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To nobody’s surprise, John Farrell has named Rick Porcello his Opening Day starter 03.15.17 at 11:40 am ET
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Rick Porcello will start on Opening Day. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello will start on Opening Day. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — You win a Cy Young Award, the honors keep coming.

Before facing the Rays on Wednesday, Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that Rick Porcello will start on Opening Day against the Pirates at Fenway Park. Farrell said Chris Sale will start the second game, and that the rest of the rotation would be determined by camp, with Eduardo Rodriguez potentially in line for the third spot.

It will be the first Opening Day start for Porcello, whom Farrell informed of his decision upon arriving at spring training. It didn’t require extensive debate.

“No. There really wasn’t,” Farrell said. “We had three candidates that were certainly worthy and capable, but I think there’s a lot to be said for the year Rick had, the leader he’s become on our team, and the dependable pitcher that he is. All of those factors, that was something in some brief discussions with some other guys in the offseason, but as I mentioned to both David Price and others, we need to get deeper into camp. This conversation will happen at the appropriate time. We felt like if everything played out with no issues, Rick would be the guy.”

Porcello went 22-4 last year with a 3.15 ERA to surpass former teammate Justin Verlander in the Cy Young Award voting. Both Price and Sale have maintained since the start of camp that Porcello should get the ball on Opening Day.

“You pitch really well, you earn the Cy Young Award or are voted the top pitcher in the league, i think that carries a lot of weight in the minds of other pitchers,” Farrell said.

Read More: Red Sox, rick porcello,
David Price pleased with pace of recovery from elbow injury, but unsure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day 03.13.17 at 1:45 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

David Price is as surprised as anyone at how good he feels.

Told by two of the nation’s leading experts on elbow injuries to “listen to my body,” Price began throwing a baseball against a trampoline as part of a light throwing program that he hopes starts him on the road to recovery since being sidelined two weeks ago by arm pain.

“It feels good,” Price told reporters in Fort Myers on Monday. “It’s been getting better every day. I’m kind of surprised that it’s responded the way that it has. If you asked me a week ago I’d have said I felt OK. And I feel really good right now. Today is the best it’s felt. Just everyday activities. I don’t feel anything in there right now. So that’s coming after two straight days of throwing baseballs into the net so it’s responded really well.”

Price visited Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache in Indianapolis on March 3, three days after reporting discomfort following a simulated game. The doctors told him that were he 22 or 23, they’d recommend surgery. But because Price is 31 and has learned to pitch through discomfort, they suggested rest and rehab, instead.

Price said the inflammation has already subsided, and he’s regaining range of motion. He’s not ready to commit to being ready for the start of the season, but he likes where he’s headed.

“At the end of the day, I feel like there’s going to be a lot of good that can come from this,” Price said. “Just take my time and make sure I’m ready to come back.”

For more on Price’s return, as well as my skepticism over his long-term prognosis, check out this column.

Read More: David Price elbow, Red Sox,
(Live Blog): The mighty Tebow strikes out, grounds into double play, gets doubled off first 03.08.17 at 1:17 pm ET
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — We’re about to find out if Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy will help him vs. a Cy Young Award winner.

An otherwise sleepy Red Sox spring training game has been enlivened significantly by the presence of Tebow, who is making his debut for the Mets and playing DH. His first order of business? Solving Porcello, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.

Since WEEI and NESN aren’t broadcasting the game and not a lot of you have MLB Network, we’re going to provide updates in a decidedly 2009 fashion via a live blog! Remember those? Check back here throughout the afternoon as we bring you all of the Tebow-related news your little hearts can handle. Newer posts will update at the bottom.

To start things off, here’s a video of Tebow blasting an opposite-field home run during BP. He’s got some power, if nothing else.

