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Mookie Betts has no problem sitting behind Shane Victorino 02.20.15 at 2:03 pm ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ John Farrell says a healthy Shane Victorino is his Opening Day right fielder. You’ll never guess who agrees with him.

Mookie Betts.

The player presumably most affected by Farrell’s statement wants to make two things clear. One, there’s no animosity between him and Victorino. And two, he can’t dispute anything Farrell said.

Shane Victorino is Shane Victorino,” Betts told WEEI.com on Friday. “He’s a Gold Glover. He’s won the World Series, had huge hits in the World Series. I completely understand that. That doesn’t hurt my feelings at all.”

If anything bothers Betts, just a little, it’s the perception that the competition for the right field job has driven a wedge between the two. The fact is, the veteran admires the youngster and has worked with him to improve his game.

“I have no problem being behind him, watching him go,” Betts said. “He has taught me, and he’s still teaching me, even though people are trying to make it like we have a big rivalry going on or something. I feel like we’re brothers, the way we talk. Nothing’s changed between me and him. The first time I met him, I asked him a bunch of questions, and I’m still asking him questions.

“I have nothing bad to say about anything to do with him. At the end of the day, it’s not about me and Vic. It’s about the Red Sox. I think we both have that in our vision. We were talking earlier. It’s just about winning. Whether it’s me or him (starting), I just would love to be a part of winning a World Series.”

The irony of the situation is that if there’s a player who reminds Victorino of his young self, it’s Betts. And to hear Red Sox personnel discuss Betts, it’s easy to think they’re talking about Victorino. Both play with a fearlessness belying their size, both can make things happen on the bases, both are table setters atop the order, and both bring an edge.

Betts discussed his admiration for Victorino’s toughness and swagger.

“He’s kind of inadvertently shown me that,” he said. “I’ve picked that up just watching him playing. I’ve taken that into my game, I feel like.”

Betts recognizes what Victorino has accomplished during an All-Starcareer that includes four Gold Gloves and a pair of World Series titles, which is why he won’t throw a tantrum if he ends up sitting behind the veteran.

“I still have a long way to go,” Betts said. “He’s where he needs to be, that’s why he’s been around for so long. I see what it takes. He’s showing me the steps of what it takes. That’s the type of person he is, the type of player he is.”

Both players want the starting job. Victorino has made no secret that he believes it’s his. But they’re not rooting against each other, as often happens when a veteran is pitted against a youngster.

“It says a lot,” Betts said. “Going in, I didn’t know what to expect. But now that I’ve gotten to talk to him ‘€“ I didn’t act any way at all, and he hasn’t acted any way at all. It’s just like we’ve always been. We both talked, no matter what, let’s win. Whatever it takes is what it takes. He said, ‘If it takes me sitting and helping you and guiding you the way, that’s perfect.’ And if it takes me sitting and watching him and doing what he does, that’s fine with me as well.

“As long as we win and both get better, that’s the main thing.”

Read More: mookie betts, Red Sox, Shane Victorino, spring training 2015
Mike Napoli on Hot Stove show: I considered retirement after last season 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 agree to three-year deal with Wade Miley, avoid arbitration 02.05.15 at 4:33 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The Red Sox agreed to a three-year deal with left-hander Wade Miley, buying out the left-hander’s remaining arbitration years.

Miley will earn $3.5 million in 2015, followed by salaries of $6 million in 2016 and $8.75 million in 2017. The Red Sox hold a $12 million option for 2018, with an $800,000 buyout, according to colleague Rob Bradford.

“I’m just excited to get the commitment and everything, and hopefully everything works out and we’re going to win some ballgames,” Miley said on a conference call Thursday. “I’m just thrilled to be a part of this Red Sox Nation and be a part of the organization and excited to get it going.”

The Red Sox acquired the 28-year-old from the Diamondbacks for prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster in December, shortly after losing left-hander Jon Lester in free agency. Miley, who finished second in the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year voting, is coming off a 2014 that saw him post a full-season career-worst 4.34 ERA, but also strike out a career-best 183.

