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Pablo Sandoval on being hit by Ubaldo Jimenez leading to ejection: ‘It’s part of the game’ 04.17.15 at 11:54 pm ET
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Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected after 3 2/3 hitless innings after hitting Pablo Sandoval. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected after 3 2/3 hitless innings after hitting Pablo Sandoval. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing we know about Pablo Sandoval after the first 10 games of the season is he takes his baserunning very seriously.

The 5-foot-11, 255-pound third baseman isn’t afraid to go hard into second base and break up a potential double play.

Sandoval has done it on a few occasions early on this year and did it again Friday night in the second inning, taking out Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, allowing Mike Napoli to reach first base.

The next time Sandoval stepped to the plate, with Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez not allowing a hit through 3 2/3 innings, he plunked Sandoval on the back of the shoulder. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker immediately ejected Jimenez, as he felt it was intentional.

Many of the Red Sox players didn’t feel like Jimenez deserved to be ejected, including Sandoval.

“It’s part of the game,” Sandoval said. “Just part of the game. Part of the game. Play hard.”

As for his slide into second base?

“It’s a game. Good clean slide,” Sandoval said. “I was sliding through the base. Nothing wrong with.”

Manager John Farrell thought it was a quick ejection as no warnings were issued prior to Sandoval being hit.

“Honestly, yeah. A little surprised,” Farrell said. “Because I didn’t see anything that would have warranted a hit by pitch. But, obviously, Jordan felt like there was clear intent. And whether or not he felt because it was the hard slide at second base, that I don’€™t know. It was quick.”

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Read More: John Farrell, mike napoli, Pablo Sandoval, ubaldo jimenez
Closing Time: Clay Buchholz’s poor outing dooms Red Sox in blowout loss to Yankees 04.12.15 at 11:32 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed a career-high 10 runs in Sunday's loss to the Yankees. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz allowed a career-high 10 runs in Sunday’s loss to the Yankees. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Maybe thinking Clay Buchholz is back to his 2013 pre-injury form was a little premature.

After dominating the Phillies on Opening Day, the Red Sox‘ right-hander struggled out of the gates allowing seven first inning runs (six earned) en route to allowing a career-high 10 runs in the Yankees’ 14-4 win Sunday night to avoid a series sweep.

The Yankees batted around in the first inning as Buchholz allowed a lead off walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, followed by a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Brett Gardner with Ellsbury advancing to third. Carlos Beltran then hit into a fielders choice for the Yankees’ first run. Then, following a Mark Teixeira walk, Brian McCann reached on a Mike Napoli error, as he bobbled the ball on a play going to his right, which loaded the bases.

Alex Rodriguez would clear the bases with a double to left center field, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead, and things would only get worse for Buchholz.

He then allowed back-to-back home runs to Chase Headley and Stephen Drew to close out the first inning scoring.

In a normal situation, without a depleted bullpen following Friday’s 19-inning game and the inability to recall a pitcher, Buchholz may have been removed from the game, but he needed to take some heat off the bullpen. He actually settled down retiring seven of the next eight batters after the first, but struggled again in the fourth, allowing three more runs and thus being removed from the game in the inning.

Buchholz finished by going 3 1/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. It was his shortest outing since going just three innings May 26 in Atlanta last season, and he went on the disabled list after the start. It’s also worth mentioning the right-hander failed to back up the bases on a few occasions in the fourth inning.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka breezed through the first three innings, but had trouble in the fourth, throwing 38 pitches and allowing three runs. He finished the night going five innings, allowing four runs on four hits, which was enough to earn the win.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: The Yankees’ bats broke out in a big way by totaling 16 hits and were led by Headley, who went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, including the first inning home run.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ second loss of the season:

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, hanley ramirez, Masahiro Tanaka
For Red Sox to have success in April, offense will need to lead the way 04.04.15 at 1:19 pm ET
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Over the last three April's, Mike Napoli has hit 16 home runs and 46 RBI. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Over the last three April’s, Mike Napoli has hit 16 home runs and has totaled 46 RBI. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Going into the 2015 Red Sox season the general consensus with the team is the offense is going to need to carry the much of the load.

