Boston Red Sox: Adrian Beltre

Announcing the 2012 ex-Sox all-stars

September, 22, 2012
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BOSTON -- With the Red Sox out of playoff contention, there is time for other pursuits, like picking the 2012 ex-Red Sox all-star team.

This year, there is a clear MVP: Adrian Beltre. The Rangers' third baseman was allowed by the Sox to walk as a free agent after the 2010 season so that the Sox could trade for Adrian Gonzalez and move Kevin Youkilis to third. Beltre helped the Rangers to a return trip to the World Series last season, and this season has been even better, batting .316 with 34 home runs and an OPS of .914 entering play Saturday. And he has been sensational over his past 26 games, a stretch that began with a three-homer game and continued two games later when he hit for the cycle. In that span, he has 15 home runs, 27 RBIs and an OPS of 1.344.

Here's the rest of the team:

1B -- Adam LaRoche. Played only six games for the Sox before being flipped to Atlanta for Casey Kotchman, LaRoche has 31 home runs and 96 RBIs for the playoff-bound Nationals.

2B -- Marco Scutaro. Traded to the Rockies for reliever Clayton Mortensen, Scutaro was subsequently dealt to San Francisco in a trade-deadline deal, and has been scorching the ball, batting .355 with an .835 OPS in 52 games for the Giants, who are on the verge of wrapping up the NL West.

SS -- Hanley Ramirez. Traded by the Marlins to the Dodgers in a deadline deal, Ramirez has 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 53 games in Los Angeles, which is trying to stay afloat in the wild-card race. He isn't the player he was three seasons ago, but he's only 28, so maybe he'll figure it out again.

3B -- Adrian Beltre. Did we mention he also has been playing Gold Glove-defense, committing only 8 errors? Only silver lining for Sox is that they used compensatory draft picks to select outfielder Jackie Bradley and catcher Blake Swihart, two of the system's shining stars.

LF -- David Murphy. Sent to Texas in the ill-fated Eric Gagne deal in 2007, Murphy has gone from being an extra outfielder to having a career year with the Rangers, batting .312 with a .388 on-base percentage while playing a solid left field and making a career-high 115 starts.

CF -- Coco Crisp. Traded in November 2008 to Kansas City for reliever Ramon Ramirez, Crisp has been rejuvenated with Oakland, stealing 84 bases over the past two seasons (35 out of 39 this season) while playing stellar defense. Athletics lead in the wild-card race; sensing a trend here?

RF -- Josh Reddick. Traded to the Athletics in the Andrew Bailey/Ryan Sweeney deal, Reddick has blossomed into a star in Oakland, hitting 29 home runs in his first full season in the big leagues.

C -- George Kottaras. Let go on waivers after the 2009 season, Kottaras was picked up by the Athletics in a trade deadline deal with the Brewers and in just 20 games has 5 home runs and 18 RBIs.

DH -- Anthony Rizzo. Traded to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, Rizzo was flipped to the Cubs a year later, where he has 14 home runs and an .820 OPS for Club Epstein since his midseason call-up, living up to predictions of future stardom.

SP -- Bronson Arroyo. Since his trade for mythological slugger Wily Mo Pena after the 2005 season, Arroyo has won 91 games for the Reds, seventh-most by any pitcher in that span. His 3.63 ERA in 30 starts this season is his lowest since his first season in Cincinnati, when he posted a 3.29 ERA in 35 starts. Reds are headed to the playoffs.

Closer -- Jonathan Papelbon. You can argue whether the Phillies overpaid him, but Papelbon has delivered 5 wins and 35 saves for the Phillies, who have had a disappointing season but are making a late run at a postseason spot.

Bench -- Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis.

Boras: A 'very busy market' for Beltre

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre enjoyed his one season with the Boston Red Sox in 2010, and now he’s ready to move on, according to his agent, Scott Boras.

Beltre said recently he wanted to return to the Red Sox, but once Boston acquired Adrian Gonzalez, it meant the end Beltre’s stint with the Sox.

“It’s a very busy market for Adrian,” Boras said. “We’re in the middle of a lot of negotiations with a lot of teams for him and they’re ongoing.”

