|Nelson Cruz on John Lackey: ‘People can say whatever they want’||07.06.14 at 12:53 pm ET|
Lackey was in classic passive aggressive form after Saturday night’s 7-4 loss to Cruz and the Orioles. Cruz went 5-for-5, including a laser beam homer to left off Lackey.
“I’m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
The “stuff” Lackey was accusing reporters of brushing under the carpet was the 50-game suspension for PED violations in connection with the MLB Biogenesis investigation. On Sunday morning, Cruz responded. At first Cruz said he was unaware but after being informed of Lackey’s tone, Cruz seemed unaffected.
“What comments? I don’t know,” Cruz said. “I don’t hear that, anything. I mean, people can say whatever they want. It’s part of being free. I don’t have any comment on that.”
Cruz was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He is certainly the leading candidate for comeback player of the year, leading the American League in homers (27) and RBIs (70). He’s batting .286 with an OPS of .934. No wonder that David Ortiz aggressively recruited Cruz in the offseason and asked GM Ben Cherington to take a serious look at him.
Speaking of Ortiz, it was the Red Sox slugger Orioles manager Buck Showalter was apparently referencing when he suggested Sunday morning that Lackey “looking in his backyard” before throwing stones. Ortiz was listed in a 2003 report of more than 100 MLB players who tested positive for a banned substance.
Cruz was asked if he has noticed a tone of forgiveness from players around baseball after he served his suspension in 2013.
“I mean for players it’s kind of hard to know because most of the time they don’t talk,” Cruz said. “What I care about is my teammates and what they think about me. I mean, when you go to ballparks and beat other teams they are not going to be happy regardless of what you do or anything. What I care about is what my teammates think about me and what my fans think about me. Like I said before, they aren’t going to be happy when I come in and do good. They want me to strikeout every time and when that doesn’t happen, they are pissed.
“I just play game-by-game. For me the most important thing is winning. I think we accomplished what we could [Saturday night] and that was get a ‘W.’ Also, it feels good go perfect in one game, don’t get any outs so it was one of the best games I’ve ever had in my life.”
There was some speculation this past offseason the Red Sox were giving some consideration in signing free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. The Orioles slugger is having a terrific first half of the season, hitting .286 with 27 home runs (first in the American League), to go along with 70 RBI (also leading the AL) entering play Sunday.
The Red Sox could use some more right-handed power in their lineup this year, especially in the outfield, as their .233 batting average among outfielders is second-to-last in the AL and their slugging percentage of .333, as well as OPS of .639 rank dead last.
“I had a chance to talk to David (Ortiz) in person about it,” said Cruz. “He knows how I go about business, how much I like to win and I like being apart of good teams. It’s special. He is one of the faces of MLB and one of the greatest hitters. There’s no doubt it’s always special when he tries to get you for your team.”
In 24 career games at Fenway Park, Cruz has a batting line of .400/.457/.726 with six homers, 18 extra-base hits and 22 RBI.
General manager Ben Cherington was asked about his thought process on not going after Cruz during the offseason this week prior to Baltimore coming to town on the Dennis and Callahan Show.
“It’s a good question and we can certainly go back to that,” he said. “Go back to the offseason and we look at what we projected our outfield to be. We had (Shane) Victorino coming off a very good season and a guy we felt was really important to our team in a number of ways, with particularly his defense in right field. There was an inclination to keep him in right field even though he’s played some center before. We felt like he’s almost a weapon in right field and we wanted to keep him there. We felt right field was covered.
“Center field, we didn’t think Cruz was a center fielder and that leaves left or DH and obviously DH is covered. In left field we have coming off last year a combination of (Jonny) Gomes and (Daniel) Nava, which delivered some of the best left field production in baseball last year in aggregate. In fact their combined performance was better than Nelson Cruz‘s was in 2013. Then on top of that, you have to give up a draft pick, a first-round pick to sign him, and the balance of need and what we’d have to give up, we just felt didn’t match up.
