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Red Sox notes from Disney: John Farrell ‘very comfortable’ with pen, Hanley Ramirez’s ‘great’ attitude, Dustin Pedroia checks in on Mickey Mouse 03.27.15 at 12:54 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes (right) catches up with Dustin Pedroia (left) and Brian Butterfield (center) before Friday's game. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jonny Gomes (right) catches up with Dustin Pedroia (left) and Brian Butterfield (center) before Friday’s game. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With Friday’s starter Clay Buchholz in line to be the Opening Day starter in Philadelphia on April 6, the Red Sox still have to figure out his battery mate.

Christian Vazquez caught a minor league game back in Fort Myers on Friday morning and then was scheduled for a full exam, which would include an MRI on his right elbow. Manager John Farrell confirmed the plan while managing the major league team against the Braves in Disney.

“It was still planned to repeat what he did [Thursday],” Farrell said of Vazquez’s throwing program. “We’ll go through a full workup following. Then to determine if further imaging is needed or to answer questions that might be unanswered at this point and hopefully to give a little piece of mind to Christian himself.

“More lingering. There hasn’t been a setback. As a matter of fact, his throwing has increased. But because we’re in the eleventh or twelfth day and not back into game situations yet, just want to answer every possible question.”

Farrell said he still wasn’t ready to project any type of timetable for his return or whether he would be ready for the opener.

“Once we get all the information, we’ll have a better read on everything,” Farrell said. “We’re limiting him right now. He’s been catching. This is the third time he’s caught under the current conditions, just to keep his legs in shape and keep him as game-ready as possible despite the graduated throwing program we’ve got him on.”

If Vazquez isn’t ready to go, then Blake Swihart, Friday’s catcher for Clay Buchholz could certainly have a chance of making the squad when they break camp in a week.

“I think anybody in our uniform is always under consideration,” Farrell said. “We’ll see how things play out over the next eight, nine days.”

Elsewhere, David Ortiz did not make the trip to central Florida but Farrell said he and Mike Napoli made it through Thursday’s return to action without any issues. Farrell said Ortiz is scheduled to play against the Rays Saturday afternoon in Port Charlotte. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Alexi Ogando, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez
Observations on Game 2: Dustin Pedroia backs up his words, Joe Kelly gets rust off, Xander Bogaerts goes deep 03.05.15 at 10:23 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Observations from the Red Sox‘ 9-8 loss to the Twins at the grand reopening of Hammond Stadium.

PEDROIA GOES DEEP: Dustin Pedroia assured us that he was feeling healthy for the first time in years. It showed on his grand slam in the fourth.

“I knew I was back to normal in the offseason,” Pedroia said. “Obviously I told you guys that, but you can only believe me if you see it. So there you go.”

It goes without saying what difference a healthy Pedroia would make atop the Red Sox lineup. The home run against live pitching was good to see, particularly since he hadn’t exhibited tremendous power in early batting practice sessions.

“I don’t know that we’ve seen that type of swing in a good amount of time,” noted manager John Farrell.

“I’m just trying to come out and try to get better,” Pedroia said. “That’s all I’m focused on. I’m not worried about anything else. Every day, try to do something to help the team. That’s what I’m concentrating on.”

Might the grand slam be a sign?

“Just watch,” Pedroia said. “My job is to play. Your job is to watch.”

KELLY LOOSENS UP: Right-hander Joe Kelly wasn’t crisp, allowing a series of rockets in 1 2/3 innings that including seven hits, four runs and two strikeouts. That’s nothing new for the former Cardinal, who traditionally struggles in spring, as his last four Grapefruit League ERAs attest: 6.28, 4.91, 3.60, 9.00.

“My springs aren’t usually good,” Kelly said. “My spring numbers are actually pretty terrible, from what I can remember.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Dustin Pedroia,
Finally healthy, Dustin Pedroia proclaims ‘I’m not messing around’ 03.02.15 at 9:45 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia seems pleased these days.

The latest bit of good news was clubhouse manager Tommy McLaughlin presenting the second baseman with the stickers for the handle end of his bats. The excitement was only amped up upon seeing the stickers image that had a silhouette image of Sasquatch with the number “15” in the background.

