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Red Sox extend John Farrell through 2017, with option for ’18 02.21.15 at 10:35 am ET
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John Farrell is ready for his third spring training as Red Sox manager. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

John Farrell is ready for his third spring training as Red Sox manager. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell has job security with the Red Sox for the next three seasons.

The team and its manager finalized an agreement Saturday that will extend the 52-year-old manager through the 2017 season, with a club option for 2018. Farrell was in the final guaranteed year of his contract, which included an option for 2016.

General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement through a club press release on Saturday morning as the team was conducting its first pitchers and catchers workout of spring training.

Over his first two seasons with Boston, Farrell has led the club to a combined 168-156 (.519) record and the 2013 World Series Championship. In 2013, he became just the sixth skipper to win a World Series with Boston, and only the fourth to do it in his first year at the helm. Farrell took over for Bobby Valentine in Oct. 2012 and was hired as the 46th manager in team history.

The last time a Red Sox manager was in this position was 2011, when Terry Francona entered the last year of his contract without an extension. His 2012 option was declined by the organization and he was fired after the team collapsed in September.

Farrell, Francona’s pitching coach from 2007-10, finished second in 2013 AL Manager of the Year voting and was named AL Manager of the Year by the Sporting News after guiding Boston to a 97-65 record, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best mark in baseball. The Red Sox took first place in the AL East and went on to win 11 of 16 postseason games in securing the Fall Classic.

Last season, he saw 55 players and 19 rookies contribute to the Red Sox, both his most as a manager as the club finished fifth in the division at 71-91 (.438). He piloted the AL to a 5-3 win over the National League in the 2014 All-Star Game at Minnesota’€™s Target Field.

In four years as a major league manager for the Blue Jays (2011-12) and Red Sox (2013-14), Farrell has a career record of 322-326 (.497). Read the rest of this entry »

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Morning Fort: Dustin Pedroia arrives healthy, proclaims ‘everyone’s fired up and ready to go’ at 9:52 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia is ready to return to full strength after two injury-plagued seasons. (Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia is ready to return to full strength after two injury-plagued seasons. (Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia has had enough of hand surgeries. He’s also had enough of last place finishes.

He and the Red Sox have proven the ability to overcome both over the last two seasons. He’s hoping to repeat the comeback story again in 2015.

Last September, Pedroia had season-ending surgery on his left wrist to relieve tendon pressure and remove scar tissue buildup. In Nov. 2013, after helping the Red Sox to a World Series title, the second baseman had UCL surgery on his left thumb. Pedroia suffered an initial thumb injury on a head-first slide into first base on opening day at Yankee Stadium in 2013. In last year’s home opener against the Brewers, Pedroia slid head-first into second base and re-injured the hand.

Pedroia said Saturday morning upon arriving at JetBlue Park that he’s all set and ready to go, with no restrictions.

“Yeah, I feel great,” Pedroia said. “I’m ready to go. I’m excited. It’s fun. Getting back to work. It’s a new year. Everyone’s excited so it should be fun.”

As for his offseason?

“Lifted weights. Got ready, man,” Pedroia said. “Same as every other offseason except the last couple I’ve had to deal with surgeries and stuff. I got this one done quick so I was able to have a normal offseason of lifting weights and conditioning and all that stuff. I’m ready to go.”

As for his team, Pedroia is well aware of the worst-to-first-to-worst trend from 2012 through 2014. Now, with a rebuilt starting rotation and the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, there are great expectations again after a 71-91 finish last year. And Pedroia shares that optimism.

“Yeah, we’ve obviously done it before. But you have to take it one day [at a time]. We have to worry about today’s practice and go out there and try to get better today,” Pedroia said. “You can’t look at the big picture. If you do the right things every day, at the end you’ll be where you’re at.

“We made a lot of great moves. Obviously, we have a very talented group. It’s our job to form it together and play together. Everyone’s excited and ready to play baseball. It was kind of a long winter. Everyone’s fired up and ready to go.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester,
John Farrell proclaims Shane Victorino ‘full-go’, will be Red Sox RF if ‘fully healthy’ 02.20.15 at 1:19 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — If Shane Victorino needed any pat on the back from his manager for his offseason work to rehab from back surgery, he got it and then some Friday.

“I think the most encouraging one is the way Vic has reported,” John Farrell declared Friday outside the JetBlue clubhouse. “He is full-go baseball activity. I think the way he is talking in the clubhouse indicates that he feels good about himself. We’ll find out as we go through camp here the durability from day-to-day and the volume that increase throughout camp.”

Farrell, unprompted, went even further when raving about the physical shape of his 34-year-old veteran outfielder.

