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One year ago, the Boston Red Sox were entering the 2011 season as World Series favorites, the darlings of experts everywhere. In 2012, the story is different. This year, they will have a lot to prove, and a long list of people to prove wrong.
Josh Beckett visited another specialist on Tuesday and is back on track to make his first start of the MLB regular season on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers after worries that his bothersome thumb could delay his opening start, according to a Boston Herald report.
"The nature of the injury is that it's really not much of an injury, I would think," manager Bobby Valentine said, "because he's been cleared to pitch and compete and I haven't been told about any limitations he might have."
Beckett, who bounced back from a disappointing 2010 season to finish 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA during 2011, is a crucial piece in Boston's starting rotation. Considering that the Red Sox have very little starting pitching depth to begin with, any serious injury to Beckett would be a setback that could keep the Red Sox out of the American League playoffs in the crowded AL East.
Thankfully, it seems that Beckett's thumb will hold up, although it's still curious he needed to visit three specialists.
The strange twists just keep on coming for Bobby Valentine and the Boston Red Sox.
Why Valentine would do this is beyond curious. With a fan base that isn't exactly warm and fuzzy towards the City That Never Sleeps, it's odd that Valentine would "fraternize with the enemy".
It's easy enough to point out that Valentine might want to just focus on the task at hand, considering what a disaster took place in Boston last year. The team has to get off to a good start in the eyes of many and stuff like this floating around may cause some distraction.
If Terry Francona did something like this it might be overlooked because of his stature in Red Sox history. Bobby V doesn't have the same luxury.
Andrew Bailey will undergo surgery Wednesday in Cleveland to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, and it's unknown how long the closer will be out of action.
Bailey was examined by Dr. Mark Belsky and Dr. Matthew Leibman in Boston on Monday and then saw Dr. Thomas Graham of the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday.
This won't cost Bailey his season, but as Baseball Nation points out, Bailey's appearances have declined each year he's been in the majors:
Just as a fun fact, here are Andrew Bailey's year-to-year major-league appearance totals:
The Red Sox will head to Detroit on a winning streak, taking their final game of spring training 8-7 with the last out coming at home plate.
Clay Buchholz started the game off in rare form. Finding consistency with most of his arsenal and especially his curveball, Buchholz would pitch a clean first, then a clean second, third, and fourth inning, striking out three batters without allowing even one baserunner in the process.
The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, had grabbed him an early lead in the fourth, with Dustin Pedroia doubling Jacoby Ellsbury home and then scoring himself on a ground out. They would extend that lead in the fifth, adding four runs on three singles, a walk, and another Dustin Pedroia double to make it 6-0.
Buchholz would respond poorly to the long wait in the fifth, however, and lost his perfect game in a hurry. While the first baserunners came on groundballs, with one not even so much as escaping the infield, with two outs Buchholz allowed Wilson Ramos to take him out of the park, cutting the Sox' lead in half. The very next inning, it was Ian Desmond leading off with a homer of his own to make it 6-4.
Buchholz would still prove more effective than Justin Thomas, however. Finishing off the sixth for Buchholz, Thomas fell completely apart in the seventh, giving up three straight singles and a sacrifice bunt to score a run and put two more batters in scoring position. A pair of walks would lead to another run with Michael Bowden entering the game, and a sacrifice fly made it 7-6, Nationals before the inning was over.
The Sox would not be down long, however. The eighth would see Daniel Nava find his home run swing to equalize things in the first at bat, and with Alfredo Aceves making things look easy in the bottom of the eighth, the Sox entered the ninth still tied. Jason Repko would ultimately be the one to break it, doubling home Dan Butler after a leadoff single to put the Sox ahead 8-7.
The bottom of the ninth would not go smoothly, with a two-out walk and a stolen base making for a very important final at bat. Danny Espinosa would even manage to come through, ultimately, finding a hole up the middle for a single that could have tied the game. But with Jason Repko and Dan Butler again playing the heroes, the ball quickly found its way from center field to Butler at home, leaving the tying run as the final out at the plate.
