|Tom Werner: Jenny Dell, NESN ‘moving on’ from each other||02.20.14 at 11:25 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Jenny Dell saga is coming to an end on NESN.
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, who oversees all of NESN’s on-air operations, acknowledged Thursday morning that Dell has decided to pursue other opportunities outside of the sports cable franchise after she and Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks acknowledged on New Year’s Eve that they were in a relationship.
There was immediately much speculation that Dell and NESN would and should part ways.
Dell was taken off the Red Sox beat by NESN in January. On Thursday, Werner broke the news that Dell, despite still working for the company, would prefer to get a job somewhere else.
“I think that we talked about it internally because I think Jenny is a terrific reporter,” Werner said. “I think we came to the conclusion, and Jenny came to the same conclusion, that it would be a distraction for her to be a reporter. So, she’s moving on.
“It wasn’t sort of a black-and-white decision because [she could] divorce her personal life from being a professional. But we decided that in the end it would be better to move on and not have it be a distraction. She’s looking for other opportunities. Nothing’s been set but I think she’s looking for other opportunities. We’ve offered her other positions at NESN, whether she wanted to be an anchor or on an evening show or do other stuff.
Dell was hired before the 2012 season to replace Heidi Watney as the team’s sideline reporter, covering the team on NESN for the entire season. Werner was asked if Dell is free and clear of any contractual obligations.
“Yes, she is,” Werner replied.
As for another NESN talent, Werner said the team is welcoming back Jerry Remy with open arms. Remy, who will return to broadcasts this spring, took a leave of absence from the team in mid-August last year and did not return after his son Jared was charged with murdering his girlfriend, and mother of his child, in Waltham.
“What we said to Jerry at the time was that we just offered him our support after the tragedy,” Werner said. “We said to him, ‘There’s a place for you if and when you come back. This is going to be a very personal decision but you have a home here at NESN if and when you feel it’s appropriate to come back.’ We’re delighted he’s back. I know that he’s very mindful of the tragedy but I think he’s excited about returning to the booth.”
Here are some of the other relevant takeaways from Thursday’s Q&A with Werner:
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all of the speculation and talk concerning the leadoff spot in the order, Daniel Nava was mentioned as a potential candidate by manager John Farrell recently.
Farrell clarified his position on Wednesday, saying the job of batting at the top of the order is still under consideration, with Jonny Gomes possibly getting a look because of his on-base numbers against left-handed pitching.
Since joining the Red Sox in 2010, Nava (who turns 31 on Saturday) has grown accustomed to sitting back and letting things play out on their own and then going about his own business, not worrying about things he can’t control.
“I’m not going to change my approach because I think my approach is kind of similar to what a leadoff guy is,” Nava said Thursday, before hitting the field for the team’s first full-squad workout. “Obviously, the first time around, that’s where you’re a leadoff hitter and after that the situation dictates what kind of at-bat you take. I’ve been there before. If they want me to do that, then whatever they need.
“I’m pretty comfortable. It’s the only only organization I know so hopefully, five or six years in, I would feel comfortable. The Red Sox do a great job of [mixing in] the minors with the big leagues and letting you feel as if you’re part of an organization and a team, and that’s what I feel pretty grateful that I’ve experienced.”
In 2013, the switch-hitting Nava had a very impressive .411 OBP in 120 games against right-handed pitching, and for his career that mark stands at .390. Nava, one of the most humble players on the team, poked fun at his stature (5-foot-11) and his lack of eye-popping speed.
“I’ve got to get faster. I’ve got one of those two things,” Nava said of his small size but lack of blazing speed. “I’m little. Carlos Pena was a leadoff guy and he hits home runs. Certainly, there’s a little more room for flexibility. If that’s where they want me to hit in the lineup, as long as I’m in the lineup, it’s good for me. I don’t care if I hit ninth, it doesn’t matter.”
Nava did start eight games last year in the leadoff spot but more often he hit fifth or sixth, with 77 of his starts coming in the middle of the order.
Farrell said Wednesday that he is now more likely to consider keeping Nava in the 5-hole this season
While Nava would certainly be a candidate from the left side of the plate against righthanders, Farrell opened the door Wednesday to the possibility of Jonny Gomes (.377 career OBP vs. LHP) as a leadoff hitter against lefties.
Whatever happens, Nava said the main objective is to move on to 2014.
“I think a lot of us look to last year as something we can draw upon but last year is last year and it’s time to move on; 2014 is right here, it’s upon us, 2013 was great but it’s time to look at 2014 and that’s obviously why we’re here,” Nava said.
