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Ryan Kalish on surgery: ‘I am feeling pretty down about this all right now’ 01.26.13 at 4:36 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish, in a series of entries on his twitter feed, acknowledged that he is “feeling pretty down” about the right shoulder surgery that he will undergo next week in California, which is expected to keep him out for at least spring training and the beginning months of the 2013 season.

The procedure will be the third surgery that Kalish has required in the span of roughly 16 months, following surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck in Sept. 2011 and surgery on a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder in Dec. 2011. Those two injuries caused Kalish to miss almost all of the 2011 season before his year-ending procedures, and the recovery and rehab process left him feeling as if he was a shell of himself in 2012 (in part because he did not have a healthy offseason for strengthening). Now, he faces the prospect of another season that he will enter with considerable physical limitations.

The prospect of a third straight year in which he must focus on rehab and health is admittedly frustrating to Kalish, but he vowed that despite the succession of health woes, he remains committed to returning to health.

“The past few years baseball-wise have been really mentally tough as all I want to do is play fully healthy,” he tweeted. “I am feeling pretty down about this all right now but I will not quit and will work hard to get back to where I want to be.”

Kalish’s tweets, in turn, prompted feedback from former big leaguers with whom (or for whom) he has played in the past, including Mike Cameron (Kalish’s teammate with the Sox in 2010 and 2011) and Gabe Kapler, a manager in the Sox system in 2007.

Read More: Gabe Kapler, mike cameron, ryan kalish,
Kevin Millar on M&M: Interleague play ‘does take away a little bit from the American League teams’ 07.01.11 at 1:34 pm ET
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Kevin Millar spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday afternoon to talk Red Sox and Interleague play. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Millar said that Interleague play ‘€œdoes take away a little bit from the American League teams.’€

‘€œIt’€™s a little different-looking when you look at [Josh] Beckett instead of David Ortiz,’€ Millar said. ‘€œThat’€™s where American Leagues take a notch back: when you’€™ve established a DH, and you have to take him out of the lineup.’€

The lack of a designated hitter in the National League wasn’€™t the real problem with Interleague play, Millar said, adding that he liked it because it let fans watch superstars they wouldn’€™t normally see.

‘€œThe problem I have is the parity of the scheduling,’€ Millar said. ‘€œThe Red Sox draw the Phillies, ok, so let’€™s just the say the Yankees drew the Pittsburgh Pirates. ‘€¦ That’€™s not fair.’€

Added Millar, ‘€œIt’€™s kind of funny to see the American League pitchers swing the bat.’€

Of the decision to move Adrian Gonzalez to right field, Millar said the risk of injury outweighed getting Ortiz extra at-bats.

‘€œIs it worth Adrian blowing out his elbow on a play at the plate ‘€“ because of course he’€™s going to try to throw him out at home ‘€“ to get David Ortiz a game in?’€ Millar said. ‘€œYou look at it that way, you’€™re thinking ‘€˜no, you’€™re right.’€™ But, Papi needs to play. You can’€™t sit him nine days.’€

Millar said that Josh Reddick also needs more playing time.

‘€œYou have to play the hot hand,’€ Millar said. ‘€œ’€¦ He’€™s swinging the bat as well as anybody in the big leagues, so let him play out there. He’€™s got some nice tools.’€

Millar called Mike Cameron a ‘€œtremendous professional,’€ but said that age may have contributed to his reduced playing time and designation for assignment.

‘€œYou just get to an age and things slow down,’€ Millar said. ‘€œ’€¦ He just didn’€™t have the bat speed.’€

Added Millar, ‘€œI don’€™t think Boston was a great fit for him when he’€™s not the everyday guy.’€

While Millar would not predict whether or not Jonathan Papelbon would return to the Red Sox next season, he liked where Papelbon is at this season.

