|Former Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison signs with Mets||01.29.13 at 11:28 am ET|
The New York Mets announced that they’ve agreed on a minor league deal with the right-hander that includes an invitation to big league spring training. While Atchison, 36, was an outstanding performer for the Red Sox in 2012, forging a 1.58 ERA in 51 1/3 innings (the fourth-best ERA among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched last year) while striking out 6.3 batters per nine innings and walking just 1.6 per nine, an ulnar collateral ligament strain that sidelined him for two months in the second half dampened his free agent market.
Atchison was told by Dr. James Andrews that he could pitch again with a course of rest and rehab, rather than surgery. He did, in fact, end up pitching in five games at the end of the season, logging 5 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out two and walking none.
The reliever told MLB.com on Monday that the Red Sox — after declining to tender him a contract in December, thus making him a free agent — had offered him only a minor league deal. Given that the team added right-handers Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara to an already deep bullpen mix, Atchison felt that he was better served to sign a minor league deal with a different club that presented a greater opportunity to make the Opening Day roster. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox notes: Setbacks for David Ortiz (minor) and Scott Atchison (MRI)||07.30.12 at 8:46 pm ET|
Bobby Valentine hinted Monday that he is hopeful that slugger David Ortiz could return from a strained right Achilles injury by the end of the week, despite a setback over the weekend in his strength and conditioning program. Ortiz told ESPN that he could not complete agility drills for his feet and instead had to take to running in a swimming pool for treatment and therapy on his right foot.
Ortiz, who leads the Red Sox in homers (23) and slugging (.609) and OPS (1.015), injured himself on July 16 while rounding second base on an eighth-inning, go-ahead homer by Adrian Gonzalez. He was placed on the disabled list the next day and is eligible to come off on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it was ever on goal,” Valentine said of Ortiz coming off the DL after 15 days. “Whenever he’s ready. He’s running in the pool and we’ll take it from there. He’s not far away but I don’t know that Wednesday is the magical day but it will be sometime soon. He’s swinging OK. It doesn’t seem like he’s lost a lot of his rhythm or strength or timing. But he’s only at about 80 percent because he’s trying to keep away from making the situation any worse.”
As for not performing the agility test, Valentine said the team was using precaution after Ortiz reported soreness.
“A little sore [Saturday],” Valentine said. “That’s why he went to the pool today to do that running routine.”
Infielder Mike Aviles continues to nurse turf-toe, with the team deciding not to place him on the disabled list.
“Mike’s dealing with a turf toe,” Valentine said. “It’s not a life-threatening situation but it sure is an incumberance. We’re just trying to see what we can do to get that feeling out of there.
“It’s not fun to deal with. The less he strains it in the athletic motions of playing, the better it can calm down. If it calms down, we’ll have a 100 percent Mike back. He could play the game, go in in an emergency, pinch-hit, do all those things. We wouldn’t pinch-run him necessarily but he could if we had to.”
The news did not seem as encouraging on Scott Atchison, the Red Sox right-handed reliever who allowed three runs in his rehab outing Friday night in Pawtucket. The next day he reported soreness in his right forearm. When he went on the disabled list on July 15, he was 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games.
“He had an MRI today and we’re waiting on the results,” Valentine said. “It seemed like he went in with a forearm and it moved back, up closer to the elbow. It seemed like 15 days ago it was just going to be he needed just a couple of days rest. And then we gave him a lot of rest, and then when he threw, it didn’t feel good the next day.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Jose Vinicio’s ‘Jose Reyes starter kit'; Brandon Jacobs’ huge July||07.28.12 at 3:45 pm ET|
Jose Vinicio went 2-for-4 with a homer, continuing what has been a very impressive year for a player who is in his first full season of pro ball and just turned 19. Though one of the smallest players in all of pro baseball (and with plenty of room to add weight and strength as he continues his physical maturation), he’s hitting .282/.327/.388/.714 with three homers in 61 games this year. He stole his 19th base of the year. And he continues to show really good hands that suggest the ability to stay at shortstop as he moves up. (Of all players in the Sox system, it seems safe to say that Vinicio is the least likely to outgrow the position physically.)
He’s an intriguing player who has impressed those who have seen him. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, in his guest appearance on Down on the Farm this week, said that he was told by a scout that Vinicio has a “Jose Reyes starter kit.”
