|John Farrell on D&H: Dustin Pedroia ‘playing at 100 percent as far as I know’||07.23.14 at 4:18 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell joined Dale & Holley on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Jake Peavy‘s performance on the mound, Dustin Pedroia‘s health and Christian Vazquez‘s reputation behind the plate. To listen to the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
If anyone would want the opportunity to hit the reset button on the 2014 season, it would have to be Peavy, who is 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA over 20 starts this year. Peavy has lost nine consecutive decisions, tying for the most ever by a former Cy Young Award winner.
Despite his lackluster numbers, Peavy often has been done in by the Red Sox lineup, as the righty is last in the AL in run-support average at 3.15.
“We recognize full where the record stands, but there’s been a number of games in which he’s carried a quality start into the seventh or eighth inning with really not much to show for, and I can’t say it’s just because of a lack of run support,” Farrell said. “Have there been things on a shared responsibly? Without question. But I can tell you that he’s pitched better than the record that he’s showing today.”
Farrell continued: “You look at the last start he made down in Houston where he’s walking out into the eighth inning in a one-run game or 2-2 tie, things don’t happen quite right. We leave 13 men on base. If there’s a base hit somewhere in there, we’re probably not having this same conversation, but that’s the reality of things. I thought through five innings last night, Jake probably had his best breaking ball of the season.”
While ESPN’s Buster Olney noted earlier Wednesday that rival scouts are concerned that Pedroia‘s all-out play could have an negative effect on his career, Farrell said that Pedroia is healthy, despite dealing with an 0-for-17 skid.
“He’s playing at 100 percent as far as I know. I see him every day; every player has got maintenance work that they do in the training room, which he goes through,” Farrell said. “Is his style of play more taxing physically? It might be. But I know that seeing him when he gets to the ballpark here at 1 in the afternoon, the early work that he goes through, that’s tapered off as we get deeper into the season. … Dustin’s got an off day coming up here as well. Even though we’re coming out of the All-Star Break, we’ve still got to be mindful of the number of consecutive days, and that’s part of the balancing act when it gets to this part of the season.”
|Shane Victorino shakes off ‘savior’ notion in his return to Red Sox||07.19.14 at 9:39 pm ET|
Shane Victorino‘s message to the media prior to Saturday night’s game against Kansas City was both simple and direct:
He is not going to be the savior for this team.
However, he can certainly play a big part in a second-half turnaround for the Red Sox.
“I’m not the guy, I’m not the answer,” Victorino said. “I’m not the guy that’s going to carry the load, but I’m going to try to be as good as I can be and help this team win.”
The 33-year-old outfielder was called back up to Boston Saturday after being sidelined since May 24 with a hamstring injury. Victorino — who hit .242 with one home run and 10 RBIs in just 21 games with the Red Sox this season – had a long and frustrating road back to the big leagues, suffering multiple setbacks with both his hamstring and his back injury while rehabbing in Pawtucket.
After being on the shelf for almost two months, Victorino acknowledged that he was excited to finally be back out patrolling the Fenway outfield going forward.
“It’s what it’s all about,” Victorino said. “You work hard, you try to do what you got to do to get back as quick as you can. Unfortunately, there were some setbacks, but I’m here, I’m at this point where I worked hard to get back to where I’m at. As I said, I’m just going to continue to work hard and try to be the best player I can be and go out there and do what I can to help make this team better.”
Victorino played six games with Triple-A Pawtucket over an almost month-long stretch following his hamstring injury. The ailing outfielder was shut down from June 24 through Wednesday due to multiple hindrances to his rehab, but after playing a total of 16 innings over Wednesday and Thursday’s games with the PawSox and showing no physical limitations, Victorino was ready for the call back up to Boston.
|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|
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.
“We’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.
|Red Sox think Xander Bogaerts’ ‘natural ability’ will again show itself after tweak in his mechanics||at 12:00 pm ET|
But being one of the most astute pitching coaches has some fringe benefits. One of them is being able to break down a batter’s approach from a pitcher’s point of view. That’s exactly what he’s done in watching hours of video and observing Xander Bogaerts battle with his horrific slump in June and July.
Farrell gave a fascinating breakdown of what the Red Sox think might be an issue with Bogaerts’ approach at the plate, beginning with his pre-pitch address in the batter’s box.
“The one thing we’ve been focusing on is for him to get a little bit earlier and have a more gradual load [in his swing] or get to his loaded position,” Farrell said. “When he’s late, then it becomes rushed and hard to the front side and that’s where some spin on some pitches becomes hard to read. It’s a matter of slowing the game down and getting his load a little bit in the pitcher’s windup.