The Red Sox believe his combination of durability (3 straight seasons with at least 194 innings), stuff, and youth makes him a breakout candidate in 2015.

“The best predictor of future durability and performance is past durability and performance,” Cherington said.

The GM is excited to see how Miley fares outside of Arizona’s Chase Field, which is a hitter’s park.

“We looked at a guy who has been a consistent performer in a tough place to pitch,” Cherington said. “You look at the last two years in Arizona, guys who have been there, it hasn’€™t been an easy place to pitch and you see guys who left there and pitch even better after they left. So we’€™ll see what happens but we’€™re confident Wade can be an important part of our rotation and help give us a chance to win ballgames.”

Miley was the last Red Sox player eligible for arbitration, extending the team’s streak without reaching a hearing to 13 years. The last player to do so was right-hander Rolando Arrojo in 2002.

Read More: Red Sox, wade miley,
Pedro Martinez among honorees at Writers Dinner 01.21.15 at 4:30 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez is one of the leading candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot that was announced Monday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez will be honored at Thursday’s writers dinner at BU. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez will be the guest of honor at Thursday night’s Boston Baseball Writers Dinner, which will be held at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.

Martinez, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, will receive the Judge Emil Fuchs Award for long and meritorious service to baseball.

One of the most colorful players in Red Sox history, Martinez retired with the third-highest winning percentage in modern history (.687). He won two of his three Cy Young Awards with the Red Sox, and with the exception of an injury-shortened 2001, finished no worse than fourth in any of his seven seasons here.

Other current and former Red Sox expected to be in attendance include infielder Brock Holt, outfielder Mookie Betts, general manager Ben Cherington, and manager John Farrell. Bernie Carbo will be on hand to honor the 40th anniversary of the 1975 Red Sox, who lost a classic World Series to the Reds in seven games.

Also expected to be in attendance are Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter of the Orioles, whom the writers voted their Executive and Manager of the Year, respectively, as well as Marlins closer Steve Cishek, the Falmouth native voted the New England Player of the Year.

Boston is one of just three cities left that holds a Writers Dinner, along with New York and St. Louis. This is the 76th annual edition of the dinner, which is presented in partnership with the Sports Museum. Tickets remain available for $200 and can be purchased by contacting Renee Quinn at (617) 624-1231 or by e-mailing rfraker@dncboston.com.

Read More: baseball, pedro martinez, Red Sox,
Shane Victorino still on target to hit ground running in Fort Myers 01.04.15 at 10:09 pm ET
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Back. Hamstring. Thumb. As far as Shane Victorino is concerned, all such worries are in the past.

The Red Sox outfielder reports that everything in regard to his offseason training following back surgery has gone according to plan. Victorino wrote in a text Sunday: “So far full go. Picking up swinging this week. Throwing every day, and lifting, etc. So far, so good.”

There is also some video proof of his progress …

While much focus has been placed on the emergence of rookie outfielders Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts when trying to project the right field and center field for the Red Sox, it should be noted the importance of a healthy Victorino.

On a few occasions — including earlier this offseason – Victorino has proclaimed himself the starting right fielder for the Red Sox. And, even with the promise displayed by Castillo and Betts, if the 34-year-old offers his 2013 offensive and defensive production he could easily be classified as the team’s best all-around outfielder when healthy. (Remember, Hanley Ramirez still has to show he can catch a fly ball.)

During ’13, Victorino claimed a Gold Glove while manning Fenway Park‘s right field. He also finished with a .294 batting average and .801 OPS to go along with 15 homers and 21 stolen bases in 122 regular season games.

If Castillo or Betts finished with those sort of numbers, along with the defensive acumen, the Red Sox would be doing handstands.

While there would appear to be a major logjam in the outfield right now, with Daniel Nava, Allen Craig and Brock Holt joining Ramirez, Castillo, Betts and Victorino, the likelihood is that it is a group that will be paired down by at least one (the guess here is Craig) before Opening Day.