FIRST INNING: The Mets scored a run. I’m not really sure how. I’m just so pumped about Tebow, it’s hard to focus. We didn’t get Tebow yet, but we did receive a reminder that Andrew Benintendi still has room to grow. On a fly ball to left field, Benintendi fired the ball to second . . . where Curtis Granderson was tagging before easily taking third. Benintendi made a mental throwing error in the Division Series that cost the Red Sox a run, so this is an area to watch for the burgeoning young star. SECOND INNING: Rusney Castillo still swings at everything. The good for Bryce Brentz: doubles off 97 mph fastball. The bad: gets erased in rundown on comebacker. Still no Tebow. He’ll lead off the top of third. THIRD INNING: Tebow steps in wearing No. 97. Fans go crazy. Let me actually back up. Since he was leading off the frame, he was on the field while Rick Porcello warmed up. At which point this happened:

Once Tebow was pointed back to the huddle, he tried to solve Porcello. He didn’t last very long. He struck out looking at a fastball away. He saw four pitches in the at-bat, all fastballs, swinging and missing at one of them.

Fourth Inning: The Red Sox just scored a bunch of runs. None of them were by Tim Tebow, so I’m not if the interest level will be there, but here goes: Sam Travis walked, Allen Craig boomed a ground-rule double to center, Rusney Castillo singled, Christian Vazquez, Castillo scored on an error after starting a double steal, and Marco Hernandez doubled to right-center.

The Red Sox now lead 4-1. Tebow didn’t lose this many games in four years at Florida.

Tebow faced Noe Ramirez with the bases loaded and no outs. He fouled off two pitches and then grounded sharply to second to start a run-scoring 4-6-3 double play. He did not get credit with an RBI, but he did receive a standing ovation.

Of more concern to the Red Sox was the comebacker that appeared to drill Rick Porcello on his right hand. He stayed in the game after a brief visit from John Farrell and a couple of warmup pitches, but he allowed a homer and double before being lifted.

I’ve Lost Track of the Innings: Back upstairs from Red Sox clubhouse, where Rick Porcello just discussed his hand (it’s OK) and, of course, facing Tim Tebow.

In Tebow’s most recent plate appearance, he got hit in the shoulder, reaching base for the first time. He didn’t stay there long, however, wandering off the bag on a liner to second and being easily doubled up.

Ramirez, who induced the double-play grounder, said he was impressed with Tebow’s BP.

“He’s obviously been the talk of the town lately, and guys were just pretty astonished, actually,” Ramirez said. “He’s got some pretty good pop. The ball comes off his bat pretty well, so obviously it was a show.”

Read More: Mets, Red Sox, Tim Tebow,
Don’t look now, but Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo isn’t useless 03.07.17 at 12:33 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

It’s only 11 at-bats, but considering the way Rusney Castillo started camp, he and the Red Sox will take them.

Castillo was castigated for failing to run out a ground ball at the start of camp — an unforgivable lapse for a player who’s making $72.5 million despite losing his spot on the 40-man roster — but Castillo has bounced back since.

He leads the Red Sox in hitting so far this spring (.545) and is 6-for-11 with three doubles. He has hit the ball with authority in reserve appearances, and will start on Thursday when the Red Sox face the Mets in Port St. Lucie.

“He has gotten some pitches in the zone to handle,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s played well above average defense in center field. He’s starting tomorrow against the Mets. He’s come off the bench almost every game. That’s not an easy thing to do. But in his case, he’s grabbing the at-bats and the reps when they’re available to him. After the lapse on the ball just running it out, he’s been very good, as far as the attention to detail and whatever decisions he’s had to make inside the lines.”

Of course, there’s more to Castillo’s roster aspirations than performance. As we detailed during the offseason, because Castillo has been dropped from the 40-man roster, adding him back in order to activate him would cost the team almost $60,000 a day towards the luxury tax.

Farrell said Castillo should just focus on his performance.

“We recognize that he is not on the roster, so he’s got to perform his way to get back on it,” Farrell said. “If there’s anything he might perceive as restricting him, you’ve just got to outperform it.”

“It really gets pretty simple, honestly,” Farrell added. “For all that we talk about it, for any guy, it’s simple. Just go out and play. That’s easier said than done, but you go out and produce, see what happens. You could say the same about Allen Craig. Both guys are having pretty good springs. I don’t think they’re thinking about their contracts. That’s where they are.”

Read More: Red Sox, Rusney Castillo,
Tim Tebow will make his debut against Red Sox on Thurdsay against Cy Young winner Rick Porcello at 12:17 pm ET
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All eyes will be on Tim Tebow on Thursday. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

All eyes will be on Tim Tebow on Thursday. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox visit Port St. Lucie on Thursday, and the carnival will be in town.

