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How good is Craig Kimbrel? Let David Ross explain 11.20.15 at 9:13 am ET
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Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel

Granted, it is based off three seasons ago, but David Ross‘ recollection of Craig Kimbrel offers some pretty powerful insight as to the closer the Red Sox just acquired.

“One of the best I’ve ever caught,” said Ross, who was Kimbrel’s teammate in Atlanta before the catcher joined the Red Sox for the 2013 season. “When I caught him it was just that good. He was dominating. I haven’t seen that time of game over since [Eric] Gagne. And then I left Kimbrel and got Koji [Uehara]. You saw that run Koji went on. That was Kimbrel. If somebody hit a home run off of him you were like, ‘What the heck?’ He’s pretty impressive in terms of what he’s able to do.”

Looking back at that run, it’s hard to argue with the current Cubs catcher.

With Ross as his backstop in 2012, Kimbrel didn’t allow a single run in 16 appearances, giving up four hits in 49 at-bats (.082). He struck out 28 and walked just three.

That year, Kimbrel was as good as the 2013 Koji, finishing with a 1.01 ERA while striking out 116 in 62 2/3 innings.

The results in the post-Ross years have done nothing to change the backstop’s opinion. From 2013-15, Kimbrel has allowed a .155 batting average against with a 13.40 strikeouts-per innings, fifth-best of any reliever over that time.

Why so good? Let Ross explain …

“He’s deceptive, one, especially for a righty,” the catcher said. “He’s a little bit across his body. He’s got that shoulder that’s kind of coming at you. It’s like Billy Wagner. You have that short-arm, short guy with the short-arm arm stroke. And rather than a downward plain, his ball climbs. He’s got really good spin on his ball. So it’s really hard to get on top of his baseball, so most guys swing under his fastball rather than over and then when he throws down in the zone it looks like it’s going to be a ball and it isn’t.

“I remember Buster Posey took a 3-1 fastball right down the middle and I remember even before I caught it, him yelling, ‘[Gosh darn] it!’ He didn’t realize how much that ball was going to jump. And when it’s up you’re just not going to get on top of it because he throws too hard. And then he’s got one of the better breaking balls that’s you’re going to see. It just depends if he’s throwing it for strikes.

“He can really blow fastballs by guys. It was pretty ridiculous. He’s not a location guy. He’s a power guy. I think he’s locating a little bit more the older he’s getting. But he would throw it right down the middle and blow guys away. His fastball was too much for guys.”

The other piece of the equation is the ability for Kimbrel to do it in this market, and in the American League East.

Not a problem, explained Ross.

“His personality will be a great fit,” he said of the Alabama native. “You’ll love it. He turns the page really quick. He’s a hard worker. He’s pretty resilient. I don’t know if he’s going to be in place like he’s going to be in, so that will be a little different in terms of all the scrutiny and all the questions. But as far as a person, you’re not going to find a better dude. He’s a typical closer. He’s not going to Craig Breslow you to death. But he cares about winning and he cares about performance. He’s passionate about his job. He wants to dominate.

“I was actually really happy for him. I loved the environment in Boston. I love the expectation of wanting to win every year. I think everyone should be able to play in a place like Boston. I wish everybody could experience that. I was super happy for him. I texted him what a great organization he was going to with great dudes.”

Read More: Craig Kimbrel, David Ross, Red Sox,
Sources: David Ross agrees to 2-year deal with Cubs; Craig Breslow deciding between Red Sox, Cubs 12.19.14 at 6:15 pm ET
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According to a major league source, David Ross has agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs.

The 37-year-old had narrowed his decision down to the Red Sox, Padres and Cubs prior to Friday. The Red Sox, however, appear to be on the verge of acquiring Ryan Hanigan from San Diego for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

With the choice coming down to the Padres and Cubs, Ross made the move to join his former teammate Jon Lester in Chicago.

Ross battled various injuries during his two-year stint with the Red Sox, including concussions. He played in a combined 86 regular-season games with the Sox, thriving during the team’s 2013 postseason run when the backstop took over starting duties for the final two rounds.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was first to report the agreement.