“If Shane Victorino is fully capable and fully healthy, he’s our right fielder,” Farrell said. “That’s pretty simple. He was one of the best right fielders in the game two years ago. When you come back from injury, you shouldn’t have lost your job because of an injury. He’s rehabbed it successfully to date, and going forward, we just have to monitor the recovery rate. And we’ve got a full spring training to do that, and probably into the first part of the year.”

Victorino only played in 30 games in 2014, spending much of last season on the disabled list. He had season-ending back surgery on Aug. 5. In those 30 games, he batted exclusively right-handed. Farrell did not say Friday if he expects Victorino to return to switch-hitting, or when that might take place in camp.

Here are some other takeaways from Farrell Friday morning as the full compliment of pitchers and catchers invited to camp reported for physicals and 1-on-1 interviews.

On whether he or the organization is concerned about the physical condition and weight of Pablo Sandoval: “No, not concerned about his weight. There’s a number of people he’s working with here to make sure he’s on the field every day. And that would be the case throughout the course of the regular season. We were well aware of Pablo’s career, who he is as a person, long before he signed here. We’re looking forward to getting him on the field and acclimating him into this roster.

“You’ll get to know that Pablo has an infectious personality. He cares about his teammates and plays the game the right way. We’re extremely excited that he’s in our uniform. He’s going to be a productive player for us.”

On the main spot of competition on the pitching staff: “There’s probably an area in the bullpen that we’ve got some competition for, whether that’s one or two spots we have some guys competing for, that will work itself out during camp.”

On his rebuilt starting rotation: “I’m excited about the five guys in the rotation. I think this is a group that has established themselves at the big league level. There’s been All Star performance capability to that level and there’s been a lot of talk that we lack a true No. 1 guy. I like the fact that this is a deep and talented rotation and I’m confident in it.”

On his excitement on the eve of the first pitchers and catchers workout on Saturday: “Even as far back as a week ago, we had 40-plus players that had already reported to camp and I think it is an indication of the eagerness and the want in the attitude of the players to get spring training underway and put last year behind us even further and establish a tone in camp that will carry us through the start of the season.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, Shane Victorino,
Morning Fort: Wade Miley ready to ‘get into the swing of things’ in Red Sox rotation at 11:15 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Wade Miley is hoping to go back to the future with the Red Sox.

Just three years ago with the Diamondbacks, the lefty hurler, selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft, finished behind only Bryce Harper for National League Rookie of the Year. He was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April 2012, pitching 3’€“0 with a 1.29 ERA, striking out 15 in 21 innings in two starts. Miley took a no-hitter into the 6th inning of a start against Miami. He was also named a NL All-Star in his rookie season after beginning the 2012 season with a 9-5 record with a 3.04 ERA.

Miley won 16 games for the Diamondbacks in 29 starts in 2012 with a 3.33 ERA in 194.2 innings, which also included three relief appearances.

But in 2013, Miley took a step back from his strong rookie season, managing just 10 wins in 33 starts, despite pitching over 200 innings. Last year, Miley made another 33 starts but fell to 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA. For Miley, this offseason has been filled with anticipation, knowing that a fresh start could mean better results.

“You get that adrenaline when you come to spring training,” Miley said Friday morning. “It’s a long season but those four months get pretty long too and you get excited to get back after it. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

The Red Sox are banking on Miley turning around a two-year slump. For that reason they acquired the 28-year-old left-hander from Arizona on Dec. 12 for pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and infielder Raymel Flores. Then, on Feb. 5, 2015, Miley and the Red Sox agreed on a three-year $19.25 million dollar contract extension.

Clearly with a commitment of nearly $20 million, the Red Sox are projecting Miley as part of their starting rotation for this season, and the next two in Boston. But Miley still has that sense he is competing for a job in the rotation.

“It’s very important,” Miley said. “You have to come out and be prepared and do your best in spring training and hope for the best.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, hanley ramirez
Pablo Sandoval part of new ‘3 Amigos,’ not thinking about taking DH job from David Ortiz 11.25.14 at 11:10 pm ET
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Ever since meeting David Ortiz in the minor leagues in 2008, Pablo Sandoval has always had a tight relationship with the Red Sox slugger.

Now, that relationship figures to get even tighter.

Sandoval was playing for San Francisco’s Double-A team in Richmond, Va. when he met Ortiz, who was rehabbing a wrist injury with the Portland Sea Dogs. There was a story circulating that the two had dinner last week and that Ortiz spent the evening recruiting him. Sandoval set the record straight Tuesday.

“It’s false that we had dinner last time I was in town,” Sandoval said. “It’s not even true. I was talking to him. He gave me advice [in the minors] that I always carry with me and don’t forget those things. Now that I’m here, and we do a Pepsi commercial together. He’s just a funny guy. To be his teammate is going to be exciting, to be 162 games, postseason, it’s going to be very exciting to spend time with him.

