|John Farrell stressing competition in starting rotation with returns of Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez nearing||05.11.16 at 5:21 pm ET|
There will be an internal competition among the Red Sox starters coming up.
Not including Sean O’Sullivan, who will start Sunday, the Red Sox have David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Steven Wright in their rotation with Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez being added soon as they finish up their respective rehabs.
In order words, there will be six pitchers for five spots.
Kelly will throw 75-80 pitches with Triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday night and Rodriguez will make his fourth rehab start Friday night, also with Pawtucket. So both are nearing their returns, but the schedule makes things challenging fitting those players back into the rotation.
The Red Sox have off days May 19 and 23 and then June 6, 9 and 13. With the number of off days coming up, there’s no need for a six-man rotation.
“I would say probably not a six-man at this point just because of the number of off days,” manager John Farrell said. “I mentioned the 19th and the 23rd — I think 10 days later we have two more around the San Francisco series. A Monday and Thursday are off. All that will be up for review depending on the needs of our guys, if there is an extra day needed. I think from a workload standpoint we’re approaching a point in time where we’re going to get a little bit of a break with the number of off days.”
With that being said, someone will be left out. Farrell stressed there will be competition between the players already in the rotation, and the one’s coming back to earn spots in the five-man rotation.
“I think if there is one theme through the first 33 games, it’s been competition,” he said. “Internal competition is a really healthy thing and we’re obviously encouraging it.”
During spring training, the manager deemed the starting third base job as being a competition between Travis Shaw and Pablo Sandoval. It isn’t exactly as direct this time around with the pitchers.
“It hasn’t been outlined as, ‘Hey, this is a make or break start,'” Farrell said. “We’ve got areas that have obvious room for improvement and we’re working every day to achieve that.”
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz gets night off because John Farrell wants to limit his workload||05.10.16 at 3:25 pm ET|
For the fifth time this season, David Ortiz will start the game on the bench, sitting out of the starting lineup with lefty Sean Manaea on the mound for Oakland.
Ortiz has sat out two entire games, against the Blue Jays and Braves, while pinch-hitting against the two clubs in separate occasions.
The designated hitter is 5-for-9 in his last two games, with two doubles and a pair of home runs.
“As strong a start as he’s had, personally, I lose sight that he’s 40 years old,” manager John Farrell said. “There are going to be periodic days for rest. I thought tonight was a matchup that, maybe our right-handers have a better matchup. … David’s a good matchup against anyone, [but] if you’re picking your spots, this is a day for David to be down.
Here is the Red Sox lineup with Sean O’Sullivan on the mound for the hosts:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Chris Yong LF
Josh Rutledge 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
|Red Sox notes: Sean O’Sullivan to start Tuesday, Eduardo Rodriguez ‘getting closer’ to activation||05.09.16 at 5:34 pm ET|
With Henry Owens being optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket following Thursday’s start, the Red Sox needed a starter for Tuesday and that starter will be right-hander Sean O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan was selected from Pawtucket and added to the 25-man roster last Friday, making his Red Sox debut in relief on Saturday. He threw an inning and allowed a run.
During spring training, O’Sullivan wasn’t among the nine starters competing for the five spots, but manager John Farrell noted his strike-throwing ability and his arm strength.
“There was more arm strength when he came than we first anticipated,” Farrell said. “He’s continued in Pawtucket with the further development of a cutter and the overall strike-throwing has been consistent. We feel like with on a given night our offense is capable of putting up a decent number of runs, that if our starters keep us in the game with the way our bullpen has come in on top of guys and held the game in check, the strike-throwing dependability is a key one in the first time or two through the order.”
In five starts with the PawSox, Sullivan had a 3.00 ERA before being selected. O’Sullivan was signed to a minor league deal by the Red Sox last December.
After making his third rehab start Sunday, there’s no determination yet on whether or not Eduardo Rodriguez is ready to join the rotation.
The left-hander went went 5 2/3 innings and allowed six hits and three runs, striking out, two, walking one and allowing a pair of home runs with Pawtucket Sunday and said he felt good afterwards.
