|Dustin Pedroia says he ‘heals great’, Will Middlebrooks feels better and other Red Sox notes||07.06.12 at 8:43 pm ET|
Pedroia was sporting a hard cast on his right hand to protect his thumb while Middlebrooks took batting practice on Friday after a sluggish off-day on Thursday when he reported to Fenway to test his left hamstring.
“Will was out [Thursday],” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “He felt about 70 percent. He felt just OK. He ran [before Friday's game], he felt closer to 100 percent so that’s where he is. He’s close. There’s a chance he could pinch-hit for sure this weekend.”
Middlebrooks – a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year with 10 homers, 37 RBIs and a .298 batting average – hasn’t played since Sunday’s 2-1 win in Seattle, sitting out all three games in Oakland with the tightness in the back of his left leg.
As for Pedroia, the Red Sox released a formal statement just after placing the second baseman on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb injury. The team made a point of noting that this injury is new and unrelated to the torn adductor on the same thumb earlier this season. That injury, according to the team, has healed. Pedroia injured the thumb diving for a pop fly single to shallow right field in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss in Oakland.
“Dustin Pedroia hyperextended his right thumb on July 3, 2012,” the statement read. “He was examined by the Red Sox medical staff and an MRI was performed. Dustin sustained an injury to the volar plate of his right thumb. Dustin will be treated conservatively with a brief period of immobilization. The previous injury to his right thumb adductor muscle has completely healed. This was confirmed by MRI.”
[Click here to listen to Dustin Pedroia explain his latest stint on the DL with a thumb injury.]
Pedroia was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Wednesday while Pedro Ciriaco was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place.
Pedroia said he wasn’t surprised that his previous injury had completely healed, citing his recent production at the plate as an example of the progress.
“My other injury is healed. It’s 100 percent healed, and I could tell because I was hitting balls in the air to the pull-side. That’s a big thing because it means my bat speed is fine,” he said. “That’s the part that’s frustrating. I was about to get on a huge run the rest of the way, like I always do, and this happens. But there is still a lot of games left, I’ll heal this thing up, get out there and it will make a huge difference.
“I’m a lizard. I heal while I play. I’m a freak healer. I heal great.”
The MRI of Pedroia’s thumb was being examined by hand specialists Dr. Donald Sheridan and Dr. Thomas Graham Friday for second opinions.
“It’s just a bad break. I don’t know,” he said. “I’m pretty frustrated by it. You work so hard in the offseason to prevent injury and you get a couple of freak accidents, same thumb. It stinks. I’ll be fine. I’ll produce in a major way this season to help our team, I promise you guys that.”
Carl Crawford (left elbow) spoke before Friday’s game with the Yankees and is expected to join Triple-A Pawtucket over the weekend. So far in eight minor league rehab games, Crawford is 7-for-24 (.292) with a double, a triple, four runs scored and seven walks, playing most recently for Double-A Portland.
Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) continued his rehab on Friday in Portland.
“There’s not [minor league] games during the All-Star break so they’ll play as often as the schedule allows them,” Valentine said. “Maybe we’ll do a little simulation here. I don’t know. I don’t know how many guys are sticking around.”
Scott Podsednik was activated from the disabled list on Friday and immediately optioned to Pawtucket, likely in advance of him getting called up to Boston for Saturday for the day-night doubleheader, when rosters, under the new collective bargaining agreement, are allowed to expand to 26 players for the day.
Clay Buchholz (esophogitis) threw a side session on Friday afternoon and Valentine indicated he could re-join the rotation “late” in the first rotation through or “early in the second” rotation.
|Carl Crawford, Ryan Sweeney move closer to the majors in Manchester||07.05.12 at 10:53 pm ET|
MANCHESTER, N.H. ‘ Carl Crawford made his next step towards getting back to the big leagues on Thursday night. He made his second appearance with Double-A Portland as part of his rehab from an elbow ailment that has kept him out all season long.
