|Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo: ‘We think he’s going to be a core part of our team’||08.23.14 at 7:14 pm ET|
The search for the center fielder of the future in the Red Sox organization is over.
With this week’s seven-year, $72.5 million commitment to Cuban star Rusney Castillo, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is making it clear that the organization feels Castillo, along with help from others, will be the answer to replacing the dynamic Jacoby Ellbsury for the rest of the decade.
“We’ve always felt like in order for us to be good, we need two center fielders on the team [and] he’s a center fielder,” Cherington said at the press conference after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners at Fenway. “We have to secure a work visa for him. That process will start here this week, and assuming we can get through that, we’ll get him into workouts and try to get him into games this season — 2014 season — and that would be in center field.
“Obviously, given the commitment, we think he can be a really good player for us for a long time.”
Cherington feels Castillo, along with the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, can fill the void left with Ellsbury’s departure.
“From our perspective, it just means we’re trying to get better,” Cherington said. “We know we need 25 guys on the roster to win games. We feel Rusney can be one of them. That’s all it means. I think we knew going forward, we feel good about the talent that’s here, and we feel good about adding Rusney to that talent. We want a talented, deep roster and we want a competitive atmosphere and competitive environment moving forward. So hopefully, we’re closer to that with Rusney on board.
“It wouldn’t changed our evaluation of him. Certainly, I think you make decisions based on all the information you have at the time and I think we all know we’re trying to build a winning team as quickly as we can, and we’re confident we can do that. And we felt like Rusney could be an important part of that. But obviously, this is a long-term commitment. This is not a decision that’s being about next week or next April. This is someone we think is going to be a core part of our team for a long time and be part of what we hope is a very deep and talented roster in the short term and moving forward.”
“This is an exciting player,” Cherington said. “He’s got a great combination of skills, defensive ability, speed, solid power. He’s got a really strong track record in Cuba and we’re excited to add him to the organization. We feel like he can be a big part of winning Red Sox teams for a long time.
“He’s a center fielder. He’s got a lot of skills. We think he has the chance to impact the game in a number of different ways. He runs well, has a good solid throwing arm, solid power, good offensive track record in Cuba and international play. We see him as a very good major league player and part of a winning team here in Boston.”
|Jacoby Ellsbury: Jon Lester trade proves unpredictability of baseball business||08.01.14 at 7:34 pm ET|
The former is a big, powerful starting pitcher known for his humble demeanor and his sneaky, game-changing ability on the mound. The latter is a speedy outfielder better known for his athleticism in the field and his threat on the base paths.
However, one thing both players have in common, as of Thursday morning, is that they’re both former Red Sox.
Ellsbury left Boston via free agency in the offseason after signing with the Yankees on a seven-year, $153 million contract, a number unmatched by the Red Sox. Lester, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, was traded to Oakland at the deadline after contract negotiations failed to come to fruition.
While some may have been surprised to see Lester go, Ellsbury said he wasn’t sure what to expect given the business of baseball.
“It’s hard to say,” Ellsbury said. “You come up through the minor league system and that’s really all you know. Like I’ve said numerous times, I enjoyed my time in Boston and I think Lester has said the same thing but you just never know. You never know how it’s going to go. I wish him the best. Hopefully things work out how he wants it too.”
The Lester trade was one of just four deals made by the Sox by Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline. The deals represented a shift in focus for the last-place Sox, who appear to be rebuilding for next season. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox-Yankees series preview||at 12:16 pm ET|
The Sox made four trades Thursday before the 4 p.m. deadline, shipping off five players and adding three major league-ready talents who are expected to be in uniform this weekend.
That means the Red Sox‘ lineup will not only look new, but may be improved as well. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes, whom the Red Sox acquired from Oakland for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, and Allen Craig, obtained from the Cardinals for John Lackey, could be in the starting lineup as soon as Friday. General manager Ben Cherington said they will man the corner outfield positions.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks also will be back after missing over two months with a broken finger. Rookie Xander Bogaerts will move back to shortstop after Stephen Drew was traded to none other than the visiting Yankees. To top it all off, the Sox called up pitcher Anthony Ranaudo to pitch Friday, which was when Lackey was scheduled to start, in his major league debut.
