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Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on D&C: ‘We all need a little bit of patience’ as team struggles through April 04.17.14 at 9:44 am ET
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Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and said owner John Henry called manager John Farrell on Wednesday to offer his support during the team’s early season struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox, bringing up the rear in the American League East, improved to 6-9 with Wednesday’s 6-4, 14-inning victory over the White Sox.

“I think repeating [as champions] is probably one of the hardest things to do in professional sports, and we are off to an awful start. While there have been some positives, it’s been really bad,” Kennedy said. “April, you really like to get off to a good start, so it’s been disappointing. People say, ‘Is there a hangover, is there a letdown?’ Whatever it is, you can really point to the basics. We’re not hitting. I think we’re hitting about a buck-fifty with runners in scoring position. We were 1-4 going into last night’s game in one-run games. That’s not going to last. [Dustin] Pedroia, [Will] Middlebrooks, now [Mike] Napoli, [Shane] Victorino missing time, Koji [Uehara]. It’s a lot of factors to point to. I think we need to have some perspective.

“I know for a fact that John Henry reached out to John Farrell and Ben Cherington yesterday just to say, ‘Hey, guys, it’s early, hang in there, things are going to be OK.’ Because you could tell how frustrated those guys are. And we all are. But we do have to have a little bit of perspective. This is our 13th year here together in Boston. Things will get better. Guys will start to hit. Again, the pitching’s been there. So, we all need a little bit of patience. And I know that’s hard for most of us.”

The other big Red Sox news over the last week relates to the negotiations for a new contract with left-hander Jon Lester. A recent report indicated the Red Sox made a lowball offer of about $70 million for four years.

“You have to remember, we’re starting from a place where the Red Sox, from John Henry on down to Jon Lester, want to make a deal. That’s the starting place. I think everybody feels good about that,” Kennedy said. “The problem with negotiations and details from baseball negotiations getting into the public domain when you have a leak like we did this past week related to this deal is one data point gets into the media, gets out there, gets dissected. I can tell you there are lots of other data points related to this negotiation that are not in the public spotlight, in the media. All I’ll say is that Ben Cherington, Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino, our ownership group will continue to work on this. And it’s clearly best when baseball discussions are kept private, and then baseball decisions are made public. That’s been our philosophy.

“Do we want to see Jon Lester in a Red Sox uniform for a long, long time? Absolutely, yes. As a fan, I hope that he is with us for a long, long time. We’ll see where things go over the coming weeks and months. But I’m hopeful that we do end up getting something done there.”

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John Farrell: ‘It’s hard to have any faith in the [replay] system’ 04.14.14 at 12:23 am ET
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John Farrell was ejected after arguing a decision reversed by replay. (AP)

John Farrell was ejected after arguing a decision reversed by replay. (AP)

Red Sox manager John Farrell felt that the replays were inconclusive. His feelings about the replay system are anything but.

On Sunday night, the Red Sox saw a video review go against them for the second straight day. On Saturday, the ruling both on the field and by replay officials — who failed to uphold Farrell’s challenge that Dean Anna had overslid the bag and was thus out — proved an immediate embarrassment when decisive still shots proved that the Yankees shortstop had been out. On Sunday night, the replay ruling – an overrule of a call on the field, with Francisco Cervelli deemed to have beaten out what would have been an inning-ending double play and instead having legged out what proved to be a decisive run-scoring fielder’s choice in New York’s 3-2 win — was less egregious.

Nonetheless, Farrell insisted that the replays did not offer decisive evidence to support the reversal of the on-field call. He said that the ball was in first baseman Mike Napoli‘s glove by the time Cervelli’s foot landed on the bag, and that the Sox had been told that a player need not squeeze the ball with his glove for the out to be called. And given his discomfort with the decisions of the two consecutive games, the Sox manager used the opportunity to unload on the replay system that Major League Baseball has introduced this year.