Rodriguez is coming back from a knee injury suffered at the beginning of spring training and with the team getting back late Sunday night from New York, Farrell and Rodriguez haven’t met 1-on-1 to determine the next step.
“It’s also the physical assessment,” Farrell said of what will go into deciding whether or not Rodriguez is ready to return. “Because of the knee injury, there’s been strength gained needed, particularly in his right quad. That has improved with each outing, with each five-day cycle. It’s markedly improved from the first time he pitched with Pawtucket. Then you’re also looking at the performance side of things. He’s getting closer.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|David Price, John Farrell relive decision to get one more crack at Alex Rodriguez||05.02.16 at 12:51 am ET|
It was the moment David Price would want to remember on a night he probably would prefer to forget.
With the game tied, 6-6, and two outs in the seventh inning, Alex Rodriguez strode the plate for the Yankees. This was the batter who had already torched the Red Sox starter for a two-run homer and two-RBI double (both coming on fastballs) earlier in the Sunday night tilt.
So with Price sitting at 94 pitches, Red Sox manager John Farrell went to the mound to check on his starter. When the conversation was over, Farrell left in the southpaw.
It was a maneuver usually not executed by Farrell, who makes a point to only go to the mound if he is taking out the pitcher. The exceptions during the manager’s tenure are limited to Ryan Dempster and John Lackey, both coming in 2013.
“He asked me if I was going make three good pitches in that situation, and I told him, ‘Absolutely,’ ” Price said. “I appreciate him leaving me out there in that situation against a guy who’s hit the ball against me well twice that night, so it’s good.”
“I just wanted to check with him,” Farrell said. “We had [Junichi Tazawa] ready, but for a starting pitcher to work for those days in between each start, we’re in a tie ball game, he had every right to go out for that seventh. And like I said, his pitch count was still well in check. If there was a runner on, we’re probably making a move there against Rodriguez. In that spot, wanted to give him an opportunity to win and you know what, it worked out.”
|Dave Dombrowski on OM&F: John Farrell is a ‘good manager and we’re fortunate to have him’||04.27.16 at 5:23 pm ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to talk about the latest with the Red Sox, especially manager John Farrell. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Many in the media have been heavily critical of Farrell over the first 20 games of the season, questioning a number of decisions he’s made within each game. Dombrowski offered his support for the Red Sox manager.
“I think that John Farrell has done a fine job for us,” Dombrowski said. “I think he is a good manager. I think people that spend time micromanaging moves usually are the ones that are going to micromanage any manager’s moves. … I think John Farrell has done a fine job managing this team. I think he has done a good job managing this team. I think he is a good manager and we’re fortunate to have him.”
Added Dombrowski: “He has my support. He knows he has my support and so I don’t really need to tell him that on a daily basis. We work together very well. I am happy he’s our manager.”
As it relates to Pablo Sandoval, Dombrowski confirmed the team never gave Sandoval a weight mandate before he could play in games again, nor did the third baseman asked to be traded if he wasn’t going to be playing full-time.
Sandoval is set to go back to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his injured shoulder on Monday, which comes after a previous visit two weeks ago where a full exam couldn’t be performed because of how sore he was.
“Well, I’ve had it happen before,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen once in awhile. I think it is also a situation where it’s not for me and I don’t find too many people to question what Dr. Andrews says. He’s about as quality of a source when it comes to medical aspects of Major League Baseball and injuries in general. When he recommends something, that is generally the practice we follow. I think we have always followed it. That is what he recommended so that’s what we’ve done.”
|Exploring working relationship between John Farrell, Dave Dombrowski||04.19.16 at 9:00 pm ET|
Let’s get this out of the way: According to John Farrell, Dave Dombrowski does not tell his manager which players to play, or when to play them.
In fact, Farrell said he has never had a boss mandate such things. Not with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos in Toronto. Not with Ben Cherington here in Boston. And not with Dombrowski.
