|Xander Bogaerts gets his first taste of third base||02.19.13 at 2:05 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It wasn’t exactly a watershed, but it was a first. On Tuesday morning, for the first time in his career, Xander Bogaerts took groundballs at third base rather than shortstop as part of his preparation to play as a third baseman and designated hitter for Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. He will also take groundballs at third on Wednesday before starting at third base in an exhibition game against Boston College on Thursday.
Sox manager John Farrell suggested that Bogaerts had a favorable first day of work at the position.
“[It was] just an early look today. Typically corner infielders are going to use a one-handed fielding technique, which he naturally went to, just moving to third base,” said Farrell. “He’s an infielder. He’s got a lot of natural ability and instincts there. We’ll get two days of work days with him and then get him into a game on Thursday.”
The shift is not without its challenges. Will Middlebrooks, for instance, needed months to become comfortable at third base when he moved there just prior to the start of his first professional assignment with the Lowell Spinners in 2008. The different demands on a third baseman are subtle but real. Read the rest of this entry »
|John Farrell: Team meeting first step to ‘re-write script’ from 2012||02.15.13 at 2:14 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — For John Farrell, Friday morning’s address to the his team was all business. It was about the business of moving on and making sure every player, coach and uniformed personnel understood what was expected. General manager Ben Cherington, owner John Henry, team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner were all on hand to listen and offer support when needed.
“Well it was about 50 minutes,” Farrell said. “There’s a lot to mention. More than anything, a lot of it was introductory for a number of new players, new people they’re coming in contact with. They were able to hear from ownership, from Ben, from myself. Pretty typical, I would think, for an opening of spring training.
“There are a good number of players there is no history with. I think more than anything, that first conversation, first talk is a way to set the tone, which I think was clear. But the thing we want to emphasize is that it’s a matter of what we do on the field and not what we’re talking about. We’re hopeful and with every intent, that our actions speak certainly more volume than our words.
“To a man in that room, everyone associates the name Red Sox with winning. And that came out in conversation throughout the offseason. There’s been an eagerness to get back down here and get started and re-write that script. Different degrees of embarrassment, different degrees of knowing that what transpired last year isn’t the norm or isn’t the expectation or allowable to a certain degree. So, I’m confident of that mindset to re-write that story.”
Was he cheered or booed?
“They’re a business-like group,” Farrell answered the good-natured question with his own dry wit. “Very stoic.”
The team then went out and had their first full squad workout as the heavy rains held off. Read the rest of this entry »
|Kevin Youkilis on WAAF: Why he chose the Yankees, bringing more love to the rivalry, and getting Derek Jeter to rock a ‘stache||12.18.12 at 5:10 pm ET|
Former Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis, in an interview on WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show (to hear the complete interview, click here), said that he didn’t envision signing with the Yankees at the start of the offseason, and that the decision to do so “wasn’t easy.” He had a preference to play close to the Bay Area — where he and his family live during the offseason — and he was also intrigued by the possibility of playing for Terry Francona in Cleveland, where the former Red Sox manager will now steward the Indians.
But, ultimately, the Yankees’ combination of a competitive opportunity and a sizable one-year, $12 milliion contract sold Youkilis on joining the Yankees for 2013.
“It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to sign, because I had Tito in Cleveland, New York and there were a couple other teams in the mix. But in the end, I had to do what was best. I thought it was the best opportunity to win the World Series, was with the New York Yankees,” he said. “I think when you’re a free agent, it’s never easy. For me, the easiest decision would have been if the Oakland A’s or San Francisco Giants were in the running because they’re the closest teams to where I am now. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Middlebrooks recalls Futures at Fenway; Iglesias still hot; Pimentel, Almanzar maturing||08.18.12 at 10:25 am ET|
It’s a big day in the careers of a number of Red Sox prospects.
The Futures at Fenway doubleheader takes place on Saturday, with the Lowell Spinners and Pawtucket Red Sox leaving behind their usual home parks to play at Fenway Park. It’s a seminal moment in the careers of a number of the participants in those contests.