He’s been using the entire field, he’s shown the ability to drive the ball on occasion when he barrels it and he has the ability to square the ball up that suggests that, if he does gain strength, there could be a very interesting player. That is in keeping with what the Sox saw when they scouted the switch-hitter leading up to their signing him for $1.95 million on the day he turned 16.
“You look at what players currently possess, make that relative to their strength and he was so skinny and weak but still showed bat speed, he showed the ability to move the barrel around the zone and make contact. Because of that, we said he’s got some components to be not strictly a defensive player. He showed us that he was able to hit in games. We thought he was a guy who could hit,” said international scouting director Eddie Romero. “Vinicio always had surprising pop, and he always showed the ability to barrel up against live pitching. As skinny as he was, he used a huge bat and would still square balls up from both sides of the plate.”
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Goldstein will join Down on the Farm to discuss the industry value of Red Sox prospects as potential trade chips. Lars Anderson will also join the program to reflect on the experience of his near-trade to the Athletics a year ago, and on the human dimensions of a minor leaguer’s life inside of a trade rumor. Tune in to WEEI 93.7 FM on Sunday at 8:30 am, or listen online at WEEI.com. The interviews will also be posted in their entirety to weei.com/podcast.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN AT INDIANAPOLIS (PIRATES) Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: Rangers demolish Jon Lester, Mark Melancon in blowout win vs. Red Sox||04.17.12 at 10:38 pm ET|
It wasn’t quite the worst outing of Jon Lester‘s career, but it wasn’t far from meriting such a title, as the Red Sox had little hope of recovering from his dismal start en route to a 18-3 loss to the Rangers. The left-hander lasted just two-plus innings, matching the shortest start of his career, and he allowed seven runs on eight hits and four walks while striking out two.
The Rangers made him labor in extraordinary fashion, foremost in a four-run, 49-pitch second inning. Overall, he required 80 pitches to record his six outs, becoming just the third major league pitcher since 2000 to make a start of no more than two innings while requiring at least 80 pitches. The last was Chris Young on April 15, 2007.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Lester, Lester, Lester. The left-hander was entrusted with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first only to see the Rangers roar back for four runs in the next half-inning. He’s now been given leads by the Sox just twice in his three starts, but both times, Lester allowed the opposing team to take the lead back in the next half-inning.
On Tuesday, his most significant issue was an ability to Lester put away Rangers hitters once he got ahead of them. He got to two-strike counts on 11 hitters. As a group, the Rangers were 5-for-8 with three walks after getting into two-strike counts, not only keeping the bases filled with runners but also driving up the starter’s pitch count.
— Mark Melancon achieved a dubious sort of Red Sox and major league history. He was shelled for six runs without retiring a batter, giving up three home runs, including back-to-back home runs (one an absolute moonshot by Josh Hamilton to right, another a blast to dead center by Adrian Beltre). He tied a major league record (at least dating to 1918) by allowing three homers without recording an out. In just two innings this year spanning four appearances, Melancon has allowed five home runs, matching his total yield in 74 1/3 innings in the entire 2011 season with the Astros.
Melancon has been scored upon in all four of his outings, making him the first Red Sox pitcher ever to give up runs in four consecutive appearances of one inning or less to start his Red Sox career. The six runs he allowed without recording an out are also tied for the most by a Red Sox pitcher since at least 1918.
Melancon’s struggles have been sufficiently extraordinary (of the 18 batters he’s faced this year, he’s retired six) that despite the incredibly early stage of the season, the Red Sox may be in a position where — assuming that he is not injured and in need of a trip to the disabled list — they have to consider extraordinary measures, chiefly, whether to option Melancon to the minors. Read the rest of this entry »
|Friday Notes: Red Sox not thinking of carrying three catchers||02.24.12 at 2:19 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Even in the absence of Jason Varitek, there are plenty of catchers who are making a favorable impression on new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. He praised Jarrod Saltalamacchia as an emerging leader “who is trying to step right into his own,” and suggested that the catcher was swinging quite well from the right side that is usually not his strong suit. The roster features Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito, the latter of whom Valentine suggested appeared to be “trying to take a step into his time…He looks very good.”
That said, even as Valentine said that he was not ready to think about how playing time might be divided among his catchers, he did say that there was one construct he hadn’t considered to this point: Carrying three catchers on the roster.
“I think the American league affords you the opportunity to bring that extra pitcher and right now I’m thinking about carrying that person,” said Valentine. “I think the third catcher would have to be someone who plays other positions pretty well. But DH is a position.’