It’s Tim Tebow time!

The former NFL-quarterback-turned-quixotic -baseball-player will make his spring debut and start at designated hitter when the Sox face the Mets at Tradition Field. Tebow will be thrown right into the fire against defending American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

So what do the Red Sox expect?

“It seems like no matter what he gets involved in, it’s always going to grab headlines or draw a crowd,” manager John Farrell said. “A gifted athlete. Let’s see how he handles a major league environment, particularly in the batter’s box.”

“So many different guys come through camp,” Farrell added. “I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner is best known for his football exploits, which included an overtime playoff victory for the Broncos before losing to the Patriots. Tebow got a shot with the Patriots during training camp in 2013 before being cut.

He’s attempting to do what many consider impossible and remake himself as a baseball player at age 29, despite not playing since high school.

“I wouldn’t even attach an age to it,” Farrell said. “It’s tough to make the big leagues if you’re 24 years old. You know that he devoted most of his professional career to football, so making a change with a number of years gap in there, that adds another dynamic to it, but I’ve never seen him play in person. I can’t give you how difficult or how unlikely or how likely him arriving at the major leagues, if at all, will be.”

Read More: Mets, Red Sox, Tim Tebow,
Chris Sale after allowing two runs in Red Sox spring training debut: ‘Happy? I don’t know’ 03.06.17 at 2:37 pm ET
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Chris Sale, pictured earlier this spring, made his debut on Monday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale, pictured earlier this spring, made his debut on Monday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Chris Sale’s first Red Sox start is in the books. You may now commence forgetting everything about it or that it even happened.

Sale wasn’t exactly pleased with his spring training debut against the Astros on Monday. Expected to throw three innings, he instead departed after two on a windy day. He allowed four hits and two runs (1 earned), while throwing 37 pitches and 26 strikes.

“Happy? I don’t know,” Sale said. “We got some good work in. I’m not a fan of sitting here and saying spring training doesn’t matter. You still want to get results, but I felt good. The ball felt great coming out of my hand. Felt strong throughout. I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes. That was a step in the right direction.”

“I’ve been waiting for this for a while,” Sale added. “It’s tough just sitting around just doing practice and things like that. This is why we’re here. We like going  out there and playing the game. Especially as a starting pitcher. I have enough downtime. It was fun. I enjoy doing what I do and I love pitching.  Today was fun to get out there and get the ball rolling.”

Sale was clocked as high as 97 mph, though the stadium radar gun is said to run a couple of mph fast.

The Astros struck quickly when Sam Travis dropped George Springer’s leadoff pop-up behind first base in swirling winds. A double, pop-up, and Evan Gattis sacrifice fly plated Chicago’s first run before Josh Reddick grounded out to end the frame.

“Even right out of the gate, you’ve got second and third and nobody out,” Sale said. “Those are good situations to be in. It’s going to happen sometime throughout the year. It’s nice to be able to get into those scenarios and try to work your way out of them. Obviously I didn’t. It’s nice to get out there — the whole being comfortable with being uncomfortable type of thing. You’ve got to work on that, too.”

Sale struck out two in the second, but a series of bloop singles plate a second run. He struck out Marwin Gonzalez looking at an offspeed pitch to end his afternoon.

” I feel fine,” Sale said. “The first few days maybe you’re shaking off the cobwebs and kicking off the dust. With the players, with the staff, with everyone involved, they’ve made me feel right at home here. And I am.”

Sale wanted to pitch longer.

“I understand why,” he said. “I racked up a pretty good amount of pitches, which is another thing I’d like to get down. I’d like to go out there for maybe 13 to 15. That’s the range as a starter you like to get. It gives you a chance to finish the game and save the bullpen. This is the first time out. It is  what it is. We’ll take it for what it is and we’ll roll with it. We’ll try to be better the next time out. If I had gone out there and thrown two perfect innings, I’m still going to try to get better from that. I’ve got some things to work on and a week to get ready.”

Read More: chris sale, Red Sox,
Kyle Kendrick impresses in Red Sox victory over Braves, easing concerns about rotation depth 03.05.17 at 7:48 pm ET
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Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick may be in Red Sox camp on a minor league contract, but don’t let that fool you. He could end up playing a role in the big leagues before this season is over.