Crawford led off and started in left field for the Sea Dogs. He went 1-for-4 for the game, and registered his only hit on a triple that was pounded into the right-centerfield gap off of New Hampshire Fisher Cats pitcher Fernando Hernandez in the fifth inning. He sprinted around the bases with ease like the Crawford of old as he slid into third without any difficulty.
‘That swing felt pretty good, I ran the bases pretty good,’ Crawford said.
‘I hope to be able to drive the ball well,’ he said. ‘[I'm] just trying to not do too much. I got a good piece of wood on it and found the gap.’
Crawford opened the game by grounding out to second, then led off the third by striking out a 90 mph outside fastball. With two outs down in the fifth, he found the gap on the triple, then scored on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. single before legging out a fielder’s choice in the seventh. He was then replaced by Peter Hissey on first, which marked the end of the night.
He said that his rehab stint has allowed him to see everything as he prepares to return to the majors, which is expected to be after the All-Star break.
‘I’ve been getting just about everything,’ he said. ‘Running the bases, seeing balls off the bat. ‘¦ I’m getting the things that I need to get ready.’
While he isn’t expected back until after the break, Crawford expressed a desire to be back with the big-league Red Sox this weekend as they prepare for a four-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park. Crawford, however, said he’s ‘probably’ not physically ready for that yet.
‘Of course I’d like to be up in the big leagues playing right now,’ Crawford said. ‘I don’t know if that’s possible, but definitely in the back of my mind I wish I was up there playing.’
|Carl Crawford: ‘I felt like today was a good start of something’||07.03.12 at 9:35 pm ET|
PORTLAND, Maine ‘ Other than a significant health scare, Tuesday night’s trip to Hadlock Field was a productive visit for Carl Crawford.
The Red Sox outfielder — who his rehabbing from a strained left elbow — went 1-for-2 with two walks, flying out to left field and garnering his single by beating out a slow roller to second base.
Crawford saw a total of 22 pitches while getting a much-welcomed opportunity to face a quality of competition a bit closer to the majors.
‘I felt I was able to get into a rhythm at the plate because it’s so different,’ said Crawford, who also stole third and scored a run. ‘The balls were so far out of the zone down in Florida that you really couldn’t get nothing going. I felt like today was a good start of something.
‘I drew two walks off a lefty, so I was cool with that. I didn’t put the bat on the ball as well as I would have liked to, but I was fine with the way I took pitches. I think I saw like  pitches today, so I was cool with that.’
Crawford will join the Sea Dogs for their road series in Manchester, N.H., Wednesday, with the next step of his rehab being decided after two games against the Fisher Cats.
The only negative emanating from the Tuesday night, four at-bat performance came in his second at-bat when he fouled a ball of the top of his right knee. Crawford immediately went to the ground, where he would stay for a few minutes while the Sea Dogs medical staff tended to the situation.
Crawford ultimately got up, returned to the batter’s box and lofted a fly ball to left, showing no ill effects from the injury the rest of the way.
‘It’s one of those things where you’ll know tomorrow how it feels,’ he said. ‘Right now it’s not as bad as it looked. It’s not too bad right now.
“I just hoped I hadn’t broken it. I hit it so hard, at the time I was just hoping everything was OK.”
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Zach Stewart’s debut; steps forward for Daniel Bard, Carl Crawford; a triples machine in the Dominican||06.28.12 at 1:22 pm ET|
A quick look at Wednesday’s minor league action…
— Newly acquired Zach Stewart enjoyed a successful debut in the Red Sox organization after being traded by the White Sox in the deal that moved Kevin Youkilis to Chicago. Stewart logged 5 2/3 innings in which he permitted one run on six hits (all singles). He did not walk a batter and struck out four, retiring 12 in a row in one stretch. He did not allow a run until there were two outs in the sixth. According to the Providence Journal, he worked at 89-91 mph during the outing.
— Daniel Bard did not allow a baserunner for the first time since he was sent to the minors. He pitched a three-up, three-down seventh inning, getting a strikeout and two groundballs, while throwing seven of 10 pitches for strikes.