But the true elation for Pedroia is not having to show up each morning and get treatment, and then actually swinging a baseball bat with a confidence he hasn’t had since 2011.

“I feel normal,” he said. “I can tell just picking up a bat my hand strength is back. That’s the most important part to me. When you grab a bat, how does it feel? Can you manipulate where you want to hit the ball? It’s all back.

“I knew before I got here. You could tell. Balls come off the bat different. It sounds different. If I’m fooled and I’m out in front I had the strength to flip it the other way or still turn on it. Those are the things I couldn’t do. … My swing is normal. My follow through is normal. There’s finish.”

The difference in the physical security was evident from his very first outside batting practice at Fenway South, when he purposely unloaded on the high left field wall on Field 2.

“How did it look? I’m not messing around,” Pedroia said regarding his initial BP salvo.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 Red Sox spring training, Dustin Pedroia,
Dustin Pedroia can see where David Ortiz is coming from: ‘Baseball’s not a drive-through’ 02.26.15 at 5:05 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia could only laugh.

When the Red Sox second baseman heard David Ortiz go off on Wednesday about new MLB pace-of-game rules.

“I think it was the first time he heard of it,” Pedroia said Thursday. “The first reaction is always pretty good [from Ortiz]. I just laughed. You never know. That’s his job, though. His job is to hit and, in my mind, I have to go play defense and concentrate on a lot of things. But, when you’re putting a new rule and his main focus is to be in the box, that’s his home. You know what I mean? I can side with him on why he’s upset, but he’ll be fine.

“I’m pretty sure the umpires aren’t going to start yelling at you. They understand. Everybody that’s on that field loves baseball. They don’t want to make it a hurry-up. Baseball’s not a drive-through. We’ve got to play the game and they know that. Obviously, if you get fined, you get fined but we’re trying to play to win and that’s the way I look at it.”

Pedroia was asked if he thought speeding up the game would be good for the game.

“Is it good for the game? We’ll find out. I don’t think we’ve played under the rules yet,” Pedroia said, adding, “I don’t really try to think about it. I don’t know if I get out. I adjust my batting gloves and tighten them. My only thing as a hitter, and obviously the pitchers do it too, we’re trying to think about how and what we’re going to do the next pitch. Obviously, some guys take a little bit longer and some guys don’t. I think that’s the fun part about the game. In our mind, that’s the competition. Him [the pitcher] trying to find a way to get me out and me trying to find a way to get a hit off him. However long that takes, that’s how long it takes. We have a job to do and we’re trying to execute and we know the pitcher has a job to do. I don’t think I take that long.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as everybody’s saying. I’m sure the pitcher and the hitter are going to be ready to play. That’s the way I look at it. I’m sure there’s not going to be a pitch thrown and I’m going to be hanging out in the other on-deck circle. We’re still going to play baseball. That’s the way I look at it.”

Even Red Sox pitchers like Joe Kelly could see where Ortiz was coming from.

“We play a ton of games,” Kelly said. “I understand exactly where he’s coming from. As a hitter, being a professional hitter, it’s probably one of the toughest things to do in all of sports. He’s not taking his time just to take his time. He’s out there and he’s one of the best left-handed hitters in this game. He’s thinking about what the pitcher is trying to do to him, and vice versa. I’m out there on the mound trying to read swings. If I throw a fastball inside and the hitter feels a little bit uncomfortable with his [swinging] motion, I might take a step off the mound and take a breath, ‘All right, is he trying to fool me or is he really going to get beat there today?’ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia
Morning Fort: Dustin Pedroia arrives healthy, proclaims ‘everyone’s fired up and ready to go’ 02.21.15 at 9:52 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia is ready to return to full strength after two injury-plagued seasons. (Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia is ready to return to full strength after two injury-plagued seasons. (Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia has had enough of hand surgeries. He’s also had enough of last place finishes.

He and the Red Sox have proven the ability to overcome both over the last two seasons. He’s hoping to repeat the comeback story again in 2015.

