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Tim Kurkjian on D&C: ‘I don’t think it’s a very harmonious situation’ in Red Sox clubhouse 07.12.12 at 1:50 pm ET
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ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian appeared on Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about Bobby Valentine, what’s wrong with the Red Sox‘ star hitters and whether the Sox will be buyers or sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As rumors of problems in the Red Sox clubhouse continue to swirl, Kurkjian said the problems are greater elsewhere.

“I don’t think it’s a very harmonious situation there, I’ll put it that way,” he said. “I really think this has been overstated. I think the problems that they have now are that their starting pitching, especially their top two guys, has been pretty bad, terrible, to use that word. And they’re all injured and everything else. I think if they start to play well at some point, I think they’re going to be a little bit more harmonious in the room.”

While Valentine has been under a lot of scrutiny for the mediocre first half and possible clubhouse issues, Kurkjian preached patience.

“Bobby is an acquired taste. … It takes a while to figure out what Bobby says and means, and everything else,” Kurkjian said. “He was an acquired taste for anyone who met him for the first time. I think eventually they’re going to get this. The question is are they going to get this for the rest of the year?”

Added Kurkjian: “He, other than Davey Johnson, is the most confident manager I’ve ever met, meaning he knows what he’s doing is the right thing and he simply cannot stand it when people say or do things incorrectly when they’re talking about baseball. And yet some things have been done incorrectly with the Red Sox and I thought we would get Bobby Valentine either angry or lecturing. … We haven’t seen him like that as often as I used to see him and I think it’s because he doesn’t want to come in and show the arrogant Bobby Valentine every single day because he doesn’t think that’s the way to go here. But to me that’s Bobby Valentine at his best, when he knows he knows more than anyone else.”

Carl Crawford has yet to play a game this season due to a serious elbow injury that he believes he may require him to get Tommy John surgery.

“This is not going to end well this year for Carl Crawford, from what I can see,” Kurkjian said. “I’m wondering already, and this is not my nature to wonder, if this is going to end at all well in Boston for him. This is one of the strangest stories I’ve seen in a while. … I wonder if this season you just look at it and shake your head and say, ‘This is not going to happen certainly this year for Carl Crawford in Boston.’ ”

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, Bobby Valentine, carl crawford, Tim Kurkjian
Jerry Remy on D&C: Don’t sleep on Jon Lester 07.11.12 at 9:53 am ET
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NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss Jon Lester‘s slump and other Red Sox questions heading into the season’s second half. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox, who are 9 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East, have been plagued by injuries and starting pitching questions, like those surrounding Lester. Remy said he expected Lester to be a standout and is surprised by the 28-year-old’s struggles this season.

“In certain games we’ve watched him pitch he’s pitched better than his record,” Remy said. “His consistency hasn’t been what he would want it to be, or [what] anyone else wants it to be. There’s a lot of games where his best pitch, his cut fastball, hasn’t been there for him. He’s had to rely on other pitches to get people out. He’s had a couple of games where I thought he pitched very well and he just got hit in those games. It’s a combination of a lot of things that haven’t gone right for him.”

Added Remy: “His cut fastball is not quite what it was maybe a couple of years ago and that’s a major pitch for him. That’s his out pitch. That’s where he gets his ground ball outs, that’s where he gets his strikeouts, and it just hasn’t been as consistent this year as it’s been in the past.”

Remy was unable to explain what has kept outfielder Carl Crawford from returning to the Red Sox following his injury.

“Crawofrd’s a mystery to me. I have no idea,” Remy said. “Every time they’re talking about him coming back, something else pops up. I’m not counting on him right now. [Jacoby] Ellsbury is a major factor coming back. This is a guy that was the runner-up for MVP last year and who they can certainly use. But they’ve got to pitch better. Besides those guys coming back, and [Dustin] Pedroia of course, that’s another one, they’ve got to pitch better. They know that. The starting pitching was not good in the first half. The bullpen really saved them and the fact is they’ve got to do a better job [with starting pitching]. They’re capable of doing it, and if they do it they can make a run for it. But it’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carl crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jerry Remy
Michael Bourn: Carl Crawford ‘still one of the best out there’ 07.09.12 at 9:34 pm ET
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KANSAS CITY — Most of the forecasts about Carl Crawford have been filled with pessimism in recent days. After all, the injured outfielder’s recent proclamation that he could blow out his elbow at any time, thus requiring Tommy John surgery, created an air of doubt about what kind of contribution he can make this year.

But there was at least one perspective from the All-Star Game that gave a more optimistic view of what the outfielder — currently in the second season of a seven-year, $142 million contract — might be able to contribute going forward this year. That came from Michael Bourn, the Braves outfielder who grew up with Crawford in Houston and who has played baseball with his Red Sox compatriot since his introduction to the game.

“That’s somebody I’ve seen since he was a little kid,” said Bourn, currently enjoying a career year with a .311 average, .366 OBP, .451 slugging mark and .817 OPS, all career bests. “When you see someone playing since he was a little kid and he became the player he became, it’s totally different.”

Bourn and Crawford (the latter of whom is expected to return to start a new rehab assignment on Thursday with Triple-A Pawtucket) continue to work out together in the offseason. Based on what he knows of his good friend, Bourn thinks that Crawford still can impact the Sox when he returns to the majors.

“I think he’ll bounce back. That’s just somebody I believe in. I do. People can say what they want, but I know what kind of player and athlete he is. I’ve been watching him play since he was a little bitty boy. I just think Boston got a great talent,” said Bourn. “You’ve still got the same talented player who’s close to 2,000 hits (1,609 to be exact), got I don’t know how many home runs, plays the game hard every day in left field. To me, he’s still one of the best out there. People just forget about it if you happen to have an injury or something that affects you. … I don’t think [the Red Sox] made a bad decision at all. He’s still a great talent to have on their team.”