“The experience has been in all three situations that has been left up to what we see the best approach is against a given starter,” Farrell told WEEI.com before Tuesday night’s game against the Rays. “Ultimately the players are going to tell you where they are going to hit. Granted, we have all the information that is accessible to us with what’s the right match-ups might be, or when is the right spot to give someone a down day. That’s all part of the daily conversation.
“It’s always about your team. it’s always about trying to stay ahead of areas of your clubs that may need addressing. They’re all different people with different personalities, but the topic is still the roster and team performance and ways to get the most out of everyone.”
As Farrell noted, Anthopoulos, Cherington and Dombrowski are not really like one another at all, evidently their approach to letting the manager craft each day’s lineup has been consistent.
But there is one bit of separation between Dombrowski and the others, thanks in large part to the Red Sox president of baseball operations travel schedule.
“I don’t think it’s drastically different because you’re always having constant conversations and ongoing dialogue, whether it’s about roster changes, or what we all see as the current strengths of our team,” Farrell said. “I don’t know if there is a different style, other than Dave’s presence is more regular than others in the past. If there is any difference, that’s probably the only thing.
“If there’s any difference in the conversation is that we’re having them in person rather than on the phone.”
Through the first 12 games of the season, the Red Sox bullpen has logged 39 1/3 innings, which is 13th-most in the majors and fifth in the American League. It is also worth noting many other teams have played one or two games more than the Red Sox.
One of the Red Sox relievers who has been worked a lot is 41-year-old Koji Uehara. He has appeared in eight of the 12 games, logging 7 1/3 innings. His worst outing was Monday when he allowed four runs in just 1/3 of an inning to take the loss against the Blue Jays. He entered in the inning with the Red Sox leading 1-0.
Manager John Farrell was asked about his usage and if he would like to stay away from him for a few days?
“Ideally like to stay away from him yeah, give him a couple of days down,” Farrell said. “I’ve leaned on him, there’s no doubt about it. I’ve pushed him. Coming out as we just talked about bullpen usage, you get into situations where you have a lead, you have three guys you’re looking to go to in that seventh, eighth and ninth innings and I have pushed him early.”
As for the bullpen’s usage as a whole, Farrell expects that to go down in time with the starters being able to go deeper in games than they have been of late.
“Ideally that corrects itself,” he said. “That means we have to have starters that go through the order three times and hopefully get 21 outs as more of a regularity. That is always a positive. The fact is we’re also in every game. Whether we’ve been down early, we’ve shown tremendous fight to get ourselves back in it and then you get into where you’re leading and on most pitching staffs you have guys you’re going to go to when you’re up. We need, as I’ve mentioned earlier, more innings out of our rotation. I don’t know that you ever come away feeling that they can’t pitch more. That is not to say we have 12 guys we’re going to rely on, but the more innings your starters pitch, then your bullpen probably is coming in with appropriate rest.”
|John Farrell reflects on what playing on Patriots’ Day means to him, Red Sox||04.18.16 at 10:20 am ET|
Patriots’ Day is a special day for the City of Boston with the Boston Marathon and the Red Sox having their annual 11 a.m. start.
The day has a whole new meaning following the marathon bombings three years ago.
This will be manager John Farrell’s fourth Patriots’ Day as manager and he’s proud to be part of it.
“Well, certainly it’s not only a special day here in Massachusetts and New England obviously with the holiday and a chance to celebrate with a unique major league game or start time, but it is part of the history of this holiday and the Red Sox part in it,” Farrell said before Monday’s game. “No one is going to forget obviously three years ago, the significance of that day. We can’t forget those who were impacted directly.”
The Red Sox are 69-51 all-time on Patriots’ Day, with 26 doubleheaders between 1903 and 1966. They have won on 11 of the last 15 games played on Patriots Day.
Over the weekend there have been several reminders of the events three years ago with survivors throwing out first pitches and runners being in and around the park.
On Monday, Jeff Bauman and actor/producer Jake Gyllenhaal will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Gyllenhaal is playing the role of Bauman in the film “Stronger.”
