|David Ortiz reminds fans: ‘I like to play no matter what the situation is’||08.26.12 at 4:12 pm ET|
David Ortiz may be on the verge of being shut down for the season with a right Achilles injury.
But he wants Red Sox fans to know he’d love to play in September, even if the team is already out of playoff contention.
“I don’t really care about that,” Ortiz said Sunday morning. “I like to play. When I’m good, I like to play no matter what the situation is. You guys [media] know that, you guys have been watching me for years. It’s not the first time we’ve been out of contention and me shutting it down for any particular reason. I like to play. I like to be on the field. I know the fans like to come and watch me play like they come watch everyone else play. It’s our job when we are healthy, to be on the field, no question. Nothing else I would like to do more than be on the field. I enjoy that. You have to be healthy for that.”
Ortiz appeared to aggravate his right Achilles injury on Friday night legging out a double.
“Any injury can be really bad if you push it when you’re not ready,” Ortiz said. “In my case, I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent, and if I’m good, I’m good. All you guys know that I love being on the field and doing my thing but you have to be ready for that.
“On my way to be what I want to be but I take no time, and it takes a different process I have to approach. It’s either that or get worse, and I’m not planning on getting worse.”
Ortiz continues to battle lingering soreness and said before Sunday’s game that he should know by the “end of the day” whether he will end his season and focus on fully healing the injury. After Sunday’s game, he modified his sense of the situation, saying “nothing’s changed” and no decision had been made.
Ortiz missed 35 games with the right Achilles injury before returning Friday and going 2-for-4 with a double. It was while rounding first and heading for second on the double that Ortiz felt significant soreness, indicating to him that the injury had not fully healed. Read the rest of this entry »
James Loney knows full well what he’s getting into.
The 28-year-old veteran first baseman arrived in Boston Sunday as the only major league-ready player to come from the Dodgers in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. He knows what kind of year it’s been in Boston.
“I knew a bunch of those guys that got traded,” Loney said in the Sunday press conference before going out and making his Red Sox debut at first base. “I know a bunch of guys here still but I know they’re always trying to build a championship team here. I know it didn’t work out and this year I guess there were some things going on.”
He’s heard all about playing in the intense baseball market of Boston from the outside. Now, he gets to experience it first hand.
“I’ve heard that,” Loney said. “You hear that. I think a lot of big-market, big city teams are like that. You don’t think about it when you’re out there. You just go out and play.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Ben Cherington: Blockbuster ‘was not a trade to fix a cultural problem’||08.25.12 at 8:51 pm ET|
The widely held perception was that there was a cultural and chemistry problem in the Red Sox clubhouse prior to the blockbuster trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. That may very well have been the case but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington made it very clear Saturday that wasn’t the reason he pulled the trigger on the franchising-changing deal.
“The culture will feel better when we start winning more games, this was about creating an opportunity to build a better team moving forward, it was not a trade that was made to try to fix a cultural problem,” Cherington said. “It was about opportunity, giving us opportunity moving forward. The culture will feel very good when we do the things that have made us good over time, things that help us win games. When we do those things, the culture will feel good.”
Since Sept. 1, 2011, the Red Sox were 67-86 entering Saturday. To Cherington, that’s the only stat that mattered.
“The bottom line is that we haven’t won enough games,” Cherington said. “That goes back to last September. We haven’t performed on the field as a team. We’ve had individuals perform and this is not about the four players we gave up, anything they did particularly wrong. We just haven’t performed as a team when we needed to. As we looked at, we felt that in order to get to a team that we believe in, a team that our fans deserve, a team that is a winner and sustains winning year after year, it was going to take more than cosmetic changes. It was going to take something more bold and then it was up to us to go take advantage of that opportunity, execute and go make good decisions. Again, a lot of things go into winning. The roster is part of it. Personnel on the roster is part of it. This is a significant step towards giving us a chance to reshape what the roster looks like.”
When you clear over $260 million in future committed payroll, Cherington realizes you need the work of ownership. Cherington was quick to thank owner John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner for working with Magic Johnson and the new baseball ownership group with the Dodgers.
“In any deal, as I think you all know, ownership is involved and it’s a collaborative process,” Cherington said. “Certainly on a deal this big, it required a real team effort. John, Tom and Larry were all heavily involved. They all had a specific role in this over the last several days. There were conversations at the ownership level between the two teams, certainly between myself and Ned. And then a lot of conversations in between, between myself, John, Tom, and Larry.
“It was a true team effort, and we worked together to pull of a trade that we feel is the right thing for the franchise right now and gives us an opportunity going forward.”
Cherington promised fans that the commitment to fielding a winning team is still there.
“It’s pretty easy to look at our performance on the field and recognize that it’s not good enough,I think that’s where it all starts,” Cherington said. “That’s where the evaluation starts. The great thing about this game is you have a sort of tangible answer every night of how good you are and this year we’ve been not good enough on too many nights. It starts there and that part is pretty easy. What leads to that, trying to figure out what causes that, yeah, that can be more difficult. Part of it’s the player/personnel, the roster; part of it’s other things. We need to examine all of it. Again, it’s on us. This is part of what gives us an opportunity, this trade, but it’s on us to examine all areas and make sure that we are building a team and a standard that we’ve come to expect, the guys here deserve and the fans deserve.”
|David Ortiz looks likely for return Friday, Felix Doubront next on Sunday and Adrian Gonzalez is a ‘warrior’||08.23.12 at 7:57 pm ET|
While the Red Sox announced the “successful” Tommy John surgery on the left elbow of Carl Crawford Thursday in Pensacola, Fla, this could be a weekend of returns at Fenway Park.
David Ortiz is on tap to return Friday to a lineup that has struggled badly without him. Lefty Felix Doubront will start Sunday. And then there’s Daisuke Matsuzaka.
