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Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘If you have a problem with [A.J. Pierzynski], address it’ in clubhouse 07.11.14 at 1:15 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar checked in with Middays with MFB to discuss A.J. Pierzynski, Jon Lester and other Red Sox news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

The Sox designated Pierzynski for assignment on Wednesday. Since then, multiple reports have suggested his negative presence in the clubhouse likely led to his early departure.

“When this thing happened from the immediate signing, it was an odd signing to me, because you had [Jarrod Saltalamacchia], Millar said. “There were some question marks with his back, but I thought Salty was a good scene in that clubhouse.

“The thing with A.J., backing up his career, a lot of money for a year, had a nice year with the Rangers. But there’s always been that little egg. Guys don’t like him at times. For sure playing against him guys didn’t like him.”

Millar added: “It’s typical when a season doesn’t go your way that there’s always going to be a scene, and this is just part of a scene. Maybe part of it was lack of production, swinging at first pitches and not playing the Red Sox way. All that in mind, see you later, A.J.”

Millar said issues regarding Pierzynski’s personality should’ve been addressed by the players before it became a problem.

“That’s my point, A.J. Pierzynski is a veteran,” Millar said. “If you’re around A.J., he’s not a bad guy. If you have a problem with A.J., address it. What I can’t stand in clubhouses, and shame on the Red Sox’ clubhouse, quit whispering and gossiping and address it.

“The articles come out, the Red Sox player gets kicked to the curb and all these bad articles come out, which I think is not fair because if it’s not addressed, how does A.J. know that he’s been staring at his phone for three months and that’s not cool in the Red Sox clubhouse?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘If you’re going to deal Jon Lester, you better have something in place’ 07.03.14 at 1:43 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB Thursday to discuss the Red Sox‘€™ struggles this season, Mookie Betts‘€™ performance out in the outfield and Jon Lester‘€™s contract situation. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

While the Red Sox sit 8 1/2 games out of first place in the division, Millar said that it’€™s too early to raise the white flag, as an unstable AL East could give Boston a chance to get right back into the hunt for a playoff spot.

“€œThe problem is that this American League East is crazy,”€ Millar said. “The Rays were 15 [games] out June 10, now they’€™re 9 1/2 out. You can’€™t make this up. There’€™s not a team that you can go, ‘€˜Hah, they’€™re going to dominate.’€™ … With the Yankees now, they can’€™t hit. They’€™ve lost a bunch of games. They were looking like they were putting it all together. The Jays, you can’€™t rely on them. I mean, their offense is great and I get it, but you got to pitch at this level, so I don’€™t know what to do.

“€œIf I’€™m the Red Sox, you’€™ve got to win games. You got to beat the Cubs at home, they can’€™t do that. … You can’€™t give up either, because it can change in three weeks.”

Lester’€™s contract discussions with the Red Sox has become a hot topic recently, as ESPN’€™s Buster Olney said that the negotiations are drawing a lot of attention from within the Boston clubhouse -€“ something that Millar said isn’t the case.

“€œI don’€™t think that’€™s a distraction,”€ Millar said. “We’€™re talking about multi-million dollars, exciting times. I never thought that signing a four or five or six-year extension or contract is a distraction. That’€™s between the player, the agent and the team. Now, if Jon Lester is sitting around and going around like a little social butterfly in the locker room, of course that becomes a distraction. But that’€™s not what he’€™s doing. It’€™s a business.”

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Read More: Jon Lester, Kevin Millar, mookie betts, Red Sox
Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘I don’t think [Red Sox are] nearly as good of a team as they were last year’ 06.27.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about the Sox’ struggles of late. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

The Red Sox are 2-5 with three games left in their 10-game road trip and have fallen eight games back in the AL East. They appear to be running out of time to stay within contention.

“They’re not out of this thing, but they’re not in a great position,” Millar said. “I don’t think they’re nearly as good of a team as they were last year and a lot of things were going right. If they can go on some miraculous type of run, they’re going to have to.

“At the end of the day, the Red Sox had a special year last year. It was just in the cards. It’s what went on. They’re not as great as a club and that vibe isn’t there.”

Millar said the Red Sox aren’t physically tired after last season’s deep run, but they are failing to overcome the losses of players like Shane Victorino to injury and Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency.