Read More: carl crawford, Michael Bourn,
Carl Crawford wants to play through the pain, Bobby V on the first half and other Red Sox notes 07.08.12 at 9:39 pm ET
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Carl Crawford admitted Sunday that most likely he’s going to eventually need “Tommy John” surgery on his ailing left elbow but said he is trying to play through pain to impress the team that is paying him $142 million over seven years.

‘€œThought about it but at this point, if I can play, I think [the Red Sox] want me out on the field,” Crawford said before Sunday’s finale with Yankees. “I’€™m just trying to do everything I can to get back out on the field. Right now, I feel like if I couldn’€™t help the team I wouldn’€™t get out there.

‘€œProbably at some point it’€™s going to blow out on me. It’€™s one of those things that is what it is.’€

As for his slight strain of his groin earlier this week, Crawford said it won’t keep him from playing on Thursday in Pawtucket.

‘€œJust treating it and staying stretched out and still doing stuff to make sure I’€™m ready to go,” Crawford said. “The thing is, I do that every year. It’€™s like spring training for me, so I’€™m starting back running again, and I always get tight in that area. It’€™s just one of those things that it always happens to me. We’€™re just taking care of it. I know how things are around here: Once you say one little thing, it goes way bigger than what it really is. That’€™s it pretty much.”

Crawford’s mood was very upbeat and optimistic about playing in the second half of the season, despite the left elbow.

‘€œI actually feel good, man,” he said. “That’€™s the thing. I’€™m ready to get back on the field. I was making progress in the games I was playing and feeling really good about that. At this point, I’€™m just ready to get back on the field.

“I think helping the team right now is probably best for me. It doesn’€™t really hurt when I throw in action. It’€™s weird. It’€™s like when I’€™m warming up, it’€™s a little sore. But when I’€™m in action making a throw, it doesn’€™t really bother me as much.

‘€œIt doesn’€™t hurt at all when I swing a bat. If there was some pain there, I’€™d probably have to sit down. I feel like I’€™m real close. I feel good, feel like I can help the team out. That’€™s what I’€™m going to try to do when I get back.

‘€œWe’€™ve got some guys coming back: me and [Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew Bailey]. Hopefully Bard will be back up here at some point. We feel like we can still make a run at it. That new wild card has made it possible for teams to make it late in the season. Hopefully that’€™s the case for us.”

Still, the Red Sox have Crawford on track to make it back to playing sometime in the second half of the season.

“Carl might play Thursday at Pawtucket, and he’s feeling pretty good,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.

This week, Crawford suffered another setback in his minor league rehab assignment as he had minor tightness in his groin. Crawford said Sunday he’€™s hoping to play Thursday at Triple-A Pawtucket and is believes is “very close” to rejoining the Red Sox. ‘€œCarl might play Thursday at Pawtucket, and he’€™s feeling pretty good.’€

Valentine was asked to reflect on the first half of the season on Sunday, as the team attempts to deal with injury after injury.

‘€œI would say that it was extremely challenging,” Valentine said. “I don’€™t know how to rate it or anything, but major league baseball is very challenging. Managing a new team is very challenging and we had some situations that added to the mix.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury
Red Sox pregame notes: Carl Crawford’s rehab assignment stopped due to ‘mild left groin strain’ 07.07.12 at 1:12 pm ET
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Carl Crawford just can’€™t seem to catch a break. The left fielder suffered what the team described as a ‘€œmild left groin strain’€ on Thursday while rounding second on his way to recording a triple.

Now that Crawford has a new injury to recover from, his rehab assignment will be stopped, giving him a few days off to recover. According to MLB rules, Crawford cannot play another rehab game until five days after the injury, which means that he cannot play again until Wednesday.

‘€œHe hit a triple the night before and when he turned second he just felt a little twinge there,’€ said Bobby Valentine. ‘€œSo his rehab is taking a couple days off from hitting and playing. But he is going to go right back to hitting and start hitting again soon in a game ‘€¦ It’€™s a preventative thing to make sure it doesn’€™t get worse.

Crawford also said that there are ‘€œstill some issues’€ with his elbow on Friday, raising concern that he will not be 100 percent ready when he returns to Boston. However, Valentine denied that the elbow issues have raised a ‘€œred flag.’€

‘€œI think we have to manage that situation as he plays,’€ Valentine said. ‘€œIt’€™s maybe just a caution flag.’€

Another Red Sox player recovering from an injury is Will Middlebrooks, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered on July 1 in Seattle. Valentine noted that Middlebrooks is close to returning, but that he would like to be careful with the injury. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carl crawford, Red Sox, vicente padilla, Will Middlebrooks
Dustin Pedroia says he ‘heals great’, Will Middlebrooks feels better and other Red Sox notes 07.06.12 at 8:43 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia went on the disabled list Friday afternoon but the Red Sox are hoping Will Middlebrooks won’t be following him with a sore left hamstring.

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.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Donald Sheridan, Dustin Pedroia
Carl Crawford, Ryan Sweeney move closer to the majors in Manchester 07.05.12 at 10:53 pm ET
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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.

‘€œThat swing felt pretty good, I ran the bases pretty good,’€ Crawford said.

‘€œI hope to be able to drive the ball well,’€ he said. ‘€œ[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.

‘€œI’€™ve been getting just about everything,’€ he said. ‘€œRunning 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 ‘€œprobably’€ not physically ready for that yet.

‘€œOf course I’€™d like to be up in the big leagues playing right now,’€ Crawford said. ‘€œI don’€™t know if that’€™s possible, but definitely in the back of my mind I wish I was up there playing.’€

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Read More: carl crawford, Portland Sea Dogs, Red Sox, ryan sweeney
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