This will be tested right out of the gate, as historically the pitchers in the starting rotation don’t get off to strong starts. On the other hand, the team has some hitters who have been known to put up some pretty impressive April numbers.

Aside from his blistering start to the 2013 season when he started 9-0 before being sidelined with a neck injury and going 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA in April, Clay Buchholz has struggled in first month of the year. He has a 4.53 career ERA in the month and besides 2013 he’s had issues of late, going 1-2 with a 6.66 ERA in 2014 and 3-1 in 2012, but with a 8.69 ERA.

The other two pitchers who will be starting in Philadelphia this week — Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson — also haven’t had much success to open seasons. Porcello for his career is 9-12 with a 6.12 ERA in April, while Masterson is a little better at 11-8 with a 3.84 ERA, but has had ERA’s over 4.84 in two of the last three April’s.

The best performers to start the season in the Red Sox rotation are the last two in Wade Miley and Joe Kelly (assuming he’s ready to start April 11 in New York). Miley is 7-3 with a 3.47 ERA and opponents are hitting just .221 against him in the month, the lowest of any month during the season. In 2012 and 2013 he went a combined 5-0 with an ERA less than two. Kelly has only made three starts in April over the course of his career, as he was a reliever to start the year up until last year. In three starts last April he allowed just one earned run.

With the starters not having great success to open season’s, and the importance of getting off to a good start, the Red Sox‘ offense will need to step up.

For the most part Red Sox hitters do get off to good starts, and no one gets off to better starts to the season at the plate than Mike Napoli. The Red Sox first baseman for his career hits .253, but over the last three seasons he has totaled 16 home runs and 46 RBI in the first month of the year.

Also, getting off to hot starts to open the year is David Ortiz. For his career he’s a .273 April hitter, hitting .250 last year, but in 2013 he hit .500 with three homers in just nine games and hit .405 with six homers in 2012.

Although Pablo Sandoval is hitting .300 overall in April’s, he had a very disappointing opening month last season — hitting just .177 with only two home runs and striking out 22 times. If he does struggle again, there are other players in the lineup who can pick him up. Dustin Pedroia has hit at least .270 the past three April’s, including .337 in 2013 (his best month for average that year) and .301 in 2012.

Starting the season at or below .500 after the first month in 2012 and 2014 and finishing those years in last place, and then going 18-8 in 2013 leading to a World Series, there is no denying the importance of getting off to a good start to the year, and with this Red Sox team the hitters will be leading the way.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, mike napoli
Observations from Red Sox’ rout of Twins: Mike Napoli clubs broken bat homer, offense explodes, Justin Masterson commands 03.30.15 at 10:31 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — As spring training games go, Monday night’s 14-2 pummeling of the crosstown Twins was about as good as it gets for the Red Sox.

Exactly one week before the season opener in Philadelphia, John Farrell rolled out a lineup that fans can expect to see against the Phillies (and hopefully most of the season). And that lineup produced just as Red Sox management hoped when they put together the new offense over the winter.

Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts continued his scorching spring with two more hits, including an RBI double high off the Monster in a six-run fourth. He scored twice and is now batting .467 on the spring.

Mike Napoli looks as comfortable as anyone in the lineup not named Betts. He has also carried a blazing bat in spring, even when he’s breaking it in half and homering as was the case in the fourth. He muscled up and clubbed a solo homer that carried over the Monster. The barrel of the bat wound up in the dirt next to the third base bag and he ran around it as he circled the bases on his fourth homer of the spring.

“It’s never happened before,” Napoli said of the broken bat round-tripper. “I think I broke it on my at-bat before when I hit the ball to right. I wasn’t sure but I thought I hit it on the barrel. It was just a weird feeling. The bat exploded and I was just kind of sitting there. It’s a weird feeling anytime you do that. I don’t know. I can’t really explain it.

“I was just kind of running around the bases like, ‘What just happened?'”

Napoli, with two hits Monday, is now batting .433 with an .867 slugging percentage in 13 games.

“I feel good. My hands are getting stronger,” Napoli said. “My timing is getting good. Just working hard every day in the cage and my BPs and just trying to take it into the games.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, justin masterson, mike napoli
Mike Napoli scratched with sore right ankle 03.20.15 at 12:28 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — A full offseason of activity, along with a month of spring training, seemingly finally has caught up to Mike Napoli.

