|Source: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox haven’t talked contract extension||05.21.13 at 8:45 pm ET|
CHICAGO – According to a major league source, the Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, have not engaged in talks regarding a possible extension for the outfielder. Ellsbury will be eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of this season.
Prior to the Red Sox’ game with the White Sox Tuesday night, manager John Farrell didn’t suggest anxiety regarding the uncertain contract status was the cause of the outfielder’s struggles, but said it could be somewhat of a factor.
“To say that’s the sole reason, no,” said Farrell of Ellsbury, who entered Tuesday hitting .241 with one home run and a .303 on-base percentage. “I wouldn’t say that’s the issue of what he’s dealing with right now. Also, know that he’s human and he understands where he’s at in his career and what’s ahead of him.
“The point that we continually try to make is that the routine of today is the most important point, and that’s the focal point, so what’s going to take place throughout the remainder of the season and into the offseason. Time will indicate that and that will be addressed at the appropriate time. I can’t say that pending free agency has caused him to have the inconsistencies at the plate.”
Ellsbury signed a one-year, $9 million contract in the offseason in what was his last year of arbitration-eligibility. He is one of five Red Sox players — joining Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalmacchia and Mike Napoli — who will be eligible for free agency at the end of the ’13 season.
Appearing on WEEI in July, 2011, former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said the team had previously approached Boras about a possible extension.
“It is not a secret that we have sat down and tried in the past and tried to lock Jacoby up in the past, and we will sit down in the future and try and do it again at the appropriate time,” Epstein said at the time. “He is somebody that we have believed in as a core, young member in the organization that we look to keep around. We have certain organizational standards that have to be met, and we have worked hard to keep those standards with Pedroia and Youkilis and Lester … so we’d love to one day announce that Jacoby will be with this organization for a long time and this
Last season, Boras told WEEI.com that he hadn’t participated in any talks with the Red Sox regarding a long-term deal for Ellsbury.
“We’ve only had the traditional discussions of one-year contracts,” Boras during a July 20 interview. “Ben and I will certainly begin contract discussions at year’s end because we have to. We have at minimum a one-year contract to discuss. We’re going to play through the season. Ben’s operating his team and I’m signing draft picks, operating my team.”
Farrell also said prior to Tuesday night’s game that he had contemplated moving Ellsbury down in the batting order, but was choosing to offer the lefty hitter a vote of confidence for the time being.
“Have considered it, yes,” said Farrell, who did reveal that the health of Shane Victorino also weighed into making a move. “And we’re sticking with him to hopefully give him the opportunity to come out of the situation he’s in right now. But I can say this: whether he’s hitting first or whether he’s hitting somewhere else in the lineup, there are still things we have to address and he has to address. Those are ongoing.”
CHICAGO – Felix Doubront has changed his ways – no more peaking at the radar gun readings.
“Before I did when I was trying to throw harder when I was throwing 91 (mph) and (velocity) wasn’t there,” said Tuesday night’s Red Sox starter. “But now I’m not worried about it. I stopped looking at it. Before I as looking a lot and I would see 90 and I would have to forget about it. But Thursday (his last start) there was just a couple of times I looked, and it was for changeups to see if I threw it too hard. Not the fastball. I’m not focused on that.”
Much has been made of Doubront’s dip in velocity. He has hit 94 mph just three times this season after reaching the number 493 times a year ago.
But the lefty has had an awakening.
Doubront is fifth among major league starters in strikeouts per nine innings (10.13). But what truly feeds the hurler’s new mindset is the fact that 30 of his 42 punch-outs have come on his fastball, even with the decreased heat.
“I was watching [Toronto starter Mark] Buehrle and I realized I don’t need 95. Nice changeup. Nice curveball. Nice cutter. Whatever. Just to get them out,” Doubront said.
“Everybody knows I’m not throwing 95, but it can seem like that because of the other stuff. Like (last) Thursday, there were a lot of guys who were looking for fastballs and they got a changeup or a breaking ball. Then the next at-bat they were looking for breaking balls and they were looking for fastballs. Pitching backwards has helped strikeout more guys.
“I started getting swing and misses and strikeouts and made me realize I can strike guys out like before. I don’t have to overthrow, but I just have to hit the spot.”
Doubront has actually been getting more swings and misses on his fastball than a year ago, with 21 percent of his whiffs coming on the heater compared to 15 percent a year ago. (His overall swing and miss rate is relatively the same this year compared to ’12.)
The understanding has allowed to Doubront to remain in elite company when it comes to striking batters out, as was evidenced when six of his seven strikeouts against Tampa Bay last week came on fastballs.
