Boston Red Sox: red sox

Good morning from the Fort

February, 26, 2012
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It’s photo day here at JetBlue Park at Fenway South.

Red Sox players put on the home whites and spend the morning saying “cheese” before regular workouts begin at 9:30.

It’s another full day of activities here. On Saturday, the team held its annual organizational meeting with ownership and management, so now the players can solely focus on baseball.

There will be live batting practice sessions again today and there’s a chance Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will meet with the media later today.

Quick hits with Bobby V

February, 22, 2012
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was holding his daily briefing with the media on Wednesday, the music from within the clubhouse could be heard clearly on the outside.

That means DJ David Ortiz has arrived.

Ortiz is the only player with a double locker stall in the new Red Sox clubhouse at JetBlue Park. His real estate consists of a corner stall, with his own full-length mirror and another bench against the wall.

It didn’t take him long to unpack and set up camp with the music blaring.

“They told me it would be loud and Merengue, and they were right,” Valentine said. “The clubhouse is full of David right now and I expect him to have that smile as often as possible so he can light up our clubhouse and our dugout. I’m hoping he can swing the bat like he did last year.”

Leadership 101: Based on what happened to the Red Sox in the final month of the 2011 season, a main focus this spring training has been the leadership qualities of the players.

“I want them to understand the difference between right and wrong, and for those who are confused, put them on the right pace,” Valentine said.

Captain, my captain: Depending on the status of veteran catcher Jason Varitek, Valentine hasn’t decided whether or not the Sox will name a successor to the captain.

“I haven’t planned on that,” Valentine said. “If the team thinks a captain is a cool thing, I think that could be considered. It’s not like I don’t think a captain is necessary. Then again, I don’t know if it’s so necessary that you can’t live without it.”

Then Valentine asked a simple question: “Who was the captain last year of [World Series champion] St. Louis?”

Members of the media did not have the answer.

“They didn’t have one,” Valentine said. “So you can win a world championship without a captain.”

Valentine added: “If Jason Varitek is not on the team, I think there’s a lot of void that needs to be filled. From what I gather because I was never in uniform with him, he brought a lot to the table even when he wasn’t playing, and part of what he did was bridge the gap of understanding between catchers and pitchers.”

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was asked if he would want to wear the ‘C,’ but that’s something he said he’s not interested in.

New digs cause dents: Speaking of Pedroia, following the voluntary workout for position players, he was sitting at his locker in the new clubhouse at JetBlue Park and sporting a nasty gash on the top of his head. He explained that he smashed his melon on the corner of the shelf drawer atop his locker stall earlier in the day.

V meets Iggy: On one of the back fields during voluntary workouts for position players on Wednesday, Valentine stood and watched the defensive prowess of shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias. Valentine compared Iglesias to Rey Ordonez, who played for him with the Mets.

“My first impression is that he can catch it,” Valentine said. “I bet he can throw it after he catches it, too. He has an interesting exchange. A lot of people will make the comparison, and I did see similarities to Rey Ordonez in play/glove action. Initially, it looked like he had more range than Rey."

Too early for lineups: In the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday, the video board at JetBlue Park flashed a Red Sox lineup card. Here was the order:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Adrian Gonzalez
4. Kevin Youkilis
5. David Ortiz
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
7. Carl Crawford
8. Nick Punto
9. Cody Ross

Valentine has already fielded a number of questions about the batting order, especially in regards to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Both Crawford and Dustin Pedroia want to hit second in the order because that’s where they're are the most comfortable. Once Grapefruit League actions starts and Valentine pencils in a lineup, he wants to make sure each player will be put in a spot that will give the entire lineup success.

“There is a thing about hitting in an order that sometimes guys have mental conditions,” explained Valentine. “I'm pretty sure it was Mike Piazza who came to me [with the Mets] and said, ‘Hey, I can’t hit fourth.’ I said, ‘Oh, you should have told me before I made the lineup.’ Then he hit fourth for us and he’s going to the Hall of Fame, so it’s one of those things.”

Epstein: 'Nothing really new'

December, 8, 2010
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Since Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein landed his big acquisition prior to the winter meetings when he traded for Adrian Gonzalez, the organization didn’t have to force other deals this week.

Epstein met with Boston reporters at approximately 7:45 Wednesday night and didn’t have anything newsworthy to report.

“Nothing really new,” Epstein said. “Moved the ball forward on a couple of negotiations and moved it backward on a few.”

The Sox GM explained a simple phone call to a team, agent or player could change that, but he’s not expecting any deals to be done on Wednesday. The Sox are dealing in both the free-agent and trade market, according to Epstein, and free-agent signings are moving first.