“We felt that it was clear that the replay was inconclusive,” Farrell told reporters in New York. “The frustrating part is when this was rolled out and explained to us, particularly on the throw received by the first baseman, we were instructed that when the ball enters the glove, not that it has to hit the back of the glove, is where the out is deemed complete. At the same time, any angle that we looked at, you couldn’t tell if the foot was on the bag behind Mike Napoli‘s leg. Where this became conclusive is a hard pill to swallow. On the heels of yesterday, it’s hard to have any faith in the system, to be honest with you.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox notes: John Farrell explains switch for Grady Sizemore 04.10.14 at 7:37 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

NEW YORK — Prior to his team’€™s series-opening game against the Yankees Thursday night, John Farrell explained why Grady Sizemore had been pushed over to left field, with Jackie Bradley Jr. manning center.

Farrell said the move had more to do with the venue then anything else.

“With the ground that’s going to be covered here in Yankee Stadium is almost the reverse of what we deal with at Fenway,” he said. “To keep Jackie in center field and Grady over in left is for that particular reason — to cover the vast space that’s on the left side of the field.”

The manager then added, “As we sat down and talked with Grady about this, well aware that he has defensively only played center field at the big-league level, he’s played a number of games at the minor league level in left field. The alignment being here at Yankee Stadium, that’s what we’re looking to cover.

“It’s an alignment we’ve talked about internally. It’s best fitting here with the ground to cover. Whether or not this is something we do, I’m not going to say on a permanent basis because we’ve shown we’re going to rotate Jonny Gomes through there and he’s going to get ample time in left field as well. This is the way we’re going at it tonight. This isn’t something that we’re looking to pencil in every day going forward.”

Then there was the matter of where Sizemore was hitting in the lineup.

For just the second time this season, the outfielder found himself at the top of the batting order, with Farrell moving Daniel Nava — who had gotten the majority of time at the top of the order against right-handed starters — down to fifth.

“It’s as much trying to get Daniel going,” Farrell said. “We still value the on-base, which Daniel has a strong track record of that, and yet right now we feel like we’ve got to give him an opportunity to get his feet on the ground offensively. Once he does, we feel like he’ll be in that spot. Just trying to make the most of the current streaks or the way guys are swinging the bat right now.”

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Red Sox pregame notes: David Ortiz’s night off ‘planned down day’ 04.05.14 at 5:19 pm ET
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Prior to Saturday night’s game at Fenway Park against the Brewers, Red Sox manager John Farrell said sitting David Ortiz was planned. Ortiz has experienced some calf tightness, but, according to Farrell, the physical issue wasn’t the primary reason for the day off.

“He deals with a little bit of tightness from time to time,” said Farrell of the calf. “As much as anything, this was more of a planned down day.”

With Ortiz out, the Red Sox have put Grady Sizemore in the lead off spot, with Daniel Nava hitting third, Mike Napoli serving as the designated hitter and Mike Carp playing first.

“Looking at the schedule, the late-night travel, yesterday’s situation — we’ve got to, with all of our players, just rotate guys through, but Grady in the leadoff spot, he’s obviously gotten on base here with some regularity, in a spot he’s been familiar with his entire career,” said Farrell, referencing Sizemore, who will likely get Sunday off. “He’ll give us a spark at the top of the lineup.”

Sizemore, who hadn’t hit leadoff in any of the previous four games, has hit leadoff 705 games in career.

- Shane Victorino continues to battle flu-like situations while coming back from a right hamstring issue.

“He was here for a brief time yesterday,” Farrell said. “He’s not around the team. We’ll likely bring him in here during game time to continue to get treatment but not be around the majority of the players for the flu-like symptoms, the flu that he’s dealing with. He’s still in that phase. I don’t have an update on how long his separation from the team will be. That’ll be dependent upon how quickly he gets through the flu.”

