|Red Sox roundup: Sox await Ortiz decision; trade candidates; the shifting pitching plans||12.07.11 at 6:52 pm ET|
DALLAS — It is the last night of the winter meetings in Dallas. A year ago, the Red Sox swore that things were going to remain quiet on the way out of the annual gathering in Orlando, only to reach agreement with Carl Crawford on his seven-year, $142 million contract hours after GM Theo Epstein suggested that he was putting the final touches on a relatively boring meetings.
This year, perhaps there will be another bolt from the blue. But certainly, GM Ben Cherington did not give that impression in his meeting with the media. Instead, he suggested that the past four days in Dallas have been more or less an information-gathering exercise that will lay the groundwork for future activity on the pitching front.
The details of his daily session with the media:
–David Ortiz and his agent, Fernando Cuza, have not told the Sox whether or not he will accept salary arbitration, despite numerous reports suggesting that the DH will do so. Reliever Dan Wheeler has informed the Sox that he will decline arbitration.
–Cherington said that the team has made some headway in terms of its understanding of the market for pitching, but said that, as expected, the winter meetings have been more of an exercise in information-gathering than acquisition.
“We’ve made progress, we’ve certainly made progress as far as understanding more what it’s going to take to acquire pitching of all sorts of flavors and I think we felt like that’s what this was going to be about for all of us. It was going to be more information gathering than execution, most likely, these days in Dallas,” said Cherington. “It’s been good in that regard. We’ve got a good feel for what’s out there, what it might take and we’ve just got to keep balancing the options and figure out one or more than one that makes sense. … We have a good sense of what’s out there and what it would it take to acquire pitching in all different varieties.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Josh Reddick’s X-rays negative, Jed Lowrie likely to miss Sunday||09.03.11 at 8:40 pm ET|
Though the Red Sox beat up on the Rangers with an eight-run fourth inning in a 12-7, they found themselves a bit beat up by day’s end. Shortstop Jed Lowrie left in the fourth inning with left shoulder tightness, while outfielder Josh Reddick finished a 4-for-4 performance by leaving in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch.
Manager Terry Francona gave updates on both players, and based on what he had to say, it doesn’t seem they expect either situation to be a major issue. Francona noted that though Lowrie had to come out of Saturday’s game, the shoulder issue is not serious, and that the team was just being careful with the infielder. Even so, the manager doesn’t expect to have Lowrie in Sunday’s lineup.
“Jed [was] just stiff, I think probably from a little bit of fatigue,” Francona said. “He’s played a lot. … I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow, [but] he’ll certainly be available. So we’re OK there. That might be me overreacting a little bit. I just don’t want to lose guys.”
Reddick had X-rays taken after leaving the game, but they came back negative. It’s uncertain whether he will play Sunday, but Francona did say that the plunking left a mark.
“[Reddick] got hit pretty good,” Francona said. “He was x-rayed, negative. He’s going to be a little sore tomorrow.”
|Marco Scutaro out again for Red Sox||at 3:33 pm ET|
Shortstop Marco Scutaro will be held out of Boston’s game against the Rangers Saturday afternoon to get another day of rest. Scutaro sat out Friday’s series opener against the Rangers as well.
Jed Lowrie will get his second straight start at shortstop, batting sixth in place of Scutaro. Lowrie is 2-for-3 in his career against Rangers starter Colby Lewis. In his pre-game press conference Saturday, manager Terry Francona said he expects Scutaro will be back for the series finale on Sunday.
“I wanted to give him one more day,” Francona said. “We’ll play him tomorrow. I think these two days [of rest] will be really good for him… he’s a little beat up.”
The veteran shortstop missed five straight games in the middle of August with a sore back, but he had been back in the lineup since Aug. 20. Even with the season winding down, Francona insisted that he is not sitting players to be overly cautious with the post season looming.
“If they need it,” Francona said, referring to resting players in the stretch run. “Not if they don’t need it, but if they need it, it’s very important. We certainly try to keep an eye on them.”