Boras’ plan to sign Beltre to a one-year deal with Boston worked in the player’s favor. Boras was clear when he said his client was using his time with the Sox to audition for a job in 2011. Beltre hit .321 with 28 homers and 102 RBIs in 154 games with the Sox and was named a first-time All-Star.

“He really like his teammates and really liked the city,” Boras said. “For all of baseball, they got to know who Adrian Beltre was a leader and what kind of player he was. He played there in a way where he got to experience a different brand of baseball after being a West Coast baseball player his entire life.”

His time in Boston was well worth it for both parities, but especially for Beltre.

“It puts him in a position to make a very prepared and informed decision about his free agency and what his choices may be going forward,” Boras said.

Beltre: 'Hope I stay with the Red Sox'

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
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One of the Theo Epstein’s biggest priorities at the upcoming winter meetings will be to try to secure either a starting first- or third-baseman for the 2011 Red Sox, with Kevin Youkilis manning the other spot, depending on whom the Red Sox bring in.

With those meetings just days away, the team’s incumbent third baseman -- free agent Adrian Beltre -- said Monday he hopes to return to the Red Sox for next season and beyond.

“These guys are my friends and they made me feel part of the team,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “There’s a lot going on right now, but I do hope I stay with the Red Sox.’’

It’s unclear what kind of offer the Red Sox have on the table for Beltre, but the Oakland Athletics have been widely reported to have made a five-year, $64-million offer to the third baseman.

Officials of two clubs monitoring Beltre's negotiations told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark they believe Beltre could sign with the A's quickly, possibly as soon as Thursday. However, Beltre told the Globe he was taking his time.

“I could make a deal right now if I wanted to,’’ he said. “But I want to wait and make sure I make the right decision.’’

Beltre, who hit .321 with 28 homers and 102 RBIs last season for the Red Sox, also told the Globe he “liked the atmosphere” at Fenway Park and that all things being equal he would choose to return to the Red Sox. He also said, however, that the “number of years [in a contract] is what is important to me.”

Where should Adrian Beltre play?

November, 17, 2010
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Derek Czenczelewski of ESPN's Stats & Info posed the question, “Where should Adrian Beltre play?” based on finding Beltre’s best statistical fit.

Naturally, after Beltre's tremendous 2010 season, Boston fans want Beltre back. But Fenway may not be the best fit. After doing some research, here's Czenczelewski's take:


The 2010 season was Beltre’s best season since his near-MVP year in 2004 with the Dodgers, and by all accounts, he just looked comfortable with the Red Sox. In Boston, Beltre is surrounded by talent, played a strong third base and loved hitting at Fenway, as evidenced by his career-high in doubles and .314 average at home. Beltre’s successes weren’t limited to Fenway though, as he hit more doubles (30) and home runs (19) on the road than he did at home. This isn’t odd for Beltre, who has hit 32 points higher on the road for his career.

Beltre’s power swing fits Fenway Park perfectly. According to Hit Tracker, of his 111 home runs since 2006, 72 traveled to left field. His average home run distance was 396 feet over this span. Of the 420 home runs hit to left field at Fenway Park since 2006, the average distance has been 383 feet, putting Beltre’s average well beyond the distance needed to have high home run outputs at Fenway. Beyond the team being a solid fit for Beltre, the ballpark is just as cozy.

However, Boston isn’t Beltre’s only solid fit. The Chicago White Sox have a need at third base, and a very hitter-friendly park themselves, as U.S. Cellular Field led the Majors with 1.545 HR per game. If “Sox” aren’t Beltre’s style, he could pass them up for a pair of thermals in Colorado. The Rockies boast the most famous homer-happy stadium in baseball. In 2010, Coors Field was rated as the top hitters park in all of baseball, including an average of 1.496
home runs per game, good for second in the majors.

Beltre is no stranger to Coors Field. In 58 career games, Beltre has hit .399 with a .446 OBP while smashing 16 home runs and driving in 63 runs. He’s also managed a .715 slugging percentage and a staggering 1.161 OPS there. In addition to being a great fit for his bat, Beltre would join Gold Glove shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, anchoring what would have to be one of the strongest left-side defenses in all of baseball.