The team’s current thinking is that the collection of the four righty hitters (Ramirez, Castillo, Betts, Victorino) can spell each other — with Nava and Holt matching up potentially in both outfield and infield situations — enough to keep everyone healthy.

There could be a scenario where the Red Sox cruise through spring training without any hiccups, and they feel confident enough in their outfield depth that a trade is made involving Victorino. That, however, would still offer a fair amount of risk considering you would be leaning on two first-time, full-time big leaguers and a newbie outfielder with a history of injury.

There is a ways to go before the Opening Day picture clears itself up. But Victorino’s progress offers a reminder as to exactly when and why he was missed so much during his absence a season ago.

Read More: Red Sox, Shane Victorino,
Report: Pablo Sandoval discussed 5-year deal in $80-90 million range with Giants and Red Sox 11.18.14 at 1:40 pm ET
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Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is in Boston and we now know what type of contract he may be seeking.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter, Sandoval has discussed deals in the 5-year, $80-90 million range with both the Giants and the Red Sox. He adds, “things could come together quickly,” and the “Red Sox are a very serious player.”

Sandoval arrived in Boston last night and is expected to be meeting with the Red Sox today.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox,
Ben Cherington: Deven Marrero drawing ‘steady interest’ 11.11.14 at 6:01 pm ET
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Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

PHOENIX — Whether by coincidence or design, Deven Marrero talk seems to be gaining steam with each passing day at the general managers’ meetings.

With Marrero excelling in the Arizona Fall League — hitting .333 with a .446 on-base percentage as of Tuesday — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was asked about the status of the 24-year-old, former first-round pick.

“There’s just been steady interest,” said Cherington of his young shortstop. “These things have a way of working themselves out, but guys who can play that position at a high level and produce a little offensively, those are valuable guys, they’re good bets to have good major-league careers, so we like having them.”

Marrero was deemed major league-ready defensively by the organization during his spring training stint with the big league club. It was his offense which seemingly needed development, having hit .291 in 68 games with Double-A Portland before totaling just a .210 batting average in 50 games with Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Because of who he’s coming after, maybe he doesn’t always get as much attention as some other guys that we have do, but he’s had a very steady progression,” said Cherington, citing Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “You can go back to this was a high-profile guy in high school, always a talented defender at Arizona State, he performed through the minor leagues, he performed in Arizona. A shortstop with really good defensive skills who’s got some ability with the bat. We’re glad to have him.”

(For Alex Speier’s look at how Marrero might compare to Brandon Crawford of the World Champion Giants, click here.)

Read More: ben cherington, deven marrero, gm meetings, Red Sox
Trying to make sense of Yoenis Cespedes’ situation 10.27.14 at 12:02 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

October has not been kind to the public perception of Yoenis Cespedes.

Trade rumors. Surfaced concerns over his game. And now a report suggesting that not only would the Red Sox hesitate offering the four- to five-year deal they had been contemplating offering due to Cespedes’ switch in agents, but that (according to a “Red Sox insider”) “he marches to his own drum and the coaches all hate him.” (To read the entire New York Daily News report, click here.)

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at the reality of Cespedes’ situation.

When last we saw the Red Sox left fielder, he was catching a bit of heat for some poorly played balls in left field while finishing his two-month stint in Boston with five home runs, 33 RBIs, 48 strikeouts, seven walks, four stolen bases, a .269 batting average, a .296 on-base percentage and a .719 OPS.

His new fan base loved his arm and ability to supply a much-needed commodity for an offense devoid of timing — the ability to drive in runners when it counted, hitting .338 with a .907 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position (for the season).

Cesepdes also seemingly supplied some additional protection for David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup, while possessing the much-needed skill set of being able to hit a baseball over the fence.

And, as was the case in Oakland, he was a popular figure in the Red Sox clubhouse among his teammates.