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|Red Sox pregame notes: Marco Scutaro back still stiff, Rehab continues for J.D. Drew, Bobby Jenks||08.16.11 at 12:13 pm ET|
Red Sox utility infielder Mike Aviles will get just his second start at shortstop while in Boston during Tuesday’s opener of a doubleheader against the Rays. But the choice to start the 30-year-old seemingly has more to do with the other two shortstops on the Red Sox roster than it does with Aviles.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday’s two-game set that Marco Scutaro will continue to sit with a stiff back, meaning he will miss three of the last four games at the least after the back injury caused him to be scratched last Friday against the Mariners.
Additionally, Francona said he would rather start Lowrie, who is hitting .373 against lefties this season, against Rays southpaw David Price on Wednesday than play him against righties James Shields and Jeff Niemann. Not to mention that Lowrie returned from the disabled list (shoulder) just last week and may need a breather of his own after going from not playing in 45 games to getting time in five of the last six games.
That left Aviles as the obvious choice to start Tuesday.
“Marco’s back is still stiff so there’s that,” Francona said. “We really want Jed to play against the lefty tomorrow so it’ll probably be two out of three for him. So that’s why we’re doing it. If someone’s going to play two, Mike is probably better suited to do it.”
Francona mentioned that the remedy for Scutaro’s back may simply be time, something the team and player didn’t have much of with the rare 1:05 start on a weekday.
“It’s an early day,” said the Sox skipper. “He’ll get treatment, and we’ll see how he’s doing later.”
UPDATE: Because David Ortiz was scratched due to illness at the last second, Lowrie found his way into the lineup anyways. He will be the team’s DH and hit eighth in the first game of the doubleheader.
|Red Sox pregame notes: Terry Francona awestruck at top-four hitters’ returns from injury||08.07.11 at 6:57 pm ET|
When players are having potentially award-winning seasons like Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez are, the focus tends to be on the here and now: Ellsbury’s career-high six RBI on Saturday, Pedroia’s hand-switching slide that made a double out of what could have been an outfield assist in the same game, Gonzalez’s league-leading .352 average. But every now and again, it doesn’t hurt to take a look back at where these players came from before they began stacking up the achievements and accolades.
In the case of all three plus cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis who is having a fine season in his own right, the quartet atop the Red Sox batting order has returned from injuries suffered a season ago or surgeries undergone in last offseason. Ellsbury played in only 18 games last season due to a rib injury. Pedroia broke his foot in late June and played in only two more games the rest of the way. Gonzalez had offseason shoulder surgery that kept him from even touching a bat for a while. Youkilis tore a thumb muscle late in the 2010 season and had to undergo season-ending surgery.
The fact that all four slipped back not just into playing shape but into superior shape had their manager singing their praises Sunday.
“You look at Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youk and Gonzie – that’s our first four hitters – they’re all coming off major stuff,” said Red Sox skipper Terry Francona. “They’re all on pace to have phenomenal years. I don’t know how the year’s going to end. I don’t think the fact that they’re great players is going to go away. They’ve played not just a lot of games but a lot of innings… These guys worked hard enough to come back and not only help us but be some of the best players in the game.”
Francona even used a word to describe the situation that usually makes him at least pause and consider its usage carefully before throwing it out.
“I hate to use the word surprising because I feel sometimes it’s almost disrespectful, but maybe a little bit,” he said. “They’ve done so well. They’ve worked hard at it so they can stay out there because it’s important to them. But I’m proud of them for it.”
However, just because the story of the 2011 Red Sox includes a returns from injury as opposed to the 2010 version whose tale was riddled with maladies, don’t expect Francona to say that this year has been any easier.
“No, I don’t actually ever feel that way. As long as we’re playing, something’s always – especially if it’s “Are we going to win the game tonight?” – I think we’re always pushing, pushing to see how good we can be.”
More notes from the lead-up to Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees game after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »
|Jed Lowrie: ‘I can get back up after being knocked down’||at 6:33 pm ET|
It is easy to forget that there was a stretch of this season when Jed Lowrie carried the Red Sox offense. At a time when the team was starved for runs in April, the switch-hitting shortstop was making the biggest impact, hitting .400 for much of the month with an OPS over 1.000, a continuation of his tremendous production in the second half of last year that allowed him to wrestle the starting shortstop job away from Marco Scutaro.
