ryan Lavarnway and Dan Butler in Triple-A, Christian Vazquez in Double-A) on the 40-man roster. Lavarnway would be the obvious choice to fill in for Ross given both his experience with the Sox pitching staff as well as his ability to offer an impact right-handed bat. He’s hitting .328/.402/.500 in Pawtucket.
Third base, on the other hand, could represent an organizational problem — part of the reason why, as of last week, the Red Sox hadn’t even discussed the question of whether Middlebrooks’ struggles might warrant some consideration to a roster change. There are no options in the minor leagues who a) have experience playing third base and b) are on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster.
Drew Sutton, who had been Pawtucket’s primary third baseman this season, is currently on the seven-day DL due to a strained muscle in his side. Utilityman Justin Henry has hit for average (.309) and gotten on base (.391 OBP), but without the power (four extra-base hits in 110 plate appearances) that a team would like to see at a corner spot. Another utility option, Brock Holt, is on the 40-man, but he’s played just one minor league game in his career at third base, and he’s off to a woeful offensive start (.181/.278/.181).
The most intriguing option at the position might be Brandon Snyder, who has been the PawSox’ best hitter this year. The 26-year-old, who signed a minor league deal with the Sox after requesting his release from the Rangers at the end of spring training, was 2-for-4 while driving in a pair of runs on Tuesday, and now is hitting .330/.423/.628 with six homers and 10 doubles. While he’s played mostly first in Pawtucket, Snyder suggests that third base is his natural home on a baseball field. Read the rest of this entry »
|Buster Olney on M&M: Rival GM says Red Sox would get ‘nothing’ in trade of Alfredo Aceves||04.24.13 at 1:17 pm ET|
Buster Olney of ESPN joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about what the Red Sox might do with Alfredo Aceves in light of his mounting issues, and about some of Carl Crawford‘s recent comments about his time in Boston.
Olney said he doubts the Sox would get much, if anything, by trading Aceves, more because of his attitude problems than his pitching.
“I’d be surprised, after he had that incident in spring training, if you guys remember — the live BP session in which he wasn’t giving 100 percent effort,” Olney said. “I asked one general manager, what could you get for him? And he said, ‘Nothing.’ Basically, because his reputation as a teammate is so bad. That’s not to rule out the possibility that he would go someplace else and actually pitch OK, but I think all the personality stuff we’ve seen in the last two years is going to certainly mitigate some teams’ interest in adding him while giving something up that they consider to be worthwhile.
“Maybe the best thing the Red Sox could hope for would be some degree of salary relief, and there are certainly teams out there that would take a shot at him because they’re struggling for pitching. The Angels, who are absolutely starved right now, maybe they would take a shot at him, but again, I don’t think they’re going to get anything serious in return based on what I’ve heard from rival general managers.”
Meanwhile, in a Wednesday column by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Crawford said that he’ll always carry his time in Boston with him, “because it did so much damage to the inside of me.” Before Crawford came to Boston, Olney said, there were people in the Rays organization who were concerned about his ability to move to a higher-pressure market. There also were members of the Yankees organization who had the same worries, even as the Yankees showed an interest in him.
Even so, Olney said he thinks Crawford’s attitude toward Boston since being traded to Los Angeles is more an effort to keep himself sharp than anything else.
“I think a lot of what you’re reading from Carl is him finding and developing a chip on his shoulder,” Olney said. “I was around Carl for a good number of days when he was with the Red Sox. I didn’t think he was mistreated at all. I thought he was treated great. Relative to how he was performing, yeah, he got booed a little bit. I don’t think the media was really all that tough on him. But I think that what you have is, Carl will tell you about, people back in high school didn’t believe in me, I had doubters, people wondered, and I just think this is a way to motivate himself on a daily basis. And he is a motivated guy. The guy’s getting up at 4:30, 5 every day to work out. … It’s like he’s playing ninja mind games with himself.”
|Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘There’s a calmness in the clubhouse that we didn’t see all of last year’||at 9:36 am ET|
NESN’s Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about Alfredo Aceves in the wake of his disastrous outing Tuesday and the state of the Red Sox bullpen.
Aceves allowed eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings on Tuesday, and Remy said that while Aceves hasn’t exactly made the case to stay in the starting rotation, his behavior off the field has been better.
“I think he’s been on a short leash since spring training, in that episode where he went to throw batting practice and he was lobbing the ball in. I think he got a good talking to and I have to say, since then he’s been a good citizen,” Remy said. “He’s been at the ballpark early, he’s been working hard, doing the things that he’s supposed to be doing, acting like a starting pitcher. He’s a tough cat to figure out, he really is, but he’s got talent, and that’s the reason the Red Sox held on to him. He’s the kind of guy that you just don’t want to let go, you want to get something for him if you could, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”
Aceves’ impending return to the bullpen wouldn’t do anything to remedy the fact that the Sox have just one left-handed pitcher, Andrew Miller, working in relief.