The Red Sox first baseman was scratched from his team’s lineup against the Orioles at JetBlue Park Friday with a sore right ankle.

“Nothing serious,” Napoli said. “I’ve been getting after it pretty much in camp and just got a little right ankle soreness. I was able to hit [Friday]. I’m going to be able to hit the next couple of days but I’m just going to let it be, rest up and then get back out.”

Napoli is 8-for-21 (.321) with two home runs in Grapefruit League action this spring training.

“Everything is good, but to keep on trying to play through it right now is probably not the smartest thing to do,” said the first baseman, who noted the ailment had nothing to do with his toe injury of a year ago. “I feel good. I’ll let it calm down and get back there.”

He added, “With my offseason and everything, I’ve been cramming a lot of stuff in. I’ve been working out a lot. I was able to run a lot in the offseason, running in cleats. I’ve played three days in a row twice already. But just let it be for a little bit. It’s not serious, but I just want to go out and play, not have to worry about it.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, mike napoli,
Mike Napoli pulling for ex-teammate Josh Hamilton 02.28.15 at 10:15 am ET
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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli spent two years in Texas with Josh Hamilton when the outfielder was at the height of his powers. He knows what a tremendous talent Hamilton is on the field, which made the news about Hamilton’s looming suspension ‘€“ reportedly for a drug relapse involving cocaine and alcohol ‘€“ all the more sad.

“It’s unfortunate, man. It’s just tough,” Napoli said. “A lot of people deal with things in different ways. Obviously there’s something wrong where he keeps relapsing, but it’s sad. I feel for him and his family. I just wish him the best and hope that he gets better.”

Hamilton had been one of the feel-good stories of baseball, a former No. 1 overall pick who drank and drugged his way of the game before a renaissance in Texas from 2008-12. Since signing with the Angels before the 2013 season, however, Hamilton’s star has burned less bright, and his latest transgression is sure to earn him a lengthy suspension.

Napoli doesn’t remember Hamilton struggling to stay on the straight and narrow in Texas.

“It just seemed like he was living his normal life,” he said. “It was never talked about. We were just regular people. We weren’t talking about what he used to do or whatever. When I was there, he had (accountability partner) Johnny Narron, who took care of him and stuff on the road. There was never any sense that he was going to relapse and go down that path.”

Napoli recalls the Rangers altering their celebrations en route to the World Series in 2011 to accommodate Hamilton’s lifestyle.

“We celebrated with ginger ale, and then he’d leave and we’d all celebrate (with champagne),” Napoli said.

In the end, Napoli hopes his former teammate can find himself again and overcome his addictions.

“Some people just have that personality, where they just feel like they need it,” he said. “It’s hard. I feel for him. I hope he gets on the right path to get back to being a star baseball player, because when he’s right and healthy and on the right path, he’s another league above this as a talent. It’s sad.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Josh Hamilton, mike napoli,
Morning Fort: Mike Napoli feels like a new man, Daniel Nava promises not to press as much and Christian Vazquez takes over 02.23.15 at 10:38 am ET
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Mike Napoli is looking to return to form in 2015. (Getty Images)

Mike Napoli is looking to return to form in 2015. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox haven’t even had their first full squad workout but already Mike Napoli feels like a new man.

The slugger who had offseason surgery to address severe sleep apnea can feel an increase in energy and motivation when he heads to the ballpark.

“It’s been night and day,” Napoli said Monday morning. “Just my energy level when I wake up, I get out of bed and get my day started. Before I’d lay in bed until one o’clock. It’s totally different.”

Napoli looks trimmer than the beginning of last season, when he was still dealing with severe sleep deprivation that was sapping him of energy, making it difficult to deal with and overcome the nagging injuries of the last three seasons.

“You just have to be able to stay in the gym and get your workouts in and take care of your body,” he said. “It’s nutrition, working out and getting sleep. Now I can get sleep, which is probably going to help me out a lot. Just recovery, you get nicked up during a long season, you have to be able to recover and hopefully, I’ll be able to do that now.”

