Boston Red Sox: Derek Jeter

Ranaudo gets to face his childhood hero

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
BOSTON -- One of Anthony Ranaudo’s fondest wishes comes true Friday night.

This goes beyond making his major-league debut for the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Ranaudo grew up in Jackson, N.J., in a family of Yankee fans. He was 7 years old when he went to his first big-league baseball game at Yankee Stadium. It was the Yankees’ home opener, they were playing Oakland, and it was the first time he laid eyes on his baseball hero, Derek Jeter.

Seventeen years later, the 24-year-old Ranaudo said in spring training that Jeter remains his favorite Yankee. How cool it would be, he said back in Fort Myers, if he got the chance to face his idol in his final season.

"Jeter was my guy all the way," Ranaudo said. "It's kind of weird, thinking I might get a chance to face him in his last year."

On Friday night, the second batter Ranaudo is scheduled to face in his big-league career is Derek Jeter. Presumably, he’ll wait until after the game to ask for an autograph.

Ranaudo was born in Freehold, the Jersey shore town more famously known as the place in which Bruce Springsteen grew up and 30 minutes from where Sox manager John Farrell was raised. Ranaudo went to high school at St. Rose in another Jersey town, Belmar.

"I spent a lot of time in Belmar growing up," said Farrell, the son of a lobster fisherman. "That's where my dad kept his boat."

Ranaudo becomes the ninth pitcher to make a start for the Sox this season, and third pitcher to make his big-league debut as a starter with the Sox in the last four seasons, joining Kyle Weiland (2011) and Allen Webster (2013). Brandon Workman made his debut as a reliever and Rubby De La Rosa had already debuted with the Dodgers.

In 21 starts this season for Triple-A Pawtucket, Ranaudo was 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA, striking out 99 and walking 49 in 119 1/3 innings.

In his last six starts with the PawSox, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Ranaudo was 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA, holding opponents to a .195 average in that span.

“The one thing he’s done seemingly all year while in Pawtucket is he’s gotten a high percentage of his outs with fastballs," Farrell said Friday. “He’s gotten some swing and misses. He’s been able to tighten up his breaking ball a little more than a year ago.

“I think that’s just part of his overall progression. The ability to throw the breaking ball behind in the count has been more readily available to him and he has pitched with a lot of confidence throughout the course of the year.”

Lester joins celebs in tipping cap to Jeter

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14

MINNEAPOLIS -- First you see Derek Jeter’s iconic No. 2 in pinstripes walk up to the plate, then the Air Jordan logo on his cleats before the camera pans to a rear view of the pitcher with the name “Lester” on the back of his uniform.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester was the first of many celebrities and athletes featured in the Jordan brand’s tribute to Jeter, which was released Monday. Jeter will be playing in the 14th and final All-Star game of his 20-year career on Tuesday.

“It was cool, a cool experience,” Lester said. “I was really honored that they asked me to be a part of that. Another thing to go along with a class-act guy.”

The cameos could double as a VIP list for any top-notch club, as Spike Lee, Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Tiger Woods, Billy Crystal, Jay Z and others all tip their caps to Jeter in a sign of respect -- all coming after Lester starts things off with a tip of his cap from the mound.

In 71 career at-bats against Lester, Jeter has hit .338 with 10 RBIs to 11 strikeouts.

Near the end of the 100-second advertisement, a pair of Red Sox fans are seen begrudgingly showing the universal sign of respect by lifting their caps.

“I think regardless of how big or how bad the rivalry ever got,” Lester said, “I think fans all around baseball, especially Red Sox fans, always respect and appreciate how Jeter goes about his business. That’s the biggest thing you hear about him -- yeah great baseball player, but even better guy. We all try to be like him, but he’s so damn perfect, seems like he never does anything wrong, I don’t think we can live up to him.”

Lester will have to wait until one of the nine remaining Red Sox-Yankees games this season for his next crack at Jeter, if he even wants another one.

“I’m just glad he’s finally done so I don’t have to face him anymore,” Lester said.

Valentine lauds Jeter, talks AL East race

September, 14, 2012
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, fresh off losing two straight to the Yankees at Fenway, said Friday that Derek Jeter is "as good as I've seen in my lifetime, day in and day out."

Making his weekly appearance on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's Michael Kay show, Valentine also weighed in on how he thinks the AL East division race will play out.

"I think Baltimore is playing the best, I think the Yankees have the best talent, and I never discount the Rays because of the pitching they have, and somewhere, somehow they manufacture a run at an important time. It's going to go down right to the end, and the team that gets hot last is going to be the team that wins the division."

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