|Koji Uehara admits ‘I don’t know when I’ll be back’||03.30.15 at 6:55 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — After Koji Uehara again felt something in his sore hamstring after a 30-pitch bullpen Monday, John Farrell can count on his closer not being ready for the start of the season.
“I don’t think there’s anything to suggest that come next Monday he’s in our bullpen,” Farrell said Monday. And that was before Uehara threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session that was far from 100 percent.
“Same as last time. It’s the same. I feel something in the same area so I’m not throwing as hard as I want to be,” Uehara said.
The question now is just when might the 39-year-old right-handed closer return to action.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back,” Uehara said Monday. “It’s a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready.”
Uehara hasn’t pitched since March 14. He has allowed seven hits and two earned runs in three one-inning stints this spring.
“I think I’m going to start on the DL just because I haven’t had the games,” Uehara said. “If that is the case, if I start on the DL, it certainly will be a disappointment. I knew from the beginning that it’s going to be a slow process. It’s from my experience.”
It would appear all but certain that Uehara will start the season on the disabled list as the Red Sox and Farrell try to patch together the backend of their bullpen, which starts with moving Edward Mujica into the closer’s role for the time being.
“I don’t have seven names to give you right now,” Farrell said of his uncertain bullpen. “We’ve still got some things to determine how we’re going to form the rotation, whether we go with an additional left-hander or right-hander, what the ramifications coming out of the mix for the short run, does that likely move Edward back into the closing role, and you’re down to a couple of right-handers, likely three, with two being a little bit better against righties.
“All of these things are factored in. I do know this that we’re in a point in time in camp where guys are throwing the ball as expected, that includes Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes. Brandon Workman’s last time out was encouraging so as we get to final week of camp here, the guys we felt would be in contention for spots are moving in the right direction.”
|John Farrell hints Sandy Leon has edge over Humberto Quintero, Blake Swihart could start in minors||at 4:57 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With so many moving parts at once right now, it would be hard to blame manager John Farrell for choosing his words very carefully when asked to project his roster, including the catching position.
Reading between the lines of Farrell’s meeting with reporters before Monday night’s game with the Twins at JetBlue Park, it appeared that 26-year-old Sandy Leon has the inside track to be Ryan Hanigan’s backup over 35-year-old Humberto Quintero, primarily because Leon is out of options and was immediately placed on the 40-man roster Monday while Quintero is not on the 40-man.
“I can’t deny that that is a factor,” Farrell acknowledged. “And it’s probably the same reason why he became available to us. That’s a factor in all of this, particularly when you look at trying to build depth. That’s not to take anything away from Humberto because he’s done a very good job for us.”
Leon walked through the clubhouse doors at JetBlue Park Monday afternoon before the game with the Twins, with his equipment bag in tow, and expressed his desire to help right away.
“It’s really good. I’m happy just to be here and learn a new team, new teammates, new pitchers. Just trying to communicate with them. I was enjoying my spring training, having fun playing. It was really difficult. I didn’t know what was going to happen. This morning I wasn’t expecting this. After 20 minutes, they were like, ‘Hey, you got traded.’ It feels kind of weird. But I feel good, just happy to be here.”
“I think it’s going to be good. I was really positive. I just want to play and help the team to win and get to a World Series. That’s what I want.”
Leon was asked if he was competing for a starting or backup catching job with Ryan Hanigan.
“I have no idea. You just have to wait to get into the games and see what happens,” Leon said. “It’s a really good challenge. I feel good.”
Quintero, who came over to give his native Venezuelan a hug at Leon’s locker, has an opt-out deadline of Tuesday. If he accepts an assignment, he likely would begin the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
“There’s no decisions on where we go but we needed to build depth, for sure,” Farrell said.
|NFL’s Brandon Magee thinks he can make Red Sox: ‘If I focus on this, that’s not even a concern’||at 1:40 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Give Brandon Magee this much: He’s not afraid of failing.
The linebacker who was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week is vowing to give his full commitment to the Red Sox, the team that saw his talent on the other side of the field at Arizona State, as an outfielder. All of this despite not having played in a competitive game on the diamond since 2011, his junior year at college.
The Red Sox drafted Magee in the tenth round of the 2012 draft. But instead of choosing baseball, the two-sport star at ASU chose to focus on his NFL dreams. He’s gotten a taste of it with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns before his release last week by the Bucs.
He arrived at the Red Sox complex on Sunday, with his only goal of listening to coaches and taking directions.
“As of right now, I don’t even know exactly what I’m going to do next week,” Magee said. “I’m just taking it day by day and see where it goes.”