There’s no telling whether or not the change will be good for the Red Sox yet, but it’s clear things can’t get much worse for them. The Sox have lost eight of their last nine games after being swept by the Blue Jays in a three-game set a Fenway Park this week. The Red Sox were outscored 24-4 in the three games, which included a 14-1 beatdown in Monday’s opener, in a week full of distraction and trade rumors. The sweep put the Sox 12 1/2 back in the AL East and 11 back in the wild card.
The Yankees, whom the Red Sox are 4-6 against this season after taking two out of three at Yankee Stadium June 27-29, had a much quieter deadline than their rivals. New York acquired Drew for the injured Kelly Johnson in the first swap between the two teams since 1997. Drew is expected to play second base while Derek Jeter mans shortstop.
What the Yankees could’ve used was some pitching to aid their depleted rotation, which has lost a number of key players, including standout Japanese rookie Masahiro Tanaka. Instead, New York has tried filling that void with the likes of Chris Capuano, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox earlier this season, and rookie Shane Greene, both of whom will start this weekend.
The Yankees are coming off a pair of series losses after dropping two of three against the Blue Jays and the Rangers. The losses put the Yankees five games out of the division lead and 3 1/2 back in the wild card chase.
In a theme that will sound familiar to Red Sox fans, the Yankees have struggled in close games of late, unable to come up with the key hit to put them over the top.
“Every game that we lost was by two runs or one run and all but one of those [last 13] games was a one- or two-run game for either side,” manager Joe Girardi said. “So if we get the consistency in our offense, we’re going to win a lot more.”
Here are the pitching matchups for the three-game set.
Friday: Ranaudo vs. Capuano (1-1, 4.30 ERA)
Saturday: Allen Webster (1-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Greene (2-1, 2.38 ERA)
Sunday: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.87 ERA) vs. David Phelps (5-5, 3.89 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– The 2014 season has been as frustrating for Dustin Pedroia as anyone, , but he was one of the few with reason to feel good following the Toronto series. Pedroia has two hits in each of his last two games and has four multi-hit games in his last six. He’s hitting .385 in his last seven games to improve his average to .276 for the season, good for second on the team behind Brock Holt.
|Mike Hazen on D&C: ‘Daniel Nava’s going to be back here hitting again’||04.24.14 at 10:05 am ET|
Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda‘s use of pine tar and other updates about the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“The manager doesn’t have to [alert the umpires],” Hazen said. “The umpire can certainly go out there and initiate it. I don’t think the umpires are staring at the starting pitcher on those types of situations.”
Wednesday’s incident marked the second time Pineda was caught with a foreign substance on his skin while playing the Red Sox this month.
“I don’t know if that crew was made aware of the situation that happened last time,” Hazen said. “Maybe they weren’t, maybe they hadn’t. Obviously, our coaching staff was more aware of it after what had happened the first time. I’m sure they were watching for it a little more closely, so I think it’s more — had it maybe gone on for multiple innings, maybe the umpires would have looked at it, but I don’t think it’s the first thing you look at if I’m an umpire or whoever’s standing on the field. I’m watching the game.”
After Tuesday night’s 9-2 loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox optioned Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket. Nava was hitting .149 with a .240 OBP and a .269 slugging percentage at the time of the demotion.
“Unfortunately, I think it became more of an obvious thing as we went into it,” Hazen said. “Certainly what Daniel had done for us last year — this guy was one of the best hitters in baseball last year, and I don’t think that’s an overstatement given the skills he had at getting on base.