“Teams are trying to fill their needs through reasonable free agency first before they move on to trade where they have to give up players,” Epstein said.

Epstein said on Tuesday that he had some offers out to relievers, and Wednesday admitted he has some offers out to position players, too, but said nothing is close at this point. He had said he thought something could get done before he leaves Florida on Thursday afternoon. Now he’s not so sure.

“Maybe a tick less likely than this time yesterday,” he said. “More so because it seems to be the flow of the meetings leaguewide, not necessarily we’re in a less-advanced position than we were yesterday.”

While Epstein didn't talk about his catching situation, the Red Sox are thought to be involved in intensive talks with catcher Russell Martin, and may have made an offer to receiver Miguel Olivo.

The Sox still are focused on getting bullpen help and a right-handed bat. Signing relievers has been a slow process because of the logjam of available pitchers.

“There’s sort of a rhythm to it where most players don’t want to be the first to sign for fear of getting more later,” Epstein said. “But they don’t want to wait too long and then have fewer options and less resources out there. For teams, it’s the reverse. It’s one big dance. Teams and players will begin to match up soon.”

It’s likely the Red Sox and reliever Andrew Miller will come to terms soon. The Red Sox non-tendered the left-hander in hopes of re-signing him. The sides have met during the meetings.

“It’s going pretty well,” Epstein said. “We continue to talk. The non-tender was part of the plan all along and he knew that. There’s been good dialogue. He’s been up to Boston and we visited him at his home. We’re continuing to get to know each other and see if it’s the right fit for both sides.”

Miller has also talked with Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young, and the Sox believe there could be a resolution to the talks with Miller soon.

The winter meetings official end with the Rule 5 draft Thursday morning. Epstein said it’s likely the Sox will lose a couple of players.

Is Ordonez on Boston's radar?

December, 8, 2010
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Would the Red Sox, in search of a righthanded bat, consider adding outfielder Magglio Ordonez?

The 36-year-old was limited to 84 games last season with a fractured ankle, but his agent, Scott Boras, is convinced his client is 100 percent healthy. Ordonez held an independent workout for organizations today to showcase his abilities and prove he’s healthy and Boras recently sent interested teams his medical reports.

“Magglio is a guy who’s got a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson [Werth] has signed,” Boras said. “He’s a middle-of-the-lineup guy. He’s had a great batting average and a productive guy. He’s a veteran player and a winner. There’s a lot of things to Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams.”

In 14 seasons in the majors, Ordonez has a career .312 average with 289 homers and 1,204 RBIs.

Boras explained that after Werth signed with the Nationals, many of the teams that were interested in him became interested in Ordonez.

Prior to Werth signing with Washington, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona met with him in Chicago.

Some internal possibilities to replace Farrell

October, 25, 2010
BOSTON -- With John Farrell leaving to take the Blue Jays managerial job, Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona will make a list in the coming days of candidates to take his place as Red Sox pitching coach.

“We certainly want to interview internal candidates and we’ll probably interview a couple who aren’t,” Francona said. “But we’re not there yet, so we’ll probably work on that today and tomorrow.”

As far as internally, the Red Sox have some solid options:

* Mike Cather: A major league advance scout for the Sox, Cather served as the pitching coach for Double-A Portland for three seasons (2007-2009) and has been one of many in the Red Sox organization responsible for the development of Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Daniel Bard. In fact, when Buchholz struggled in 2008, one of the reasons the Red Sox sent him back to Double-A was to work with Cather.

Prior to his stint with the Sea Dogs, Cather spent his first season in the Red Sox organization as the pitching coach at Single-A Wilmington. As a player, Cather pitched in the Atlanta Braves organization from 1993 to 1999.

* Rich Sauveur: The 46-year-old has worked in the Red Sox organization for the last three seasons as the pitching coach for Triple-A Pawtucket. He has also been instrumental in the development of Buchholz, Bard, Felix Doubront and Michael Bowden.

Prior to being hired by the Red Sox, Sauveur spent the previous five seasons as a pitching coach in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, working at both the Double-A and Single-A levels. He’s currently coaching this offseason in the Dominican Republic.
* Bob Kipper: Currently the pitching coach at Portland, the 45-year-old Kipper has been in the Red Sox organization since 1999 and has served as a pitching coach for Single-A Lowell (1999), Single-A Augusta (2000-2001), Portland (2003-2004, 2010), Single-A Greenville (2005-2006 and 2008-2009) and Single-A Lancaster (2007). He also served as the Red Sox’s bullpen coach in 2002.

Cashing in?

October, 3, 2010
BOSTON -- Jason Varitek may not be the only Red Sox catcher spending his last game in Boston, and possibly of his career.