But perhaps the most successful of all of the two-sport stars of the modern era is Bo Jackson. And Bo knows Brandon. Or, more to the point, Brandon has met and talked to Bo. Last spring, Jackson paid a visit to Fort Myers to chat with Magee.
“He’s a great guy,” Magee said. “He’s been here before and he’s an encouragement all the time I’ve talked to him. He’s just encouraged me to stay humble and keep working hard. Try to outwork everybody out here. That’s his main key.”
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|Red Sox officially place Christian Vazquez on 60-day DL with elbow sprain, add catcher Sandy Leon||at 10:42 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have admitted they’ll be without catcher Christian Vazquez for a while.
The club placed him on the 60-day disabled list Monday with a sprained right elbow. The move allows the Red Sox to add newly-acquired catcher Sandy Leon to the 40-man roster. With the transaction, the Red Sox now have 44 players in big league camp, including 32 active players from the 40-man roster, 11 non-roster invitees, and one player on the disabled list.
Leon, 26, has appeared in 13 games this spring for the Nationals, batting .286 (6-for-21) with one double and three RBI. A switch-hitter, he appeared in 20 games for Washington last season, making 17 starts behind the plate.
The native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, has hit .189 (18-for-95) with three doubles, one home run, five RBI, and nine runs scored in 34 big league games, all with Washington (2012-14). Considered a defensive specialist, Leon has thrown out six of 15 potential base stealers in the major leagues. The Nationals won 16 of his 26 starts (.615) over the past three seasons.
Over four stints with the Nationals in 2014, he went 10-for-64 (.156) with a double, a home run, and three RBI while throwing out five of eight potential base stealers from behind the plate. In 51 games with Triple-A Syracuse last season, he batted .229 with nine doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI, and 23 walks, and caught 12 of 21 would-be base stealers.
Leon, who will wear No. 3, was originally signed by Washington as an international free agent on Jan. 17, 2007. Over his eight minor league seasons, he has thrown out 45 percent (245 of 543) of attempted base stealers. Read the rest of this entry »
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have acquired some organizational catching depth.
A source confirms to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that catcher Sandy Leon is on his way to the Red Sox. Details as to who would be going the other way in the deal were not immediately available. Leon first told James Wagner of The Washington Post about the deal Monday morning.
Leon is 26 and out of options, and was considered a long shot to break camp with the Nationals. Christian Vazquez is scheduled for a second opinion on his right elbow with orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews Wednesday in Pensacola. He has been all but ruled out for the beginning of the season and his availability this season is up in the air. Manager John Farrell repeated again Sunday that the Red Sox are focused on internal candidates to fill the role of a second catcher on the team.
With Ryan Hanigan the clear choice to start most of the games, the battle for backup was between super prospect Blake Swihart and 35-year-old veteran Humberto Quintero.
Leon is a switch-hitter who has played sparingly over the past three seasons, totaling just 107 plate appearances in the majors, hitting just .189/.280/.253. Leon has fared better at Triple-A where he’s posted a .257/.358/.414.
Leon has, for the most part, been a minor league catcher, batting .236/.324/.329. Like Quintero, he’s considered a defensive specialist, throwing out 45 percent of would-be base stealers in his minor league career.
Sandy Leon says he’s been traded to the Red Sox.
‘ James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 30, 2015
|Observations from Red Sox’ 3-2 win over Rays: Rusney Castillo makes play for right, Brian Johnson depth option||03.29.15 at 5:33 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rusney Castillo is making it harder and harder to leave him off the Opening Day roster.
The Cuban outfielder, who has overcome oblique issues early in camp, showed again Sunday in a 3-2 10-inning win over the Rays at JetBlue Park why he is regarded as such a dynamic player, and why the Red Sox invested $72.5 million over seven years in his potential.
With one out and the go-ahead runner at third in the top of the tenth of a 2-2 game, Castillo ranged far to his left, slid in foul territory and caught the ball just before it hit the grass. He popped up and fired a seed to catcher Matt Spring, who applied the tag on the runner trying to score for the inning-ending out.
“I don’t know that you can make a play better than the one he made,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Diving play into foul territory, gets up, sets his feet and throws a 150-foot strike. A dynamic player when you consider the skill set he has. If there was any question on whether he could play right field, I think he’s certainly answering those for us in camp here. We were over in Jupiter, he handled a sinking line drive that was going towards the line. His reads and routes are fine. Obviously, he has enough arm to play the position. A very good athlete.”