‘€œHe’€™s in tremendous shape,’€ Millar said. ‘€œHis velocity is back, his arm speed’€™s back, but he looks great. Is he going to be too expensive? I don’€™t know.’€

Millar also said that closers are ‘€œweird dudes,’€ and that the mentality necessary to be a closer doesn’€™t always translate to success in other relief roles. He agreed that this might be the case with Bobby Jenks.

Millar called the six-man rotation, which both Terry Francona and Yankees manager Joe Girardi have considered using this season, ‘€œa little funky.’€

‘€œI don’€™t know when the last World Series champion team had a six-man rotation,’€ Millar said. ‘€œIt’€™s just a little odd; guys need roles.’€

Read More: adrian gonzalez, bobby jenks, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon
Looking back at Mike Cameron’s time in Boston 06.30.11 at 2:55 pm ET
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The Mike Cameron era in Boston is over.

The Red Sox announced prior to Thursday’€™s game against the Phillies that they had designated the 38-year-old veteran outfielder for assignment. Despite spending just about a year-and-a-half in Boston, Cameron played in only 81 games because of an injury-riddled season in 2010 and his placement as a reserve this season. He amassed a .219 batting average with seven home runs and 24 RBI over that time.

Although the road ahead for Cameron is still yet to be decided, here’€™s a look back at the outfielder’€™s relatively short stay in Boston.

Dec. 16, 2009 ‘€“ Red Sox announce they have signed the three-time Gold Glove-winning Cameron in press conference at Fenway Park. The terms of the contract were for two years and $15.5 million. Cameron was signed to take over the outfield spot left vacant by Jason Bay‘s departure, and the move signaled a change in team philosophy to emphasize pitching and defense almost exclusively over offense. The Red Sox become the seventh team that Cameron has played for in his career.

April 4, 2010 ‘€“ Goes 2-for-3 with a run and a walk in Sox debut as the team defeats the Yankees 9-7 on Opening Day. Starts in centerfield while Jacoby Ellsbury slides to left. Neither would play more than 48 games in 2010 for the club.

April 20, 2010 ‘€“ Team puts Cameron on the disabled list for the first time with abdominal strain. Prior to injury, the new Sox centerfielder had a seven-game stretch in which he went just 2-for-17 at the plate, including five games when he had failed to get a hit, and also dropped an easy flyball in an eventual 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay on April 17. After a rehab stint in the minors, he returns to the big club on May 25 but would need days off the rest of the way to nurse the strain that had still yet to completely heal. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: mike cameron,
Red Sox face outfield dilemmas 06.27.11 at 4:58 pm ET
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It is an offensive position.

In the American League, right field is a spot where teams expect to get some thump. Players such as Jose Bautista and Carlos Quentin and Nelson Cruz have made right field one of the positions upon which teams are most reliant for run producers. The average team in the AL features a .264 average, .340 OBP, .425 slugging mark and .764 OPS from that spot on the field; only one position (first base) has yielded a higher OPS in the American League.

That, in turn, makes the Sox’ deficiency at the position all the more glaring. Among the 14 American League clubs, Sox right fielders had the worst average (.220), OBP (.304), slugging percentage (.336) and OPS (.640) of any team. It was a position where, entering the year, the Sox expected a platoon could offer them fairly strong production.

J.D. Drew was expected to deliver his usual impact against right-handed pitching, while Mike Cameron and/or Darnell McDonald were viewed as capable of offering above-average production against left-handers. But clearly, it hasn’t worked out that way.

“We need more out of that position,” a team source acknowledged. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carl crawford, darnell mcdonald, J.D Drew, josh reddick
Friday’s Red Sox-Pirates matchups: Jon Lester vs. Paul Maholm 06.24.11 at 2:36 pm ET
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Most of the talk leading into the opening game of the Red Sox‘ nine-game interleague series has been centered on what the Sox will do with David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez in an attempt to keep both of their bats in the lineup.

Lost in that focus is a decent pitching matchup Friday night in Pittsburgh between left-handers Jon Lester and Paul Maholm.