“The only thing we talked about was it’s a great organization. They take care of your family first. That’s one of those things that made my decision clearly when I came here last year to meet with Ben. It’s one those things that he told me, family is first [in Boston]. That’s what care about. That’s why I love to be a Red Sox now.”

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, designated hitter, Kung Fu
Pablo Sandoval came to Boston because he wanted a ‘new challenge’ at 6:14 pm ET
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There were no hard feelings or expressions of disrespect coming from Pablo Sandoval Tuesday at his introductory news conference inside the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park. The reason the free agent third baseman said he chose Boston was a simple one.

“I want a new challenge,” said Sandoval. “I made that choice to be here in Boston because I need a new challenge. The legacy they have here. To show them the fan support they have here. That’s what I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. It took me a long time but I’m happy to show the fans all the support they gave to this team. Now I want to show I came here to give them the support to go into the postseason again.”

Of course, the Red Sox did make it worth his while financially. As Alex Speier reported, Sandoval, with the help of his brother and agent Michael, agreed to a $95 million deal with a breakdown as follows: $3 million signing bonus and $17 million in 2015-17; in 2018 and 2019 he earns $18 million. Cherington confirmed Tuesday that there is also a club option for 2020, believed to be worth $17 million in 2020 with a $5 million buyout. The Giants offered a similar package in terms of dollars, and a sixth year option.

But there were reports Monday night that Sandoval left San Francisco because he was disrespected by the offer from the Giants and their concern over his weight. Sandoval denied those Tuesday.

‘€œIt was a tough decision for me,’€ Sandoval said. ‘€œIt took me a long time to be sure that I was going to make the right decision. This is similar, but the Giants gave me the opportunity to be in the big leagues. Opened the door, teach me how to respect the game. The Giants fans, one of the best, but in that time I want to close the cycle that I got there.
Pablo Sandoval has arrived in Boston.”

The 28-year-old Sandoval has only known the National League Giants as his home in his first seven big league seasons, winning World Series in three of the last five seasons, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The Giants showed their appreciation in a statement Monday.

“He has been with us through some of the greatest moments in San Francisco Giants history — including all three World Series championships. We will never forget his World Series MVP performance in 2012 and his numerous contributions to the 2014 championship. His connection with Giants fans — young and old — is truly special, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston.”
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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, Panda
Rusney Castillo on joining Red Sox: ‘I’m just ecstatic to be here’ 08.23.14 at 10:49 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo still is learning his way around Boston.

But the 27-year-old Cuba native knows enough that playing in Boston is unlike any other city in the majors.

“It really means a lot for me to be a part of such a historic organization. I’m just ecstatic to be here,” Castillo said through Red Sox translator Adrian Lorenzo, answering the first question he was asked during his introductory news conference at Fenway Park after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners.

Castillo said there was no debate about coming to America once he talked it over with his family.

“It really wasn’t that difficult of decision to make because I had a lot of support from my family back home,” Castillo said.

Castillo left immediately after the press conference to head back to Miami, where Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the player will stay while the team works on his work visa in the States. Once the paperwork is finished and cleared, Castillo is expected to make the trek across Florida to Fort Myers, where he will report to the player development complex for work, something that is crucial at this point since he hasn’t played competitively in some 18 months.

Castillo said he has spoken to fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes about what it will take to adjust to playing in the majors, especially in Boston.

“So actually, I’ve spoken to Cespedes a little bit about this,” Castillo said. “He made me aware that it’s the same game we’ve played in Cuba. Success here will come down to working and grinding on a day-to-day level.”

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Read More: aroldis chapman, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Cuba
Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo: ‘We think he’s going to be a core part of our team’ at 7:14 pm ET
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The search for the center fielder of the future in the Red Sox organization is over.

With this week’s seven-year, $72.5 million commitment to Cuban star Rusney Castillo, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is making it clear that the organization feels Castillo, along with help from others, will be the answer to replacing the dynamic Jacoby Ellbsury for the rest of the decade.

“We’ve always felt like in order for us to be good, we need two center fielders on the team [and] he’s a center fielder,” Cherington said at the press conference after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners at Fenway. “We have to secure a work visa for him. That process will start here this week, and assuming we can get through that, we’ll get him into workouts and try to get him into games this season — 2014 season — and that would be in center field.

“Obviously, given the commitment, we think he can be a really good player for us for a long time.”

Cherington feels Castillo, along with the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, can fill the void left with Ellsbury’s departure.

“From our perspective, it just means we’re trying to get better,” Cherington said. “We know we need 25 guys on the roster to win games. We feel Rusney can be one of them. That’s all it means. I think we knew going forward, we feel good about the talent that’s here, and we feel good about adding Rusney to that talent. We want a talented, deep roster and we want a competitive atmosphere and competitive environment moving forward. So hopefully, we’re closer to that with Rusney on board.