“It turned out to be a good play,” Castillo said. “I’m always kind of anticipating that kind of thing to happen. You have men on third in a big situation, you hope that you can make a play like that and execute the way it turned out. Just fortunate everything went our way.
“It’s just as natural to me as center field is. I played both center and right field in Cuba. It’s not a new position. It’s not a foreign position. I pretty comfortable in both.”
Leading off the bottom of the inning, he did not homer over the Monster, as he did to win the game against the Twins last Thursday. Instead, he settled for a single to left to open the inning. He advanced to second on a passed ball and sped to third on an Allen Craig fly to medium center.
One out later, Castillo scored the game-winner again when Deven Marrero singled off the netting in left field for a 3-2 victory. Castillo is now batting .263 with five runs scored in his seven spring games.
“I feel pretty good,” Castillo said. “Thankfully, I’m healthy, having no restrictions. I feel good. My swing is in a good place.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Clay Buchholz says Opening Day nod ‘a big, big honor’||at 2:43 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz got the message loud and clear.
This is his time, his year, to step up and shine as the time-vested leader of the Red Sox rotation. The Red Sox rewarded him for his diligence this spring with the nod as the club’s Opening Day starter on April 6 in Philly.
“Obviously it’s a big, big honor,” Buchholz said before Sunday’s game at JetBlue Park. “It’s another game. I have to prepare just as I would for any other start. I think it gets a lot of publicity and lot of attention on it just for it being Opening Day. I’m willing to try and take it as normal as possible and try to cherish the moment because there aren’t many people that get to be a part of that or actually be an Opening Day starter, especially for an organization like Boston. Yeah, I’m happy about it.”
While the official announcement was made by manager John Farrell Sunday morning in the third base dugout, the message that the organization expected him to step forward was made clear to the 30-year right-hander much earlier.
“It’s something that you can use to your advantage for sure, knowing that there were a lot of changes done and made to this team in the offseason. Knowing what they did with the offense this offseason, we’re in a better place right now on paper to get the season going and to really feel confident about what this team can do. I think everybody is going to be excited once we leave out of here and once we get to Philly, regardless of how cold it is. A change might be good for a couple of guys. It’s an honor. I think everybody here is ready to go.”
“We have meetings once we get here with Ben and Juan and John. We sit down and sort of go over what they expect and the outlook on everything coming into camp. And that was one of the messages Ben gave to me.”
The Red Sox have placed a great deal of trust in Buchholz, mainly because they feel he has matured. Buchholz showed off his maturity and perspective Sunday.
“I’ve been here for a little bit,” Buchholz said. “I’ve had some ups and downs, both on the extreme side. I feel like I’ve matured a lot as person and baseball player. I think it’s just knowing that nobody is going to be perfect but if you practice to be perfect, I think the direction it’s going to go is a lot less [of a problem] than if you don’t practice that way, and that’s one of the things I’ve tried to instill in myself, try to do everything hard, work hard and be prepared. When adversity is presented to you, I think you really know how to respond to that in a different way, going through it before and then having a lot of success. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. It wasn’t always fun but I think it’s put me in a pretty good spot.”
|John Farrell confirms Edward Mujica will start season as closer, Koji Uehara ‘not likely’ to start season||at 1:11 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox pitching staff is still in flux one week before the season.
Koji Uehara won’t be ready for the season. Joe Kelly is still a big question mark. Edward Mujica is the closer for now but other options could be available.
The numerous decisions to be made is making John Farrell a busy man, as he acknowledged before Sunday’s game at JetBlue Park against the Rays.
First off, Farrell announced Uehara felt a twinge in his hamstring during a throwing session Saturday.
“We’re not scheduling a game yet,” Farrell said. “He’s going to need some additional increase in intensity and rehab to the hamstring. Whether or not that includes a bullpen after a couple of a days off, that’s probably our approach right now where he’ll take a couple of days down. He felt it a little bit [Saturday] in the bullpen. He’s still able to do throwing to the point of keeping his arm in shape to a certain extent. But we’re not game-ready yet.”
Who will be the closer? Edward Mujica, followed by a combination of possibilities, including Junichi Tazawa, Alexi Ogando and even lefty Tommy Layne.
“There’s been times where he’s thrown a ball down and away to right-handers with good stuff,” Farrell said of Mujica. “Right now, he would be the guy that we turn to in closing situations. I will also say that we would look to matchup in the ninth inning as well. We’ll look to exploit the best matchup, and that could be any one of three or four guys down there to finish a game.”
“Taz, if it’s Ogando. Against a tough lefty, it could be Tommy Layne. We’re not limiting any of our options.”
Farrell wouldn’t rule out a closer-by-committee but suggested it’s not the first option.