Colorado could look to upgrade from their platoon of Ian Stewart and Melvin Mora at third base. Mora, a “free agent to avoid” according to Law, will most likely not be back with the Rockies in 2011. Ian Stewart is still young, at 25, but has failed to make the kind of progress the Rockies were hoping for when they drafted him 10th overall in 2003. Most concerning is Stewart’s inability to hit lefties (.231 average in 2010), making him a platoon option at best. However, if the Rockies believe in Stewart, they could still make a play for Beltre while grooming Stewart to replace Todd Helton.

Offseason officially begins

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
11:00
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Tick. Tock.

The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions after dismissing the Texas Rangers in Game 5 Monday night at The Ballpark in Arlington, so that means the offseason has officially begun for Major League Baseball.

Significant changes were made to the offseason calendar this year, and that means the Boston Red Sox have until only Thursday to decide whether to pick up the $12.5 million team option on designated hitter David Ortiz.

The Red Sox are expected to pick up the option, but the 34-year-old slugger has said numerous times he would like a multiyear deal from general manager Theo Epstein. The sides are set to talk, and either way, Ortiz will know his future by Thursday.

Because of another date change, the Red Sox now have only five days of exclusive negotiating rights with possible departing free agents. That means Epstein figures to be busy talking with Victor Martinez’s representatives.

Epstein has said he would like to have the catcher/first baseman back in the mix, and Martinez has expressed similar sentiments. If the sides are able to come to an agreement, it’ll have to happen quickly because Martinez is considered one of the top free agent prizes this winter.

Another big free agent is third baseman Adrian Beltre, who successfully accomplished his goal of 2010 by showcasing his ability to compete at a high level. He resurrected his career and is looking for a lucrative long-term deal.

Even though Beltre is looking for a major payday, he’s also made it clear he wants to win a World Series, which could help Boston's chances in negotiations with Beltre and his agent, Scott Boras.

If Beltre is not in the Sox’s plans, the club also could consider going after slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez via trade and move Kevin Youkilis back to third base. Youkilis obviously can play the hot corner, but he’s also made is known how comfortable he is as the team’s everyday first baseman.

Once the exclusive grace period ends, it’s a safe bet Epstein (and most of the other 29 GMs) will target free agent outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth (also a Boras client).

It’s also no secret Boston’s bullpen struggled in 2010, and fixing that problem will be a priority. Lefty reliever Scott Downs, who has pitched for the Blue Jays for the last six seasons, was targeted by Epstein at the trade deadline and likely will be again this winter.

Epstein has proven in the past he’s not afraid to consider almost every possibility. He’ll have a lot of decisions to make this winter, and he’s now officially on the clock.

Recapping Gordon Edes' 6 Questions series

October, 14, 2010
10/14/10
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Red SoxUS PresswirePerhaps the biggest question of the offseason for the Red Sox is what they will do about Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz and Victor Martinez, all of whom might not be back in Boston next season.
Just because there’s not much going on with the Red Sox right now doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about. Free-agency begins 15 days after the World Series, and with it a key time for the Red Sox as they make critical decisions about building their 2011 roster.

As Theo Epstein and his fellow executives gather on Yawkey Way to determine the direction of this team going forward, these are the six biggest questions they'll be looking for answers to:

1. Will Beltre be back in Boston?: Just how far will the Red Sox be willing to go to bring Adrian Beltre back? Another Adrian -- Gonzalez -- could impact the answer.

2. What should the Red Sox do about Ortiz?: Will David Ortiz be back with the Red Sox? It’s hard to imagine the team without him, but it’s a possibility. Club sources have indicated they intend to pick up his $12.5 million option for 2011, but Big Papi believes he deserves a multiyear extension.

3. Martinez: Yea or nay, and if nay who catches?: Should the Red Sox bring back Victor Martinez -- who's likely to require a long-term contract at a steep price? If not, what happens at catcher? Have we seen the last of Jason Varitek in a Red Sox uniform?