— Ryan Lavarnway continued his ridiculous June with a 3-for-4 night that included a double. He now ranks second in the International League with a .320 average, just behind league leader Steve Pearce (.321). Lavarnway is sixth in OBP (.405), 11th in slugging (.489) and 10th in OPS (.894). Read the rest of this entry »
|Bobby Valentine on D&C: Unsure if moving parts affected clubhouse atmosphere||06.27.12 at 12:19 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine discussed the implications of Kevin Youkilis‘ departure on his appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“My job, I think it’s the same but probably with less moving parts,” Valentine said. “There’s one less moving part, or maybe even four less moving parts depending on how many people were affected by the challenge to get everyone as much playing time as possible so that they can stay sharp and help the team win.”
Valentine did not say if the change will affect clubhouse atmosphere because he wasn’t sure if it impacted the atmosphere in the first place. The move will affect Adrian Gonzalez, a first baseman who has spent playing time in the outfield because of Youkilis’ appearances in the lineup.
“Adrian Gonzalez is going ot have a super year for us when it’s all said and done because he’s a super player. Regardless of what glove he has on I think he’s going to wind up being a terrific player,” Valentine said. “That being said, I did say that he probably won’t play the outfield until the World Series so he taped up his outfield his glove and wrote on it, ‘To be opened at the World Series.’ He’s not planning on going back there anytime soon.”
There are still some looming moving parts the Red Sox will have to deal with when players return like Carl Crawford return from injuries. Valentine said he hasn’t decided if Crawford will resume his starting position in place of Daniel Nava in left field when he is finished rehabbing.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I have all expectations for Carl when he plays, when he returns,” Valentine said. “That’s just a question of when he returns.”
Boston’s skipper said the Red Sox will most likely use a six-man rotation for the next week, as Josh Beckett is set to return from the DL on Saturday night.
“[We will] just keep everybody in the rotation, keep the guys who’ve been there from the start of the season [and give them] just a litle break before their last start before the all-star break,” Valentine said. Read the rest of this entry »
|Pregame Red Sox notes: Andrew Bailey slowed, Carl Crawford feared, Jacoby Ellsbury inching closer||06.23.12 at 8:10 pm ET|
Beyond the evident mutual displeasure between Bobby Valentine (who said that he can “play the people that I want to be in the lineup; I think that’s one of the things I’m allowed to do”) and Kevin Youkilis (who disputed Valentine’s claim on Friday that he’d discussed Youkilis’ playing time situation before telling the media that he’d “ride the hot hand” and play Will Middlebrooks), and the news that Clay Buchholz has been scratched from his scheduled Sunday start due to illness, there were a few other items of note from Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.
— On Thursday, Andrew Bailey said that he saw a light at the end of the tunnel in his rehab from April thumb surgery. The tunnel just got a bit longer.
Bailey threw a bullpen session on Friday that “didn’t go perfectly,” according to Valentine. “We’re gonna let him rest a little before he gets back on the mound.”
Bailey had been progressing a bit ahead of schedule in his recovery, leading to his work off of a mound. But, Valentine said, “his arm didn’t feel great” during Friday’s session, so the team will limit him to work on flat ground for a while.
— Carl Crawford went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks while serving as the designated hitter for the GCL Red Sox in the first start of his rehab assignment. One of the walks was actually an intentional walk after he’d gotten to a 3-1 count. Valentine was a combination of amused and confounded by the tactic at the lowest rung of the minor league chain. Read the rest of this entry »
|Kevin Millar on M&M: Red Sox media problems are ‘little pebble on the road’||06.22.12 at 1:44 pm ET|
MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon to discuss the Sox’ recent issues with the media and his dislike for anonymous sources. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I can’t stand the unnamed source, the unknown source,” Millar said. “Put your name to it. [If] there’s a problem, like I said, with Player X and Player Z, put your name to it. You don’t like the skip, Bobby Valentine? Put your name to it.”
Millar said the media is tougher in Boston than elsewhere and becomes an issue when players don’t know how to handle the media well.
“You don’t have to be a great sound bite, that doesn’t have to be your personality,” Millar said. “Then what happens [with] the media in a place like this [is] it snowballs on you. It will dog-pile on you when times are tough. And that’s when you have a good personality or a clubhouse chemistry situation that sticks up for you and that’s when that becomes a valuable key in your club when you talk about clubhouse chemistry.”