“I think a lot of guys are excited because it’s a new year and there’s a lot of things [new]. There’s been some turnover but I think there a bunch of guys who are excited to see how it’s going to play out together as a team, and that’s kind of where we were last year with walking on the field with new guys [wondering] what’s going to happen. I think it’s good though. It’s a positive thing. It’s not snowing.”
|Mike Petraglia, Alex Speier talk David Ortiz and John Henry and whether a deal gets done||02.19.14 at 5:29 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Alex Speier address the significance of David Ortiz‘s press conference on Wednesday at JetBlue Park and whether or not Red Sox principal owner John Henry can get an extension done with his slugger by the end of camp.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — There’s a fire that burns deep inside David Ortiz.
And on Wednesday, after talking about his desire for another year tacked onto his current contract, Ortiz went deep on what motivates him to prove to people that – at 38 – he can still slug and produce like a player in his 20s.
“The way everything went down last year, last year was a tough year for me, and I survived through it,” Ortiz said of his season that ended with the 2013 World Series MVP trophy. “Now I feel great. Now I feel way better than last year. If I got through it last year I think there’s plenty of me going on still.
“I have played under one-year deals. I have come in and got my things done. It’s not new to me. But it is what it is.”
What it is right now is the final year of a two-year, $30 million contract, expiring at the end of 2014.
What was particularly interesting was Ortiz’s admission that he feels that he has earned his place in the pantheon of the greatest players ever to wear the Red Sox uniform. It’s part of the reason his critics, while they are certainly in the minority, still bother him.
“As long as I have been in this organization, I don’t think I have disrespected [anyone],” he said. “I think I have been honest. I think I have been legit and I’ve been one of the greatest to wear this uniform, too. Some people forget about that but sometimes you’ve got to let them know. I think it’s very disrespectful for someone out there to be saying that I’m greedy, that all I want to talk about is contract. When am I going to talk about contract? When I retire? It’s now that I’m playing, still playing. Nobody gets a contract after you retire. Who does? A lot of them go out there on the radio talk, those radio shows or whatever, they always like to come out with their chest wide open and talk trash and before you do that, you need to know who you’re going to talk about.”
Why is that?
“Haters man, haters, haters. People hate. That’s the world we’re living in today. People hate people [and] are not comfortable with you doing well, and that’s it. That’s the way I see it. I do not disrespect anyone as long as I’ve been here, that I can remember. I just go about my business, do what I’ve got to do, win championships. That’s what every single person that is a fan, or any organization, wants from a player. That’s what I do.
“That part of it motivates me to come in and kick ass, to be honest with you. I’m super-excited. I can’t wait for the season to start, can’t wait, can’t wait. I’m anxious. I’m hungrier than ever right now. To me, what we did last year don’t matter. I want to get another one now again, prove people wrong like I have my career and then at the end of the season I just laugh at my house because I don’t talk to no one. I just sit at my house and laugh about it. That’s all you can do, right? Being slapped in the face.”
So, Ortiz admits he’s constantly playing with a chip on his shoulder.
“I always do,” Ortiz said. “I always do. I always do. You [media] all know that. I always do.”
With greats like Mariano Rivers (2013) and Derek Jeter (this season) retiring, how much longer will the 38-year-old Ortiz play?
“They have a wonderful career. I don’t have their age yet but I’ll start viewing things different once I get there. I’ve got a couple of years in between before I get there.”
“I get asked that question asked all the time and I had a question for everyone… how am I doing so bad that people want me to retire? Can anyone give me an answer to that?,” he asked.
There is the possibility, though not likely, that Ortiz doesn’t end his career with the Red Sox.
“It can happen, man. It can happen. Hopefully not,” he said. “It can happen. Hopefully, that’s not the case. I like it here. I love the fans here. I love what I do here. My job is to not only hit a baseball. I do a lot of things I’m comfortable with and a lot of people care about. I think I’m doing OK since I’ve been here.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz made his public case Wednesday for a one-year extension to a two-year, $30 million deal that expires at the end of this season.
“I’m a little afraid to talk about my contract,” Ortiz began. “People have been killing me when I get that question asked and I give an answer. I think I’m going to be fine. That’s all I have to say right now about contract thing. A lot of people are tired about me talking about contract. But it ain’t me. You guys bring the question, I have an answer. We will find out later on what’s going to happen with that.”
Will he get an extension?
“I think I’m going to be OK,” he answered. “I think I’m going to be OK.”
Ortiz was sensitive to the constant talk about whether he should get an extension before the season begins.
“What am I supposed to do? I know a lot of you guys that come here and get to see what we do every day here, some of you appreciate what we do here, some of you don’t, which is pretty much fair because nobody has to agree with what we do. I don’t really care,” Ortiz insisted. “But at the end of the day, we get prepared, we work to get things done. I’m one of those guys who gets prepared to win games, win championships and that’s all that matters to me. But there’s something after that. It’s what motivates you to do that. It’s hard for some people to understand that. But what can I say? Nobody has any idea of how I get things done and how I have to put myself together to get it done and put up a show. It is what it is, basically.”