The Cubs and Red Sox seemingly have at least one more free agent showdown, with another major league source suggesting reliever Craig Breslow has narrowed his decision down to the two teams. The Red Sox declined their $4 million option on the lefty earlier this offseason.

Read More: Craig Breslow, David Ross,
David Ross, Craig Breslow still in mix with Red Sox 12.17.14 at 10:13 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Cubs evidently aren’t done battling for players this offseason.

According to a major league source, free agent catcher David Ross was choosing between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres as of early Wednesday night. Reliever Craig Breslow is also narrowing his potential landing spots, with his agent having had recent discussions with both the Sox and the Cubs.

Ross, who battled injuries and concussions throughout his two-year tenure with the Red Sox, is valued by Chicago in part due to his relationship with newly-acquired ace Jon Lester. The Sox, however, view the 37-year-old as a good complement to projected starter Christian Vazquez.

The fit with San Diego might have gotten more complicated Wednesday night with the Padres’ acquisition of Ryan Hanigan in their three-way trade that also netted San Diego Wil Myers from Tampa Bay. The Padres also figure to have Tim Federowicz, who comes over from the Dodgers in the swap for Matt Kemp.

Breslow, whose $4 million option wasn’t picked up by the Red Sox following the 2014 season, has seen talks with the Sox intensify over the past few days. The lefty recently attended the winter meetings in an effort to paint the picture of what transpired in a down ’14 campaign.

The odds of the Red Sox signing their other free agent reliever, Burke Badenhop, likely diminished with the team’s trade of former Braves sinkerballer Anthony Varvaro Wednesday.

Read More: Craig Breslow, David Ross,
Red Sox pregame notes: Making sense of Yoenis Cespedes; Daniel Nava navigating back to himself 08.19.14 at 6:35 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

When it comes to evaluating players during these last couple months of the season, the Red Sox aren’€™t just concerned with taking stock of rookie performances. It’€™s been a chance to see how newly acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes fits into the lineup as well.

Cespedes’€™ approach at the plate is a little different than the two players he’€™s sandwiched between in the lineup, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. While Napoli and Ortiz are accustomed to drawing a lot of walks (Napoli has walked at a 16 percent rate this season), Cespedes embodies a much more aggressive approach and doesn’€™t work many free passes (less than six percent of plate appearances this season).

“With it will come some quick outs, but at the same time the ability to impact the baseball is a result of the aggressiveness as well,” Farrell said of Cespedes’€™ plate approach, which has yielded a .251 average, .294 OBP and .456 slugging mark on the season, including a .219/.231/.406 line with one walk and 11 strikeouts with the Red Sox. “€œHe hasn’€™t become more aggressive since coming over here. This is the player we were well aware of and pursued heavily. We’€™re fully accepting of the style of player he is.”

Batting in between Ortiz and Napoli, Cespedes provides some contrast in the lineup. Farrell says that the outfielder may be shifted in the order to find what combination works best.

“€œHe’€™s been accustomed to hitting in the four hole. [We’re trying] to transition him in here with as much comfort as possible. That doesn’€™t mean that going forward there won’€™t be an alignment that flips him and Napoli,” Farrell said. “I’€™m not saying that’€™s going to be tomorrow, but we’€™ll take a look at every combination that’€™s available to us.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, daniel nava, David Ross, Yoenis Cespedes
Red Sox pregame notes: Allen Craig to start rehab assignment in Pawtucket Monday; David Ross to be activated early next week 08.16.14 at 5:39 pm ET
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It’s been over two weeks since Allen Craig made his Red Sox debut. But at this point, it’s easy to forget just how long he’s been in Boston.

That’s about to change very soon.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday the outfielder will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, and both sides are eyeing a three-day trip with the minor league club before making his return.

“We’ve mapped out probably three days, but to say that all of those are going to be needed is to be determined,” Farrell said. “He’s in agreement that there needs to be some at-bats had. Whether that’s four, whether that’s eight, we’ll cross that as we get through it.”