“In hindsight you can look at it and say, ‘Wow, we could really use that power,’ but I can’t really look back that one and think we’d have done it differently, but give the Orioles credit and give Nelson Cruz credit, he’s having a great year.”
|David Ortiz, Jonathan Herrera recall their Independence Days||07.04.14 at 1:28 am ET|
While baseball may be America’s Pastime, Major League Baseball is certainly an international league. At the beginning of the 2014, 224 players — 26.3 percent of MLB rosters — were born outside the United States. The Dominican Republic led the way with 83 players while Venezuela was second with 59.
Many major league teams have baseball academies in a variety of countries as a way to unearth the international talent of tomorrow. The majority of players signed internationally don’t make it past the Dominican Summer League, where players get their first — and maybe last — exposure to professional baseball.
For those who don’t make the cut, the dream to play professional baseball in the United States is over. The select few who make it to the majors, however, are grateful for the opportunity to live the American dream. Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mariners in 1992 at the age of 17, used to dream about the opportunity to live in the United States.
“I knew that it was a wonderful place and somewhere everybody wanted to live at,” Ortiz said. “You know how you always hear about the American dream? It’s something that everybody [wants to] be part of in one way or another.”
Jonathan Herrera, who was signed out of Venezuela by the Rockies in ’02 at the age of 17, remembers watching MLB games on television at home in Maracaibo, dreaming of one day being a player Venezuelans could cheer for.
“As a kid, your goal and you dream is to sign for any team in the big leagues and try to make the big leagues,” Herrera said. “That’s the goal for any kid at that age. You watch TV a lot and dream to be there one day.”
|After latest loss, David Ortiz not pleased with schedule, Red Sox performance||06.27.14 at 10:52 pm ET|
NEW YORK — David Ortiz wasn’t happy.
He wasn’t happy with the way the Red Sox played in their 6-0 loss to the Yankees. The designated hitter wasn’t happy with how his team got to the point of playing the first of three games in New York. And he isn’t happy with what the Sox are presenting offensively on a regular basis.
First, the performance, which included being shutout for 5 2/3 innings by a pitcher (Vidal Nuno) with an ERA of 5.88.
“No energy,” he said. When asked to elaborate, Ortiz responded. “It just seemed like we weren’t there. We just have to figure it out.’
Then came the issue with the Red Sox schedule.
Even though the team is coming off an off-day, Ortiz cited the Sox’ schedule as a road block toward finding success.
The Red Sox had played 20 straight days prior to Thursday’s day off. They will have also spent 21 days on the road in June, currently finding themselves in the middle of a 10-game road trip that included seven West Coast games (including a night contest in Seattle Wednesday night before arriving in New York early Thursday morning).
“The schedule we have is just unbelievable,” Ortiz said. “It’s pretty bad, man. It’s pretty bad. I’m not using that as an excuse, but we’re human and we go everywhere to play, right? In my 18-year career I’ve never seen that. The schedule is we had to play the last game on the West Coast in a night game and then have to travel. It’s pretty bad. You have to do something about that at some point. It doesn’t help.”
Ortiz was also asked if the front office needed to make a move in order to help fix an offense that has scored a major league-low 32 runs over the last 13 games.
“I don’t know, man,” he said. ‘Our GM [Ben Cherington] is somewhere right here, ask that question to him. I’m just a player.”
|David Ortiz supplies some kids with a ‘Babe Ruth-style’ moment (again)||06.26.14 at 2:03 am ET|
SEATTLE — In the list of David Ortiz‘s accomplishments, it’s tough to tell where this one ranks. But Mike Carp would certainly put it right up there.
What Carp was referencing was Ortiz’s first-inning two-run home run, as the designated hitter took Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma well over the right-field fence on the third pitch of the at-bat.
But what truly made the moment came a few hours before.
Carp was showing around a group of young kids who were at Safeco Field as part of an event for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. He was filling in as host for the injured Shane Victorino, who was supposed to play host to the collection of elementary-age fans.