“There’s always reminders of it,” Farrell said. “I think for those of us who were here and walked off the field that day just as those bombs were detonated, that will never be omitted or erased from our mind. The frenzy that followed immediately, but then what grew out of that day. While we remember those who were victims, I think there was a unique and special bond that was created and fostered over the rest of that summer.
“I would hope that we played a part in the healing for some of the people that were coming to the ballpark each and every day. When you see the victims and the stories that come out of that day, it’s a place in history that we will never forget.”
|John Farrell on Hanley Ramirez: We have a completely different player than last year||04.17.16 at 11:58 am ET|
If you thought Hanley Ramirez looks like a completely different player than a year ago, you aren’t the only one.
Manager John Farrell acknowledged Ramirez is much more relaxed this year and it’s carried over to his play both at first base and at the plate.
“Everything we could have hoped. He’s played [first base] I think with ease,” Farrell said prior to Sunday’s game. “He’s put in a lot of work to get familiar with the different positioning and footwork around the bag. I’ll tell you, we have a player I think completely different than a year ago. He’s engaged. He’s having fun playing the game.
“I think being back in the infield has been a big boost to that. He’s doing one heck of a job. What he’s doing on the base paths has been impressive. The other night, the swing-and-miss on the strikeout set up the whole three-run inning in the first so he is hustling. He’s very engaged. He’s doing a very good job.”
Whether the organization admits it or not, the left field experiment was a disaster for Ramirez as not only did he struggle in left field, it carried over to the plate. In 105 games, he hit just .249 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs. After July 5 he hit just one home run before being shut down for the season with a shoulder injury late in August.
Through 10 games this year, Ramirez has looked comfortable at first base and is off to a good start at the plate. He’s batting .293 with five RBIs and of his 12 hits, four have gone for extra bases.
There’s also been a difference in his personality, as it’s come out much more than it did a year ago.
“I think he’s playing with some freedom and it’s shown up in his personality,” Farrell said. “Heck, we see it how he interacts with fans. To Hanley’s credit, whether it’s a conscious effort to make a change, we have a different player, to his credit. He’s always in the fun and the noise and joking around in the clubhouse, which is a good thing.
“He’s in a good place.”
|Why Red Sox are adding outfield to Blake Swihart’s skill set||04.15.16 at 5:21 pm ET|
The Red Sox have two very good young catchers in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. But, thinking towards the future, it’s impossible to have both players play every day behind the plate.
This is why on the day Swihart was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Vazquez’s recall, the Red Sox revealed their long-term plan with their two prized catchers.
“As we look towards the future, and even as time goes on, we would like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to both be part of our club,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “They are both not going to be every day catchers with our team. [Swihart] is more athletic. He’s a converted catcher. We think he could make a conversion to another position — even on a part-time basis so we can keep his bat in the lineup.”
Swihart will take fly balls in left field with Pawtucket as the Red Sox would like him to add outfield to his skill set. In addition to taking fly balls in the outfield, he will still play catcher as it was noted they are an injury away of having him come back to Boston as a catcher. It was also revealed between the outfield, catcher and DH, Swihart will play every day in Triple-A.
Vazquez is 25 years old, while Swihart is 24 so both are young and have plenty of room to grow.
This long-term plan didn’t come out of no where as these discussions began towards the end of spring training, with Swihart starting shagging fly balls in the outfield. Some thought Swihart would be better suited for first base, but manager John Farrell said the organization viewed the outfield being the most “viable.”
“His athleticism will take over,” Farrell said of Swihart playing the outfield. “He and I had a couple of conversations in spring training about this. He would shag in left field during BP. Confident that through repetition, much like we have talked about with him behind the plate, which is a much more difficult task then playing a major league caliber left field. That will take time. We’ve come to know Blake as not only an upfront guy, but is a smart athletic player who is going to be committed to the work.”
“Bottom line, we see both (Vazquez and Swihart) coexisting on this roster, really in the same lineup on a given day,” Farrell added. “We know [Swihart is] still going to be catching games.”
With the long-term plan in mind and the Red Sox showing commitment to both players, now is the perfect time to execute it with Vazquez 100 percent healthy, but any time a player changes positions it certainly bears watching.
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