Last September, Pedroia had season-ending surgery on his left wrist to relieve tendon pressure and remove scar tissue buildup. In Nov. 2013, after helping the Red Sox to a World Series title, the second baseman had UCL surgery on his left thumb. Pedroia suffered an initial thumb injury on a head-first slide into first base on opening day at Yankee Stadium in 2013. In last year’s home opener against the Brewers, Pedroia slid head-first into second base and re-injured the hand.

Pedroia said Saturday morning upon arriving at JetBlue Park that he’s all set and ready to go, with no restrictions.

“Yeah, I feel great,” Pedroia said. “I’m ready to go. I’m excited. It’s fun. Getting back to work. It’s a new year. Everyone’s excited so it should be fun.”

As for his offseason?

“Lifted weights. Got ready, man,” Pedroia said. “Same as every other offseason except the last couple I’ve had to deal with surgeries and stuff. I got this one done quick so I was able to have a normal offseason of lifting weights and conditioning and all that stuff. I’m ready to go.”

As for his team, Pedroia is well aware of the worst-to-first-to-worst trend from 2012 through 2014. Now, with a rebuilt starting rotation and the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, there are great expectations again after a 71-91 finish last year. And Pedroia shares that optimism.

“Yeah, we’ve obviously done it before. But you have to take it one day [at a time]. We have to worry about today’s practice and go out there and try to get better today,” Pedroia said. “You can’t look at the big picture. If you do the right things every day, at the end you’ll be where you’re at.

“We made a lot of great moves. Obviously, we have a very talented group. It’s our job to form it together and play together. Everyone’s excited and ready to play baseball. It was kind of a long winter. Everyone’s fired up and ready to go.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester,
Joe Kelly predicts he’ll win Cy Young; Dustin Pedroia eyes playing in all 162 01.24.15 at 11:43 pm ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

LEDYARD, Conn. — The Red Sox tried something new this offseason, and the Red Sox players didn’t seem to mind it at all.

Hundreds of fans poured into Foxwoods Resort and Casino for the Sox’ first-ever Winter Weekend to participate in a variety of activities and events. One of the byproducts of the festivities was the opportunity for the majority of the Red Sox roster to gather together prior to heading to Fort Myers for the first official reporting date, Feb. 20.

Here are some of the takeaways from the player availability:

Joe Kelly offered the most pointed comment Saturday, proclaiming on WEEI, “I want your listeners to know, I’m going to win the Cy Young this year. Just letting everyone know so when I win it you heard it here first.” (To listen to the audio, click here.)

Kelly also offered some interesting insight when it came the topic of doctoring balls. Playing off the Patriots Deflategate controversy, the Red Sox pitcher surmised that 95 percent of baseball pitchers use some sort of non-sanctioned substance to get a better grip on the ball.

“The hitters would say please do it. They don’t want to get hit with 98 [mph],” he explained, adding, “If it’s Bull Frog [sunscreen] and it’s sunny out, I don’t’ want skin cancer. I’ll put on sunscreen, there’s a rosin bag and I’ll throw rosin on my arm.”

Dustin Pedroia proclaimed himself ready to go, suggesting he will be ready to play every game on the schedule.

“I plan on playing 162 [games],” he said. “I don’t look at it any different. I started 178 games [in 2013] with a torn thumb. Obviously I’m a human. The next year, you’re going to have a tough time. I’m back, like, my body’s back. I feel strong. I’m lifting everything. Right back to normal.”

Pedroia also touched on his disappointment when Jon Lester left via free agency.

“Yeah, it’s tough, it’s part of the business,” the second baseman said. “That’s the part you really don’t understand. It’s not fun. But yeah, I was his host on his recruiting trip at Arizona State. I’ve known him forever so it’s definitely tough. It’s going to be weird showing up for spring training not seeing him there.

“I’m his friend. I’m pretty involved in a lot of things. I’m a lot smarter than him. Let’s be honest. Wouldn’t you talk to somebody starter than you?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, Dustin Pedroia, Joe Kelly,
Dustin Pedroia evidently is feeling pretty good: ‘I’m full go’ 01.14.15 at 11:28 pm ET
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While John Farrell‘s statement on MLB Network Radio Wednesday offered some enlightenment in regards to the status of the Red Sox‘ second baseman — revealing that Dustin Pedroia had been cleared for baseball activity — for the 31-year-old it was old news.