Lester is 9-3 with a 3.70 ERA, and he’ll try for the second time to become the first 10-game winner in the majors. He has a 2.78 ERA in June, although he lost his last outing, a 4-2 setback vs. the Brewers in which he allowed four runs, three earned, in eight innings. All of the earned runs came courtesy of solo home runs as Lester tied a career high by allowing three round-trippers.

Maholm comes in with a 3-8 record but with a respectable 3.29 ERA. Prior to allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings in a loss to the Indians in his last outing, Maholm had tossed shutout ball in three of his previous four outings, including a complete-game three-hit gem vs. the Cubs on May 28.

Maholm, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2003 out of Mississippi State (where he was a teammate of Jonathan Papelbon), is pitching for his future, as he is near the end of the guaranteed part of the $14.5 million contract he signed before the 2009 season. He has a $9.75 million option for next season that the team can buy out for $750,000.

The longest-tenured player on the Pirates, Maholm had a 5.10 ERA last season. He attributes his improvement to pitching inside more frequently. His success, although not evident in his won-loss record, has helped the perennially woeful Pirates to a .500 record through 74 games ‘€” although they are just 17-19 at home.

After going 2-13 in interleague play last year, Pittsburgh is 4-5 vs. the American League and coming off consecutive victories over the Orioles. Outfielder Andrew McCutcheon went 6-for-9 with two doubles in the series with the O’s and leads the team with a .289 batting average, 10 home runs and 14 stolen bases.

The teams have met in interleague play twice before. Both times ‘€” 2005 in Boston and 2003 in Pittsburgh ‘€” the Red Sox won two out of three games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adrian Gonzales, Andrew McCutcheon, David Ortiz, Jon Lester
Closing Time: Lackey’s dismal outing leads Sox to loss vs. Padres 06.22.11 at 6:49 pm ET
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John Lackey was never acquired to be an ace. If he would be a very good No. 3 starter for the Red Sox, the team would be satisfied with the return on its five-year, $82.5 million investment in the big right-hander with a big-game pedigree.

Part of the appeal of Lackey was the fact that he was a strike thrower who, based on his history, would minimize his walks and remain fairly efficient against the grinding lineups of the American League East. Yet his performances as a member of the Red Sox — especially in a 2011 campaign that has been, to date, horrible — have failed to match that expectation, a trend that continued on Wednesday in the Red Sox’ rain-shortened 5-1 loss to the Padres.

Unquestionably, the brutal weather conditions did Lackey no favors. Even so, it would be one thing if an outing in which he walked four (including one with the bases loaded), hit two batters (one with the bases loaded) and uncorked a wild pitch (with the bases loaded) were an isolated event. But his command issues have been a recurring theme through his career in Boston.

In his final three years with the Angels spanning 84 starts, Lackey issued as many as four walks in a total of eight games. In his first two years with the Sox, he has now had nine such games in 44 starts. He went from a pitcher who walked 2.6 batters per nine innings over those last three years with the Angels to one who has issued 3.2 free passes per nine as a member of the Sox. Coupled with the fact that his strikeouts have gone down from 7.2 to 6.3 per nine innings, you have the recipe for trouble.

It might have been understandable for such struggles to come against the AL East, but the fact that he could not attack the strike zone against a Padres team that ranked as one of the worst offenses in the majors was more disconcerting. It was a reminder that, as strong as the Sox are from top to bottom, they are a team with flaws, something that is noteworthy at a time when the Yankees have managed to tie them in the division.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, David Ortiz, john lackey, mike cameron
Friday’s Red Sox-Cubs matchups: Jon Lester vs. Doug Davis 05.20.11 at 7:50 am ET
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Friday will mark one of the biggest games on the MLB schedule in 2011 when the Cubs travel to Fenway Park to visit the Red Sox for the first time since the two sides squared off in the 1918 World Series. As you all remember quite vividly, Carl Mays defeated Lefty Tyler, 2-1, in Game 6 to give the Sox the 4-2 Series victory. Nearly one century later when the two teams meet again, it’€™ll be Jon Lester dueling with Doug Davis in a battle between two modern-day lefties.

