|Bobby Valentine is happy Carl Crawford showed fans he’s still ‘a very good player’||08.21.12 at 9:32 pm ET|
Carl Crawford is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday.
On Tuesday, Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine said he feels very happy that Crawford got a chance to show his value to a fan base that has doubted his abilities ever since he signed his seven-year, $142 million deal before the 2011 season.
“We’ll miss Carl. I’m really happy Carl got the games in that he got in,” Valentine said of Crawford’s 31 games in 2012. “I’m really happy he had the success that he had. I think Carl now can feel that at least he showed the fans in at least a small way but in an everyday way that he’s a very good player. And I think he needed to do that.”
Crawford, indeed, showed he can still perform at a high level, batting .282 in those 31 games with three homers and 19 RBIs. His OBP was .306 and his slugging percentage was a respectable .479. Perhaps most impressive is the fact he scored 23 runs in his 31 games dating back to his first game back on July 16 against the White Sox.
Position players like Mike Aviles have said they could recover from Tommy John surgery in seven months but full strength really doesn’t start to come back until nine months out, which begs the question: Was coming back for a month to show fans he can still be a good player really worth it if it means missing part of 2013?
“I guess if that happens to be the case later,” Valentine said. “That wasn’t part of the plan. But if that’s what it is, yeah, it’s a good trade-off.”
Now, Valentine’s situation is back to exactly where it was when the season began – filling in left field without Carl Crawford.
“I guess I see it like when Carl was out prior,” Valentine said. “Luckily, Daniel Nava was just about finished with his rehab, we have Daniel, we have Scott Podsednik and they’ll do just fine. They’re good players.”
|Matt Albers: ‘I enjoyed playing’ with Red Sox||07.31.12 at 7:29 pm ET|
General manager Ben Cherington and the Red Sox didn’t make the blockbuster trade that some wanted to see before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, but that doesn’t make the deals they did make any less notable.
While management didn’t touch a starting rotation that has performed surprisingly underwhelming this season, they did make some adjustments to another area of the team’s pitching staff ‘ the bullpen. Reliever Matt Albers, along with spot starting outfielder Scott Podsednik were shipped out of Boston and out west to Arizona in exchange for Diamondbacks left-handed reliever Craig Breslow.
Talking with reporters in the clubhouse shortly after hearing he was traded, Albers offered no ill will toward the organization that dealt him, expressing nothing but good things about his now former teammates and excitement for the next stage of his career with the Diamondbacks.
‘I had a good time here. I enjoyed playing with these guys,’ Albers said. ‘It’s definitely the most talented team I’ve ever been on. ‘¦ I had a lot of good memories playing in Boston.’
In two seasons with the Red Sox, Albers contributed solid numbers out of the bullpen. In 104 innings, he racked up a 6-4 record with a 3.81 ERA. After a spotty 2011 season in which he went 4-4 with a 4.73 ERA, the right-hander was a much more reliable arm in his 39 1/3 innings with the team this season, putting up a 2-0 record, 2.29 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 40 appearances.
Manager Bobby Valentine had nothing but positive things to say about him, commending his development over the course of the year.
|Bobby Valentine: ‘We’ll have a winning record at home’||06.19.12 at 9:20 pm ET|
Bobby Valentine is a confident man.
He knows what the record shows — and that’s a 14-19 mark at Fenway. Only the Royals, Twins and Mariners are worse at home so far in 2012. But Valentine is confident that won’t last.
“That’s the good news,” Valentine said. “We’ll have a winning record at home when it’s all over and it means we’ll win a lot more than we normally do.”
Starting with Josh Beckett, Valentine had a lot to catch up with when he arrived at the park on Tuesday.
“It’s been a medical day for me. Everything seems to have gone perfectly,” Valentine said.
The news started with Beckett, who Valentine said was hopeful to just miss one more start and be back toward the end of the homestand against the Jays. Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford both worked out at Fenway before Tuesday’s game. Ellsbury hurt his right shoulder in the team’s home opener on April 13 against the Rays and hasn’t played since.
“Close to playing — close to game activities,” Valentine said of Ellsbury. “I don’t mean tomorrow. But he’s close. He’s made great, steady progress.”
Meanwhile, Valentine said Crawford could be on a Minor League rehab assignment by next week. Crawford started the season on the disabled list recovering from left wrist surgery. When it appeared things were getting better, he sprained UCL joint in his left elbow.
Then there’s closer Andrew Bailey. He underwent right thumb surgery just before the season.