Craig, who the Red Sox acquired from the Cardinals at the July 31 trade deadline with Joe Kelly in exchange for John Lackey, injured his ankle during the final at-bat of his Aug. 1 Red Sox debut. He was placed on the disabled list four days later.

— Another player close to his return is catcher David Ross.

Ross, who has been out since Aug. 2 with a plantar fascia tear, will be activated either Monday or Tuesday, according to Farrell, and will not require a rehab stint. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, David Ross,
Red Sox pregame notes: Allen Craig to begin rehab assignment soon; David Ross making ‘adequate progress’ with plantar fascia injury 08.15.14 at 9:23 pm ET
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Allen Craig‘€™s eventual return to the Red Sox lineup draws closer and closer.

The right fielder has only played in one game with Boston after being acquired on July 31 in a trade-deadline deal with the Cardinals that send Craig and Joe Kelly to the Red Sox for John Lackey.

In his debut with the Red Sox on Aug. 1, Craig tweaked his ankle in his final at-bat while attempting to run out a grounder at first. Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Friday’s game against the Astros that he expects Craig to begin an assignment down in the minors within the next few days.

“€œWe’€™re hopeful that he goes out on a rehab assignment early this coming week -€“ possibly as early as Monday,” Farrell said. “€œHe came out of yesterday’€™s work of full BP, some running in the outfield, in good fashion. He’€™ll go through three more days of work prior to heading out.”

— Catcher David Ross, sidelined since Aug. 2 with a plantar fascia tear, continues to improve after taking part in a variety of baseball activities over the last few days.

While Farrell said that it’€™s looking more and more likely that Ross will not need to take part in a rehab assignment, he added the veteran catcher still has some big milestones to reach before he is able to return behind the dish.

“We’€™ve still got to get some steps accomplished with David,” Farrell said. “He’€™s set to catch a bullpen or two today. He started to do a little bit more running yesterday and came out of it feeling OK, so he’€™s making adequate progress as well.”

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Read More: Allen Craig, David Ross, John Farrell, Red Sox
David Ross lands on DL, Dan Butler called up 08.02.14 at 3:44 pm ET
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It is a strange injury when a tear is described as a positive outcome.

Catcher David Ross suffered what the Red Sox believe was a tear of the plantar fascia on Friday — an injury that actually represents a positive development, as his case of plantar fasciitis had become constantly painful. With the tear, the team is hopeful that Ross’ foot will heal in a fashion that permits him to play without pain.

“Everything points towards that tendon having let go last night, which, in this case, is a positive,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “How many days it takes to recover, we’ll see, but the 15 days should hopefully help this quiet down to the point of him returning.”

With Ross sidelined, the Red Sox called up Dan Butler, a 27-year-old who signed with the organization as an undrafted free agent in 2009 out of the University of Arizona while playing in the Cape League. Butler (hitting .227/.306/.338 this year in Pawtucket, after amassing a .262/.350/.479 line at the same level last year) is described in the organization as a “grinder” who kept his head down and, despite lacking typical prospect status conferred upon a player who signed for a significant bonus, forced his way to the big leagues by showing good defensive skills and the ability to lead pitching staffs. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dan Butler, David Ross,
David Ross on Felix Doubront: ‘You have to … prove yourself on a nightly basis’ 07.29.14 at 1:10 am ET
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Felix Doubront stood on the pitcher’s mound with his hands on his hip, glove on his right hand and ball barely hanging onto the tip of his left hand. Slowly, the boos began to make their way around Fenway Park as the crowd at hand for Monday’s 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays expressed its displeasure for Doubront’s six-run, six-hit, two-walk, no-strikeout performance in just two-thirds of an inning.

Manager John Farrell made his way up the dugout steps, signaling to the bullpen for righty Burke Badenhop to take Doubront’s spot on the mound and follow up on a performance that would not present itself as a challenge to top. As Farrell emphatically took the ball away from Doubront, the southpaw looked away, seemingly avoiding eye contact with the skipper while leaving behind the wreckage of a 13-0 deficit for his team in the sixth inning.