“There’s a lot of things that have to go right to win a championship and there’s a lot of great things that go on during the year to win a championship,” Millar said. “Right now the Red Sox might be tired trying to catch that lightning in a bottle, and ultimately, yes, they did overachieve last year. And that’s OK. That’s what it’s all about.

“We overachieved in 2004. We weren’t better than the Yankees. We just overachieved with the heart of a lion. This is where the Red Sox have to look in front of the mirror in the front office like, ‘Who is this club? Where do we want to go for the future?’ Because I think this team is lacking some star power.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: MLB ‘dropped the ball in the situation with David Price’ 06.06.14 at 1:20 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the state of the Sox. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

Since Millar last called into the show, the big story surrounding the Red Sox has been the situation between David Ortiz and David Price in last Friday’s Red Sox-Rays game. Millar said he was surprised the situation erupted the way it did, especially given the both teams’ recent struggles entering the game, but he said he can understand the situation from both sides.

“I will say this, as much as I love Papi, and you know that I’€™m a Red Sox groupie, the moral of the story is Price said some interesting things and I think he said something that stood out,” Millar said. “Guys like Miguel Cabrera, tremendous human beings. David Ortiz, tremendous human being. At the end of the day, you are a pitcher and you have a family to feed also. So if you have a ball go inside — and this isn’t so much about David Ortiz, either … you have to back these guys off the plate at some point because they’€™re trying to get you out also.

“That pitch was on purpose, we know that. But in the big picture, to pound these guys inside, there’€™s going to be balls that get away. When Price said, ‘€˜Nobody’€™s bigger than the game,’€™ on the other side of the dugout and you’€™re not David Ortiz’€™s teammate, I can see where guys get rubbed the wrong way.”

Both benches were given warnings after Price hit Ortiz, but Price wasn’t tossed after hitting Mike Carp later on because it was ruled unintentional. Sox pitcher Brandon Workman, however, was ejected in the sixth after throwing behind Evan Longoria, and later suspended six games. Price, on the other hand, only received a fine.

Millar took issue with Major League Baseball‘s ruling.

“I think something should’ve been done league-wise,” he said. “When you suspend Workman, you have to suspend David Price. The only thing at the end of the day is you’€™re asking it to be fair. Major League Baseball, you have to be fair. I know there’€™s a fine in it, an undisclosed amount. David Price got fined, but we know the intent was to hit David Ortiz with that pitch, and once the league looks at it, he’€™s got to go for six games also. Not just Workman.

“[MLB] dropped the ball in the situation with David Price. … It’€™s a unique situation. Rarely do we see two stars going at it like they have and this is a great rivalry. It’s turned into one of the great rivalries in baseball.”

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Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘Manny throwing out the first pitch was great for the fans’ 05.30.14 at 1:34 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar appeared on Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Sox and his return to Fenway Park on Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

Millar returned to Boston Wednesday night as the organization celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the 2004 World Series championship team. The player who stood out most from the event was Manny Ramirez, who threw out the first pitch before the Sox’ game against the Braves that night.

The organization was criticized by many for having Ramirez, whose time in Boston came to an ugly end in 2008, throw out the first pitch. Millar, however, didn’t have a problem with it.

“I’€™m OK with it,” Millar said. “Listen, he apologized to [traveling secretary] Jack McCormick [with whom Manny had a confrontation in 2008]. … I really lost a lot of respect at that time for Manny. And Jack’€™s a great friend and a tremendous human being, so that one really hit home.

“But listen, time heals. As guys, we forgive, we all make mistakes. For Manny, it’€™s good for himself and his family to be on the right track. He admitted a lot of his problems when he was here. In his quotes, he wasn’t a great person when he was here.

“The moral of the story is who are we to judge and not forgive? Manny throwing out the first pitch was great for the fans. … I’€™m not one to judge. I’€™m glad to see he’€™s got his life together.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on M&M: ‘In the big leagues right now, there’s not one team clicking’ 04.18.14 at 1:07 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the Red Sox‘ slow start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Coming off their 2013 World Series title, the Red Sox are 7-9 after taking the final two games of a three-game set with the White Sox.