Together with Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, Lester (5-1, 3.28 ERA) has become part of a solid core of three at the front end of the Red Sox starting rotation. With his win on Sunday against the Yankees (6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 7 K, 4 BB), the Boston left-hander grabbed the highest win percentage in major league history among pitchers with at least 50 decisions at .717 (66-26). But he has struggled slightly as of late. Sunday’€™s performance was the second game in a row in which he allowed more than four earned runs after he allowed five over 5 1/3 innings in a 7-6 loss to Toronto on May 10. He’€™ll be best served by avoiding the long ball if he can. Lester has surrendered a team-high nine home runs in 2011, third most in the American League. He’€™s allowed at least one bomb in his last four starts, matching a career-long stretch.

Only four players on the Cubs have ever stepped up to the plate against Lester, but those on the roster who haven’€™t may be best served picking the brain of Carlos Pena, who has 49 plate appearances against the lefty dating back to his days with Tampa Bay. The lefty slugger has a .275 average and five home runs against Lester but has also struck out 13 times.

The 35-year-old Davis was signed by Chicago in the offseason to provide rotation depth and has already been called upon to do so in the first quarter of the season. With Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells injured, Davis was needed to make his first start of the season last Saturday against the Giants and fared pretty well, allowing just one earned over five innings of work while striking out six. Unfortunately for him, the Cubs provided zero run support in a 3-0 loss and Davis was saddled with his first loss of 2011.

Expect lefty bat J.D. Drew to get the night off in right field for the Sox in favor of righty Mike Cameron, who has faced Davis 64 times in his career and has a .333 average against him. Adrian Gonzalez has just a .206 average against Davis in 37 plate appearances, but don’€™t expect the only AL player in the top five in all three Triple Crown categories to sit against the lefty. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Carlos Pena, Doug Davis, Jon Lester
Francona: Drew ‘battling the strike zone’ 05.04.11 at 6:09 pm ET
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It represented a low-point in the recent struggles of J.D. Drew. On Tuesday, the outfielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, two of them looking. After one of those, he had a brief conversation with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck to express displeasure with the call.

The moment was revealing on multiple levels. First, it showed a hitter who has simply struggling at the plate. In his last nine games, Drew is 4-for-28 (.143) with a .429 OPS and seven strikeouts. On the year, he has struck out 22 times in 91 plate appearances, or roughly once every four plate appearances. That, in turn, suggests a persistence of some of the issues that left him so frustrated in 2010, chiefly with the way balls and strikes are being called.

‘€œA lot of offspeed he’€™s been out in front of. I think he’€™s still battling the strike zone a little bit,” said Sox manager Terry Francona, who has Mike Cameron in the lineup in place of Drew in deference to those struggles. “He’€™s pretty stubborn. He’€™s got a pretty good eye. If he doesn’€™t think he can hit it, he’€™s not going to swing. There’€™s been a lot of offspeed that he’€™s been out in front of that, when he’€™s good, he bangs the ball off the left-center field wall. That’€™s when he’€™s really locked in. Hopefully, that’€™ll come soon.’€

Plate discipline and strike zone recognition, of course, is part of Drew’s life blood. It is an essential component of why he was such a desirable player for the Sox — he knows the pitches he can drive, and he lays off pitches that cannot, particularly if they’re not in the strike zone.

That trait can be a mixed bag.

‘€œWhen he’€™s hitting, it’€™s good. When he’€™s not, not,” said Francona. “He has a great eye, and I don’€™t think he feels like he can handle things that aren’€™t strikes. Saying that, sometimes, knowing you’€™re right but making outs’€¦ Some of it is knowing umpires and things like that. There’€™s a lot that goes into it.’€

Drew will be back in the lineup on Thursday against Joel Pineiro, against whom he is 2-for-11 in his career. Against Wednesday’s Angels starter, Ervin Santana, Drew is 4-for-23 (.174) in his career, while Cameron is 2-for-2.

