|Hanley Ramirez holds court on David Ortiz and Red Sox: ‘David, he left everything here’||02.16.17 at 11:24 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez misses David Ortiz, but he’s determined to honor the memory of his former teammate.
Making his first appearance of the spring at JetBlue Park, a muscular and fit Ramirez paid tribute to Ortiz while also making it clear the Red Sox must forge their own identity without him.
“I think David, what we did last year was really, really, really nice,” Ramirez said. “But we don’t have the championship. We’re here to win championships and we still have that bad taste in our throat. This year we’re going to go harder even more. Because we want to get the job done. David, he left everything here. We’re just going to keep grinding and let everybody know David was a winner, great teammate who kept everybody together and we’re going to do the same thing.”
For more on Ortiz, and why Ramirez says, “he’s my everything,” check out this story.
Meanwhile, Ramirez touched on a number of other subjects.
— On Pablo Sandoval: “Like I told him, out of five, six games, I just need two good games out of him, at least. We’ve just got to build his confidence back, let him know we got his back, we need him to win. We’re going to need him.”
— On advice Ortiz gave him about DHing for most of the season: “Do you really want to know what he told me? Someday you’re going to get crazy because all you can do is hit and when things are not going good, what can you do? You just go out there and try not to think about it until your next at-bat. Honestly he told me at first it’s going to be a little hard because when you can play defense you can help the team in two ways. But DH it’s pretty much just offense but I’ve just got to find a way to separate between those at-bats and cheer from the dugout.”
— On the team’s young stars, including Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Xander Bogaerts: “It’s unbelievable how good our young guys are. It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen something like it. Everyone has a routine. As soon as they go into the clubhouse, they’re doing something. They’re in the cage, they’re lifting. Everybody — Jackie, Bogey, Mookie, Benintendi. For us, it makes it easy in those moments. When we really need somebody [like Ortiz] is when we’re going through tough times. We need that guy to step it out and talk and let us know to keep our heads up.”
|Xander Bogaerts believes playing in the World Baseball Classic could once again be a good omen for Red Sox||02.15.17 at 10:50 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — On the surface, Xander Bogaerts’ decision to play in the World Baseball Classic appears questionable.
Bogaerts began wearing down towards the end of the first half last year and never stopped. His OPS dropped over 130 points from the first half (.863) to the second (.729), and he ended the year on fumes, hitting just .230 after Aug. 1 while playing a career-high 157 games.
So why travel halfway around the world to Korea to play for the Netherlands in the first round of the WBC next month? Because last time it worked out pretty well for Bogaerts and the Red Sox.
“Probably the main reason is in 2013, we won it all,” Bogaerts said of the surprising World Series title that ended that season. “I went there and I played. Hopefully we can have the same results this year. Those guys I grew up playing with, playing against all the time now, because I’m from Aruba, they’re from Curacao, we always used to play against each other. This is a chance I could play with them now on a team and hopefully make it far for our country.”
Bogaerts was just a kid in 2013 and the WBC opened his eyes.
“It helped me, to be honest, in 2013 because I never played in a big crowd,” he said. “I remember playing in Japan in the Tokyo Dome. It was so packed. You could barely hear the guy next to you because all the fans were so loud, especially when you are playing the home team. It’s going to help you because of that crowd, the way you can learn how to dominate it or play through it, it will help you.”
Bogaerts also believes playing competitively early in camp could help him lock in his swing. He expects to leave Red Sox camp in about two weeks.
“I mean, I always have issues with my timing, regardless of whether I stay here or go there,” he said. “I always have a time before I get going. That’s always the way I’ve been. I tend not to stress too much on that because I kind of know myself by now. I think to get going quicker this year would definitely help us reach pretty far over there.”
With David Ortiz gone, Bogaerts said his goal is to steal more bases. As for the team, it’s no surprise that he hopes to surpass last year’s first-round playoff ouster.
“[Management] want us to go out there and be the best,” he said. “They want us always to have a chance in our division, go on, and go deep into the playoffs. Winning is always No. 1 here. That’s always how it’s been since I’ve been in this organization.