“In the ideal situation, they’re supposed to have three,” Remy said. “They thought [Craig] Breslow would be there, and [Franklin] Morales. It does handicap them because especially in the earlier innings, the sixth and seventh, when you’d like to match up a little, you can’t really do it because you want to save him for those key situations when those lefties come up later on in the ballgame. So it would help to get one of those guys back and have at least two guys out there that you can go to. It seems like Breslow’s the closest because he’s on a rehab assignment, whereas Morales was canceled from one because he wasn’t quite ready yet.
“The thing is, 98 percent of the time, the right-handers will get it done. Guys like [Junichi] Tazawa and [Koji] Uehara are just as tough on lefties as they are on righties, because of that split-finger fastball, so they’ve kind of made up the difference.”
In search of the old Alfredo Aceves.
It’s what the Red Sox continue to strive for – consistently uncovering the pitcher that had made such a positive mark day in, day out backing 2011. Unfortunately for the Sox, that version of Aceves continues to come and go with no rhyme or reason.
The latest example of how much of a conundrum the righty has become came Tuesday night, when Aceves suffered through an eight-run, 3 1/3-inning outing in what ended up as the A’s 13-0, seven-inning win over the Sox.
This after admirably filling in for John Lackey with a five-inning, three-run outing against the Indians in his last start. And before that, he allowed just two runs over five frames in his start vs. the Orioles.
“It’s varied, I will say that,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell off Aceves’ results. “He’s healthy. He’s got the ability to manipulate the baseball, as we’ve seen. You’d like to think that there would be or a known commodity in a given role, particularly in a starting role, when you’ve got five days to prepare for the next outing. His preparation today was consistent with what it was prior to the game in Cleveland. Tonight wasn’t one of his better performances.”
Aceves has made no secret that he prefers starting and wants to find a way to fill that role. (Although he most likely will now be taken out of the rotation with Lackey trending toward making a return Sunday.)
But the reality is that Aceves hasn’t been able to prove his worth on a consistent basis in the role since joining the Red Sox, totaling a 6.29 ERA in seven starts since the beginning of 2011.
Perhaps even more disconcerting is Aceves’ overall performance over the past two seasons. During that span, the pitcher has gone 3-11 with a 5.93 ERA in 101 2/3 innings. Opponents have managed a .269 batting average and .807 OPS against him.
Since last Aug. 1, Aceves has pitched in 25 games while managing a 8.51 ERA, with the Red Sox going 6-19 during the stretch of appearances.
“I don’t know if I’d go into the effort level,” Farrell said. “There seemed to be a lack of focus given the way Alfredo has pitched this year for us, and in particular his last outing in Cleveland. It wasn’t a good night.”
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-A’s matchups: Alfredo Aceves vs. Bartolo Colon||04.23.13 at 12:01 pm ET|
Alfredo Aceves will make his third start since replacing the injured John Lackey, as the Red Sox take on Bartolo Colon and the A’s in the second of three games.
Aceves enters Tuesday night’s start at 1-0 with a 6.28 ERA. He has pitched 14 1/3 innings in four games, allowing 18 hits and eight walks while striking out 11. The long ball has been an issue for the righty, as he has surrendered five home runs, including two in his last start against Cleveland. Right-handed batters are hitting .429 off him this season, but he has held lefties to a .237 clip.
In Aceves’ start on Wednesday vs. Cleveland, he started with five shutout innings, allowing the Sox to jump out ahead 5-0. He ran into some trouble in the sixth, allowing back-to-back home runs to Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi, but still picked up the victory.
“In the starting role, he’s done an excellent job of getting through those five innings,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Maybe the last time out, because we needed some innings, we probably pushed him an inning too long. But still, his preparation, his work in between starts, has been very good. He’s stepped in and done a very good job.”
Colon, a 16-year veteran who pitched for the Sox in 2008, will get the ball for the 12-8 A’s. He enters his fourth start of the year at 2-0, posting a 3.32 ERA. He has allowed 20 hits and struck out 10 in 19 innings, without allowing a free pass.
Colon went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in his first season in Oakland in 2012, but he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for synthetic testosterone in late August. In 26 career appearances vs. the Red Sox, Colon is 8-11 with a 3.98 ERA, including a 6-6 record at Fenway Park.
Current A’s hitters have only combined for 23 career plate appearances vs. Aceves, and Brandon Moss has one home run in two career at-bats against the right hander. David Ortiz has struggled mightily in his career vs. Colon, going 6-for-46 and striking out 15 times, though he does have a home run.
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