“There might be days where [Mujica] is not available,” Farrell said. “That would be no different than if Koji [weren’t] available. With Koji now not likely to start the season with us, if Koji were unavailable on a given day, it probably would’ve been Eddie. So there are other options. I’m not saying this is strictly a closer-by-committee. But we would look to close games out with Eddie but if there are certain situations that we feel like the better matchup is with a left-hander, I’m not opposed to doing that.”
Matt Barnes is an interesting possibility as well, somewhere in the bullpen. The right-hander who relieved Steven Wright Saturday, has been moved from starting to a relieving role.
“That’s an ongoing discussion,” Farrell said. “It’s a guy that’s been throwing three pitches for strikes so when you profile him out, he profiles as a starter. He’s also throwing the ball very well in shorter stints. He’s a good pitcher. We just want to be sure. There’s a number of moving parts in all of this, Joe Kelly’s situation to Koji’s situation. We’re taking every available opportunity to make decisons that are best for the invidual pitchers and where they plug in for us.”
As for the starting rotation, Joe Kelly (biceps) has been pitching in minor league games and the team wants to keep its disabled list options available if they decide to leave him behind when the team breaks camp. This is partially why Farrell did not announce a third pitcher for Philadelphia on Sunday, after confirming that Clay Buchholz would start the opener, followed by Rick Porcello on April 8.
With the possibility of both Uehara and Kelly starting the season on DL, the Red Sox could decide to take Steven Wright north and possibly Barnes.
|Christian Vazquez to see James Andrews for second opinion||at 10:58 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The young star catcher of the Red Sox is going to see the expert in elbows to get a second opinion.
“I don’t know about the severity of it right now,” Farrell said. “We know there’s been findings based on the MRI. I think anytime the elbow is talked about, you go to someone who’s probably the source in our industry, and that’s Dr. Andrews, to take a further look at this.”
Farrell noted that Vazquez got the earliest possible appointment with Andrews.
“He’s usually a pretty busy guy, unfortunately,” Farrell said of the renown orthopedist.
An MRI performed on Friday after his last appearance behind the plate revealed “findings” in his right elbow.
The team has shut down the 24-year-old catcher indefinitely as doctors look into what might be wrong with the right arm. Now, Farrell and his staff must decide between Humberto Quintero and Blake Swihart as the backup behind Ryan Hanigan.
“We’ve got to evaluate all guys behind the plate and take every piece of available information to make a decision later on in the week,” Farrell said. “I think it’s more about leading the pitchers at this point. The best way I could describe it is that there’s not going to be one thing we hang our hat on when we make that decision. We’re about winning games and we’ll put the best team on field.
“My view is that in our lineup, our catcher was going to hit ninth no matter what, [or] who they are. I think that’s just a sign of the strength of the rest of the lineup. Again, all these things will be discussed and come to the decision that works best for us right now.”
|John Farrell (finally) confirms Clay Buchholz as Opening Day starter: ‘This is his time’||at 10:27 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell finally dispensed with the drama toward the end of his Sunday pre-game briefing with reporters at JetBlue Park.
Clay Buchholz will be the starting pitcher when the Red Sox begin the season April 6 in Philadelphia. Rick Porcello will start the second game on April 8 while the third pitcher for the series is undecided, pending roster moves in the final week before the team breaks camp.
Farrell made the announcement unprompted toward the end of the session with reporters, after several media inquiries the last three weeks were met with polite procrastination from the Red Sox skipper.
“Buchholz will start Monday in Philly,” Farrell announced.
What went into the decision?
“A whole plan, I’ll leave it at that,” Farrell quipped, before adding some insight and perspective. “He came into camp in a good place, both mentally and physically. Each bullpen to game outing he pitched, his delivery is on line. The line score last time out doesn’t reflect the way the ball came out of his hand. Now, line scores are important. I get it. But he feels good physically. He’s confident. We’ve seen when Clay has been in that place, he’s one of the better pitchers in baseball. We fully expect that to begin the season in that form.”
Buchholz allowed 12 hits and four runs in five-plus innings in his last start Friday at Disney against the Braves but has been very much in command this spring, striking out 18 batters and walking just three in 15 innings, posting a 3.60 ERA.
“He’s embraced it. He understands and has lived the changes that have gone on around him. He is fully aware of everything that is Boston and that goes along with being a starting pitcher for the Red Sox. He doesn’t back away from it. He may go about it in his own way. He’s not the most vocal guy in the world. He’s been here for a number of years and to me, he’s in a position to embrace that and assume that.”
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