Added Millar: “In Boston you have 37 different writers around you. It takes one bad thing and then it turns into a story. That’s just part of the business, and then it’s how you deal with it.”
The analyst said non-baseball questions can tire players and contribute to tension between players and the media, but it shouldn’t be an issue for the Red Sox moving forward.
“If the Red Sox are big boys and they do respect each other, this is nothing,” Millar said. “This is just like a little pebble on the road.”
Media issues aren’t the only problems the Red Sox are having, as the team needs to decide where infielder Kevin Youkilis belongs with the organization. Despite Youkilis’ sub-par performance this season and multiple trade rumors, Millar said he’d take the Red Sox veteran over rookie sensation Will Middlebrooks.
“If [Youkilis] is healthy I do want him in pressure situations over Will Middlebrooks. That’s my opinion,” Millar said. “Now, Will’s doing a great job right now, don’t get me wrong. But I’m telling you, [a] healthy Youkilis gives me the [important] type of at-bats, ninth inning against the Yankees in September, period.” Read the rest of this entry »
The more Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish succeed, the more Red Sox fans are intrigued. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in Nava’s numbers, which include a .439 average in 14 June games including six multi-hit games that has him hitting .340 in 35 games overall. It’s easy to see Kalish race from first to third on a hit-and-run grounder off the bat of Mike Aviles in the eighth inning and say the Red Sox need that energy.
And it’s easy to wonder why – when Nava drives in Kalish with the go-ahead run on a broken bat single – both can’t stay with the Red Sox long term.
That’s not even mentioning Will Middlebrooks, who appears closer and closer to a full-time job as the Red Sox starting third baseman.
But with Nava and Kalish, it’s fascinating because of what is waiting in the wings several weeks down the road with Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Both are getting ready for game activity as part of their rehab programs, including Crawford on Saturday in Florida.
“I’ve been aware of it since I got called up and so I know it’s a reality,” Nava said after driving in the winning run in Boston’s 6-5 win over the Marlins. “It was a reality the last time I got called up. But if there’s anything I can do to help the team get back to where we’re hanging in there, those guys come back and have a shot, who knows where it’s going to go. I’m aware of it. I think anyone who gets called up and doesn’t have a big contract, it’s a reality.”
The reality is that left fielder Carl Crawford has yet to play a game in the second season of a seven-year, $142 million deal. The reality is that Jacoby Ellsbury is an All-Star caliber center fielder who finished just behind Justin Verlander in the American League MVP voting in 2011 and is making $8 million this season.
Nava, on the other hand, was signed to a minor league deal before spring training after making $417,500 in 2011. Kalish isn’t far behind. He’s making $483,000 this season. It’s assumed that one or both will head back to Triple-A Pawtucket when Crawford and Ellsbury return.
“Those decisions aren’t mine to make,” Nava said. “It can’t hurt but at the same time it’s not about me trying to put a feather in my cap. It’s about me trying to say, ‘Hey, this is something I did to help the team win’ and get in the right direction. They’ll make the decisions they have to make and whatever they think will help the team is what they’re going to do.”
“It’s awesome,” Kalish said of Nava and Middlebrooks. “They’ve been here a while and they’ve been doing since the day they got here. As young guys, that’s all you want to do, you want to bring fire and spark people.”
Never was that spark more evident than when Kalish went first-to-third on a hit-and-run grounder by Mike Aviles to the second baseman to set up the game-winning run in the eighth.
“If I don’t feel that true aggressive feeling of no regrets, then I’m not going to try it,” Kalish said. “But on that play, I felt really confident about it.”
Nava and Kalish’s teammates appreciate their hustle. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bobby Valentine: ‘We’ll have a winning record at home’||06.19.12 at 9:20 pm ET|
Bobby Valentine is a confident man.
He knows what the record shows — and that’s a 14-19 mark at Fenway. Only the Royals, Twins and Mariners are worse at home so far in 2012. But Valentine is confident that won’t last.
