Boston Red Sox: Eric Patterson

Hermida given outright release

September, 1, 2010
Help is on the way for the beleaguered Red Sox when rosters expand on Wednesday, but not from Jeremy Hermida.

The Sox said after Tuesday's listless loss at Baltimore that they had released Hermida, acquired this past offseason from Florida. Hermida had been playing in Pawtucket after being designated for assignment a month ago to make room for Ryan Kalish. In 19 games with the PawSox, Hermida hit .288 with two homers and 12 RBIs.

When the Red Sox acquired the former first-round selection from the Marlins last winter, GM Theo Epstein thought Boston would reap the benefits of his untapped abilities. Unfortunately, Hermida suffered fractured ribs in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre in early June and spent more than a month on the DL.

He hit only .203 with five homers and 27 RBIs with Boston.

On the plus side, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Eric Patterson, who were both in Baltimore on Tuesday, will be activated for Wednesday's game, and Epstein mentioned there could be one more new arrival. Other call-ups, he said, may come after Pawtucket finishes its season.

Pedroia, Nava in; Richardson, Patterson out

August, 17, 2010
BOSTON -- It wouldn’t be the Red Sox without a little roster shuffling.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, of course, was activated, after an absence of 44 games, which is one more game than the Sox have left to play. The team was 23-21 while he was out. To make room for him on the roster, the Sox optioned left-handed reliever Dustin Richardson back to Pawtucket, the club informing him before they left Texas on Sunday night.

The surprise Tuesday was to see outfielder Daniel Nava in the Sox clubhouse for the third time this season. Nava was recalled to take the place of outfielder Eric Patterson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the dreaded strain neck. That injury apparently occurred when Patterson slept badly on the flight back from Texas, according to manager Terry Francona.

Francona acknowledged that just as in the case of catcher Kevin Cash (hamstring), the injury wasn’t believed to be serious enough to keep Patterson idle for the full 15 days, but the club didn’t want to be caught shorthanded.

Nava has played in a total of 30 games in two separate roster stints, the second lasting just two days.

Francona said he expects rookie Ryan Kalish will receive the majority of playing time in center field in the immediate future. Jacoby Ellsbury was in Los Angeles having his ribs examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, while Mike Cameron is progressing to the point, Francona said, that he plans to sit down with the player and map out the next step, presumably a rehab assignment.

Patterson sent to DL

August, 17, 2010
The Red Sox placed infielder/outfielder Eric Patterson on the DL today with what manager Terry Francona called a strained neck, making room for second-baseman Dustin Pedroia.

The team also called up Daniel Nava and optioned reliever Dustin Richardson back to Pawtucket.

More updates to come.

Okajima not talking after meltdown

July, 25, 2010
SEATTLE -- When a team is struggling to score runs, it has to be almost perfect in all other aspects of the game in order to have success.

Fundamentals play a major role in that philosophy, and right now the Boston Red Sox are having difficulties at the plate and out of the bullpen. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has made it clear he’s looking to acquire a reliever before the July 31 trade deadline, and with the happenings over the weekend at Safeco Field, he’s probably using up his cell-phone minutes.

Boston dropped its second in a row to the lowly Seattle Mariners on Sunday, losing 4-2. The Sox were clinging to a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning when things unraveled because of poor pitching and poor defense by reliever Hideki Okajima.

The struggling left-hander was summoned from the bullpen with one runner on and no outs. He allowed a single to the Mariners’ Justin Smoak before completely botching a sacrifice bunt attempt.

Seattle’s Casey Kotchman dropped a bunt on the grass between the mound and third base. Okajima fielded the ball and had plenty of time to get the lead runner at third. Instead, he stopped, turned toward first and made a lackadaisical throw to Kevin Youkilis.

Everyone was safe.

Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre was livid and threw his hands in the air. The miscue proved crucial because the Mariners’ Michael Saunders followed with a two-run single to give Seattle a 3-2 lead.

“I saw that we had enough time to make a play at third,” said Beltre, who added he was surprised Okajima did not throw the ball. “Yeah, I was yelling for it, but I don’t know why he didn’t throw it. Maybe he didn’t have a good grip, or he thought he didn’t have a chance. Did you talk to him?”