“That’s where his natural swing is built. And we feel like if we get him back to a timing within his swing, timing within getting ready, that natural ability to use the whole field will come back into play. That’s been elusive for him right now on a consistent basis.”
|John Farrell: ‘No one has given up anything’||07.17.14 at 10:54 pm ET|
Repeating the sentiment of his boss Ben Cherington during the GM’s Thursday morning interview on Dennis & Callahan, John Farrell said a 43-52 record won’t immediately send management into sell mode. All hope, Farrell said on the last day of the All-Star break, is not lost.
“No one has given up anything,” Farrell said. “No one has conceded anything, but we’ve also been in the game long enough to know that over the next two weeks, names are going to start to get bantered about.”
Among those names being bantered is Jake Peavy, who himself acknowledged before the break that Cherington had spoken to him about likely being traded any moment.
“Time will tell,” Farrell said. “I’m not privy to every conversation Ben has. This is a busy time of year for the entire industry. So, I’m sure there’ll be additional rumors continuing to grow. But until we know something concrete, our job is to maintain our focus on the field each and every day with the intent of winning [that] night.”
Whether or not the Red Sox can stay afloat in the next two weeks, one of Farrell’s primary objectives will be to keeping the team focused while rumors swirl.
“I think it’s very much part of it,” Farrell said. “There’s a number of people involved in the players [moving]. You typically have to pay attention to some of the websites that might carry some rumors. You try to put their concerns or wonderment at ease a little bit just so they can focus on what is at hand, and that’s the game [that] night. So, it’s human nature to be distracted at times because your name is potentially involved in something. We work and do what we can to be as candid and upfront with relevant information at the time.”
|John Farrell knows do-or-die time is upon his Red Sox: ‘Each [game] has increasing signficance’||at 9:32 pm ET|
John Farrell can read the standings just like everyone else. He knows his team stands 43-52 heading into the final 67 games, 9 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. He can also read a schedule. He knows full well that after this three-game series this weekend with Kansas City, the Red Sox have 13 straight games against three of the four teams ahead of them in the division.
It’s do-or-die time.
“Given where we are right now, yes,” Farrell said, confirming the characterization of this as the make-or-break part of the season. “That’s not to add pressure. That’s to say there’s some additional significance when you play the teams ahead of you. After we get through Kansas City, we’ve got the next 13 [games] or four consecutive series of teams ahead of us. Sixty-seven games remaining, each one has increasing significance as we go.”
After three with the Royals, the Red Sox have four in Toronto, followed by three on the road against the Rays. They come home for three against the Jays and three against the Yankees, overlapping the July 31 trade deadline. Did Farrell feel like he got a break to mentally prepare for the upcoming grind?
“Yeah for about a day-and-a-half, and now I’m ready to get going for [Friday],” Farrell said of his shortened All-Star break due to managing the AL All-Stars to a 5-3 win in Minneapolis.
“I think the four days gives guys a chance to mentally and physically take a break and get away from the game a little bit. [Xander Bogaerts] has been going at it pretty hard, not only in terms of what he’s been working on pregame but with every focus to be brought into the game, and he’s played regularly as well. We’ve given him a couple of days here and there, but I think the break mentally and physically was needed for him, and quite frankly, for a number of guys.”
|With eye to future, Red Sox take stock of A.J. Pierzynski’s departure||07.09.14 at 7:18 pm ET|
When he inked a one-year, $8.25 million contract with Boston on December 3, 2013, A.J. Pierzynski was expected to be a short-term, if not suitable, solution behind the plate for the Red Sox this season.
He may not have been in the team’s plans for the long haul, but even Pierzynski couldn’t have expected that his tenure in Boston would reach its conclusion at such an early juncture.
For Red Sox manager John Farrell, the move was necessary for the team to look to the future, as Pawtucket catcher Christian Vazquez was called up to fill Pierzynski’s open roster spot. Vazquez is a part of the team’s future beyond 2014; Pierzynski never was, which is why he was signed to a one-year contract as something of a placeholder.
“Obviously we designated A.J. earlier today,” Farrell said. “It’s an opportunity for us to invest in players that we feel are going to be here beyond 2014 and while there may be other decisions that are forthcoming, we felt like the place we where we were going to start with was behind the plate.”
“You never want to see a teammate get released or have to leave for any reason,” said catcher David Ross before Wednesday’s game against the White Sox. “We wish him the best, he’s had a great major league career up to this point.”
With the departure of Jarrod Saltalamacchia after the 2013 season, Boston looked for a backstop that would both approximate Saltalamachia’s impressive offensive numbers from last year (.273/.338/.466 with 54 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs) while also being on a short-term deal that would avoid blocking promising catchers in the organization going forward – such as Vazquez or Portland’s Blake Swihart.
For Farrell, Pierzynski — who averaged 22 home runs and 74 RBIs over 2012 and 2013 — fit all those requirements.
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