“Reaching [the playoffs] is not even easy. There are a lot of good teams out there. It’s not something easy to do, or something you can do annually. I mean, the Patriots do it, but they’re football. I’m just going to go out there and compete and trust ourselves and our coaching staff and the guys that are in here and enjoy the moment, because it doesn’t come often.”
|Eduardo Rodriguez set to return to mound; Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz not far behind||02.14.17 at 4:12 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Perhaps some clarity is coming to the back of the Red Sox rotation.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Drew Pomeranz now know when they’ll each take the mound after starting spring training slightly behind the other starters.
Rodriguez, who injured his knee during winter ball, will throw off a mound on Wednesday, manager John Farrell said. He was held out of pitcher fielding drills on Tuesday so he could do more agility work.
“There’s three guys in particular that this first five or six days on the field, we’ve got some specialized routines for them individually,” Farrell said. “He’s one of them, along with Drew and Steven Wright. But he’ll be on the mound tomorrow.”
Rodriguez said he “feels great” and doesn’t need a brace on his leg. “I feel fine,” he said. “My knee is fine. I’ve just got to work with them, go inside, and do the best I can do.”
That leaves Wright (shoulder) and Pomeranz (elbow). Each is scheduled to take the mound for the first time on Monday.
“Yesterday was an aggressive throwing day for Steven,” Farrell said. “He came out of it in good shape. Felt no ill effects today. Even though they’re taking another week of ground-based stuff as well as building some arm strength without getting on the mound, their progression is solid.”
Wright spent the winter rehabbing from a shoulder injury he suffered when diving back into second base as a pinch runner in Los Angeles last August. He told WEEI.com on Tuesday that he’s keeping a positive attitude.
Pomeranz, meanwhile, received an stem cell injection in his elbow over the winter.
|Chris Sale comes from a long line of skinny people, including a grandfather nicknamed ‘Streamlined’||at 1:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale is listed at 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, and the second number might be high.
So how did the new Red Sox ace get so thin? Genetics.
Speaking to reporters for the first time at JetBlue Park on Tuesday, Sale shared a bit of his family history, which is littered with beanpoles.
“[Eduardo] Rodriguez just asked me, ‘How was the food?'” Sale said. “I was like, ‘I’m not skinny because I don’t eat.’ I come from a long line of skinny people. My dad, when he got married, he was under a size-30 waist. My grandfather’s nickname was ‘Streamlined.’ He was a swimmer. Tall, skinny guys for days. My dad I think is 6-3, my grandfather was 6-4, both my grandfathers are 6-4, 6-5, all my uncles. I think my shortest uncle is like 6-2.”
Sale may be built like a wispy small forward, but there’s nothing slight about his game He went 17-1o with a 3.34 ERA last year and league-leading six complete games.
His length helps him bedevil hitters, thanks to a cross-body delivery that makes him destructive on left-handers in particular.
And for that, he’s got his ancestors to thank.
“We’ve got tall, skinny guys all over the place,” Sale said.
|Dave Dombrowski: Red Sox ‘never came close’ to trading Andrew Benintendi for Chris Sale||02.13.17 at 3:32 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Andrew Benintendi never had anything to worry about this offseason. He wasn’t going anywhere.
When the Chris Sale trade went down in December, Benintendi was eating at a Subway in St. Louis with a college teammate. He briefly wondered if he was part of the deal, and his agent texted him to say that he’d have an answer within two minutes.
The answer was no, Dombrowski made clear on Monday afternoon, because it was always going to be no.
“Well, we were never planning on it,” Dombrowski said. “That was not a goal of ours to trade him. We like him a lot. I know we’ve traded a lot of good, young players, but I think it’s important to break young players in. He’s going to be one of the young players to break in the door. We’ll have some other young guys breaking in on a year-in, year-out basis. But our goal was that he really was our left fielder. We never came close to trading him.”