With left-hander David Price shut down while he tends to a sore elbow, starters Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz slowly returning from injuries, and Clay Buchholz long gone and hard to find in Philadelphia, the Red Sox need someone to step up and provide depth.

That someone could very well be Kendrick, a 32-year-old right-hander who tossed four hitless innings in an 11-1 victory over the Braves on Sunday.

“I understand the position that I’m in,” Kendrick said. “Results kind of do matter for me, so I just want to go out there and show them that I’m healthy, that’s the main thing, and throw well, put up some good results. That’s kind of where I’m at, it’s kind of what I have to do.”

Only two runners reach against Kendrick. The first, after shortstop Deven Marrero committed an error leading off the game, was promptly caught stealing by what might have been Christian Vazquez’s best throw since he underwent Tommy John surgery. The other walked.

“Very happy with it,” Kendrick said. “Just attacked the strike zone, getting some early contact which was nice, get some early outs and threw strikes, just wanted to be aggressive. Vazquez, we worked well together, he did a good job. It was nice, enjoyed it.”

Kendrick went 7-13 with the Rockies last year with a 6.32 ERA, but never felt healthy. He has reached 10 wins six times in his career. He’ll likely open this season in Triple-A Pawtucket, but there’s always the chance the Red Sox could need him.

“Like I said, I understand the position I’m in,” he said. “Last year I had to take a minor league deal, so mentally it was different for me. This year I’ve accepted it and I’m happy to be here, honestly. Everyone from my teammates to the training staff has been really good. I’m happy where I’m at and taking it day by day.”

Read More: Kyle Kendrick, Red Sox,
Red Sox notebook: John Farrell talks David Price’s elbow, Tyler Thornburg’s mystifying struggles, and what he’d change about spring training at 1:10 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

FORT MYERS — With the Red Sox set to square off against the Braves on Sunday, here are some notes from John Farrell’s lengthy pregame session with reporters.

— Farrell said left-hander David Price will continue to work on conditioning and range of motion, with light strengthening, while he recovers from an elbow strain. He’ll remain shut down for another week or so.

“I know David is probably feeling better today than he has yesterday and all those are encouraging signs, but there’s going to be range of motion, light strengthening, the cardio and conditioning from a general standpoint continues until we put a ball back in his hand,” Farrell said.

Price will not throw until he’s symptom-free.

— Reliever Tyler Thornburg is off to a woeful start, and will throw on flat ground Sunday and work in the bullpen on Tuesday before returning to game action later this week in an attempt to fix his mechanics. Thornburg has allowed seven hits and nine runs in just 1.1 innings, good for a staff-worst 47.25 ERA.

“It’s been more timing in his delivery,” Farrell said. “He’s out of sync right now. His body is drifting to the plate too quick, you see a number of pitches left up of the strike zone up to his arm-side. To see him hit a guy the other day with a changeup, that just says his timing right now needs a lot of work.”

— What does Farrell dislike about spring training? “We don’t have all day, do we?” Farrell joked.

His basic issue is with the push and pull of preparing his team vs. entertaining the fans who pack JetBlue Park on a daily basis.

“We still see it as this is our vehicle to get players ready physically,” Farrell said. “And yet you walk in and there are 11,000 people, so there’s this conflict of big business and getting players ready. Not that you lose sight of that and you’re playing players all the time, but when you start getting pushback because four or five big-leaguers haven’t traveled across the [state]. There’s a lot more to balance now.”

— Farrell saluted the job first base coach Ruben Amaro has done as a third base coach in camp, but reiterated that Brian Butterfield will return to that spot in time for the start of the season. Butterfield has been slowed by a knee replacement.

“If Butter can get out there with a crutch, he’ll be out there,” Farrell said. “He’s our third base coach.”

Read More: David Price, John Farrell, Red Sox,
David Price gets good news on elbow, but long-term questions remain: ‘This was something that’s happened over a long period of time’ 03.04.17 at 10:07 am ET
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David Price got some good news on Friday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price got some good news on Friday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two of the foremost elbow specialists in the nation gave David Price exactly the news he wanted to hear on Friday. But by no means is the Red Sox left-hander out of the woods just yet.

Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache examined Price in Indianapolis on Friday and told him his sore left elbow didn’t need surgery or an injection at this time. They recommended seven to 10 days of rest, based at least in part on Price’s “unique” elbow, which is apparently built to withstand the attrition of a decade in the majors.

Price said the doctors told him the issue is in a muscle, not ligament, though he wasn’t specific with the exact nature of his injury, just that the doctors, “expected it to be much worse than it was.”

“Everything that they said, honestly, couldn’t have went any better,” Price said on Saturday. “It was almost like I paid them to tell me the stuff that I wanted to hear. That obviously wasn’t the case, but it was a good meeting, just to hear it from those two guys.”

Still, Price made it clear that whatever ailed him is the result of his long career.

“This was something that’s happened over a long period of time,” Price said. “It’s not something that just happened on Tuesday or whatever day I threw the sim game. It didn’t just happen. This is something that’s happened over the course of my career, and I’ve continued to be able to do it at a high level. That was something they both talked about. If I wasn’t still pitching at a high level, it’s something that might be a little bit different. If I was 25 or 26 years old, it might be a different scenario. But for the fact that this has gone on for a while, and I’ve continued to be able to eat up innings and to be able to throw the ball at a high level. They’re like, ‘Your elbow is extremely unique. It’s found a way to kind of heal itself.’ So it’s pretty neat.”

What this means for Price moving forward is anyone’s guess. He declined to put a timetable on his return, and acknowledged that if things don’t improve in 10 days, he’ll be meeting with more doctors.

Price said he felt some soreness while warming up for Tuesday’s sim game, though this isn’t out of the ordinary, since he typically hears a “pop” at the start of spring training that tells him his arm is loose and ready for the season. The soreness increased that night.

The difference came when he woke up completely stiff the next morning.

“The stiffness kind of set in that night, and came in in the next morning and felt like my arm wouldn’t move,” he said. “To me, that’s what was different. The stiffness, to a degree, that was nothing new, it was something you get as a pitcher especially at this stage of the season and it’s something you just get into the trainer room and you work it out and if you need to take a day from not throwing, you do that. We weren’t going to mess around and wait around, it was something we felt like was in the best interest. It’s not something you want to fiddle around with.”

He said he feels night-and-day better even now.

“From the night it happened to the next morning when I came in and then from getting the treatment that day with the training staff, I saw how much of an improvement it made in that short of a time period and then going out there and seeing those guys and the progressions it’s made on a day-to-day basis has been really, really good,” he said. “I’ve probably had 40 hours straight of no treatment, no ice, no anti-inflammatories, no nothing, nothing was in my system and for it improve the way that it has, that’s a very good sign.”

So how stiff was it?

“It was probably just a little bit more stiff,” he said. “If I felt the way that I felt yesterday right now, it’s probably something I wouldn’t even mention or I wouldn’t even say. It’s just the normal aches and pains of spring training. It’s something I prepare myself to go through every spring training and something I’ve always gotten through. It’s just a little bit more stiff this time, a little bit more inflammation and that’s why we made the decision that we made.”

As for when we might see Price again, he’s not indulging in timetables.

“If I’m not out there in 10 days, I’m sure that’s going to be the next story,” he said. “And if I’m not out there in five days, that’ll be the next story as well. So there is no timetable.”

 

Read More: David Price, james andrews, Red Sox, Spring Training
David Price on Twitter: Jokes about leaving NFL scouting combine to return to Fort Myers; still no word on elbow 03.03.17 at 3:01 pm ET
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If nothing else, David Price appears to be in good spirits.

The Red Sox left-hander, who left the team on Friday to seek a second opinion on his sore elbow from the renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews, at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, took to Twitter to joke about rejoining the Red Sox.

Price leaves the biggest question of all — how he’s doing — unanswered, but judging from the tone of his message, perhaps the news he received from Andrews was positive.

Price visited the famed physician after complaining of soreness on Wednesday morning, one day after throwing 38 pitches in two simulated innings. He felt fine after his outing, but woke up sore the next day. The Red Sox gave him an MRI and thought the findings were concerning enough to seek out Andrews.

The Red Sox remain in a holding pattern for now, as John Farrell mentioned to reporters in Orlando this morning.

Perhaps Price’s jocular tweets will give them a reason to exhale.

Read More: David Price, Red Sox,
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