“Daniel’s been through this before. We took him off the roster last time, and he resurrected himself again. He’s too good of a hitter unless he’s hurt, which he’s not, or he’s forgotten how to hit, which he hasn’t. Daniel Nava’s going to be back here hitting again.”
|Jacoby Ellsbury gets much warmer reception than Johnny Damon in his return: ‘The fans were great’||04.23.14 at 12:06 am ET|
After all, when Damon signed with the Bronx Bombers prior to the 2006 season, he was roundly booed and excoriated every time he set foot inside Fenway Park. It didn’t stop when he left after winning a World Series in 2009 and played for Detroit, Tampa Bay and Cleveland.
But Ellsbury is no Johnny Damon. For whatever reason, Ellsbury was booed on Tuesday but no where near as fiercely as Damon when the original “Idiot” returned in 2006 for the first time.
As a matter of fact, Ellsbury thought the Red Sox fans showed great restraint and respect. True, it’s a lot easier to say that when you triple to open the game, making a diving catch in the bottom of the first and knock out the opposing pitcher Jon Lester with a two-run double in the fifth, all part of a 9-3 Yankees cakewalk Tuesday night at Friendly Fenway.
“Anytime a win is a good game,” Ellsbury said. “I’m happy I could go out there and help the team win tonight. I thought the fans were great. I thought the reception was nice. The tribute the Red Sox gave on the video board [was] unexpected, and I thought it was very classy of them to do that.
|Jacoby Ellsbury gets mixed reception then delivers a reminder to Fenway fans||04.22.14 at 8:06 pm ET|
That didn’t take long.
Jacoby Ellsbury returned to Fenway Park for the first time since signing a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees and received a mixture of boos and cheers in the lineup introductions about 15 minutes before first pitch.
He received more boos as he was announced as the first batter of the game.
Then Ellsbury, as was often the case in his time in Boston, quietly showed off his multiple talents as a way of exacting revenge.
In the first at-bat of the game, he drilled a Jon Lester pitch high off the center field wall, so high that a fan wearing a Bruins jersey nearly fell over the 17-foot high barrier and onto the warning track below.
He was awarded a triple on fan interference and scored on a Derek Jeter single to center.
Ellsbury didn’t stop there. Grady Sizemore, brought in to help fill his void at the top of the order, led off the first for the Red Sox. Ellsbury ranged over 30 feet to his right to make a sliding, tumbling grab of a sinking liner for the first out. The play would be significant as Dustin Pedroia followed with a double to left field.
Before the top of the second, the Red Sox paid tribute to Ellsbury with a montage of his days in Boston, featuring highlights in the field from 2013, capped by his appearance on the Duck Boats in Rolling Rally after the World Series win last October. The montage was produced with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” playing underneath.
For good measure, Ellsbury knocked old friend Jon Lester out of the game in the fifth when he drilled Lester’s 118th pitch to left-center for a two-run double, making it 7-2 Yankees.
— Kelsey Ellsbury (@kelsey_ellsbury) April 22, 2014
|Jacoby Ellsbury ready for return to Fenway Park: ‘I’m excited for the second part of my career’||at 6:33 pm ET|
Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153 million pact with the Yankees over the offseason, while the Red Sox chose to go in a different direction. Ellsbury, in a pregame session with the media, said that his time with the Red Sox ultimately influenced his decision to sign with the Yankees, in an indirect way.
“When you get a taste of winning and you experience that…I was fortunate to experience that in ‘07, you always want to get back there, and when the Yankees let me know that they were interested, I was excited because of the opportunity to win again and to play on a team that is committed to fielding a team each and every year that has potential to win.” Ellsbury said. “New York was right there…first-class. I think of the championships, I think of the history, I think of the passion that they have for the game…a lot of the same things the Red Sox have, but they gave me the opportunity to play seven more years in the big leagues. I’m very blessed that they gave me the opportunity to play the game I love, and I’m excited for that.”
Yet just because he has changed sides in the rivalry, Ellsbury is not severing his connection to his experience in Boston. The 30-year-old spoke repeatedly of his appreciation for the seven years he spent in the big leagues in Boston and his nine years in the Red Sox organization after he was taken in the first round of the 2005 draft. Read the rest of this entry »
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