4. How does the outfield line up in 2011?: Despite great efforts from unexpected sources this season, the Red Sox need more from their outfield in 2011. Will they look to free agency? Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford are the big names to watch here.

5. How do the Red Sox improve the bullpen?: Epstein has said fixing the bullpen will be an offseason priority. So where should he begin? And will Jonathan Papelbon be the Red Sox closer next season?

6. Who plays shortstop next season?: Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro could face stiff competition next season from resurgent utility man Jed Lowrie. Prospect Jose Iglesias, the shortstop of the future, is probably not ready to contribute on the major league level.

As part of Gordon Edes’ six-part series, we asked you to weigh in on what you’d do to solve each of these dilemmas and to make predictions for what you think the Red Sox will do. Cast your votes here.

Buchholz, Beltre: Some comparisons

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
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CHICAGO -- A couple of history lessons with your late-morning coffee:

Topic I: Clay Buchholz

With one start left in the season, Clay Buchholz has a 2.33 ERA, second in the league to Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (2.31), who is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night for the Mariners. Both pitchers should have one start left this weekend.

Since the start of the live-ball ERA, 1920, only three Red Sox starting pitchers have had a lower ERA (minimum 150 innings): Pedro Martinez (1999, 2000, 2002, and 2003), Roger Clemens (1990) and Tex Hughson (1944). Martinez’s 1.74 ERA in 2000 is lowest.

Since 1990, only four major-league pitchers who were Buchholz’s age or younger had a lower ERA: Hernandez, who is 24 this season; Jake Peavy (2.27); Zack Greinke (2.16); and Martinez (1.90 at age 25). Buchholz turned 26 in August but statistically his age is considered 25, since his birthday came after June 30.

Topic II: Adrian Beltre

Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre drove in his 100th run Tuesday night. He is batting .323 with 28 home runs and 101 RBIs, with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .926.

How many third basemen since the start of the expansion era, 1961, have batted .320 or better, with 25 or more home runs, 100 or more RBIs, and an OPS of .925 or better?

Nine. Three have done it twice: Beltre, Chipper Jones and Miguel Cabrera (who played third for Florida before being moved to first).
The others: David Wright, Garrett Atkins, Melvin Mora, Ken Caminiti, Gary Sheffield and George Brett. Beltre’s OPS is the lowest on the list, but that’s pretty select company, and another reason why Beltre is looking at a big payday.

Ah, but then there’s that vexing question of diminishing returns as a player gets older. Beltre is 31. A-Rod turned 31 in 2007, when his OPS was 1.067. Since then, it has been .965, .933 and its current .855.

Chipper Jones’ OPS was .920 when he was 31. He went .847, .968, 1.005, 1.029 at 35 and 1.044 at age 36 before falling to .818 and .806 the last two seasons.

And let’s throw in a Hall of Fame third baseman, Mike Schmidt. His OPS was 1.080 at 31, before dropping each year to .949, .923 and .919. It was still as high as .936, though, in 1987, when he was 37.

A-Rod, Jones, and Schmidt all remained productive players well into their 30s. Jones was more productive, the other two fell off.

Sox-Orioles: Postgame notes

September, 21, 2010
9/21/10
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Daisuke Matsuzaka did not pitch badly Monday night, but walks hurt the right-hander, who was saddled with the 4-2 loss when Daniel Bard allowed two inherited runners to score in the seventh, snapping a 2-2 deadlock.

Dice-K walked five, and two of those base runners ended up scoring.

“Walks have a way of coming around to score,” said manager Terry Francona. “Not all the time, but even if they don’t score they force you to pitch out of the stretch and make it a lot more difficult inning.”

With the game tied at 2-2, Dice-K’s final walk was to Brian Roberts with one out in the seventh. And when Nick Markakis went with an outside pitch and drilled a double into the left-field corner, Francona called in Bard.

Francona was hoping for a strikeout from Bard, but Ty Wigginton hit a fly ball to center, delivering Roberts on the sacrifice fly that put the Orioles on top, 3-2. A hanging slider from Bard was then smacked into right by Luke Scott, giving Baltimore a two-run cushion.