On Dec. 3, 2012, Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, pending a physical. Following a six-week period, the status of the deal was in question after his physical showed signs of a hip issue. He eventually agreed to play 2013 for $13 million.

He re-signed for two years and $32 million after helping the Red Sox to the World Series title. Last year, his numbers dipped. He batted just .248 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 119 games. But with his finger, knee, toe and back injuries resolved and his sleep apnea hopefully in the past, Napoli has a lot to look forward to with a rebuilt Red Sox order. He’ll have Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz ahead of him in the lineup.

“It’s been great. We’re going to have a deep lineup,” Napoli said. “It’s going to be fun. Those guys have been around here for a couple of weeks now. We’ve all been getting along and having a good time. Just getting out there and working on our game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, daniel nava
Mike Napoli on Hot Stove show: I considered retirement after last season 02.20.15 at 1:14 pm ET
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Mike Napoli joined Rob Bradford and Mike Mutnansky on the Hot Stove show on Thursday to talk about his thoughts on the Red Sox entering spring training, as well as his career and the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.

Napoli has suffered from sleep apnea, and had surgery to correct it in the offseason.

“It’s all worked out,” Napoli said. “I’m really excited, working out hard, and I think it could be a really good year.”

The Red Sox first baseman admitted that his condition caused him to consider retirement after last season.

“At the end of the year, I wasn’t playing at all,” Napoli said. “I was banged up, but it was so frustrating that, in my mind, I was like, I don’t know if I can go through another year of just feeling like this.”

Last year wasn’t just a tough one for Napoli. After winning the World Series in 2013, the Red Sox finished last in the AL East.

“[Last year] we had a lot of different guys and a lot of younger guys and there were a lot of challenges for us last year, and it just didn’t work out,” Napoli said. “But we brought in a lot of veteran good hitters and some veteran pitchers that, you know, as I’ve been here early, and a lot of guys are showing up early, it’s been a great vibe.”

Many players and fans attribute the team’s 2013 success to the camaraderie in the clubhouse. Napoli said that he has already noticed a better atmosphere than last season.

“It’s been great,” Napoli said, adding: “We had a lot of young guys, and I feel like they learned and saw some things and they’re a little more comfortable around in the clubhouse just being able to talk to with some of the veterans and stuff. It’s just been different.”

Added Napoli: “We don’t even have [Dustin] Pedroia here yet, and it’s been great. Once he gets here and he’s all over everybody, it’s going to be fun.”

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Read More: mike napoli, Red Sox,
Red Sox health updates: Clay Buchholz to undergo right knee procedure; Allen Craig’s foot considered a non-issue 09.29.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington announced that right-hander Clay Buchholz was expected to undergo a minor right knee procedure to repair his meniscus by head team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis. Cherington said that Buchholz had been dealing with the issue on and off for some time, though the discomfort hadn’t always been present and it was not significant enough to prevent him from pitching. Cherington described the meniscus injury as “not a debilitating issue,” and was not at the root of the player’s struggles (8-11, 5.34 ER) in 2014.

“Given where we are in the calendar, it’s a fairly quick recovery. Let’s just knock it out and he should have a normal offseason,” said Cherington. “It’s something that we managed. I think he would tell you it did not affect him. We’re just trying to be proactive so it doesn’t turn into something bigger.”

— Brock Holt will see Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9 to get clearance that he’s recovered fully from his concussion. He won’t play in games (that visit will come too late to clear him for fall instructional league), but given that Holt took batting practice and grounders in the final homestand of the season, all parties appear comfortable that he will enter the offseason healthy. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, mike napoli
Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli get day off in series finale 07.20.14 at 11:43 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts and Mike Napoli will get the day off from the starting lineup as the Red Sox look for the three-game sweep of the Royals against hard-throwing righthander Yordano Ventura. Shane VIctorino is playing in his second straight game with Boston, and fourth consecutive overall, dating back to the start of his brief rehab stint with Pawtucket on Thursday. He is scheduled to have the day off Monday when the Red Sox open a series in Toronto.

For a complete batter vs. pitcher breakdown, click here.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt 3B

Daniel Nava LF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Carp 1B

Shane Victorino RF

Stephen Drew SS

David Ross C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Jon Lester SP

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester, mike napoli, MLB
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