After going through a series of running tests for over 10 minutes and taking live batting practice on Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park, Ortiz is on schedule to make his return on Friday against the Royals, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced Thursday afternoon. Ortiz has been on the disabled list since July 17 with an injured right Achilles, suffered while running the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez homer the night before.
“It looked like David got through everything perfectly,” Valentine said. “He was running the bases. [Thursday] was the day he was going to run the bases, which he hadn’t done yet. He had run sprints and done other things. He ran the bases, we’re going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through, we’re planning on hopefully activating him [Friday].”
In 89 games this season with the Red Sox, Ortiz is batting .316 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs, slugging at a team-best .609 rate and an OPS of 1.023. The Red Sox have missed his huge bat and production, going just 13-21 in his absence.
Another Red Sox slugger – Adrian Gonzalez – got the night off from playing first base, serving as the DH on Thursday. He responded promptly with an RBI single to score Dustin Pedroia in the first inning.
“While we can, we might as well rest his legs a little,” Valentine said of Gonzalez, who has 14 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in August. “He’s such a warrior out there every day. He can just work on his swing and not worry about playing that great defense he plays every day.” Read the rest of this entry »
Franklin Morales takes the mound at Fenway Thursday night as the Red Sox wrap up their three-game series with the Angels.
The 26-year-old Venezuelan was strong in his first start since returning from the bullpen Aug. 5, earning a win with six innings of one-run ball against the Twins, but has pitched progressively worse in his two outings since.
Morales allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings on Aug. 11 as the Sox fell to the Indians. In his last outing Friday night in the Bronx, the Yankees got to him for five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings in the Sox’ 6-4 loss.
On the year, Morales is 3-3 with a 3.67 ERA but has had trouble at home, as his ERA jumps to 5.16 at Fenway. Having spent the majority of his career with Colorado, he has only faced four current Angels who have a combined two singles and no walks in six plate appearances.
Acquired by the Angels in the offseason for $77.5 million over five years, C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.62 ERA) heads to the hill Thursday, hoping he can help his team continue to make up ground in the standings against his former club, the Rangers.
The lefty had a terrific start to the season, entering the All-Star break at 9-5 with a 2.43 ERA but has struggled since, going 0-4 with a 6.48 ERA in eight starts. Opponents’ batting average against Wilson is up almost 100 points in the second half, from .202 to .295 as the Angels have won just once (against the Royals) since July 6 with the 31-year-old on the mound.
Wilson has not faced the Red Sox this year, but over the previous three seasons he is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in 10 games against the Sox. He is even better at Fenway, where he boasts a 2-0 record, 0.63 ERA and one save in three games.
|Albert Pujols to have MRI after straining his right calf against Red Sox||08.22.12 at 11:25 pm ET|
Superstar slugger Albert Pujols will have an MRI on his right calf after coming out in the middle of Wednesday’s 7-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Pujols, who signed a 10-year, $250 million contract with the Angels last winter, suffered the injury running between second and third base during a ground out in the fourth inning. Pujols eventually scored but was immediately tended to by Angels training staff. He did not take the field in the bottom of the fourth.
“I’m feeling sore right now,” Pujols said. “How I did it, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I was running between second and third, that’s when I felt it the most. I didn’t feel it running from home to second on that double. I ran fine and then all of a sudden, I can’t tell you. It’s just one of those things.
“I was just hoping it was just a cramp and not something else. I was in the dugout and tried to rub it out but obviously, it was sore and they didn’t want to take the chance of sending me out there and making a small, little thing worse. It was tough because I don’t like to come out of a game.”
Pujols suffered a similar injury with the Cardinals in 2008, one that resulted in a 15-day stint on the disabled list.
“That was a pulled calf and this is nothing even close to that,” Pujols said. “Hopefully, [Thursday] it feels better. I’m going to ice it down and do other stuff and see how it goes.”
“We’ll just see what gives,” added Angels manager Mike Scoscia. “It tightened up on him and he kind of tried to stop in between second and third and felt a tightness. We’ll get more information [Thursday].
“He put a lot of ice on it after the game. Albert has his routine and when you’re playing everyday, especially the way he plays first base, he’s moving a lot, he’s not just stationary. There’s some fatigue that sets in as the season goes on with everybody, not just Albert. This might just be a function of that.”
In a year when Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are a combined 12-21 and a collective 5.12 ERA in 46 starts, the Red Sox have long ago looked elsewhere for bright spots in their 2012 pitching staff.
Right-hander Clayton Mortensen and lefty Franklin Morales are two pitchers who figure to get plenty of consideration for their roles going forward in September and 2013.
Morales 3-4 with a 3.67 ERA. He will start Thursday in the series finale against the Angels, his first career start against the Halos.
“He has what it takes,” Bobby Valentine said of Morales as a starter. “The one thing you can’t teach is experience and he has to experience situations and different hitters, especially what to do when the ball’s wet, either from perspiration or precipitation.”
Morales this season has been particularly effective with his secondary pitches, namely a straight change and a splitter that he throws off of his fastball.
“As long as he’s working both sides of the plate with his fastball. He has two changeups, he has a changeup and a split. Sometimes that determines it,” Valentine said of a pitcher’s secondary pitches. “Then you always say he could develop a third. Starting pitchers have a little profile, multiple pitches, pitch to both sides of the plate, hold runners, field his position because there’s going to be more runners on base and there’s going to be more opportunity for balls to come back at him.
“With that being said, when a reliever can’t field position and hold runners, you usually lose the game when he’s in it when if the ball’s hit to him or there’s a runner on base. Go figure. Pitchers should be able to pitch and do the things required of them to be a pitcher.” Read the rest of this entry »
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