The loss dropped Matsuzaka’s record to 9-6. He has given up at least four earned runs in seven straight starts, going 1-3 with a 6.91 earned-run average over that stretch.

Hall helps keep it close

Bill Hall, playing left field, had two assists, keeping Baltimore from opening up a bigger lead early on.

In the third inning, Hall gunned down Roberts trying to score from second on Scott’s two-out single. In the fourth, after retrieving an errant throw from first baseman Victor Martinez on a potential force-out at second, Hall threw out Felix Pie trying to advance from first to third on the error.

“On the first one I kind of cheated in a little bit,” said Hall, who also drove in one of the Red Sox runs on a single in the sixth that tied the game at 2-2.

“The wind was blowing in, so I knew if the ball was hit over my head I’d still be able to get it,” said Hall. “I got the ball, got a good four-seam grip for the first time in a long time and the ball carried [to the plate] the way I wanted it to.”

Hall’s throw was in plenty of time for the out, with catcher Jason Varitek blocking the plate and slapping the tag on Roberts.

His second assist came in part from his hustle. Hall got into position to back up Martinez’ throw, scooped up the bouncing ball and threw to third baseman Adrian Beltre, getting Pie with plenty of time to spare, short-circuiting what could have been a big inning.

Hall became the third Red Sox outfielder to rack up two assists in one game, joining Darnell McDonald (May 8 against the Yankees) and Mike Cameron (April 21 at Oakland).

V-Mart stays hot; Beltre's streak ends

Martinez went 3 for 4, extending his home hitting streak to 12 games. It was Martinez’ seventh multi-hit game in his last 12 ... Beltre’s hitting streak was snapped at nine games ... Hideki Okajima worked a spotless eighth, with the Orioles failing to get the ball out of the infield. He stretched his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings ... The Red Sox fell to 8-8 against the last-place Orioles, who have won only 60 games this year. Baltimore has improved under manager Buck Showalter, though, recording a 28-17 record since he took over.

Beltre good to go

September, 20, 2010
9/20/10
5:27
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BOSTON -- After missing one game because of a strained left wrist, suffered while diving for a ball in Saturday night’s game against Toronto, Adrian Beltre was back in the starting lineup at third base Monday against the Orioles.

Beltre was batting fourth.

“He’s certainly good enough to play,” said manager Terry Francona. “He got checked out [Sunday] and everything’s fine. He has a strain. He had it taped up and was ready to go [Sunday]. I don’t see anything slowing him down much. He’s not going to say anything.”

Beltre certainly would like to stay in the lineup to add to his already impressive offensive totals this season as he heads into free agency this winter.

He has hit 28 homers, the most by an American League third baseman and second in the majors to Arizona’s Mark Reynolds (32). Beltre, who is two homers shy of Butch Hobson’s Red Sox record for homers by a third baseman, has 45 doubles, tying him with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria for tops in the majors.

Beltre leads all major league third basemen with 75 extra-base hits and is two RBIs short of reaching 100 for the second time in his career. He had 121 RBIs for the Dodgers in 2004.

Here is tonight’s Red Sox lineup:

1. Marco Scutaro, 2B
2. Darnell McDonald, RF
3. Victor Martinez, 1B
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
5. Mike Lowell, DH
6. Jed Lowrie, SS
7. Bill Hall, LF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Ryan Kalish, CF
SP -- Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP

Beltre's wrist 'intact' after diving for ball

September, 18, 2010
9/18/10
11:41
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BOSTON -- After turning his left wrist diving for a hard grounder in the top of the fourth inning of Boston's 4-3 loss to the Toronto on Saturday night, Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre received a scan in between innings and was able to remain in the game after results showed no serious damage.

“Everything seems to be intact,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “Obviously, he’s a pretty tough kid. We’ll check him in the morning. There’s a chance he’s going to be sore. He’s pretty tough. We’ll see how he’s doing.”

The Blue Jays’ John McDonald hit a hard grounder to the left of Beltre, and when the third baseman attempted to snare it, he landed awkwardly. It was clear he was in some pain, and second baseman Marco Scutaro came over to check on him and signaled for the trainer.