This became a story after Benintendi’s comments earlier in the day were misconstrued. His agent never told him he was almost traded. He was merely saying they’d have an answer within two minutes, when the names of the players involved would be released.
In any event, Dombrowski elaborated on what makes Benintendi special and why it was easier to deal Yoan Moncada (and right-hander Michael Kopech) to Chicago for Sale.
“He’s a very talented individual in many ways,” he said. “The way I looked at it at that perspective, we were looking at him as a starter with our big league club. We looked at him as being our left fielder this year. For me, we had Moncada, who we liked a great deal. But Moncada, we didn’t look at it the same way where we really penciled in to have Benintendi in left field for us. Moncada, we thought, needed some more development. But Benintendi is an all-around player.
“I think he’s got a beautiful swing. He’ll hit with some power. He’ll drive the ball. I don’t know if he’s going to be a big, big power guy but he’ll hit with enough power. He’s a good defensive player. He throws well. Good instincts on the bases. He’s a driven guy, great makeup. So I think he really has the capability to be a fine player for all those reasons.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jerry Remy’s lung cancer has returned.
NESN announced on Monday that the popular broadcaster, who is due to start his 30th season in the booth, is being treated for a relapse of the disease.
The 64-year-old was first diagnosed in 2008. The lifelong smoker had a cancerous growth removed that year and missed part of the 2009 season while recovering from depression. He was treated for a relapse in April of 2013, though he didn’t miss time due to illness.
The diagnosis comes just weeks after NESN announced it had extended Remy’s contract.
“I’m very excited and pleased to be able to continue doing the job that I love, now heading into my 30th year and beyond with NESN,” Remy said then in a statement. “I want to thank NESN and the Red Sox for all their support in the past and going forward.”
Remy will address his cancer’s return in an interview with NESN’s Tom Caron that will air at 5:30, 6, and 10 p.m. According to the station, he also plans to stress the importance of periodic screenings and checkups.
|Andrew Benintendi recalls waiting in Subway to find out if he’d been traded for Chris Sale||at 10:32 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Andrew Benintendi was as excited as anyone when the Red Sox acquired left-hander Chris Sale from the White Sox in December.
But first he had to sweat out whether he’d be part of the deal.
Benintendi said on Monday that he was eating in a St. Louis Subway with a college teammate when news of the deal broke. The texts and calls began flooding in, including one from his agent.
“He’s like, ‘You’re either going to go or not in the next two minutes,'” Benintendi said. “I was just like, ‘Well, there’s not much I can do.’ After that two minutes was up, I saw everything on Twitter. People were texting me. Obviously, it was a big move for both sides. I’m excited he’s on our side and I’m not facing him.”
Benintendi, who is about as chill as personality as you’ll meet in a baseball clubhouse, was asked if those were the longest two minutes of his life.
“Nah,” he said with a shrug. “It wasn’t that bad.”
Big things are expected of Benintendi in 2017. ESPN’s Keith Law recently named him the No. 1 prospect in baseball, and he’s the runaway favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award after a knee injury last August ended up preserving his rookie eligibility.
“I don’t think about it at all,” Benintendi said of the hype. “I think that’s all for other people to look at. That’s all talk. I’ve just got to go out and play well. That’s what it comes down to. I don’t pay attention to that and don’t let it get to me.”
Benintendi hit .295 with an .835 OPS last year. He then homered in his first postseason at-bat, though he also didn’t hustle a throw back to the infield in Game 1, allowing catcher Roberto Perez to tag and take second before scoring a pivotal run in a 5-4 loss.
“Obviously coming up was a dream come true of mine,” Benintendi said. “I enjoyed the two months I was up and playing in the playoffs. Looking back, I think I learned a lot. I’m looking forward to this year.”
|A much, much thinner Pablo Sandoval arrives eight days early to Red Sox camp||02.09.17 at 10:45 am ET|
Pablo Sandoval appears anxious to prove just how committed he is to the 2017 Red Sox.
Arriving a full eight days early, Sandoval took his first cuts of the spring, looking noticeably svelte, especially compared to this time last year.