Some will never again have the opportunity to play in a big league ballpark. For others, the day is a harbinger of what is to come.
For Will Middlebrooks, it was the latter. In 2008, he’d mostly struggled through his first month and a half of pro ball. But on Aug. 9, while playing for Lowell, he delivered a walkoff single as part of a 3-for-6 day that also included a double that underscored a message that had been delivered by Lowell manager Gary DiSarcina about the young third baseman’s potential.
“I guess you could say that was a turning point. That’s really where things started to click, where I said, ‘I can do this,’ ” Middlebrooks said on Friday.
Not every player who takes part in the game will have such a defining moment. But for all of the participants, the event will be something of a revelation, an experience unlike anything that most have ever before encountered.
“Everyone’s goal in the minor leagues is to make the big leagues. Part of that is to play in big league stadiums, historic stadiums like Fenway. Just to be able to come in, play in that venue with pretty big crowds — that’s different for a lot of guys,” said Middlebrooks. “The thing that stands out the most is when you walk on the field, the structure of it. It’s hard to explain. It just feels different. It smells different.”
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The next episode of “Down on the Farm” will feature Portland right-hander Brandon Workman and Salem pitching coach Kevin Walker to discuss the development of pitch mixes at the minor league level. The show airs on Sunday from 8:30-9 a.m. on WEEI 93.7 FM and WEEI.com.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-5 LOSS AT SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)
– Jose Iglesias continued his best stretch in Triple-A, going 2-for-4 with a walk. He’s now hitting .317/.394/.397/.791 with five doubles and eight walks this month. The eight walks match his career-high for any month in his professional career. A case can be made that now is the right time for him to be called up to the majors. PawSox play-by-play man Aaron Goldsmith recently checked in with Iglesias and Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler about the shortstop’s improved results.
– Juan Carlos Linares continued to mash, going 3-for-5 with a double and homer. Since the start of July, he’s hitting .327/.347/.532/.879 with seven homers. Read the rest of this entry »
|Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I’m taking a swing at ['Nice inning, kid'] comment’||08.03.12 at 7:14 pm ET|
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning and discussed how he would have reacted to the most recent issue in the Red Sox clubhouse regarding Bobby Valentine and Will Middlebrooks. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Valentine told Middlebrooks “Nice inning, kid” after an inning in which he recorded two errors, something Schilling said he would have taken exception to.
“Listen, I can tell you that as a player, that’s a swing,” Schilling said. “I’m taking a swing at that comment. And I’m not talking about just Bobby – if anybody – Bobby is different. He runs and beats to a different drummer.
However, while Schilling disagreed with the way Valentine handled the situation with Middlebrooks, he said there is a different issue that is revealed through this story.
“What that tells me is you clearly have a player or players or a coach who wants [Valentine] to have no part in this organization,” Schilling said. “The bigger issue for me is that – and I’ve had a conversation, not like that, but if I had to have a conversation like that about my manager, I would have had it with my manager. To think that that coach or that person thinks so little of him to go to the front office, that is a whole different set of issues that exists.”
Schilling also talked about his chances at the hall of fame, as he will be inducted into the Red Sox hall of fame before Friday night’s game. The four-time World Series champion said that he does not know how playing during the steroid era will affect his chances at the hall of fame.
“I don’t know. I really don’t,” Schilling said. “It will be interesting, I guess, in the sense that most of the guys that are up there in recognition or achievement that I’m on the ballot with initially cheated. And I didn’t. I don’t know what that is going to mean or what it means. I guess it’s a source of pride in a sense for me though, to look at that and to understand, to be able to look at my boys and make them understand. I got kicked around a little bit, but I played the game clean. Not all of the guys on this ballot can say that.”
The steroid era has appeared to have hindered the chances of some players, such as Jeff Bagwell, at the hall of fame due to mere suspicion of performance enhancing drug use. However, Schilling said that it’s the players’ fault in the end.
“As much as players want to cry – at the end of the day it’s our fault. We could have done something about it and we didn’t. We had the ability to do something about it and we didn’t. We had an inkling or we knew, and we failed to act and it cost us.”