“It’€™s a whole different year, and there’s going to be a whole different identity,” Millar said. “You have a great nucleus of guys … but at some point the identity is going to have to figure out what are we as a group? Are we a power-hitting team? Are we a run-scoring [team]? Base-stealing? And right now, it’€™s just a little bit slow going for the Sox and deservedly so — we’re in the first two weeks of the season.”

The Red Sox have struggled at the plate and are ranked 23rd in the league with a .232 batting average.

“Early on everything’s a little bit magnified,” Millar said. “You’re trying to get your swing. You’re trying to get your numbers. You’re trying to get that scoreboard to not look at a .150, .200 average. You understand the team’s good right? The one thing I see is just figuring out who’s going to lead off consistently.

“The main thing is that [Dustin] Pedroia – the X-rays are negative, he got a cortisone shot in the wrist — that would have been a huge loss. [Mike] Napoli had the finger thing. So there’s a little nagging, a little injuries that they’€™re going to go through. They’re not clicking on all cylinders yet, but in the big leagues right now, there’s not one team clicking.”

Along with their struggles at the plate, the Red Sox also are dealing with the distraction of Jon Lester‘€™s contract negotiations. A report Saturday indicated that the team offered Lester a four-year, $70 million deal.

“Let’s not fool anybody — it’s a negotiation,” Millar said. “It’s big money we’€™re talking about. You’re talking about Lester and the one time he gets a chance to go out there and pop financially. At the end of the day, it’s a time to set up your family, and Lester loves Boston — loves playing there. I know this guy has been a bona fide big horse for this team for many years. He’s pitched many big games. This is a great pedigree.

“You’ve just got to understand, you allow this guy to leave, you better have a replacement. … That market we all know is a little bit tougher to play in if you don’t have the makeup to deal with the media, to deal with the down times when your feelings are hurt. We’ve seen that happen over the years, but I think Jon Lester – at some point they’ll get closer, they’re just a little off right now, but it’s the business side from the Red Sox front office.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he’s been everything that they’ve wanted him since he’s been in this organization, and he’d be a tough one to let go.”

For more team news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Kevin Millar, mike napoli
Kevin Millar on M&M: Michael Pineda pine tar controversy ‘not a big deal’ 04.11.14 at 12:50 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about Red Sox news, focusing on Thursday’s loss to the Yankees and the controversy surrounding pitcher Michael Pineda. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

In Thursday’s game, Pineda appeared to have pine tar on his wrist and arm as he kept the Red Sox bats in check during New York’s 4-1 victory.

“This goes on, first of all, let’s get that out there,” Millar said. “This goes on in every single clubhouse, every single staff. ‘€¦ It goes on. Has it ever bothered me? Never. It’s part of what goes on. The problem I have with it now if I’m the league, how do you address this. Because I don’t mind it going on, but you can’t carry a pine tar rag in the back pocket. Don’t throw it in my face.

“So, that’s my biggest thing. If I’m the league, how do I address this. Because we’ve seen this from Jon Lester in the postseason last year, we’ve seen it from [Clay] Buchholz in Toronto, we’ve seen it from now Pineda, we’ve seen it with Kenny Rogers in the World Series. And it’s not a bad thing, it doesn’t mean, oh, you’re a bad guy. But don’t throw it in my face now.”

Millar said it benefits everyone if the pitchers have a strong grip on the ball.

“It’s not cheating,” he insisted. “You’ve never thrown a baseball in 37-degree weather. You need some grip. And it goes on with hair mousse, it goes on with hair gel when it dries up, players that go to their hat off, whether it’s rosin — I’ve seen players put rosin in their hair. That’s why we use rosin on the mound. That’s why there’s pine tar and Stickum on our bats. Because if you have a little bit of grip the bat’s not going to go flying out of your hands into the stands and hit somebody in the head.

“It’s the same thing with a baseball. As hitters, I don’t mind a guy having a grip. Because I’d rather him have a grip and throw the ball where he wants to throw the ball than throw it at my neck by accident. So that’s why it’s not a big deal from the players’ standpoint. It’s fun for media to talk about. It’s fun to go, ‘Oh my God, what was it?’ It’s fun to hear Pineda say it’s dirt. Right. Did you just go No. 2 in the bathroom stall? Brother, that ain’t dirt. That’s all the fun stuff. The bottom line is it’s not a big deal.”

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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