- Craig Breslow, who was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list, may get some more work with Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Continues to improve. He’s getting closer,” Farrell said. “Yesterday was his fifth overall appearance. We’ll sit down and talk with Craig a little bit more specifically on what the next step is. … All of it is a possibility.”

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Four key Red Sox decisions explained from Friday’s loss 04.04.14 at 7:43 pm ET
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Edward Mujica took the loss, allowing four runs in the ninth inning. (AP)

Edward Mujica took the loss, allowing four runs in the ninth inning. (AP)

Truth be told, the Red Sox‘ inability to sustain any kind of significant offensive attack against Marco Estrada and the Brewers bullpen gave Boston little likelihood of securing a victory to cap off the day in which the team’s 2013 championship was commemorated. Nonetheless, there were four key decisions in the game that played a meaningful role in the outcome.

Here’s a brief breakdown of each:

– Bottom of the second inning: Grady Sizemore tags up on a fly out to shallow right and gets thrown out at the plate for the third out of the inning.

Sizemore had reached third on his first steal of the season (indeed, his first steal since May 11, 2010) with one out, and Xander Bogaerts followed with a fly ball to shallow right. Brewers right fielder Logan Schafer — who had cost his team a run earlier in the second inning with a stray throw to third base when Mike Napoli advanced from first to third on Sizemore’s single — made a perfect throw to cut down Sizemore and end one of the Sox’ only threats of the game. But manager John Farrell had no issue with the decision by third base coach Brian Butterfield to send the runner and force the Brewers to make a perfect throw.

“[Schafer has] got a good throwing arm,” said Farrell. “Felt like his feet [were] pretty much in a standstill position, [so] even though it was a relatively shallow fly ball, we’€™re challenging it. No second guessing the decision to send him there one bit. He threw a strike from a couple hundred feet away.”

– Top of the ninth inning: Edward Mujica enters the game. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Farrell looks forward to an extra special opening day: ‘This is a day we should all enjoy’ at 12:25 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell says the 2014 home opener at Fenway Park will be something extra special as the team receives its rings for the 2013 World Series title and Boston Marathon bombing victims and first responders are honored as an inspiration during the team’s championship run.

“Opening day on the road or at home, they’re special in their own right,” Farrell said. “This one will obviously have a lot of significance to it, given how special 2013 was and I’m sure there’ll be a flashback or two in the minds of everyone, particularly what might stand out most clear and readily in each and every guy. This is a day we should all enjoy.”

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Red Sox’ decision on Shane Victorino won’t come until Monday 03.30.14 at 1:05 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Speaking prior to the Red Sox‘ workout inside Camden Yards, manager John Farrell explained that Shane Victorino would be returning to Boston Sunday in order to have an MRI on his right hamstring before being examined early Monday.

Farrell said that if Victorino’s hamstring checked out OK, the outfielder would be able to return to Baltimore in time to participate in Opening Day (a 3 p.m. start), if needed.

“No word on Shane. He’s en route back to Boston right now,” Farrell said. “He’ll go through an MRI this afternoon and then a full work-up and exam tomorrow morning. So there’s no roster decision. There’s no update to give you at this point.”

Due to Major League Baseball regulations, the Red Sox aren’t allowed to have a non-roster player on the premises as a back-up plan. Teams’ 25-man rosters were due at 3 p.m. Sunday. “We can’t have someone hanging around,” Farrell noted.

It is assumed that if Victorino would need to go on the 15-day disabled list, Jackie Bradley Jr. would serve as his replacment.

Victorino aggravated his hamstring during the Red Sox’ final spring training game, Saturday. He has also dealt with thumb, back, calf and side issues throughout camp.

“Shane’s situation is going to be one of the challenges and things thrown our way that we don’t know what is going to come up against us, or the challenges that we face,” Farrell said. “As long as we remain resilient, as we did a year ago, and face those challenges as a team I feel we’ll be in a very good place and position as we go through this journey of 2014.”

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