Okajima declined requests to talk to reporters. He typically talks only when he pitches well.

“He looked to third and looked like he had time and Beltre got back,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “It started out looking good, but he didn’t take the throw to third. We always give [pitchers] the option; if you’re not sure, get an out. From there, it just, I don’t know if he didn’t have a handle, but it didn’t look like there was a lot of urgency. They’re trying to give you an out and you don’t take it. A lot of times good things don’t happen after that.”

Later that inning, Okajima botched another bunt play when he interfered with Youkilis’ ability to field the ball, allowing the Mariners' fourth run to score.

“Looked like they were both converging and it looked like he cut in front of Youk,” said Francona. “Kotchman didn’t break [from third base] right away and I think we had a pretty good play at the plate. When [Okajima] cut in front of Youk, Youk lost it. He screened him.”

After numerous requests to discuss his outing, Okajima just sat in the corner of the clubhouse and told a Red Sox official he was not talking. That didn’t go over well among his teammates.

"I have never understood him," said one Red Sox player. "He's moody." It didn't take long for Okajima's teammates to realize he wasn't answering questions.

The Red Sox split the series with the Mariners and are now 3-4 on their three-city, 10-game road trip. Other players made critical mistakes in this series, and all of them held themselves accountable.

In the first game on Thursday, reliever Manny Delcarmen entered the game with a five-run lead in the ninth inning but quickly surrendered four runs (three earned) on two hits, including a home run. The Mariners eventually tied the game and the Sox needed 13 innings before posting an 8-6 victory.

After his meltdown on the mound, Delcarmen swore for perhaps the first time during an interview. But it wasn’t his choice of vocabulary that mattered, it was the fact he took the blame for his subpar performance.

On Saturday, Red Sox starter Jon Lester was in the midst of a perfect game until center fielder Eric Patterson dropped a fly ball with one out in the sixth inning. After the Sox lost, 5-1, Patterson was at his locker ready for reporters' questions.

“Everyone is kind of different when they deal with things,” Patterson said in general terms and not singling out Okajima. “For me personally, I’ve always been ..., guys are always willing to talk when they do well and I think it should be the same when things don’t go their way. It’s one thing if they don’t -- period -- if that’s their deal.”

No one is more willing to discuss his failures than closer Jonathan Papelbon. If he blows a save opportunity, he takes all the blame.

“Everybody deals with things differently,” Papelbon said. “More writers talk to me after I blow a save.”

That’s because he’s always front and center, and holds himself accountable when he gives it up.

The Sox’s struggles of late can’t be blamed solely on Okajima. During this series, the Mariners scored 11 of their 16 runs in the eight and ninth innings, so there’s reason for Epstein to talk with other GMs, looking for bullpen help.

Another big problem has been Boston’s offense, which has been almost nonexistent since the All-Star break.

“It’s disappointing,” Beltre said. “There were a lot of things we didn’t do right today and we lost. It wasn’t just that [bunt] play, but that play was probably one of the key plays. We didn’t do a lot of things right to win this ballgame. We didn’t play well the whole series. We need to start playing better. Not just offensively, but in all [aspects] of the game. There’s no doubt we’ve been down offensively and we know we can get better.”

Pedroia pushing for return

July, 19, 2010
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Since ailing Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is off his crutches, he spent a few minutes taking ground balls Monday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum.

The scan he had last Friday showed his fractured left foot is healing ahead of schedule, and he’s been itching to get back to game action. There’s a possibility he will be sent back to Boston during the club’s current three-city road trip for another exam.

“I don’t know,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He’s pushing us to fly the doctor out, but we haven’t got there yet.”

Francona will talk with the medical staff before a decision is made on whether Pedroia will return to Boston or stay with the team.

During batting practice prior to Monday night's game, Pedroia served as a first baseman as Eric Patterson took grounders at second.

Quick hits: Lester picture of efficiency

June, 27, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- Quick hits on Sox 5, Giants 1:

* Tim Lincecum has two Cy Young Award trophies in his possession, and he’s just four years into his big-league career.