That said, DH is not quite as important as defensive versatility, and since Saltalamacchia, Shoppach and Lavarnway do not play defensive positions aside from catcher, that would appear to underscore the likelihood that the Sox will open the year with Saltalamacchia and Shoppach in the big leagues with Lavarnway and Exposito getting regular catching time in Pawtucket.
– Left-hander Drake Britton came into his first big league camp in excellent shape after a full offseason of workouts. While he endured a brutal struggle in 2011, going 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA for High-A Salem, there were some interesting developments that could bode well for his future. First, after being limited to 75 innings in 2010 in his first full season after Tommy John surgery, he was healthy for every start of the year, taking the mound 26 times. Secondly, when he struggled to command his curveball, the Sox had him experiment with a slider late last season. He took to the pitch quickly, and the mechanics and grip of that pitch allowed him to reclaim his 12-to-6 curveball. Read the rest of this entry »
|Source: Red Sox ‘exploring everything’ to create roster spot for Cody Ross||01.25.12 at 2:18 pm ET|
As first pointed out by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (via twitter), the Red Sox face a bit of a roster crunch at the moment. The team’s 40-man roster is currently fully occupied, meaning that in order to finalize the recent one-year, $3 million deal with outfielder Cody Ross, the Sox will have to create space for the 31-year-old.
According to a team source, the Sox are in the process of “exploring everything” with regards to freeing that spot, though at the moment, there’s no sense that the team will contemplate anything “significant” with regards to its roster. While there are still some available starting pitchers on the market, the most straightforward way in which the Sox might clear space on the 40-man would be either a deal involving one of the team’s many out-of-options pitchers (Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller or Franklin Morales), since the Sox will be in a position where — barring a significant string of injuries — they will not be able to carry all of them on the major league roster. Indeed, it was with an eye towards that fact that the Sox spent time early in the offseason gauging trade interest in that group of pitchers, knowing that at some point, one or more would have to be removed from the roster.
The team could also consider a trade of one of its six outfielders who is currently on the 40-man roster. If they did so, Darnell McDonald (who is out-of-options) and Che-Hsuan Lin (who was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, but who (after hitting .235 with a .325 OBP, .293 slugging mark and .618 OPS in 85 Triple-A games as a 22-year-old last year) represents more of a depth option than a player whose skills (excellent defense, speed, a good command of the strike zone but limited offensive skills and no discernible power to this point in his career) create a clear big league role with the Sox.
And, if the team cannot deal one of those players for a minor league prospect (someone not on the 40-man roster) to clear a spot, it could always designate a player for assignment and hope to sneak him through waivers to the minors.
The 40-man roster bottleneck will ease somewhat late in spring training, when the Sox can put John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 60-day disabled list. But, until then, the Sox will need to create an opening for Ross in order to make his deal official.
|Red Sox gauging trade interest in out-of-options pitchers||11.17.11 at 5:48 pm ET|
MILWAUKEE — With major league teams required to set their 40-man rosters to protect players from the Rule 5 draft on Friday, the Red Sox explored trade interest in some of their players who are out of options during the GM meetings in order to get a feel for how many spots they might have available to add players, according to a major league source.
Left-handed pitchers Franklin Morales, Andrew Miller and Felix Doubront and right-handers Michael Bowden and Scott Atchison all represent pitchers who are out of minor-league options but whose role on the big league roster is somewhat uncertain. As such, the Sox spent part of the GM meetings exploring what kind of interest existed in those pitchers, given that it will be virtually impossible for them to form a big league bullpen next year that would include all of them on the Opening Day roster.
If the team expects, based on interest shown at the GM meetings this week, to move one or more of those arms during the offseason, then it would impact the number of players whom the team might consider adding to the 40-man roster on Friday in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.
|Red Sox notes: Terry Francona suggests ‘I think the way the divisions are set up is not fair’||08.27.11 at 1:57 pm ET|
Maybe MLB was listening in when Terry Francona made some frank and honest suggestions about how baseball should consider re-structuring its playoff format starting in 2012.
“I hope they add about six,” Francona said in partially tongue-in-cheek fashion of adding MLB teams to the playoff pool.
Then he struck a more serious tone.
“I like the idea of having another wild card. I think it’s intriguing because it’s drawing more fans in and having more teams maybe think they have a legit chance, which is good.”
Then the blinds came down in the Fenway Park media room. A mesage from MLB perhaps?
“I thought that was me, I thought I was going down,” cracked Francona. “Wow, I thought I was going to say goodbye to you guys.”