“If [spring training] started tomorrow, I’€™m ready,” Pedroia said by phone. “I’€™ve got all my strength back. I’€™m lifting like a maniac. I’€™m pretty excited. Last year at this time I couldn’€™t hit yet. It’€™s obvious a lot different offseason this year than last year.

“I’€™m full go. I’€™ve been throwing, hitting, taking some ground balls. I’€™m ready to go. … I’€™m done with the rehab. I haven’€™t missed a beat. I haven’€™t had my strength like normal for few years. I’€™m excited.”

Pedroia has settled into his usual offseason routine. Wednesday it included the usual weight lifting and a visit to his Arizona home’s batting cage to continue his hitting (which he has been participating in since just before Christmas).

This time, the day also included a trip to the store to buy his 5-year-old, Dylan, catchers gear. (“This guy rakes,” Pedroia said of his oldest son’s hitting skills.)

“Every day of my life is pretty good,” he explained.

These days, in this offseason, seem a bit better than years past if no other reason than Pedroia feels back to normal. After undergoing surgery on his left wrist in September, he has given himself enough healing time to hit the ground running come mid-February for the first time in the past few years.

With hand, wrist and foot injuries, Pedroia’s offseasons have been uneven of late. Last year, the Sox’s World Series run, coupled with thumb surgery and early-season injury, had the infielder playing catch-up until ultimately shutting down his season with a month to go.

“It’€™s been a while,” said Pedroia of having a semi-normal offseason. “You go through times you have some injuries, have to have some surgeries, things like that. You just have to prepare the best you can. When we won the World Series I had surgery and there’€™s time you have to rest and recover, so I got a late start and it caught up with me. Now I’€™m full steam ahead. I’€™m ready, I feel strong and there’€™s nothing I’€™ll be thinking about when I get on the field other than winning games.

“I never worry about if this is going to be my best year. Every year I try and come out and win games. As far as I’€™m concerned. I’€™ve had two good years and both years we’€™ve won the World Series. That’€™s what you play for, that’€™s what we all play for and that should be everybody’€™s mindset coming in. If we lose our last game we don’€™t accept that. That’€™s the way I’€™m going to look at it and that’€™s the way all the guys are going to look at it.”

And just in case it wasn’t clear …

“I’€™m ready to go, dude,” Pedroia concluded.

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,
Jon Lester would have said ‘probably yes’ to 5-year, $120 million offer last spring from Red Sox 12.18.14 at 8:46 pm ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher and current Cubs pitcher Jon Lester joined the Hot Stove show Thursday night with Mike Mutnansky, Rob Bradford and Alex Speier to discuss what the free agent process was like, what the negotiations last spring training were like with the Red Sox, and also what it was like the hours and days following officially signing with the Cubs.

Lester signed with the Cubs for six years and $155 million, with a vesting option for a seventh year.

Everyone keeps coming back to the reported four-year, $70 million offer the Red Sox gave to Lester during spring training last season. What if the Red Sox came in with a higher offer — such as the Cliff Lee, five-year, $120 million deal — would Lester have accepted?

“That is one of those deals where hindsight is 20/20. You go back in time and you look at it and you go, ‘probably yes,’ ” said Lester. “I mean you don’t know. I mean it is one of those deals where when it is sitting in front of you that is a lot of money to turn down. That would have made it very difficult to turn it down.”

Following spring training, Lester and his camp were under the impression the two sides would not discuss a contract during the season because that was what was agreed between them and the Red Sox, and they didn’t want any distractions for he and his teammates during the year.

“As far as I understood, and that is not coming from my agent, that is from what I understood coming out of everyone’s mouth was that once the season started, I think we had all agreed upon that and it wasn’t just one side saying we don’t negotiate during the season,” Lester said. “I think it was more a group discussion and a group decision that if we weren’t able to come to a conclusion with the contract negotiations before the season started we thought it was in the best interest of everybody to table it ’till the offseason and wait until the season is over and all the distractions of playing, the ups and downs of the season and all that to get after it again.