Jon Lester, now in his third full season, doesn’t have one yet, but that is bound to change, maybe sooner rather than later.

In Boston’s 5-1 win over San Francisco in the rubber game of the teams' three-game set, Lincecum lasted just three innings, matching the shortest stint of his career, and left trailing 4-1. He allowed just one fewer base runner (eight), on five hits and three walks, than he recorded outs (nine). Despite the cameo appearance, he still threw 79 pitches.

Lester, meanwhile, went the distance for the second time this season in a five-hitter, walking one, striking out nine, and throwing just 103 pitches. He retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced and ran his record to 9-3. The Giants’ only run came in the first when leadoff man Andre Torres beat out a scratch hit to third, stole both second and third, and came home on an infield out.

“We were talking before the game about being a little beat up,’’ manager Terry Francona said, “but when your pitching’s not, you always give yourself a chance.

“He threw strikes all day, he threw all his pitches, I don’t think he had an inning over 17 pitches. He was efficient all day and gave us exactly what we needed.’’

Lester’s ERA is now 2.86, the first time this season he has dropped below 3.

* David Ortiz, who had just one hit in 10 previous at-bats on this trip, put one in McCovey Cove in the first inning off Lincecum, blasting a changeup into the bay for his 16th home run. The homer was the 275th Ortiz has hit as a member of the Red Sox, moving him into fifth place on the team’s all-time list, one ahead of Manny Ramirez.

* Ortiz’s home run into the water was the 72nd in the 11-year history of the ballpark, and 20th by an opponent. Ex-Giant Barry Bonds has 35 splash hits.

* The Sox, who split thei six-game trip to Denver and San Francisco, finish interleague play with a 13-5 record. Only the White Sox (15-3) and Texas (14-4) had better interleague records, while the Mets also were 13-5.

* The Red Sox faced the best the NL had to throw at them, Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies and Lincecum, and beat them both up. Their combined line: 8 2/3 IP, 15 H, 10 ER, 10.39 ERA.

* Jacoby Ellsbury has yet to begin baseball activities, Francona said, but may return to Boston by the end of the week and accompany the team on its trip to Tampa Bay and Toronto just before the All-Star break.

* Eric Patterson, the utilityman acquired from Oakland in a trade Saturday, is expected to be in uniform for Tuesday’s game in Fenway Park against Tampa Bay, the first of a two-game set against the Rays, who dropped into third place, a game behind the Sox, for the first time this season.

* Jed Lowrie, sidelined all season by mononucleosis, was scheduled to see another specialist in Atlanta, Francona said, on his way north to Lowell, where he will await clearance to begin a 20-day rehab assignment.

* Francona said he already has alerted Tim Wakefield to the possibility that the rotation will be shuffled if the Sox need to push back Clay Buchholz because of his hyperextended left knee. Two off days this week might allow the Sox to avoid placing Buchholz on the disabled list.

Sox pick up 2B help in Patterson

June, 26, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Red Sox, responding quickly to the loss of second baseman Dustin Pedroia to a fractured bone in his left foot, acquired light-hitting Eric Patterson from the Oakland Athletics for a minor-league pitcher, Fabian Williamson.

Patterson, a Georgia Tech product whose brother Corey plays for the Orioles and whose father, Don, played in the National Football League, can play both the outfield and second base, much like current Sox reserve Bill Hall.

Originally drafted by the Cubs in 2004, Patterson was the team’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2005 and made his big-league debut two years later. The Cubs shipped him to Oakland the following July as part of the Rich Harden deal. Patterson hit .287 in 39 games for the Athletics last season, but was batting just .204 in 45 games this season. He made just 25 starts for Oakland this season, 24 in the outfield, one at second base.

Patterson’s best asset is his speed. He hopes his versatility wins him a job in the big leagues. He has mentioned multi-positional Chone Figgins as a player he models himself after.

Williamson had come to the Red Sox before the 2009 season in the David Aardsma deal. He was 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA at Class A Salem.