|David Ortiz: Trading Jon Lester ‘sounds like a rebuilding … Hopefully he sticks around’||07.27.14 at 7:29 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz, who slammed his fifth homer of the seven-game road trip on Sunday to propel the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Rays, took stock of his team at a time when it’s prepared to return to Fenway Park nine games below .500, with rumors swirling of players who might get moved in the coming four days. Ortiz made clear that his preference is to see the Red Sox keep Jon Lester and work to regain their footing with the left-hander.
“Like I always say, I’m just another player here where I’ve got no choice but to agree with whatever,” Ortiz said. “The front office is hard to do and they’ve been talking about trading Jon. That sounds like a rebuilding, that type of situation. I don’t know. There’s not much I can say about it but they’ve probably got their reason to do it. Hopefully it doesn’t happen. Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game. That’s a keeper. … Hopefully he sticks around and keeps on giving us those good seasons that he always does give us.”
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ultimately, the Red Sox lost because they did not hit on Saturday night. The team’s 3-0 loss to the Rays suggested that preventing Tampa Bay’s second run likely would not have meant the difference between victory and defeat.
Still, Sox players expressed a degree of dual confusion about one play in the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with Yunel Escobar on second base and one out, catcher Christian Vazquez snared a breaking ball in the dirt and fired a missile to second base. His throw appeared to beat Escobar to the bag by plenty, with shortstop Stephen Drew slapping on a tag. Yet Escobar was ruled safe.
Manager John Farrell made the slow stroll to second base umpire Marcus Pattillo, and once there, he awaited word from the dugout as to whether or not to challenge the ruling on the field. Farrell elected not to do so. Read the rest of this entry »
|Buster Olney on MFB: ‘I think [Jake Peavy] is going to wind up going to St. Louis’||07.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
It’s looking more inevitable each day that Jake Peavy will be traded before the trade deadline. Some reports have the Cardinals as the most likely landing spot for the right-hander.
“I think he’s going to wind up going to St. Louis,” Olney said. “Probably there’s a situation where the Red Sox might be trying to extract some value out of this as opposed to just a pure salary dump where they’re eating some dollars and moving them out to essentially create some spots for the younger pitchers.”
Reports suggest the Cardinals could use struggling outfielder Allen Craig as a piece to acquire Peavy in a trade.
“If the Cardinals were pushing this at all like, ‘Yeah, we’ll give up Craig for Jake Peavy,’ then if I’m the Red Sox, I’m going, ‘Why would that be?,’ ” Olney said. “I know he’s not having a good year this year and you guys remember the foot problem he had in the postseason last year and there’s some thought among the scouts that this was an issue early in the year.
“You’re talking about a guy who’s had back-to-back-to-back .300 seasons coming into this season. He was an All-Star last year. In his contract, given that history, he’s really good. So if the Cardinals are really interested in doing that type of deal, and again, I have no information that they are, that would scare me and would make me ask questions about what’s really going on with Allen Craig.”
Jon Lester‘s contract situation continues to be a story for the Red Sox this season. Olney said the Red Sox have tried to re-engage in contract discussions with the lefty.
“I think they’d like to re-engage him on some deal,” Lester said. “I’ve spoken with officials and they’re watching very closely because if Lester becomes a free agent, he’s going to become one of the two primary guys out there along with Max Scherzer on the whole market.
“So teams are wondering if there’s going to be an opportunity with Lester. And they think that once we get deep into this season and the Red Sox are kind of out of the race, we get into October and they’re not in the postseason, that would probably be the time the Red Sox try to get back into it with Lester, and it’s going to cost them because he’s going to be only a month away from free agency.”
|John Farrell on David Ortiz: ‘It’s unfortunate that innuendo continues to follow him’||07.08.14 at 5:06 pm ET|
Ortiz reacted strongly Monday to claims that he was given a “free pass” for appearing on a list of major leaguers to test positive for PEDs in a 2003 report, telling WEEI.com, “You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].”
Farrell backed his slugger.
“The 2003 test I think that’s being referred to, I don’t know how many times David has been tested since then, whatever that number is I’m sure it’s a very high one,” Farrell said Tuesday. “He’s tested clean every single time. It’s unfortunate that the innuendo continues to follow him. He’s a heck of a player, one hell of a hitter and there’s no reason other than hard work and talent that’s produced that.”
Ortiz was brought into a conversation that began with John Lackey expressing his issues with Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz following his PED suspension last season. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter responded to Lackey’s comments by saying, “We need to all make sure we check our own backyard before we start looking at someone else’s.” Those comments led to a conversation on MLB Network that sparked Ortiz’s protest.
