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Buster Olney on M&M: Dustin Pedroia’s wrist injury ‘a concern’ 04.16.14 at 1:17 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni to talk about the Red Sox‘ slow start and other MLB news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Red Sox are 5-9 after dropping three straight games, including Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the White Sox in frigid Chicago. Coming off last year’s World Series title, the Red Sox have been hurt by injuries and their inability to make key plays.

“I think it’s a combination of both,” Olney said. “When you start with [Dustin] Pedroia‘s situation, you go from there. That’s obviously a concern. I talked to David Ortiz over the weekend and he talked about the effort to get his timing back. The offense, which was so dominant last year, just hasn’t gotten on a roll yet, obviously. One of the Red Sox players mentioned to me over the weekend, ‘We’re still trying to find our identity.’

“The good thing is that the rest of the division is pretty much in the exact same boat. So if you’re in the Red Sox clubhouse, you might not necessarily be feeling great about what’s happening now. But you look at the Yankees, their infield situation is a complete mess. Tampa Bay’s rotation is in tatters. The Orioles have rotation issues. Toronto, as you know, a lot of questions about their rotation. Given the range of problems you might have, at least if you’re the Red Sox, you’re probably feeling better overall about your situation than some of the other teams are.”

The Red Sox have lost their last two games by one run (3-2 to the Yankees and 2-1 to Chicago), putting a spotlight on their offensive woes.

“Going into their game on Sunday night, their offense, which outscored every other team in baseball last year by 57 runs, ranked 17th in runs scored,” Olney said. “That, day in and day out, gives them so much margin for error. It did last year. They have to get that going.”

Even if Pedroia does not miss any more time with his wrist injury, it could be a serious blow to the Red Sox’ hopes if he has to play through a problem.

“I’m going to be really curious to see how he does going forward. I’ve talked to so many players through the years — how troublesome wrist injuries can be for a hitter. And sometimes they just don’t go away during the year. Because what it really needs in a lot of cases is out-and-out, flat-out rest. And he’s not going to have an opportunity to do that.”

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Dodged bullet? No disabled list for Dustin Pedroia, Koji Uehara 04.14.14 at 8:13 pm ET
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Koji Uehara and the Red Sox had news to jump up and down about. (AP)

Koji Uehara and the Red Sox had news to jump up and down about. (AP)

The Red Sox, who faced concerns about the possibility of losing a pair of critical roster members in closer Koji Uehara (shoulder stiffness) and second baseman Dustin Pedroia (left wrist soreness), received positive news in the examinations of both players at Mass. General Hospital on Monday (an off-day for the Red Sox). Neither player was diagnosed with structural damage, and so both will avoid a stint on the disabled list. They’re being described as day-to-day entering the series against the White Sox.

Here is the Red Sox press release:

Dustin Pedroia today underwent an MRI at Massachusetts General Hospital that revealed inflammation in his left wrist, and no fractures. He will rejoin the Red Sox in Chicago tomorrow, and his status is day-to-day.

Koji Uehara underwent an MRI today at MGH that revealed no structural damage in his right shoulder. He will rejoin the club in Chicago tomorrow, and his status is day-to-day.

Shane Victorino is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment with one of the club’€™s minor league affiliates later this week.

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Would Mookie Betts be a consideration for an injured Dustin Pedroia?; the riddle of Allen Webster; Wendell Rijo shows some pop at 12:22 pm ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster got tons of groundballs but continues to struggle to throw strikes. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster got tons of groundballs but continues to struggle to throw strikes. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:



– If Dustin Pedroia lands on the disabled list, Brock Holt would be in line for a call-up, with the possibility that the Sox could entrust everyday second base duties to him while keeping Jonathan Herrera in his current third base platoon/utility role. After all, Holt is off to a scorching start for Pawtucket — though 1-for-6 (with a double and walk) on Sunday, he’s now hitting .389/.476/.583 with five extra-base hits, four steals (in four attempts), five walks and two strikeouts in nine games. While Holt made little impact in the big leagues last year, hitting .203/.275/.237 in 59 plate appearances, he performed well in his only everyday opportunity in the big leagues, hitting .292/.329/.354 in 24 games with the Pirates at the end of 2012.

If Pedroia doesn’t end up on the DL and the Sox decide they need to make their bench deeper for the White Sox series with both Ryan Roberts and Herrera pressed into everyday duty, then utility man Mike McCoy — who can play virtually anywhere on the field — would become a consideration, as Holt cannot be called up until at least Thursday given that he was called up on April 7; barring a position player landing on the D.L., he needs to spend at least 10 days in the minors before he can return to the big leagues.