“They got here late and we didn’t get to show them BP or anything,” Carp said. “I brought them in, had some of the players sign some balls, and I caught David before he went out on the field and asked him if he would mind saying hi. And before he left he said, ‘I’m going to hit a home run for you guys today. I’m going to the moon!’ and walked away.”
And, a little time later, that’s exactly what he did, setting Carp off into a frenzy in the Red Sox dugout, telling anybody who would listen about the promise Ortiz had made.
“It was Babe Ruth-style. Legendary,” Carp said. “It’s one thing to tell your teammates, ‘Hey, I feel good today, I’m going to hit a home run.’ You tell little kids, 5 or 6 years old, that you’re going to hit a home run, they believe you. Then the very first swing you take is off the glass, you have to be kidding me.”
Ortiz just smiled when asked about the turn of events, suggesting this is simply part of his repertoire.
Has he made promises before? “I always do,” he said.
Has it ever come to fruition? “Most of the time,” Ortiz deadpanned. He continued, “I told them I was going to the moon and I did. Yay!”
SEATTLE — Clay Buchholz evidently made the most of his time away.
The Red Sox pitcher, who hadn’t pitched since May 26, turned in an efficient (and effective) outing in leading the Sox to a 5-4 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night at Safeco Field. He finished his outing allowing four runs on seven hits (including three home runs) over 7 1/3 innings, striking out two and not walking a batter.
Buchholz, who had gone as many as seven innings just once this season, pounded the strike zone throughout the night, throwing 55 of his 76 pitches for strikes. He also tossed first-pitch strikes to 19 of his 27 batters.
“It’s hard to be out there and battle when you’re battling yourself while trying to battle the other team,” the pitcher said. “Yeah, I felt like I did last year as far as the pitches that I was going to throw, and right when I gripped it, I didn’t think anything. I was just thinking, execute, rather than, if I don’t do this, then he’s going to hit it. That was, like I said, I was more clear what I wanted to do.”
The start was a far cry from his last appearance before he went on the 15-day disabled with a knee issue. In that outing Buchholz lasted just three innings, allowing six runs to push his ERA up to 7.02 for the season.
“I think there wasn’t a whole lot of thought going on out there. He was in the flow of the game,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “There was a good feel for all four pitches he was throwing. No hesitation on his part. That’s a sign of confidence and a good frame of mind on the mound with that tempo.”
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox‘ 36th win of the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— Brock Holt continued to be Brock Holt, adding two more hits. Since becoming an everyday player on May 17, the lefty hitter has managed an OPS of .801 and now is hitting .324.
— David Ortiz got the Red Sox on the board in a hurry, launching a two-run homer deep down the right-field line to score Dustin Pedroia and give the visitors a 2-0 first-inning lead. It was the designated hitter’s 18th homer of the season. (Click here to read about Ortiz’s promise he made some kids before the game regarding hitting a home run.)
|David Ortiz gets his scoring change, apologizes for actions||06.23.14 at 8:58 pm ET|
SEATTLE — The scoring decision was changed, and so was David Ortiz‘s tone.
Major League Baseball announced official scorer Bob Ellis has made a scoring change on the decision that originally give Twins first baseman Joe Mauer an error on Ortiz’s line drive in the seventh inning of the June 18 game at Fenway Park. The play is now ruled a hit, raising the designated hitter’s batting average from .248 to .252.
“I apologize for the incident,” he said. “The frustration coming out the other day, I mean, this year has already been very frustrating. Sorry, but my career has been based on results, and when you don’t see it it’s not like they give you a free pass. When I’m not hitting all people talk about is why he’s not hitting. So when you think you’ve got something and that situation happens, you get frustrated. But it’s not like you have anything personal with anybody.
“MLB is what we are. Joe Torre and everybody, the scorekeeper and everybody, I feel like I owe them an apology because of the way things come up. It shouldn’t be like that. On the other hand, hopefully things get better.”
Ortiz said he hasn’t talked to any of the particulars involved in the incident, including Ellis or Torre, who criticized the DH for his actions and comments after the game.
“I’m just saying this because I think I over — like I said, it was very frustrating,” he said. “But it’s not like you want things to come out that way.”
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