“Andrew came in this afternoon, I talked to him, he’s feeling great,” Valentine said. “He has a mound session here [soon], and you know, we’re going to take it from a mound to another mound to a simulated situation to possibly an inning down in Florida, and then off to a rehab assignment.”
While Scott Podsednik‘s groin injury is not considered serious (officially “mild”), the team doesn’t need another extended stay on the DL for an outfielder.
“It’s a not few days,” Valentine said. “It’s probably not two weeks. When it gets to that middle ground, it’s really a difficult decision. To play short for seven days, it’s tough. Scott’s not real happy about it. He thinks seven days would be fine He’s playing so well, I’d love to have him in there. I think this is the right thing to do.
“I think we’re playing OK. We’re getting some health back. We’re going to play our best tonight and take it from there.”
|Closing time: Bottom of the lineup powers Sox back to .500||05.23.12 at 4:06 pm ET|
For the fourth time this season the Red Sox are at .500, as their 6-5 win over the Orioles Wednesday improved their record to 22-22. They have yet to have a winning record this season, but they will have their chance to finally go above .500 when when they return home to face the Rays at Fenway on Friday.
All in all, it was the bottom third of the lineup who did the most damage for the Sox on Wednesday. Daniel Nava, Scott Podsednik (who was making his first big league start since 2010) and Kelly Shoppach all homered for Boston, and the trio accounted for four of the team’s five RBI on the day. The other RBI came from the No. 6 batter in Will Middlebrooks.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Chris Davis, but the Sox tied it in the top of the second when Podsednik grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Nick Johnson hit the first of two homers on the day by sending an offering from Daniel Bard over the right field fence, but Middlebrooks’ double to left in the top of the third tied it once again.
Nava gave the Sox a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning with his second homer of the season, and Shoppach made it 5-2 with a two-run homer off Luis Ayala that scored Podsednik. Johnson would make it a one-run game in the bottom of the sixth by blasting his second homer of the game — this time a two-run shot off Andrew Miller — but the Sox were able to hold onto the lead and withstand an eighth-inning rally from the Orioles thanks to solid relief work from Rich Hill and Podsednik’s homer. Though Vicente Padilla stumbled in the eighth inning and allowed a run to make it a one-run game, Alfredo Aceves was able to come in and record the four-out save.
Bard tossed 5 1/3 innings for the Red Sox, earning the win on a day in which he allowed five hits and two earned runs. He walked four and struck out two while also hitting a batter and allowing the solo shot to Johnson. The Sox got to Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta for eight hits and four runs (all earned). Arrieta walked three and stuck out two in addition to allowing Nava’s homer.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Hill was lights-out in his brief appearance Wednesday. The Milton native came in to begin the bottom of the seventh inning and struck out both Luis Exposito (swinging) and Xavier Avery (looking) before being lifted in favor of Vicente Padilla. While Hill certainly looked sharp enough to face Robert Andino, Padilla was able to pick up where Hill left off by striking Andino out looking. The eighth inning was a different story for Padilla though, as he walked Nick Markakis and allowed a double to Adam Jones before being chased from the game by a Wilson Betemit sacrifice fly that could have done much more damage (see below).
– While Podsednik’s day didn’t get off to the best start, it ended up being a very good one for the veteran outfielder. Podsednik’s second at-bat as a member of the Red Sox had the potential for a big payoff, as he came to the plate with nobody out and the bases loaded in the second inning. Unfortunately for the Sox, Podsednik grounded into a double play that scored Kevin Youkilis but served as a wasted opportunity, as it would be the Sox’ only run of the inning.
Podsednik, who also had a sacrifice bunt in the game, did pick up his first hit of his Red Sox career when he lined one into right field with two down in the top of the sixth inning. He ended up scoring on Shoppach’s two-run homer, but the highlight of the day for the 36-year-old came when he hit a breaking ball from Darren O’Day to right field for a solo homer.
– As Alex Speier noted on twitter, Nava now has his first multi-homer season of his career. His solo shot to right to give the Sox a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth was his second dinger of the season and third of his major league career. Nava did not homer again in the 2010 season after blasting a grand slam in his first major-league at-bat.
– If there was concern about how Adrian Gonzalez could field the right field position, he took another step toward silencing those concerns in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gonzalez made a nice catch on a foul ball hit by Davis, pulling off the backhanded grab just a couple of feet before running into the wall in foul territory.