“That’s the good news,” Valentine said. “We’ll have a winning record at home when it’s all over and it means we’ll win a lot more than we normally do.”
Starting with Josh Beckett, Valentine had a lot to catch up with when he arrived at the park on Tuesday.
“It’s been a medical day for me. Everything seems to have gone perfectly,” Valentine said.
The news started with Beckett, who Valentine said was hopeful to just miss one more start and be back toward the end of the homestand against the Jays. Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford both worked out at Fenway before Tuesday’s game. Ellsbury hurt his right shoulder in the team’s home opener on April 13 against the Rays and hasn’t played since.
“Close to playing — close to game activities,” Valentine said of Ellsbury. “I don’t mean tomorrow. But he’s close. He’s made great, steady progress.”
Meanwhile, Valentine said Crawford could be on a Minor League rehab assignment by next week. Crawford started the season on the disabled list recovering from left wrist surgery. When it appeared things were getting better, he sprained UCL joint in his left elbow.
Then there’s closer Andrew Bailey. He underwent right thumb surgery just before the season.
“Andrew came in this afternoon, I talked to him, he’s feeling great,” Valentine said. “He has a mound session here [soon], and you know, we’re going to take it from a mound to another mound to a simulated situation to possibly an inning down in Florida, and then off to a rehab assignment.”
While Scott Podsednik‘s groin injury is not considered serious (officially “mild”), the team doesn’t need another extended stay on the DL for an outfielder.
“It’s a not few days,” Valentine said. “It’s probably not two weeks. When it gets to that middle ground, it’s really a difficult decision. To play short for seven days, it’s tough. Scott’s not real happy about it. He thinks seven days would be fine He’s playing so well, I’d love to have him in there. I think this is the right thing to do.
“I think we’re playing OK. We’re getting some health back. We’re going to play our best tonight and take it from there.”
|Buster Olney on M&M: Bobby Valentine is ‘big-picture’ guy, will let Dustin Pedroia rest||05.30.12 at 1:53 pm ET|
Appearing on Mutt & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon, ESPN baseball analysts Buster Olney discussed strategies the Red Sox can implement for the injured Dustin Pedroia. He said the Red Sox have the leisure to let Pedroia rest until he is completely healthy, and manager Bobby Valentine‘s big-picture style emphasizes letting Pedroia heal.
Pedroia’s torn adductor muscle in his thumb is expected to keep him out 3-4 weeks if he cannot hit with a device protecting the thumb.
“I’ve got to believe that the fact that the Red Sox have now pulled themselves back in at 3 1/2 games [means] there’s no sense of urgency, the whole division is banged up, there are issues with every single team and this thing is going to play out down the stretch,” Olney said. “They’re going to want to do everything they can to get Dustin Pedroia completely healthy. He’s always going to be the guy who wants to go out there and play and feel like he can play.”
Added Olney: “However they do it, however they plug in the hole, whichever way they go, especially with how they’re playing that they can feel like, ‘Let’s ride it out and give ourselves the best chance.’ ”
Olney said the idea to rest Pedroia will come from Valentine, a manager who has opted to keep players healthy for future success.
“[The Red Sox will] eventually take a look at it in a big-picture form,” Olney said. “I remember when I covered Bobby in 1997 and he tended to be someone who would err on that side of it. When he would say, ‘You know, I want to give the player the best chance to stay healthy and be productive over the course of the long haul. And if it means giving guys rest then I’m going to do that.’ And that’s what I would expect that they would do, regardless of whether they can do that with a DL stint or just giving [Pedroia] time off within that time frame.”
Pedroia’s injury also concerns infielder Kevin Youkilis, whom the Red Sox are said to be shopping for a trade. Pedroia’s injury should lead to more playing time for Youkilis, something Olney said teams considering a trade need to see.
“This is not going to be a short-term thing,” Olney said. “Teams are going to want to see him over the course of a long period of time. And 24 at-bats, which is what he’s had so far, isn’t enough to give them that type of information, especially given the amount of money involved with Youkilis’ contract.”
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