Ian Browne of MLB.com got the clearest picture of Pablo. We’ll update in a bit if he talks after his workout.
— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) February 9, 2017
|Pedro Martinez on Trenni & Tomase: ‘I still believe David [Ortiz] is going to give it another try’ and return to baseball||01.21.17 at 9:58 pm ET|
Still dreaming of David Ortiz rejoining the Red Sox? Perhaps this will make you feel better — Pedro Martinez believes it’s going to happen.
Speaking on the Trenni & Tomase program on Saturday from Foxwoods, where the Red Sox were holding their Winter Weekend, Martinez made it clear that he’s 100 percent skeptical of Ortiz’s decision to retire, and believes it’s only a matter of time before he laces up his cleats again.
“David says he’s retired,” Martinez said. “But I still believe David is going to give it another try. I don’t know why I have that feeling that David might want to do that. I just don’t see David, having the type of season that he had, and having the success that he was still having, sitting at home wasting it. David is too smart. I still believe David is going to feel the little itch of coming back to spring training.”
What gives Martinez such confidence in this bold prediction, which flies in the face of literally everything Ortiz has said since announcing his retirement before last season?
“Because imagine, I’m one of his closest friends,” Martinez said. “And I’m going to have to come to spring training, so he’s going to be left in the Dominican alone. I know that he needs some time off. If he stays at home with his wife, his kids, it’s going to get boring sooner or later, and I believe he’s going to come over.
“I think the toughest thing is going to be when he finds himself with so much time, and not having a regimen to follow,” Martinez added. “That’s going to be really difficult for David, a man that’s used to swinging the bat 500 times a day, mingling with his friends and teammates and all that. It’s just going to be difficult.”
Martinez knows how hard it is to walk away. He retired after pitching in the 2009 World Series for the Phillies and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer five years later.
“[Ortiz] always laughs when I tell him that comfy is not that simple,” Martinez said. “To just sit at home and see every other player, every other friend you have go away, and then you’re sitting at home and not having something to do, it’s really difficult to deal with.”
So what Martinez is saying is there’s a chance, then? He’s not closing the door on Big Papi pulling on No. 34 again?
“No. No, I’m not,” he said. “And I won’t. Until the year goes by, I won’t.”
|Tom Werner on David Price hearing racist taunts at Fenway: ‘We have a zero-tolerance policy for that kind of behavior’||01.20.17 at 7:29 pm ET|
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Whatever David Price heard in Fenway Park last season, owners John Henry and Tom Werner insist they’ll do everything in their power to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Price told the Boston Globe last week that he heard racist taunts at Fenway last year, though he didn’t make it sound like a common occurrence. Speaking at Foxwoods before the team kicked off its Winter Weekend on Friday night, the owners expressed their dismay.
“I heard about this,” Werner said. “We haven’t talked to David, but we have a zero-tolerance policy for that kind of behavior. If we hear that somebody is taunting somebody, then he’ll be ejected from Fenway Park. As somebody who feels very strongly about this, there’s no grey area here. If this was happening with David, and I know he modified his remarks afterward and said this was something that happened to him as well previously, but there’s no behavior like that that will be tolerated.”
The owners also touched on a couple of other topics.
— On the belief that trading prospects has created a three-year window:
“I don’t think that has changed a lot since we first arrived,” Henry said. “This should be a very strong team for the next three years. There’s no way we could’ve signed every young player we have. We have so many. I think we’re good for the next three years. Beyond that, we have a terrific general manager and terrific resources, thanks to our fans. You have to feel good about this club.”
— On bringing David Ortiz out of retirement, which isn’t happening:
“He has not indicated that that’s of interest to him,” Werner said. “He knows that we’d love to figure out some way for him to be an important part of the organization going forward. We’re going to be seeing him next week [in the Dominican Republic] and beyond that, I think he’s having a good time in his offseason. I think he’s learning how to play tennis.”
— On signing Mookie Betts and/or Xander Bogaerts to contract extensions:
“It is important, but it takes two,” Henry said. “We’ll do everything we can.”
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