“Like I said the other day, I don’t know if that is a bad quality or a good quality, but I am kind of hard-headed when it comes to that. If we make a decision one way or the other, just like if we would have made the decision to continue talking I would have expected that to continue. I think we all kind of decided at that time with the distractions of everything going on it wasn’t the right time or place to continue the discussions.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Theo Epstein,
Devil in the details: Contract possibilities for Jon Lester and the Red Sox 11.19.14 at 2:52 pm ET
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Jon Lester finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting. (Getty Images)

Jon Lester finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox have made no secret of their desire to make a push for Jon Lester, a notion that has gained further credence with the reports (the first one of which came from ESPNBoston.com) that the team has made an offer to the left-hander.

But, of course, it is one thing to make an offer, another to find common ground to satisfy Lester’s interest in a salary befitting his status as an elite pitcher and the Sox’ interests in accounting for the risks associated with a long-term deal for a pitcher in his 30s. In the absence of concrete details about what shape that offer has taken, here are a few potential models and/or features of an offer that the Sox may try to incorporate as they attempt to reacquire an elite pitcher while minimizing the risk on the back end of the deal:

Model 1: Cliff Lee (fewer years, more dollars)

In the 2012-13 offseason, the Red Sox proved aggressive in terms of the average annual value they put on the table while trying to limit the number of years they committed to players. In doing so, they got (for instance) Shane Victorino to pass on a four-year deal worth roughly $11 million a year from the Indians in favor of a three-year, $39 million deal to come to Boston.

In the winter following the 2010 season, left-hander Cliff Lee walked away from potential deals of six-plus years (with offers typically rumored to be for $23 million or so per year) in favor of a five-year, $120 million deal ($24 million per year) with the Phillies. It’s worth noting that there are similarities between Lester’s situation and Lee’s.

Model 2: Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke (market value) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Contract
Dustin Pedroia on MFB: ‘There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people’ next season 11.05.14 at 11:31 am ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who on Tuesday was named winner of his fourth Gold Glove, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and said he’s feeling substantially better since having surgery on his wrist. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Pedroia had surgery on Sept. 11 to repair a tendon in his left wrist. It caused an early end to a disappointing offensive season in which he hit .278 with seven home runs and 53 RBIs. In the field, however, he continued to shine, posting a .997 fielding percentage that ranks as the best ever for a Red Sox second baseman.

“It was just frustrating,” he said of the injury that nagged him during the season. “The year before, I found a way to perform, playing nicked up. The year before it was a loose feeling — I tore that ligament in my thumb and everything just felt loose, so I was able to figure it out and let the ball travel more and just try to slap balls the other way and get hits and not try to drive the ball. This year it was more, I was restricted. I didn’t have any motion. It was so swollen and tight all year, I couldn’t get a feel of how to get through it. It was tough. I fought it all year.

“Now that it’s fixed, it’s night and day. I can already tell that. There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people, so I’m pretty excited about it.”

Added Pedroia: “I feel great. I’m back to a hundred percent. I’m doing all my lifts and everything. My rehab’s going good. I’m full strength and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year.”

Pedoria received a reported eight-year, $110 million contract in the middle of the 2013 season. There are critics who say the Sox overpaid for an aging player who has struggled with injuries of late.

“Honestly, I never put any pressure on me about that,” Pedroia said. “My job is to come out and win games. For what I do to try to help the team win, I don’t know how much they’re paying for that these days but I’m sure it’s a lot, and my contract’s a lot, so there’s not anybody that puts the amount of expectations to perform well than me.

“So, trust me, I don’t need anybody to get on me or anybody to say anything bad about me if I don’t play well. Trust me, I’m pretty hard on myself as it is. I don’t ever look at it like that. I view everything as wins and losses. And obviously when your team’s in last place, that’s how I view it as not good. I’d rather live up to wins and losses than anything else.”

The Red Sox went from last place in 2012 to World Series champions in 2013 back to last place last season. Pedroia is eager to get the Sox back to the top next year.

“I’m trying to do my job, and that’s get ready to help us any way I can to win games, because we’ve got to do that,” he said. “Because last year was pretty painful.”

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,
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