But then Francona collected himself and continued to entertain the topic.
“I think the way the divisions are set up though is not fair,” Francona said. “I think you have to get more balance in what you’re doing. The question about sense of accomplishment, in ’04 we won 98 games. The only team that won more than us was the Yankees. We didn’t back in anywhere, and they were in our division. If they weren’t in our division, we would’ve probably won 102. If you’re going to start giving that much importance to a division winner and less to the wild card, I think there needs to be more balance. Look at our division right now, you’ve got four teams over .500.”
Would he be cool with 15 teams in each league and a possible interleague match-up in the final weekend of the season, perhaps in an NL park where an AL team would be without a DH?
“I’d be cooler if there was a designated hitter,” Francona said. “There’s decisions that need to be made by people that are smarter than me, hopefully. It’s never going to be perfect but I think there’s probably ways they can figure out to make it really good and a little more fair.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox notes: Post All-Star break return for Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez has a stiff neck||07.06.11 at 5:34 pm ET|
Wednesday was one of those extraordinarily busy days at Fenway, where news came fast and furious.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the series finale with the Blue Jays that the team is hopeful to have star left fielder Carl Crawford back shortly after the All-Star break. Crawford has been on the disabled list since June 18 with a strained left hamstring.
“I talked to Carl today, he’s doing really well,” Francona said. “It’s not etched in stone but I think what we’re going to do is wait till the All-Star break and then let him go play a couple of games when the break is over and then maybe join us in Baltimore rather than try to get him back here for a Sunday.”
Click here to listen to Francona discuss the Carl Crawford situation.
Crawford was batting .243 with six homers and 31 RBIs in 64 games in his first season with the Red Sox before he came up lame against the Padres, running out a ground ball on June 17.
The Red Sox open a series on natural grass at Camden Yards on July 18 against the Orioles and Francona indicated the team would prefer that instead of rushing him back immediately after the break, when the Red Sox open the second half at Tampa Bay against the Rays on artificial turf.
“Give him four days off and then let him go on turf and, I don’t know if that’s in anybody’s best interest,” Francona added. “As important as his legs are, we’ve got a chance to really not mess this up.”
Francona said Crawford did not object at all to a brief minor league stint after the break to get his timing back.
“He actually wanted the at-bats,” Francona said. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox pregame notes: As the bullpen turns…||05.06.11 at 7:06 pm ET|
One comes in, one goes out.
The Red Sox made their official move to add Alfredo Aceves to the roster on Friday. In order to do so, they will designate Scott Atchison for assignment before the game so that he can be optioned to Pawtucket via major league waivers. Technically, another team could claim Atchison, but there’s a sort of working understanding among major league teams that players will not be claimed who have options remaining, and so it is a procedural technicality en route to sending the reliever back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
After Atchison logged 3 2/3 innings on Thursday, the Sox needed to replace him with a fresh arm. In Aceves, who was pulled from his scheduled start for the PawSox on Thursday, they found that man.
“We kind of did what we didn’t want to do with Atch, which is bring him up for a day and then send him back but I think we felt it was the safest thing to do for our staff. He gave us so much, which we appreciate,” said manager Terry Francona. “At the same time, he wasn’t going to pitch for awhile. Unfortunately for Atch, he’s the guy we can do it with. He’ll be back.”
Aceves will be available in the bullpen. This is his second call-up of the season. He had an impressive stretch in the majors in April, forging a 2.25 ERA and holding opponents to a .179 average (6-for-28) in six appearances, but he was sent back down to Pawtucket in order to stretch him out for the rotation.
“It is a business,” said Aceves. “Back and forth, you don’t know where you’re going to be.”
The right-hander said that he is comfortable with any role, and that he didn’t face a transition in moving between the rotation and bullpen.
“I’m a pitcher,” said Aceves. “That’s what I do. It doesn’t matter if it’s as a starter or a closer or a reliever.”
–One byproduct of the Red Sox rotation shuffle in the aftermath of Wednesday’s 13-inning game: The Sox will have Clay Buchholz pitch on Saturday on four days’ rest, then turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka on Sunday (almost a week and a half removed from his previous start on April 29), Josh Beckett on Monday (four days’ rest) and, finally, have Jon Lester pitch on six days’ rest on Tuesday.
Once Wakefield was re-inserted into the rotation, the Sox wanted to use the opportunity to give Lester an extra breather — something that the team has now been able to accomplish with each of its starters at this young stage of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
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