– Right-hander Allen Webster is at an interesting career stage, seemingly in a cocoon from which it is unclear if he will emerge as a butterfly or a moth. The 24-year-old had an outing that showed both his considerable potential and underscored the questions of whether he will be able to reach his ceiling, logging five innings in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on just three hits (one of which was a homer). He recorded a whopping 12 groundball outs, underscoring the degree to which his two-seam fastball can be a devastating offering, but he also had just one strikeout and walked four, while throwing a modest 58 of 96 pitches (60.4 percent) for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to just half of the 24 batters he faced.

In three starts this year, the 24-year-old has seen last year’s strikeout rate of 9.9 per nine innings cut roughly in half to 4.9 per nine innings, and he’s also walked an identical 4.9 per nine innings. But he’s once again getting groundballs at a tremendous rate that had characterized much of his career prior to 2013.

If Webster can execute his two-seamer consistently in the strike zone, then it’s such a powerful weapon that it permits the possibility of opening up the rest of his arsenal and permitting him to have a starter’s pitch efficiency. But if he struggles to throw the pitch for strikes, then the possibility exists that concerns about his inability to give reliable innings will result in a move to the bullpen. Thus far in 2014, there are few indications of which outcome is more likely. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox-Rangers series preview 04.07.14 at 12:27 pm ET
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After a rough weekend at Fenway, the Red Sox will look for their first win at home on Monday against the Rangers.

The Red Sox enter the series with a 2-4 record after being swept by the Brewers. The Red Sox are at the bottom of the AL East standings in the early going, with the same record as the Orioles. Being swept was quite a rarity for the 2013 Sox, who only lost three in a row to the same team once last season, and that sweep was at the hands of their upcoming opponents, the Rangers.

The Rangers head into the series with a .500 record after salvaging the last of a three-game set against the Rays on Sunday. Big things are anticipated from the 2014 Rangers, a club that pulled off one of the few major trades from the past offseason, sending second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit in exchange for slugger Prince Fielder. They also replaced the hole left by free agent Nelson Cruz by signing Shin-Soo Choo, one of the winter’€™s marquee free agents. Injuries have been an issue for the Rangers in the early going, with young shortstop Jurickson Profar tearing a muscle in his shoulder, an injury that will keep him off the field until late May or June. Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish also experienced minor injuries, and while Harrison is still recovering from offseason back surgery, Darvish is back in action for Texas. The biggest blow to the pitching staff may be Derek Holland‘€™s knee injury, which he suffered while playing with his dog over the winter. He’€™s not expected back until midseason. As if that all wasn’t enough, the Rangers also lost newly acquired catcher Geovany Soto to a torn meniscus.

The Red Sox are dealing with some injury issues of their own, with third baseman Will Middlebrooks hitting the DL with what was diagnosed as a Grade 1 calf strain. The power-hitting infielder will be replaced by utility infielder Jonathan Herrera as well as Brock Holt, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket prior to Sunday’€™s game. The Red Sox also added some infield depth early Monday morning, reportedly signing 33-year-old Ryan Roberts to a major league deal.

Middlebrooks’€™ injury is not good news for an offense that couldn’t get much going against Brewers pitching on Sunday. The Sox left a total of 17 runners on base in the series and went just 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position. The Sox will look to jump-start the bats against Rangers pitching on Monday to avoid losing four games in a row, something that hasn’t happened since September 2012.

Here are the matchups for the three-game set:

Monday: John Lackey (1-0, 3.00) vs. Tanner Scheppers (0-0, 15.75)

Tuesday: Felix Doubront (1-0, 5.06) vs. Martin Perez (0-0, 3.18)

Wednesday: Jake Peavy (0-0, 3.00) vs. Robbie Ross (0-0, 3.60)


– At times in 2013, it felt like Koji Uehara‘€™s season was too good to be true, and it’€™s forgivable that some may have had doubts about a repeat performance in 2014. But Uehara is picking up right where he left off. He’€™s only had one save opportunity, a save he secured using just seven pitches in the series finale in Baltimore, but the closer has been solid in all three outings so far this season. He tossed a flawless top of the ninth in what would be an extra-inning affair with the Brewers on a frigid Saturday night, striking out the side with 13 pitches. The 39-year-old’€™s devastating splitter looks as good as ever, and he’€™s out to prove his dominant 2013 was not just a fluke.

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Xander Bogaerts on long-term deals and following the footsteps of David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia as long-term Red Sox 03.24.14 at 8:27 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts (AP)

Xander Bogaerts (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — In a way, the idea is preposterous. As good as Xander Bogaerts was in helping the Red Sox to win a World Series, as highly regarded a prospect as he is, it seems absurdly premature to contemplate much beyond the idea that the 21-year-old is poised to become the Red Sox‘ youngest Opening Day position player since Dwight Evans in 1973, and their youngest Opening Day shortstop since Everett Scott in 1914.