When asked if there’s a way erase that innuendo following Ortiz, Farrell said, “It’s going to be dependent on who’s asked the question.”
|David Ortiz takes issue with being brought into John Lackey-Nelson Cruz feud||07.07.14 at 10:11 pm ET|
One thing was abundantly clear prior to the Red Sox‘ series opener against the White Sox on Monday night: David Ortiz was not happy he was recently brought into the conversation regarding John Lackey‘s issues with Nelson Cruz.
Following his start Saturday night, Lackey referenced his disapproval of Cruz, making a comment brought on by the pitcher’s issues regarding the Baltimore slugger’s PED suspension of a year ago.
When asked about the comments, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said, “We need to all make sure we check our own backyard before we start looking at someone else’s.”
That led to a conversation on the MLB Network Monday afternoon that Ortiz happened to see. According to the designated hitter, the host on the network’s show (which he couldn’t specifically identify) said the slugger had received a “free pass” for appearing on a list identifying him as one of the major leaguers to test positive for PEDs on the MLB’s 2003 survey testing.
“What pisses me off is the whole thing about, why does my name got to be mentioned in that? What did I have to do with that? I saw on MLB the guys talking about it, and then they brought my name up, and one of the guys said that I got a free pass on that,” he told WEEI.com. “It was the Lackey and Showalter thing, going back and forth. Showalter didn’t say anything about me.”
That, however, was just the beginning of Ortiz’s rant.
“But then, when they are commenting about what Showalter said, they brought my name up,” he added. “Then one of the guys wanted to say that I got a free pass. And to be honest with you, in this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he’s saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof. It’s easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, ‘Yes, you did this, you did that.’ My [expletive], I call straight up bull. Let me tell you. You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].
“That’s reality. You don’t use the words that I get a free pass. You don’t get a free pass on this. MLB don’t play that B.S. MLB don’t play that. There’s a reason why I’ve been drug-tested like eight times and we’re not even at the break. Is that a free pass? There’s a reason why I’ve been tested like 40 times since they approved the policy, the drug policy. Is that a free pass? They can get that free pass and shove it up their [expletive].”
|Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz explain being thrown out on bases in 1-run loss to Orioles||07.06.14 at 9:11 pm ET|
In close losses, players always look back on a few plays here or there that could have gone differently and changed the outcome in the game. A few of those plays occurred for the Red Sox on Sunday, especially on the bases.
In a 6-6 game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dustin Pedroia lined a single to right-center. With David Ortiz up, Pedroia attempted to steal second base and was thrown out on a close play by catcher Caleb Joseph. The Red Sox challenged the call but lost.
“In that situation [Pedroia] probably slid a little bit early,” manager John Farrell said. “I think, in that situation, we’re trying to be aggressive, trying to add 90 feet. We had a key on [Brad] Brach, the pitcher on the mound at the time. Unfortunately we came up a half a hand short.”
There were some questions asked after the game if attempting to steal was the right decision, as if Pedroia reaches second base the Orioles could have intentionally walked Ortiz with first base vacant.
“I’m trying to score, man,” Pedroia said. “If they walk David, whatever. Trying to get into scoring position to win the game, that’s it.”
Farrell also defended the move, noting the club was just trying to get a runner into scoring position for the game-winning run.
“No guarantee of a base hit in that situation, but we’re trying to get a man in scoring position when we’re in the middle of the order,” Farrell said.
Ortiz then walked and Mike Napoli struck out to end the inning.
|David Ortiz on not being named to All-Star team: ‘There are a couple of guys ahead of me this year at my position’||at 8:21 pm ET|
For the past four summers and nine of the last 10, David Ortiz has had one thing certain — a trip to Major League Baseball‘s All-Star Game. This July will be a little different, as for the first time since 2009, Ortiz will not be making the trip to the Midsummer Classic. But, it’s something the designated hitter accepts and was in favor of.
“All-Star Game is you know, something that you have a lot of choices and there are a lot of guys doing really well,” said Ortiz. “Me and John [Farrell] had a conversation. I’m a big fan of guys that have a really, really good first half making the All-Star Game. There are a couple of guys ahead of me this year at my position.
“Me and John had a conversation about it and he asked me how I felt and I was like, ‘I just don’t feel like taking those guys’ places.’ I don’t think it’s fair to guys like Nelson Cruz and Victor [Martinez] and [Edwin] Encarnacion having an unbelievable season. They don’t have that many All-Star Games that I have. So, you just keep it real. Having a better season than what I am having and they’re well-deserving.”
Ortiz is hitting .261 on the year with 19 home runs and 55 RBI.
Farrell, the AL’s manager this year, also spoke of the conversation the two had and ultimately Ortiz was in favor of the manager’s decision to leave him off the roster.
“There was a couple of conversations that led up to the selection of it,” said Farrell. “When you start to look at those who have been voted in both by the fans and by the players and then you get a stack of guys at each position — and then had a chance to talk to David and felt like the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him. And he was a pro about it, spoke his mind and really had a lot of input into the decision.”
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.”
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