“It wouldn’t changed our evaluation of him. Certainly, I think you make decisions based on all the information you have at the time and I think we all know we’re trying to build a winning team as quickly as we can, and we’re confident we can do that. And we felt like Rusney could be an important part of that. But obviously, this is a long-term commitment. This is not a decision that’s being about next week or next April. This is someone we think is going to be a core part of our team for a long time and be part of what we hope is a very deep and talented roster in the short term and moving forward.”

“This is an exciting player,” Cherington said. “He’s got a great combination of skills, defensive ability, speed, solid power. He’s got a really strong track record in Cuba and we’re excited to add him to the organization. We feel like he can be a big part of winning Red Sox teams for a long time.

“He’s a center fielder. He’s got a lot of skills. We think he has the chance to impact the game in a number of different ways. He runs well, has a good solid throwing arm, solid power, good offensive track record in Cuba and international play. We see him as a very good major league player and part of a winning team here in Boston.”

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Read More: ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Cuba, Cuba baseball
Ben Cherington begins road to rotation rebuild: Sox to be ‘involved in starting pitching this winter’ 07.31.14 at 11:23 pm ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington knows he completed just half the job on Thursday by trading away Jon Lester and John Lackey, completing a wild week that saw him deal away four-fifths of his opening day rotation.

“That is not something we would have expected to do at the start of the season, trade away four-fifths of the rotation,” Cherington said. “And obviously, each trade done for different reasons and different circumstances. Ultimately, at least the ones — I talked about the Peavy trade before, and that was done at a little bit different time for us.

“The two trades we made today, in Lackey and Lester, were difficult to do, but we feel fit into our desire to be as good as we can as quickly as we can. With that said, we recognize we will have to, we will need to do some work with our starting rotation. We hope and expect many of the answers for that can come from the guys who are here. But I’d expect us to be involved in starting pitching this winter.”

Dealing Lester and Lackey for position players who project to be everyday players for the team in 2015 is only the beginning. Now, Cherington has to go about rebuilding a rotation that lost 40 wins from a 97-win World Series championship team a year ago.

Part of that answer could come from the minor league system, which is stocked with names like Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, who makes his major league debut Friday night in the series opener against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

“Obviously some of those young pitchers are going to get a lot of opportunity the rest of the way, the guys that are already here,” Cherington said. “Ranaudo is going to start [Friday] night. We have an opportunity to watch that and they have an opportunity to pitch and develop. We’ll know a lot more about that group by the end of the season and that will help inform us, to some degree, going into the offseason. It would be my expectation that we would be active no matter what happens the rest of the way.

“My expectation is that we would be active in the starting pitching market this winter with trades, free agency, whatever. But we’re going to learn a lot more about our young group. We liked our young group of starters two weeks ago and now we’ve added a couple more to that in [Eduardo] Escobar and [Eduardo] Rodriguez — two young starters we got. We feel very good about the depth of young starters that we have in the organization. Obviously they’re not proven major league pitchers and so we’ve got to learn more about them the rest of the way and see what’s available to us this winter.”

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Read More: anthony ranaudo, Boston Red Sox, henry owens, john lackey
Ben Cherington takes blame for hitting reset button: ‘Ultimately my responsibility’ at 8:44 pm ET
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Ever since his team began hitting the skids in Toronto, Ben Cherington has been losing a lot of sleep. On Thursday, he lost five players from a roster that won the World Series just nine months earlier.

The Red Sox hit the deadline at 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore and in last place in the AL East. Cherington admitted Thursday that he needed to move quickly. He did by trading Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew, all of whom received 2013 World Series rings on opening day a little less than four months ago.

“I think it speaks to where we are as a team,” Cherington said. “It starts there, and there’€™s nothing celebratory about this. These moves are made because collectively as an organization we haven’€™t performed well enough — this year, anyway. So that precipitates the moves, and then, yeah, there is demand because we were in a unique position, because, despite the record of the team, we had a number of guys particularly pitching, performing really well and very recently playoff-tested.

“So it was a unique combination and we were able to add, I think that helped us, turn those guys into a lot of proven major league talent as opposed to just prospect deals. Prospect deals are typically easier to pull off Most of the time when you’€™re getting calls from contenders it’€™s hard to get proven major leaguers from contenders because typically it doesn’t make sense to give up proven major leaguers for a contender. I think the quality of our guys and the fact that they’€™re recently playoff tested helped us do that. There are other things we could have done but we felt like we did enough, nothing else really made sense to us.”

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Read More: 2014 trading deadline, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, john lackey
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