“We had players like Rick Helling and others who stood up very early in the process and stood up and said ‘This has got to stop.’ I think a lot of people, I think they were either like me and were like, ‘Come on, you’re making a bigger deal out of it than it really is,’ or you were cheating and you wanted him to sit down and shut up. There was a bury your heads in the sand mentality amongst the players that didn’t have a clue. And then there was the owners who wanted nobody to talk about it because people were coming through the turnstiles in record numbers.”
|Will Middlebrooks on Bobby Valentine: ‘He’s trying to get me better’||08.02.12 at 1:48 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, in his appearance on The Big Show on Wednesday, said that the only time that team owners have talked to him about his communication with players was when, at the conclusion of a rough defensive inning in which Will Middlebrooks made a couple of defensive miscues, the manager offered a sarcastic remark to the rookie.
“Ownership did come and say that they heard that a game when — or someone, actually ownership — that they heard when Will Middlebrooks made two errors in a game and he came off of the field and got into the dugout, I said, ‘Nice inning, Will,’ and that maybe that upset him,” said Valentine. “Now, they didn’t take it further and find out after the game that I went over to Will’s locker, I was trying to be light at the time with the ‘Nice inning,’ then I went over to his locker and told him about my experience of making three errors, being booed off the field and cushions being thrown from the Dodger Stadium fandom and me dodging them as I got into the dugout. If you’re going to deal with part of the story, then believe me, it’s not the story.”
(NB: Middlebrooks has not had any games this year in which he’s made multiple errors, though there have been instances when he’s had multiple defensive misplays in the same inning.)
When asked about the incident, Middlebrooks said that he had no recollection of such an exchange, but that he was appreciative of the approach that Valentine has taken to his player development in his rookie season. Read the rest of this entry »
|‘Firecracker’ Dustin Pedroia puts a charge into Red Sox at just the right time||07.30.12 at 11:55 pm ET|
Forget the trade deadline for a moment.
Dustin Pedroia has been hotter than any Red Sox trade rumor.
As a matter of fact, he may be one of the key reasons Red Sox management believes they have a legitimate shot at making a postseason run.
With Monday’s game tied, 2-2, with the Tigers, one of the many teams ahead of the Red Sox in the AL wild card chase, Pedroia took a Max Scherzer fastball and crushed it over the Green Monster, with Carl Crawford aboard. The Red Sox led 4-2 and would not look back in a 7-3 win Monday night.
“I just try to get a good pitch to hit,” Pedroia said. “He was tough. He was on the corners. He’s got great stuff and I was just trying to get a pitch I could handle and get the barrel on it.”
Pedroia’s ninth homer of 2012 came in his 800th major league game and his first at Fenway since May 10. He has homered in three of his last five games and has four long balls in July after none in his previous 40 games.
[Click here to listen to Dustin Pedroia talk after Monday's win over the Tigers.]
“I feel good, I feel good,” Pedroia said. “I just have to keep going. It’s a long year and we have a long way to go. I’m just concentrating on helping the team win ball games.”
Pedroia’s not just helping the Sox win games, he getting the team revved up, just like he promised early in the season, just like he called out his teammates after losing Friday night in New York. He’s not letting his team take anything lightly. And they’re paying attention.
“It’s awesome,” said Will Middlebrooks, who followed suit with a two-run shot of his own in the eighth. “It’s gets him fired up. And when he gets fired up, we get fired up so it’s been fun to watch. More than you know. He’s a firecracker. So, it’s fun to have a guy like that. It pushed everybody.”
The Red Sox sit 52-51, again over .500 and again with a flicker of hope that their season won’t flame out like a Roman candle.
“We just have to play hard, keep playing. We’ll look up at the end and see where we’re at,” Pedroia said, adding he’s going to spend time with his soon-to-be three-year-old son, Dylan, and not pay attention to trade rumors in the next 12 hours.
“I’m not going to go home and stare at the TV or anything,” Pedroia said. “I have to go play with some “Thomas The Train” and stuff like that.”
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