Francona and trainer Greg Barajas sprinted out to check on Beltre, who he stayed in the game.

Offensively, Beltre extended his hitting streak to nine games and is hitting .441 during this stretch.
OAKLAND -- “Salary drive” is usually spat out as a term of derision, suggesting the only reason a ballplayer is playing hard is that his contract is up at the end of the season and he's trying to impress prospective employers.

The corollary that often goes unspoken is that the only time Player X is engaged is when he is worrying about next year’s contract, and once that is resolved his effort tends to drop off accordingly.

Which brings us to Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez of the Red Sox, both of whom are staging impressive salary drives as they head toward free agency. Neither shows the least inclination to come out of the lineup.

Beltre leads the Red Sox in games played with 139 (135 starts), including Sunday, missing just four games all season. This will be his 54th consecutive game since sitting out the first game after the All-Star break on July 15 with a sore hamstring.

Beltre is tearing it up this month, batting .351/.455/.730/1.184, with four home runs and eight RBIs in September's first 10 games.

Martinez, meanwhile, has not missed a game since coming off the disabled list on July 26 after missing a month with a fractured thumb. Martinez will be starting his 54th consecutive game Sunday, which includes both ends of doubleheaders against the Mariners in late August and the White Sox last weekend.

Martinez, too, is on a roll, if anything an even more impressive one than Beltre, batting .393 (22-for-56) with five home runs and 12 RBIs over his last 14 games dating back to Aug. 27. The switch-hitter came into Sunday leading the majors with a .411 average against left-handers and while he had a chance to improve those numbers against Athletics starter Dallas Braden, Martinez went 0-for-5 on the day.

Beltre, meanwhile, stayed hot, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored Sunday.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona has spoken of an obligation to players who have been there day-in, day-out for him, which is why he continues to put Beltre and Martinez on his lineup cards, even with the team out of contention. This is their livelihood, after all, and they deserve the right to put themselves in the best possible position going forward.

But beyond that, there is this: Beltre and Martinez both play the game in a way that is the antithesis of whatever negative meaning “salary drive” connotes. Beltre played five straight seasons in which he didn't miss more than six games in a single season, and last year was the first time since 2001 he has played fewer than 140 games.

“It’s not only what he’s done for the Red Sox this season,’’ one talent evaluator said a couple of weeks ago when the Sox were in St. Petersburg, Fla., to play the Rays. “It’s the way he goes about his business. Plays hard every day, runs everything out, maximum effort.’’

The same applies to Martinez. He played in a career-high 155 games last season, won immediate acceptance as a team leader upon his arrival after last July’s trade, and has been a model of professionalism every day he has been here.

It’s possible, of course, that neither will be back next season. By signing a one-year deal with the Sox at the urging of agent Scott Boras, Beltre has re-established his market value in spectacular fashion. He will be in demand -- the Tigers, White Sox, Angels all are potential suitors, and there will be others. The Red Sox, meanwhile, must decide whether they intend to commit to Martinez as their everyday catcher for the next three or four years; Martinez defines himself as a catcher, and he is likely to sign with the team that views him the same way.

But these “salary drives” of Beltre and Martinez represent a perfect meshing of what has been best for the team and their own personal interests.

Beltre reaches milestone

September, 9, 2010
9/09/10
12:24
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BOSTON -- Wednesday was a night of milestones for the Boston Red Sox.

Not only did Tim Wakefield (44 years, 37 days) surpass Dennis Eckersley to become the oldest pitcher in Red Sox history to record a win, third baseman Adrian Beltre notched his 1,000 and 1,001 RBIs.

Beltre collected both on a two-run homer off Rays starter Matt Garza in the bottom of the second inning.

“I had no goals, only to be in the big leagues,” Beltre said. “I’m just happy to be in the big leagues, but of course getting to that milestone is important.”

Beltre becomes the 27th third baseman to reach the milestone since the stat was tracked by position in 1920. He is one of four active players to reach that plateau, joining Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen and Aramis Ramirez.