But Lowrie’s production returned to mortal levels in May, and then endured a dramatic decline near the end of the season’s second month, when he clipped his shoulder on left fielder Carl Crawford while both tried to make a catch in Detroit on May 29. Lowrie tried to play through the pain, but his shoulder lost significant strength, and his numbers took a nosedive. A 5-for-42 (.128) stretch brought his marks for the season down to a .270 average with a .319 OBP and .723 OPS, and helped to land him on the disabled list.
Now, nearly two months later, Lowrie is ready to be activated after having regained some of the strength he lost in the aftermath of his injury. He was 7-for-17 (.412) with four doubles and two walks during a five-game rehab stint in Triple-A Pawtucket, a stretch that will serve as a prelude to his activation on Monday as the Sox head to Minnesota to play the Twins.
“I feel good,” said Lowrie. “I accomplished everything I wanted to. … Just playing the whole game, making sure the legs feel good, seeing the ball well. I think I accomplished that.”
Lowrie said that he was pleased not just with his plate approach but also that he dove while on the field without any setbacks. He suggested that there will be no need “to hold anything back.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona suggested, however, that Lowrie’s playing time will need to be managed, at least initially, in order to ensure that he does not suffer a setback. For now, Lowrie would appear likely to split playing time with Scutaro as he rebuilds his stamina.
“He’s not ready to play every day,” said Francona. “But he doesn’t have to.”
A year ago, Lowrie was in a somewhat similar situation. After missing most of 2009 while recovering from wrist surgery, he missed the first half of 2010 while recovering from mono. He was a virtually forgotten player, but the season-ending injuries suffered by a number of Sox players (most notably to second baseman Dustin Pedroia) created an opening in the middle infield for the Sox.
Lowrie made the most of his playing time, hitting .287 with a .381 OBP, .907 OPS and nine homers in 55 games. That performance leaves him optimistic that he can return from this year’s significant long layoff to make an impact.
“I think it’s completely different circumstances, but I feel good,” said Lowrie. “I’ve proven that time and again, I can get back up after being knocked down. Having that experience helps.”
The Sox, of course, would welcome such an addition.
“He’s really swung the bat pretty well [during his rehab assignment]. Sometimes when guys are out for a while you just don’t know how they’re going to swing the bat,” said Francona. “Jed has proven when he’s healthy he’s a really good hitter. And when he’s not that’s when he makes outs. So I think it’s good that we took the slower route and got him healthy because it can really help us.”
|Closing time: Daniel Bard falters as Red Sox fall to Indians||08.01.11 at 10:03 pm ET|
The Red Sox learned about good things coming to an end the hard way Monday night, as an Asdrubal Cabrera home run in the top of the eighth inning both snapped Daniel Bard‘s 26 1/3 scoreless streak and helped the Indians to an 9-6 win at Fenway Park Monday.
The homer, Cabrera’s second of the night, was helped by a video review that showed that the ball, which bounced back to right fielder Josh Reddick, had cleared the fence before coming back. It went as a two-run homer, breaking a 5-5 tie and giving the Indians a lead they would not relinquish. The Sox would come up with a run in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a ground-rule double from Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Mike Avilles, but Dustin Pedroia grounded out following the play to end the game.
Bard would not make it out of the inning, and after entering with a clean frame ended up allowing two hits, three earned runs and the game’s only walk in one-third of an inning. Interestingly enough, the Indians had been the last team to score off of Bard, as he allowed his last run prior to the streak on May 23 against Cleveland.
John Lackey started off in a way previously unseen this season, as he had his first 1-2-3 first inning of 2011, struck out three of the first six batters he faced, and retired the first eight Cleveland batters of the night. Once he did allow a hit, the Indians were able to get to him, as they scored five runs over Lackey’s 6 2/3 innings of work.
While the high point of Lackey’s performance was how began the night, he had trouble in the sixth inning, allowing two home runs and a double. He was brought back out for the seventh inning before leaving with two down following an Ezequiel Carrera single.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a great night both at the plate and behind it. His ground-rule double in the second inning extended his hit streak to nine games, which tied a career-high for the 26-year-old catcher. His last nine-game hit-streak came as a member of the Rangers, with the streak running from May 23-June 2 of 2009.
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