Yet in another way, the idea is not so ridiculous. The Astros reportedly offered prospect George Springer a seven-year, $23 million deal last September — before he played in the big leagues. Evan Longoria signed a six-year, $17.5 million deal (with options that pushed it to nine years and $44 million) in his first days in the big leagues.

And so, at a time when the Red Sox have signed Dustin Pedroia to a deal that should keep him in Boston through 2021 while retaining David Ortiz on a contract that is expected to cover the remainder of his career, Bogaerts was asked, has he considered the possibility of a long-term deal with the Red Sox?

“That’s definitely not a decision I make. That’s front office and those guys. I just go out there, play and really try to focus on the game,” Bogaerts said on Monday morning. “But now, especially now, with all these young guys, you hear a lot of rumors about extensions. Being one of the young guys, you never know if there’s a possibility for that, but I’m always just focusing on the game, trying to get better and help the team win a World Series. When you help the team win, there’s a lot of good stuff that can happen to you. … I’ve never talked to anyone about that, but it’s definitely a possibility with the way the game is changing now and a lot of long-term deals. Time will tell, you know?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Jake Peavy on D&C: ‘I haven’t even really thought about playing in 2015′ 02.26.14 at 10:49 am ET
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Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about his future, his transition to Boston last summer, and comparisons between Boston and Chicago. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Peavy hasn’t looked beyond the upcoming season, focusing on helping the Red Sox repeat as World Series champions.

“I have no plans, I have no set plans at this point in time of my career,”€ Peavy said. “€œI’€™m crazy blessed, this will be my 13th year in the major leagues. We have all come together, once again, with one goal in mind, and that’€™s to win the World Series in 2014. We understand the process that it takes to get there and we’€™re focused daily at the task at hand, and that’€™s really all I can tell you. I haven’€™t even really thought about playing in 2015.”

When Peavy was traded to the Red Sox, he knew there were players, including Jonny Gomes, he didn’t like.

“Jonny Gomes was a guy I particularly didn’t care for, playing against,”€ Peavy said. “I didn’t — I thought it was more about him, I thought it was showmanship. I wanted Mike Napoli to button up his jersey. Just stuff from the other side. It’€™s good, I don’€™t want to like the opposition.”

On his first day at the clubhouse, Peavy tried to get there first but was beaten by Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia.

“€œWhen I walked in this clubhouse at 12 noon, there were three players already in the clubhouse, which blew me away that on a home game these guys were there already,” Peavy said. “Pedroia was there, Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes were in the clubhouse. Within 30 seconds, and I’€™m not exaggerating this story, of speaking to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he said to me, ‘We’€™re going to win the World Series.’€™ And those words came out of his mouth.”

Added Peavy: “€œWhen I said to Jonny Gomes, ‘€˜Hey Jonny, how you doing?’€™ And here’€™s the quote that everybody thinks is funny, he says, ‘€˜Aww, I’€™m doing wonderful, it’€™s just another day closer to the parade.’€™ And for a second, for a split-second, I didn’t realize what he was speaking of. You know, I hadn’t been around that lingo and that spirit that all you guys had been familiar with. … And then it hit me, this guy is talking about the World Series parade.”

While Peavy enjoyed his time in Chicago, the 32-year-old noted how Boston has a different feel to it.

“A great place, Chicago, once again, big market, great city, but just the — going to U.S. Cellular Field every day and there being [10,000], 15,000 people in it, and not much of an atmosphere,” Peavy said. “€œTo leave that and go into a place where at 12 noon, walking down the street, you feel the atmosphere and the intensity starting to build for a 7 o’clock game, even before you go to the ballpark with people speaking to you. It’€™s a different animal, it’€™s certainly a huge advantage for us as a ball club.”

Added Peavy: “Sometimes we don’€™t feel like playing. I hate to say that. You get run down, you get tired. You get home late, you turn right around, you play in a few games, then you have to wake up at 8:30 in the morning and get there and play a day game. You get beat down, you get run down. When you step out into the atmosphere that Fenway Park always brings, you can’€™t help but be ready to go.”

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Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts Red Sox regulars rake in BP inside JetBlue Park at 7:41 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two days before they open spring training baseball against Northeastern and Boston College, Red Sox positional players took batting practice inside JetBlue Park Tuesday morning. The position players hit off short tosses from coaches as the pitching staff had the day off from live batting practice.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, mike napoli, spring training 2014 Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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