Beltre plays on despite hamstring pain

August, 29, 2010
8/29/10
7:20
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There was no way a sore hamstring was going to keep Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre out of tonight’s lineup.

Beltre tweaked his hamstring in the top of the eighth inning on Saturday while legging out an infield hit, but he remained in the game and he’s back in the lineup again tonight.

“He’s sore,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I actually told him, ‘Hey, if it bothers you, we’ll take you out.’ He didn’t seem worried about it. He was back there stretching and didn’t look too bad.”

With the Red Sox trying to stay in contention for a playoff spot, Beltre isn’t about to let anything interfere with his goal of helping Boston reach the postseason.

“I wasn’t coming out of that game,” Beltre said of Saturday’s game. “I’m stubborn and I know sometimes I can go overboard, but unless [my hamstring] blows up I’m going to play.”

Beltre is having a tremendous season and enters Sunday’s game with a .342 average, 23 homers and 88 RBIs. He’s hitting .310 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs since the All-Star break.

“We know how important these games are for us, and for me to be sitting on the bench when there’s a slight chance I can play, it’s hard for me to sit and that’s why I’m not doing it,” Beltre said. “We already have enough guys missing, so I don’t think we need to add anybody else to that list. I’m going to do my best to stay in there.”

Ellsbury leaves game with pain in left side

August, 13, 2010
8/13/10
10:20
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was removed from Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers with pain in his left side.

It’s not known at this time if the injury was the result of the first-inning collision with Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter at first base. Ellsbury ran over Hunter while the pitcher was stepping on first base and then the Sox’s leadoff man hit the ground and rolled.

He remained in the game and was removed after Boston’s seven-run fourth inning. Ellsbury missed the majority of the season with five fractured ribs, a result of a collision with teammate and third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11 in Kansas City.

Quick hits: Another big game for Beltre

August, 3, 2010
8/03/10
1:47
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BOSTON -- Quick hits from Indians 6, Red Sox 5:

* Adrian Beltre knocked in all five Sox runs, four on his two home runs. It was his second multihomer game this season and 21st of his career. Beltre is batting .362 (25-for-69) since the All-Star break, with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 17 games.

* Besides being involved in a ferocious collision with Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana, rookie Ryan Kalish reached base safely all four times in his third big league game, with a double, two singles and a walk. He also made two strong throws from left field, one to hold a runner at third, the other cutting down Shelley Duncan at the plate.

* Tim Wakefield pitched a scoreless eighth inning on his 44th birthday. The last pitcher to pitch on his 44th birthday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was Gaylord Perry on Sept. 15, 1982.

* John Lackey, who held the Indians scoreless for the first three innings, wound up yielding six runs while registering just seven more outs and failed to pitch at least six innings for only the fourth time in 22 starts this season.

* The Sox passed Cincinnati for most one-run decisions in the majors this season with 37. They’re 19-18. The Reds are 18-18.

* Kevin Cash, who wound up batting third when Kevin Youkilis came out of the game with a jammed right thumb, flied out and lined out before being lifted for pinch hitter Jed Lowrie. Cash has now gone 49 at-bats with the Red Sox without an RBI. The club record for most at-bats in a season by a nonpitcher without recording an RBI, according to ESPN researcher Jeremy Lundblad, is 60, by Charlie Armbruster in 1907. The only other player with more than 50 was Mike McNally, who never picked up an RBI in 53 ABs in 1915.

* David Ortiz extended his hit streak to 11 games with a single to lead off the second inning. It's his longest hit streak since 2007 (13 games) and third longest in a Red Sox uniform.

* The Sox, who placed Mike Cameron on the disabled list Monday night, have used 32 different starting outfield combinations. The most common: Billy Hall-Darnell McDonald-J.D. Drew, left to right, in 13 games. The Sox outfield came into the game with a combined batting average of .248, lowest in the American League.

* So, could Daniel Nava hit another grand slam for his second “debut’’?

“C’mon, guys,’’ Nava said with a smile after being recalled from Pawtucket to replace Cameron.

Nava did single as a pinch hitter in the seventh and flied out in the ninth, but his recall may be short-lived, given that Jacoby Ellsbury should be activated any day now.

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