Read More: J.D Drew, mike cameron,
Terry Francona: Mike Cameron shows again why ‘he’s as professional as you can be’ 04.10.11 at 9:39 pm ET
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Once again Sunday night, Mike Cameron showed that while he may not be the spectacular player he was a decade ago he can still deliver when Terry Francona needs him.

Following a what looked like a devastating 4-6-3 double play on an interference call on Kevin Youkilis at second base – keeping Dustin Pedroia at third – Cameron chopped a grounder into the new Fenway dirt and beat out Eric Chavez‘s throw to first, scoring Pedroia and giving Josh Beckett and the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

The reason Cameron was even in the lineup to begin with was Francona’s decision to sit the struggling Jacoby Ellsbury against Yankees lefty ace C.C. Sabathia. Cameron was 8-for-16 lifetime against Sabathia while Ellsbury had just one hit in 13 ABs.

“I wanted to get Cam in there and Ells hasn’t had a lot of success,” Francona said before the game. “One through nine, against a guy like Sabathia, you’re not going to have nine guys who’ve really had their way with him. He’s one of the better pitchers in the game but I wanted to get Cam’s bat in there.

I know he’s trying to. He’s doing it as professionally as possible. I don’t want him to sit very often because he’s a big part of what we’re doing. Cam’s about as professional as you can be.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, C.C. Sabathia, Eric Chavez, Jacoby Ellsbury
Red Sox vs. Yankees matchups — Beckett vs. Sabathia at 2:43 pm ET
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In 2007, there was a lively debate about the best pitcher in the American League. John Lackey went 19-9 and led the junior circuit in ERA with a 3.01 mark for the Angels. Josh Beckett led the majors in wins, going 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA for the Red Sox. But it was CC Sabathia who won the Cy Young that year (with Beckett finishing second and Lackey third), on the strength of a season in which he went 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA while logging a startling 241 innings for the Indians.

That said, the Sox and Beckett were more than happy to see the Cy go to Sabathia, who appeared to run out of steam in the postseason. Beckett, meanwhile, was dominant in pitching the Sox past both Lackey’s Angels and Sabathia’s Indians en route to the World Series.

Since then, it has been a tale of paths divergent. Sabathia was traded in the middle of the 2008 campaign to the Brewers, and then signed a seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees before the 2009 campaign. In three-plus years since he won the Cy, Sabathia has cemented his credentials as one of the top handful of pitchers in the game, performing at a level that has been both extraordinary and consistent. He has a 57-25 record and 3.04 ERA, and his durability and dominance has been matched during that span only by Roy Halladay.

Lackey has enjoyed success, though of a more modest variety. He has a 38-20 record and 4.20 ERA. He missed stretches of both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and whereas Sabathia sustained his place as one of the game’s best pitchers after relocating to the American League East, Lackey has found the going tougher now that he resides in Boston. Beckett, though an All-Star in 2009, has endured periods of struggles with his performance on the mound and his health. Sabathia has logged more than 200 additional innings over Beckett.

So, the argument since 2007 about the identity of the best pitcher since that season has been fairly one-sided. All the same, the Sox will hope that, for a night, Beckett can balance the scales a bit. Beckett will take on Sabathia on Sunday night, at a time when the Sox are getting anxious for wins.

Sabathia is 4-1 with a 3.04 ERA, 48 strikeouts and 14 walks in eight starts against the Sox as a member of the Yankees. Beckett, meanwhile, is coming off a 2010 campaign in which he suffered his greatest misery at the hands of the Yankees, against whom he went 1-2 with a 10.04 ERA in five starts, which included the back injury that he incurred on a slippery Yankee Stadium mound.

Here’s a look at how Beckett has fared against the Yankees and at how Sabathia has handled the Red Sox. Of note: one would expect to see Mike Cameron in the lineup against his former teammate Sabathia, : Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: C.C. Sabathia, john lackey, Josh Beckett, mike cameron
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