Gonzalez’ catch wouldn’t be the most critical to come in right field Wednesday, however. Che-Hsuan Lin, who came in previously as a pinch-runner for Youkilis an was moved to right field, saved the Red Sox’ bacon in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out and runners on second and third, Lin made diving catch on a ball hit by Wilson Betemit. While the play scored Markakis, it forced Jones to stay put at second. Had the ball fallen in, Jones likely would have scored and tied the game.
– After Shoppach was unable to throw out Xavier Avery stealing second with a throw that bounced in the bottom of the second inning, Bard was able to get Avery on the same at-bat. Bard spotted Avery breaking for third and lobbed the ball to Youkilis, who tagged the baserunner on the head to end the inning.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– The season-long walkathon for Bard continued, as he walked four Orioles in five innings on Wednesday. He now has 29 walks on the season compared to 28 strikeouts. Bard took over the team lead from Clay Buchholz (27 walks) in free passes Wednesday. In addition to walking four batters, Bard also hit Ryan Flaherty in the bottom of the second inning following Johnson’s homer. His lone strikeout of the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when he got Andino with an 0-2 breaking ball. He also struck out Jones, the final batter he faced in the bottom of the sixth inning.
– David Ortiz cost himself a base hit in the top of the third inning by not running hard out of the batter’s box. With nobody out and Dustin Pedroia on second inning, Ortiz grounded one into shallow right field that Flaherty, playing second base in the shift, could only knock down. Because Ortiz didn’t turn the jets on in time, Flaherty was still able to recover and throw him out at first. Ortiz went 0-for-5 with a strikeout on the day.
– Youkilis was thrown out at the plate to end the third inning after Middlebrooks lined a double into left field. The hit drove in Dustin Pedroia, but Youkilis, who was coming from first base, slowed up as he turned the corner from third base. He picked up the pace when he finally realized that third base coach Jerry Royster had been waving him home the whole way, but it was an easy play for Avery, whose throw made it Exposito well in advance of Youkilis.
|Buster Olney on M&M: Bobby Valentine has ‘got to worry about the players’ more than media||04.18.12 at 1:35 pm ET|
ESPN MLB analyst Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon to discuss the numerous high-profile incidents surrounding the Red Sox, as well as some other news around the major leagues.
No story for the Red Sox has been bigger of recent than Bobby Valentine‘s public criticism and questioning of Kevin Youkilis and his effort and commitment. While Olney said that he doesn’t think Valentine meant exactly what he said, he did say that Valentine should be more worried about the reaction of his own players rather than that of the media.
“He referenced in his press conference, he said, ‘Because of my past, basically media members look at something like this and make more of it,’ ” Olney said. “I disagree with that. He’s got to worry about the players more than he’s got to worry about idiots like me. Clearly, given the response we saw from Youkilis and from [Dustin] Pedroia, they’re aware of the history.
“We know when he first became a candidate with the Red Sox, there were players who were really unhappy about that. That’s why I thought he would go so far in the other direction, almost to the point of being criminally bland, and he hasn’t.”
With some of the headlines that Valentine has created lately with some of his off-the-cuff statements, Olney said that if Valentine tones down his outspoken nature a bit, it could go a long way toward helping his team and his tenure in Boston.
“I wonder if that’s something he should really strive to do going forward,” Olney said. “It’s not going to be great for media, it’s not going to be great for quotes, but I think in terms of him in this position this early in his time with the Red Sox, that might be the best thing. He’s got some work to do.”
Part of the friction that Valentine has clearly had with some Red Sox players relates back to his hire in the first place, according to Olney, as many players were set against Valentine from the beginning.
“Those comments tell you that, in some respects, Bobby was on double secret probation with these players when he started,” Olney said. “He had the first strike. And the fact that Dustin, who is so smart and so savvy in dealing with reporters, and although he’s very funny and outspoken, he also chooses his words carefully and for him to choose those words, it really says a lot to you about how comfortable the players are not with Bobby yet.”
|Rumor Mill at this hour: 10 p.m.||12.09.09 at 10:15 pm ET|
A source told Ken Rosenthal he “doesn’t see” the Mike Lowell to Texas deal happening.
|Rumor Mill at this hour: 3 p.m.||at 3:32 pm ET|
Despite reports the past two days suggesting a potential deal has been agreed upon, Troy Renck writes that the Rockies are the favorites to sign catcher Yorvit Torrealba but that the two sides haven’t been in contact today. The reported deal is for two years and around $5 million.
Jon Heyman tweets that, contrary to popular belief, the White Sox are “not going for Hideki Matsui.” Heyman believes the team is looking to add a leadoff hitter and lists Scott Podsednik, Juan Pierre, and Coco Crisp as possibilities.
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