“It’s not like I’m looking to strikeout every batter,” he said. “It just happens I’m throwing the right pitch. I’m not throwing hard right now, but I still get swings and misses.I put (velocity0 out of my mind. I don’t have 95 or 96 yet. I’m just going to pitch with my stuff. “
CHICAGO – After the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss Monday night, Shane Victorino was trying to come to grips with both a tight left hamstring and the frustration that comes with it.
Victorino surmised the hamstring injury that forced him from the game in the sixth inning wouldn’t be anything too serious. But the notion that it might not be a long-term issue did nothing to temper the uneasiness of dealing with yet another injury.
“It seems like if isn’t one thing, it’s another right now,” said Victorino, who had just returned from a sore back Sunday after missing two games. “They all say it’s all connected. That’s what’s frustrating for me. What is it? I just want to get back to being healthy and being out there and being a healthy player and feeling good. I don’t think this is anything serious, nor do the trainers. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Victorino said he has had no issues with his left hamstring, although he did go on the disabled list in 2011 with a right hamstring problem. He said the two aren’t comparable.
The right fielder didn’t feel any discomfort in the hamstring this time until running out an inning-ending fly ball off the bat of Dustin Pedroia. He had reached base by legging out an infield single.
“Going first to third on Pedroia’s deep fly ball, I just felt like my leg was, I felt something grab,” he said. “I tried to keep running, and it felt like my leg didn’t have the strength that it needed to have. I was trying to pull my leg up, and I felt a little something grab. I was a little worried, but after talking with the trainers and having them look at it, it’s to be determined right now. Obviously you can tell the frustration. I just want answers. I don’t know if it’s all connected. Again, just another bump in the road.”
Victorino actually took his place in right field for the home half of the sixth before Red Sox manager John Farrell and trainer Rick Jameyson jogged out to the position to remove the outfielder, moving Daniel Nava over to right field while putting Jonny Gomes in left.
“Given what he’s been dealing with, low back,” Farrell said, “I wasn’t going to take any chances in that situation.”
Said Victorino: “If I had to guess right now, I don’t really think this will be a really serious matter. But I don’t want to make it worse and miss a lot of time for no reason.”
|Closing Time: White Sox put an end to Red Sox’ win streak; Shane Victorino injures hamstring||05.20.13 at 11:03 pm ET|
CHICAGO — As well as things had been going for the Red Sox, they sure went the other way in a hurry Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Adam Dunn put the Red Sox and their starter, Jon Lester, in a first-inning hole via a three-run home run, and the White Sox never looked back. Chicago went on to claim the series opener, 6-4, snapping the Sox’ five-game win streak.
Lester not only gave up the three runs in the first, but came back and allowed two more in the second. The lefty finished his six-inning outing giving up six runs (5 earned) on seven hits, striking out a pair and walking three. The outing boosted Lester’s ERA from 2.72 to 3.15, while handing him his first loss of the season.
“Felt like I threw the ball OK for the most part with the exception of the pitch to Dunn,” Lester said, adding, “With the exception of the first, I feel like I battled. It was just kind of one of those nights, just a battle.”
Offensively, the best the Red Sox could do against White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod was a two-run, opposite-field home run from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the third inning. Axelrod had also pitched well in his only other start against the Red Sox, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings on July 16 of last season.
The White Sox came into the game having won the opening game of a series just three times in 14 chances. The Red Sox, meanwhile, came in tied with the Cardinals for best road record (14-7), having won six of their seven series away from Fenway Park.
Also not helping matters for the Red Sox was the fact Shane Victorino was forced from the game with left hamstring tightness. The right fielder was taken out during warmups leading into the home half of the sixth inning, having just legged out an infield single in the top of the inning.
“If I had to guess right now, I don’t really think this will be a really serious matter,” Victorino said. “But I don’t want to make it worse and miss a lot of time for no reason.”
Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 18th loss of the season (27-18).
WHAT WENT WRONG
– Dunn’s home run was just the designated hitter’s third hit of the season against a left-handed pitcher, two of which have been home runs.
– The White Sox managed their two runs in the second all with two outs. After retiring Jeff Keppinger and Tyler Flowers on groundouts, Lester surrendered three consecutive doubles, from Tyler Greene, Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez.
– Will Middlebrooks‘ seventh error of the season, coming on a Ramirez grounder to lead off the fifth inning, ultimately led to the White Sox’ sixth run. Ramirez would steal second and eventually come in on Dayan Viciedo‘s single. The seven errors tie Middlebrooks with Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas for most in the American League by a third baseman.