“It’s a little crazy,” he said. “It’s not tough but it’s a little crazy, it’s a little out of hand. People sometimes want to make a big deal about that, like me asking for another year extension when some of us are asking for 10-year extensions. But like I say, you’re not going to make everyone happy. Some people are going to like, some people don’t. That’s the war in today’s day, that’s the war.
“I’m having fun and things are going well and when things start going well, it’s a time for you to agree on things and ask for whatever you want. My problems ain’t the Red Sox, my problems ain’t the fans. I’m super happy to be here. I’m glad to wear this uniform. The fans know that I’m more than proud of performing in front of them. I try my best every time I go out there. It’s just a couple of haters out there flipping things around. I can’t control that. If you guys ask me a question, I’m more than nice to give you guys an answer. It’s not like every time I bump into you guys I talk about contract. But you guys come to me with a question, what do you want me to do? [Answer] ‘next.’ You guys want to hear an answer, right? That’s what I do.”
In the end, Ortiz is optimistic that a deal will indeed get done.
“I don’t know but conversations are good and my bosses are more than happy to talk about what we’re talking about,” he said. “They’re trying to get this out of the way so it doesn’t turn into a distraction. My goal now is trying to win another championship. That’s all that matters to me right now. The contract situation thing is going to be taken care of at some point. When? I don’t really know. Hopefully, pretty soon but like I always tell you guys, I’m the kind of guy, once I know I’m in, I’m in. People always want to make you look bad when it comes down to contract situation. I haven’t met the first player that played without a contract. You know what I’m saying? What else can I tell you? It is what it is.”
But whether it gets done before the season starts might be another matter.
“It’s a 50-50 situation right now,” Ortiz said. “Would it be any different if I come in and do what I normally do? Then we’ll be talking about a real contract afterwards. I think that it’s more than a contract and the things that people are tired of hearing. It’s more of respect. Who am I? Just another player. Probably not but as a player we always have challenges that we need to accomplish during the season and I’m up to that. Every year is a challenge to me because everybody always expects me to come in and put up numbers, which I’ve been doing since I got here. I’m tired of myself talking contract, to be honest with you.”
|Autograph-crazed fans prove David Ortiz is most wanted man in Red Sox camp||02.18.14 at 9:07 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — After chilling with his nine-year-old son D’Angelo on the first-base side bench of Field 1 Tuesday morning, David Ortiz decided it was time to satisfy some of the fans that had made the trip to JetBlue Park and the home of Red Sox spring training.
First, he gave a high-five to a string of about 20 VIP fans and guests that passed through the bench area on the first base side. Then, on his way back to the conditioning fields, he took 10 minutes to sign autographs for about 50 crazed fans that were testing the integrity of an interlocked metal barricade. One fan brought a champagne bottle from a celebration from the 2013 World Series run, with several names already decorating the souvenir.
“David, David, please sign my champagne bottle!” one fan begged repeatedly. “Right on the label,” shouting directions at the Red Sox slugger.
Ortiz at spring training is always a treat because those around him never know what he might say in an unguarded moment, like when he spoke about the possibility of major league baseball some day in his native Dominican Republic.
“I’ll tell you what, some facilities down there are already MLB [caliber],” he said. “I hear [MLB] is thinking about having the 2017 [season] opener between the Red Sox and Yankees.”
Ortiz was reminded that he would be 41 at that point.
“Hey, you never know,” Ortiz said with a smile. Ortiz, with his agent Fern Cuza in town Tuesday, is looking for an extension of one year to his current $30 million deal that ends after this season.
Ortiz made another friend on Tuesday when he entertained Casey Browne, the son of MLB.com and RedSox.com beat writer Ian Browne, for several minutes on his right while D’Angelo sat on his left.
He observed all the right things, including Jake Peavy throwing long toss as he heals his sore right ring finger, A.J. Pierzynski wanting to catch bullpen sessions in spite of a minor ankle ailment suffered Monday conditioning drills and David Ortiz and all of his position players in camp, well ahead of their reporting date later in the week.
“Just the overall energy and the way guys are going about their work,” Farrell said in making his observation of the defending World Series champs. “It’s the second day and we’ve had everybody to the mound that is ready to throw bullpens. So, we’re getting through the first couple of days as we had hoped and anticipated.
“It’s been an encouraging day, a long toss with Peavy. The irritation of the right ring finger seems to be subsiding and good things are happening,” Farrell said of the flat ground work for Peavy on Tuesday.
“I think once we get to the mound and get a little bit of a mound progression, we’ll get a better read on that. I think that more than anything the information he took out of throwing today was very encouraging. The discomfort that he felt when he first reported is steadily going away. Today was a day to get some long toss in, which he completed successfully.”
Here are some other takeaways from Farrell on Day 2:
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