But there were other factors that didn’t make a long-term commitment to the outfielder a no-brainer.

The initial issue came when, after the Red Sox publicly gushed about the notion that Cespedes would be using his excellent side-to-side speed in right field at Fenway Park, he never played a moment at the position. Instead, there were a few days of shagging balls next to Pesky’s Pole before abandoning the workouts in right altogether.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. J.A. Happ 08.25.14 at 3:40 pm ET
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The Red Sox will open up a three-game set against the Blue Jays up in Toronto on Monday, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against J.A. Happ in the series opener.

After posting back-to-back solid outings on Aug. 9 and 15, Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) took a step back in his last start Wednesday against the Angels. The right-hander started off strong, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but fell apart in the fifth, giving up five runs en route to 8-3 Red Sox loss.

“The difference between everything going on this year and last year is a lot of balls finding holes or are home runs or doubles, they were hit at somebody last year and I got a lot of double plays that way,” Buchholz said after the game. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes. You don’t ever want it to be a full season but that’s the way it is sometimes, and I’ve got to keep grinding.”

Inconsistency has been the name of the game for Buchholz this season, as the right-hander has given up at least six earned runs in three of his last five starts.

Buchholz took the loss in his last outing against the Blue Jays on July 23, giving up four earned runs in six innings. In 22 career appearances (21 starts) against Toronto, Buchholz is 10-8 with 3.22 ERA.

Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA) also struggled in his last start Tuesday against the Brewers, giving up six hits and four runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work.

“I don’t know,” Happ said after the game. “We’ve got to … I don’t know, just find a way. It starts with pitching. It started with me tonight. We got outplayed and it started with me, I guess. In a hole behind early and that’s tough against anybody, let alone a first-place team. Everybody’s gotta do their part and I came up short tonight.”

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Read More: Blue Jays, Clay Buchholz, J.A. Happ, Red Sox
Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview at 1:11 pm ET
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A trek away from Fenway Park might be just what the slumping Red Sox need at this point in the season.

What began with a promising 2-1 start on an 11-game homestand quickly was scuttled thanks to an eight-game losing streak that resulted in a massively disappointing 2-9 mark against the Astros, Angels and Mariners during their season-long stretch at Fenway.

Boston’€™s last three games were especially deflating, as the Red Sox blew 3-0 leads in consecutive games and left 15 runners on base Sunday en route to a three-game sweep by the Mariners — Seattle’s first sweep at Fenway since the franchise’€™s inception in 1977.

“That’s just the game. So many things you can’t control,” said third baseman Will Middlebrooks after Sunday’€™s game, adding: “What are you going to do?”

The remainder of the 2014 season will see the Red Sox mostly taking on their familiar foes in the AL East, as 25 of Boston’€™s final 32 games will be against division opponents, starting with a three-game set against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays have slumped as of late, posting a 3-7 record over their last 10 games — including a series loss against the Rays that culminated in a 2-1 extra-innings defeat Sunday.

The heart of Toronto’€™s lineup was ineffective against Tampa Bay’€™s pitching as Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion were a combined 0-for-17 Sunday.

The Red Sox will be looking for a different outcome from the last time they faced off against Toronto on July 28-30, as the Blue Jays outscored Boston 24-4 during a three-game sweep.

Here are the probable pitchers for the three-game series.

Monday: Clay Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA)
Tuesday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.08 ERA)
Wednesday: Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (7-5, 4.11 ERA)

WHO’€™S HOT: RED SOX

– Yoenis Cespedes was acquired by Boston at the July 31 trade deadline to drive in runs. So far, he’€™s been doing a great job of it. Since his first game with the Red Sox on Aug. 2, Cespedes has driven in 18 of Boston’€™s 79 runs — 23 percent of the team’€™s total scoring output. Despite his aggressive approach at the plate, the Cuban left fielder has more RBIs than strikeouts (16) in his 21 games in Boston.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Jose Bautista, Red Sox, Yoenis Cespedes
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