– Jacoby Ellsbury had another tough night, grounding out to second four times.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Middlebrooks helped the Red Sox draw within a pair of runs when he lined a double off the top of the left-field wall, just out of the reach of Viciedo. With the ball bouncing back toward the infield after the misguided attempt, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli (both of whom had walked), ran home. Of the third baseman’s 35 hits, 20 have gone for extra bases. Middlebrooks almost tied the game in the ninth, as well, hitting a ball to the wall in center, just shy of what would have been a two-run blast.
“I thought I [tied the game], but the wind was blowing in,” Middlebrooks said of his ninth-inning bid. “I knew it was going to be close. I hit it too high to hit it over the guy’s head and he was playing no doubles.”
– Saltalamacchia continued his solid stretch of late, with the catcher not only hitting the third-inning home run but also singling. He came close to tying the game in the seventh, sending De Aza to the warning track in center, just shy of what would have been another two-run blast. Saltalamacchia came into the game hitting .355 over his previous 10 games.
“The wind was blowing in, I thought it might have had a chance,” Saltalamacchia said of his seventh-inning out, “but unfortunately not. Wind changed on us.”
|David Ross cleared to participate in baseball activities||at 8:45 pm ET|
CHICAGO – Red Sox catcher David Ross, who suffered a concussion after being hit by two foul balls in the mask May 11, has resumed some baseball activities after being re-examined.
“He was cleared by the impact testing, symptoms have resolved,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He threw today. He rode a bike for 30 minutes, no repeat of symptoms. We’ll look to repeat the intensity of the work tomorrow so he’s turning the corner.
“So baseball activities will start to come into play a little bit more. By the end of this road trip, what we’ve got to figure out is it better off for him to go get a game or two (in the minors) just to see some game-speed. He’s moving in the right direction.”
Ross has been on the seven-day concussion disabled list after experiencing the injury
Ryan Lavarnway has been playing in place of Ross, having caught two times (with the Red Sox going 1-1 in those starts).
“[Ross] is throwing and hitting off the tee,” Farrell said. “It’s been initiated. It’s just not full speed yet.”
|Jonny Gomes reveals his career aspirations||at 7:16 pm ET|
CHICAGO – Just moments after John Farrell sang Jonny Gomes’ praises — mostly reminding the collection of media about the outfielder’s intangibles — the player appeared in the dugout on the way to batting practice.
It was at that moment Gomes offered one of the reasons he was the way he was. He wants to be in Farrell’s shoes one day.
“I want to manage one day,” said the 32-year-old. “There’s been a couple of coaches in the minor leagues who have said, ‘When you get to the big leagues, pass on what I tell you.’ I really took that to heart early. For all the info anybody gave me, “Will do. Yes sir. Got it.” Then being underneath Lou [Pinella], Joe [Maddon], Dusty Baker, Davey Johnson, Bob Melvin and Farrell. Two teams in the American League. Three in the National League. Three division titles in five years. Been playoffs in both leagues.
“I just enjoy running the game. Running the bullpen. Running the bench. All of that stuff. I’ve been paying attention to it a lot. And I don’t want to get out of this game, because I love it.”
The way Farrell talks, it appears to be a logical career path.
“Seemingly, he’s been involved in something all the time,” the Red Sox manager said. “In his current situation, I think the batting average is a little misleading. I look at the on-base. He gets on base. He’s got a high number of walks, and it’s been both against righties and lefties. Even though his career strength is against left-handed pitching. But he finds himself in the middle of some kind of rally. He’ll break up a double play at second base. I think he brings a little bit of an intangible and an edge to his game that you feel and that plays out on the field. He’s done what we expected in this role and we know based on track record, those performance numbers will start to come into line a little bit more as we get deeper into the season.”
|Stephen Drew: ‘I don’t plan on sitting out too much longer’||05.19.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — Stephen Drew was out of the Red Sox’ lineup for a second straight game after aggravating his back during an eighth-inning slide. The shortstop was optimistic, however, regarding the possibility of returning within the next few days.
“I hope so. I don’t plan on sitting out much longer,” said Drew when asked if believed a return was imminent. “I know I needed that day [Saturday], and then we have the quick turnaround [Sunday afternoon]. Give it one more day and hopefully it kind of settles down and we get back after it.”
Drew described as a “hyperextension on my spine,” having slid in awkwardly while legging out a double.
For May, the shortstop is hitting .321 with a .969 OPS. He was replaced in the lineup by Pedro Ciriaco, who collected a pair of hits while subbing Saturday.
“It’s not so much a surprise as it is being cautious because it’s your back,” Drew said. “Yesterday going into the cage, throwing and trying to do that motion, it wasn’t feeling so good. Throwing more so than the hitting, twisting and stuff. I actually threw first to see how that felt and it was just in the same place I felt it the night before.”
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