It was only when Doubront no longer had the ability to affect the outcome of the game that the Fenway crowd cheered.

The feeble performance came only a day after Doubront, who declined to comment after Monday’s game, told Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com that he wouldn’t mind a trade from the Red Sox.

“€œThe thing is, if the [Red Sox] say I have to prove myself, I already did, man. €It’€™€™s [messed] up,” Doubront said. “So if these guys say I have to pitch to prove whatever, no, they already know what I have. I showed them what I have, as a reliever and as a starter.

“€œFor me, they don’€™€™t see the numbers, they don’€™€™t care what I’€™ve done in the past. It’€™€™s hard to be happy like that with these guys.”€

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Read More: David Ross, felix doubront, John Farrell,
David Ross says plantar fasciitis won’t sideline him 07.22.14 at 11:22 pm ET
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TORONTO — It wasn’t difficult to identify that David Ross was in pain Tuesday night.

The Red Sox catcher seemed to pull up lame while running to first after lining a third-inning single, bringing out both Red Sox manager John Farrell and trainer Rick Jameyson. But Ross remained in the game, finishing with three hits in what resulted in a 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

After the game, Ross explained that the diagnosis for the ailment is plantar fasciitis on his right foot.

Ross — who wears orthotics due to flat feet — said he suffered a similar injury for the final two months of the 2007 season, albeit to his left foot.

“In the offseason I ruptured it and that’€™s what they do when they do surgery, they just go in and cut it,” he said.. “So I ruptured it and it hasn’t been a problem since. I was running today with the intent of letting that thing blow out. It would feel a lot better if it would.”

The backstop believed that the injury was a result of taping his left ankle after injuring himself during a mid-May series in Minnesota, leading to overcompensating on his right foot.

Ross didn’t believe the injury would make his miss any time.

It is the same injury Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli dealt with for much of 2013. (Click here to read more about the particulars of the ailment.)

“It’s been going on for a few days,” Ross explained. “I was getting better. It was getting a lot better. I just aggravated on that one swing. It’s not going to keep me from playing I don’t think. It’s one of those things that’s going to affect my running a little bit, which is definitely not something [Farrell] is worrying about, my speed to help the team if it would.”

Read More: David Ross,
Red Sox pregame notes: Shane Victorino could be activated tomorrow; Will Middlebrooks nears return; Sox remain hopeful for second-half run 07.18.14 at 7:08 pm ET
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While the Red Sox only managed to post a 9-12 record in the 21 games that he played this season in the majors, there’€™s no denying that Shane Victorino brings a certain amount of panache to the table that the Red Sox have sufficiently lacked this year.

Whether it be his proficiency in patrolling right field (25.0 UZR in 2013, first amongst all right fields in AL ), talent at the plate (.294/.351/.451 line last season) or skills on the basepaths (23-for-26 in stolen base attempts with Boston), Victorino has certainly left a void on the roster during the 74 games that he’€™s missed this season with hamstring and back issues.

“€œWe’€™ve missed his energy, we’€™ve missed his talents, his in-game decision, his instincts on the basepaths, we’€™ve missed a very good player for a majority of the year,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell before Friday’€™s game against the Royals.

However, it appears that the 33-year-old outfielder will not be sidelined for much longer, as Farrell stated that there’€™s a definite scenario that he could be activated before Saturday’€™s game. Victorino played all nine innings of Triple-A Pawtucket’€™s game against Buffalo Thursday, going 2-for-4 while showing no hesitancy to test his hamstring both out on the field and on the basepaths.

“He came out of last night in good shape physically, he ran the bases aggressively, went first to third a couple of different times, slid headfirst, a couple of base hits, made three plays in right field, so last night was a very good night for him and we anticipate him getting through tonight in a similar fashion physically and there’€™s a scenario which has him active for us tomorrow,” Farrell said.

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Read More: David Ross, John Farrell, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks
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