Backup receiver, and stopgap, Kevin Cash will turn 33 in December and it’s possible he’ll hang up the mitt and spikes this winter.

If he decides to keep playing, Cash realizes the chances of that happening in Boston are slim.

There are a lot of questions regarding the Red Sox's catching situation, and it remains to be seen whether they'll be able to re-sign Victor Martinez, whether Varitek returns and whether Jarrod Saltalamacchia can develop into a dependable option.

But any way you look at it, Cash seems to be the odd man out.

“I’m low man on the totem pole, so we’ll wait and see,” Cash said.

At this point, Cash is considering a career in baseball after his playing days are over. He’s planning on having that conversation with his family during the offseason.

“I really don’t know where I’m at right now,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of different thoughts running through my head.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona has always spoken highly of Cash and his knowledge of the game. Cash was asked if he would accept a position with Red Sox if it were offered to him, and his answer was clear and simple.

“Without a doubt. Definitely,” he said. “As much as Tito and I kid around, we have a good relationship because, in a way, we were similar players.”

When the Red Sox acquired Cash from the Houston Astros on July 1, both Martinez and Varitek were on the disabled list.

“Cash’s personality may be misunderstood in the media, or the outside world with fans, but what he brings in that clubhouse, the energy, he can go into that clubhouse and stand up to anybody,” said Francona. “At a time when we were desperate for catching, he came in and that was right what we needed.”

This is Cash’s second stint with the Red Sox. He was a member of the 2007 World Series team, and he knew a return to Boston would be good for his present and future career in baseball.

“The situation I came into over here was awesome because I knew I was coming in here to play,” he said. “I didn’t play the way I wanted to, but I was coming in to try to keep the team in contention. We’ll see. I really don’t know. I’ll be talking to Tito quite a bit this season because any advice he has I’m going to listen to.”

Youk: I could have been ready for postseason

October, 3, 2010
BOSTON -- The fact that Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis is playing catch, throwing and feeling better seems like a moot point. After all, Boston’s season ends today against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Youkilis, who had season-ending surgery early last month to repair a torn muscle in his right thumb, believes he would have been ready to play had the Red Sox reached the postseason.

“It would have been a stretch,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I know he said he wanted to do it, which we appreciate. But it’s probably a stretch. Sometimes good players do things like that and that’s why they’re good.”

Youkilis finished the season with a .307 average with 19 homers and 62 RBI in 102 games.

Tek's swan song?

October, 3, 2010
BOSTON –- While the majority of Red Sox players had already cleaned out their lockers and packed their bags in preparation for the offseason, Jason Varitek’s stall was neat and complete, as if were the middle of June.

Boston’s captain sat in his chair this morning and was focusing on Game 162. He’s in the lineup and serving as John Lackey’s batterymate as the Red Sox conclude the 2010 season against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

This could be Varitek’s last game in a Red Sox uniform.

Already this weekend, Mike Lowell walked off the field gracefully, ending his career on Saturday. Then Red Sox manager Terry Francona made it a point to remove veteran pitcher Tim Wakefield from his start on Saturday at time when fans could honor him with a standing ovation.

Don’t be surprised if Francona does the same for Varitek this afternoon.

“Maybe we do it again today, depending on how the game goes,” Francona said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen with a lot of things. Whether Tek’s here for another three years, he deserves respect anyway, so the last day of the season sometimes is a good way to do it if you can.”

Varitek, 38, has played the last 14 seasons for the Red Sox and has been a major component of the club’s success during his tenure.

“Regardless of what happens today, what Tek has done, and what he’ll continue to do, that ‘C’ that he wears, there’s a reason,” Francona said. “When you go through tough times, or whether you’ve been hurt, your true colors can come out, and his did.”

Varitek suffered a broken right foot and spent more than two months on the DL.

“He helped keep us together this year, that’s not an easy task when you’re hurt,” Francona said. “He went out of his way to be the captain. If anything, my appreciation and respect grew for him this year. He became more vocal and he tried to lead when he couldn’t play and he pulled it off.”

Varitek has made it known that he would like to continue playing, and believes he can do it. Whether his career continues in Boston remains to be seen. When asked if he thought Varitek would make a good manager some day, Francona said that decision would up to Varitek.

“When guys are good players, that doesn’t mean you’re a good manager,” Francona said. “If he wants to be, he probably could be. I don’t know if he has those aspirations or not. Sometimes good players have trouble being patient because they’re good.”

Scutaro gets shut down

October, 2, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro has been dealing with a variety of injuries for the majority of the season, but it’s been his sore shoulder that has hampered him the most of late.

With the club out of postseason contention, Red Sox manager Terry Francona and the medical staff thought it best to shut Scutaro down for the final weekend of the season.

“I don’t know if he wants to, but he’s not [playing],” Francona said. “He knows he’s not.”

Scutaro, however, was surprised when asked by a reporter about not playing the rest of the weekend, and claimed he did not know about it.

“Really? I didn’t know,” he said. “I’m serious. I didn’t know. No.”

Francona explained the team wanted Scutaro to begin the offseason shoulder program before he went home in order for the training staff to know the infielder was doing it properly.

Francona said he appreciates everything Scutaro did for the Red Sox this season.

“A lot. A lot,” the manager said. “I think it was really important to him to be an everyday player. It probably took him a lot longer than maybe it should have for whatever reason, but now that he is, he’s taken that responsibility.”

Scutaro finishes his first season in Boston with a .275 average, 11 homers and 56 RBIs.

“Some days were kind of frustrating,” Scutaro said. “At least I made it through the year.”

Scutaro and the Red Sox are expecting him to report to spring training 100 percent healthy.

“He’ll be fine. It’s something he’ll have to maintain,” Francona said. “We have a ton of pitchers that have the same exact thing Scutaro has and they’re very successful. You just have to manage it.”

Red Sox honor Lowell

October, 2, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox veteran Mike Lowell has been all smiles this weekend, knowing it will be his last as a major leaguer.

He’s accomplished a lot during his 13-year career, including two World Series titles, with the Florida Marlins (2003) and the Red Sox (2007). He was also the MVP of the Fall Classic in 2007. The Red Sox honored him in a pregame ceremony Saturday.

“He’s probably got a lot of emotions,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona earlier in the day. “I would imagine he’s got a lot of emotions. I don’t know what they are, but knowing Mikey, if he gets a hit, he’ll be happier. That’s how most players are.

“To have the ability to end your career on your own terms is good. Everybody takes a different path. Some guys need to tear the uniform off, some guys don’t want to quit, some guys are forced to quit -- that’s the way the game is and there’s nothing wrong with any of it.”

“I laugh when I see people saying, ‘Well, he stayed too long,’" Francona added. "That’s the player’s business. They have the right to play the game as long as they want, or for as short as they want. More power to him.”

Let's play two

October, 1, 2010
BOSTON -- After a three and a half hour rain delay, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were finally postponed Friday night at Fenway Park.

The decision not to play came at the direction of the umpires, in consultation with Major League Baseball and the teams after assessing the field conditions and long-range forecast.

“That was fun,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said with just a hint of sarcasm.

The clubs will play a split admission doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 4:05 p.m. Tim Wakefield will start for the Red Sox, replacing Clay Buchholz (sore back), and face the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte. The nightcap is scheduled to begin at 9:05 with Daisuke Matsuzaka going for Boston and A.J. Burnett getting the nod for New York.

There was a note on the dry erase board in the Red Sox clubhouse that read: "Dress@home! Let's play two -- Little League style!"

Ellsbury looking forward to offseason

October, 1, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury spent three separate stints on the disabled list this season after hurting his ribs three different times, so it's safe to say he’s looking forward to the offseason.

Limited to 18 games this season, Ellsbury spent Friday afternoon cleaning out his locker and packing boxes for his trip home to Arizona.

He was smiling and joking with teammates who also were packing, but when Ellsbury was asked to describe his season, his mood changed.

“There’s nothing really to talk about,” he said. “I’m excited to work out this offseason and I’m excited to have a normal offseason. I’m already looking forward to playing in spring training.”

The relationship between the Red Sox and their oft-injured outfielder was, at times, tumultuous this season.

After suffering his first rib injury on April 11 in Kansas City when he collided with third baseman Adrian Beltre, Ellsbury managed to injure his rib area two more times during the season. During his second stint on the DL, which he spent the majority of at Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona, Ellsbury drew some criticism from teammates, Kevin Youkilis in particular, for being away from the club.

Ellsbury rejoined the Sox in Toronto prior to the All-Star break in July and wanted to give his side of the story, at times questioning the team’s medical staff.

Ellsbury returned to the lineup on Aug. 4, but hurt the ribs again when he was involved in a collision at first base in Texas on Aug. 14. He went back on the DL and his season was over.

Ellsbury said Friday that he’s feeling better and that he and the organization are on the same page heading into the offseason.

“We’re all on the same page as far as what we want to accomplish during the offseason, that’s pretty easy,” he said. “I just need to see the doctor in a couple of weeks, and by that point we’ll know what kind of progression we want to make and how far to push it. They’ll give me a timeline.”

The club is conducting its exit physicals this weekend, and Ellsbury will be examined before he leaves Boston.

“He will be examined front and back,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, referencing Ellsbury’s comments from July, when he said the team did an MRI of the front and back of his ribs only at his insistence.

Salty returns to Boston after surgery

October, 1, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was in the clubhouse Friday afternoon after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb last Tuesday. Dr. Thomas Graham performed the procedure at the Cleveland Clinic.

Graham also performed a season-ending procedure on first baseman Kevin Youkilis.

Saltalamacchia’s ligament apparently has been detached since he suffered an injury in mid-July.

“On the X-ray you can see a little piece of the bone that fell off. It’s pretty cool,” Saltalamacchia said. “[Graham] felt it was a clean surgery. He fixed everything that needed to be fixed.”

Saltalamacchia will be in a cast for the next two weeks, then will have the stitches removed and should be ready to begin his offseason workout routine on time.

“[Graham] is confident [rehab] will be a little quicker than they expected, which was 10-12 weeks,” he said. “If all goes well in 6-8 weeks, I can work with [Sox bullpen coach Gary] Tuck. [Graham] was confident I could play major league baseball by 10 weeks so 6-8 shouldn’t be far off.”

Saltalamacchia suffered the injury while playing for Triple-A Oklahoma prior to his trade to Boston. He did not inform anyone of the injury because he wanted to play.

“[Red Sox scouts] came to town a few days [after the injury] to see me play,” Saltalamacchia said. “They were obviously happy with the way I played, but I kept it to myself because I wanted to play, regardless of the trade.”

Clay Buchholz sidelined with back soreness

October, 1, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz suffered a lower-back injury while throwing a bullpen session on Friday and will not make his scheduled 29th start of the season on Saturday against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.

The right-hander (17-7, 2.33 ERA) was throwing his normal session the day before a start when he felt his lower back “grab” at him. He came off the field and met with head trainer Mike Reinold and manager Terry Francona and it was decided it would be best to shut him down.

Buchholz admitted this is something he’s been dealing with for the past month.

“I would like to throw another [game],” he said. “[The back soreness] has been there for the last five or six starts. It might have something to do with the cold weather. [Monday in Chicago] was the first cold game I’ve pitched in a while, and I had a couple of innings I was in the dugout a little bit longer and then cranked it back up to 100 percent once I got off the bench. It was one of those that’s in a sensitive spot.”

It’s likely veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will start against the Yankees on Saturday.

Dice-K solid, but makes one mistake

September, 27, 2010
NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka did exactly what he needed to do.

Well, almost.

[+] EnlargeDaisuke Matsuzaka
AP Photo/Kathy WillensDaisuke Matsuzaka was cruising into the seventh before Alex Rodriguez touched him for a two-run homer.
With the Sox’s season on the line and a sweep of the New York Yankees at stake, Matsuzaka worked eight strong innings, allowing only two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Unfortunately for Boston, closer Jonathan Papelbon had his eighth blown save of the season, and fellow reliever Hideki Okajima issued a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning as the Yankees won 4-3 in 10 innings at Yankee Stadium.

"When I fell behind 3-1, I tried to be really fine with my location," Okajima said of the game's last pitch, to New York's Juan Miranda. "I tried to find my spot, but it sailed on me a little. I’m disappointed.

"It’s the bottom of the inning in extra innings. I went into the game knowing it was all or nothing. Daisuke had pitched really well. I wish I could have followed that up."

Matsuzaka, who entered his 24th start of the season with a 9-6 record and a 4.86 ERA, did pitch well. It’s been an uneven season for the right-hander, but he kept the Yankee batters off balance for 6 1/3 innings. Then Alex Rodriguez crushed an opposite-field two-run homer to give New York a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“In my mind, I was thinking of the strikeout pitch that I threw him in his first at-bat,” said Matsuzaka. “I didn’t think that pitch on the 0-2 was in that terrible of a spot, but he put a good swing on it. I also thought to myself that it’s a good ballpark if you’re a hitter.”

Other than that one mistake, Matsuzaka was solid.

“Daisuke came out and threw the ball great,” said Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez. “He really gave us a great chance to win the ballgame. It was a great game from both sides. Somebody has to lose. That’s it.”

Matsuzaka has thrown only one complete game in his career in Boston, and he was told if the game was tied going into the ninth inning that he would be back on the mound even though his pitch count had reached 110.

“Yeah it’s disappointing,” Matsuzaka said of the loss. “And I say this all the time, but the important thing is for the team to get the win.

“I say this all the time too; it’s not how well or how poorly I pitch. At the end of the day, it’s whether the team gets the win. We couldn’t pull it off today.”