The Sox will play their last spring training game of the year in Nationals Park Tuesday before heading up to Detroit for their season opener against the Tigers. First pitch is at 3:05 p.m. EST with MASN and WJFK providing television and radio broadcasts available on MLB.com.
The Red Sox left Florida on a good note, taking five of their last six decisions in spring. Now they're hoping they'll be able to stay hot despite the move to colder climates. To that end, it will be a full lineup taking the field against the Nationals, with Clay Buchholz on the mound as he stays on schedule to start the team's third game of the regular season.
The Nationals will counter with offseason free agent acquisition Edwin Jackson.
Boston Red Sox (15-11)
The Red Sox defeated the Washington Nationals 4-2 Monday afternoon behind a strong pitching performance from Aaron Cook, bidding farewell to Florida on a positive note.
While Cook will not be in the rotation to start the year, he does seem the likeliest candidate to fill any long-term vacancy that should open up. Looking to make a good last impression on Bobby Valentine, Cook took the mound against the Washington Nationals and set about doing what he does best: getting ground balls.
While the first ground ball wouldn't go for an out due to an Adrian Gonzalez fielding error, Adam LaRoche's would to end the first scoreless inning, as would Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores in the second. He would record five ground outs in the process of pitching three scoreless innings to start the game.
The fourth, however, would prove less successful, with Danny Espinosa leading off the frame with a solo shot to center. The Sox, as they have been doing so often of late, would respond in rapid fashion. A single from Adrian Gonzalez and double from David Ortiz got them off to a fast start in the bottom of the inning, and while Kevin Youkilis would ground out, singles from Darnell McDonald and Ryan Sweeney would each score a run before a Mike Aviles sacrifice fly left the score at 3-1.
Cook would close out his day with a scoreless fifth, handing the ball off to Vicente Padilla, who provided a clean sixth. The Sox built their lead to 4-1 on doubles from Nate Spears and Jason Repko, but they would not need it. Mark Melancon would take the Sox into the eighth without allowing the run before Matt Albers finally allowed the Nationals a second on a pair of hits. Nursing a two run lead, Franklin Morales pitched a clean ninth to send the Sox off on a good note.
The Red Sox prepare to bid farewell to Ft. Myers and JetBlue Park as they play the Nationals in their final game before heading North. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EST, but neither a radio nor television broadcast is being offered by either team.
It's been an up-and-down spring training for the Boston Red Sox, but at the moment it's looking like they'll end the preseason on a good note. A 5-1 win against the Twins on Sunday left them with a 4-1-1 record over their last six games, now they'll look to make it 5-1-1 with Aaron Cook on the mound.
The Sox will be trotting out a reasonably full lineup against Jordan Zimmerman, with the only exceptions being Darnell McDonald in left and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate despite the presence of a righty on the mound:
Boston Red Sox (14-11)
The Red Sox almost got out of Spring Training without any important injuries; almost.
Alfredo Aceves has just told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that Bobby Valentine informed him Josh Beckett has a thumb injury. Aceves was then instructed to be ready to take Beckett's place in the rotation for game two of the regular season against the Detroit Tigers.
Anytime Beckett has an injury, it's big news. Not only is Beckett expected to be a major part of the rotation, but it's welll known that he has a past of injuries.
Last year, Beckett went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 30 starts after having a disastrous 2010 season in which his ERA ballooned to just under 6.00.
With the AL East being as strong as it has ever been, Boston needs it proverbial ace to be firing on all cylinders.
Of course, if the injury doesn't linger and only costs him one start, Beantown has nothing to worry about.
Then again, it's Boston. Something always needs to be worried about.
Only half of a week stands between theregular season game against the on Thursday afternoon.
Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox couldn't have asked for a much better Spring Training. The team has stayed on a good even keel so far and currently sports a 14-11 mark in the Grapefruit League.
Boston is very healthy and looks to be primed for a very solid season heading into April.
Soon enough, the records will all be even once again following Wednesday's game with the Washington Nationals.
Monday, April 2: Washington at Boston 1:35 p.m. ET
The Sox will host Stephen Strasburg and the rapidly improving Nationals.
Tuesday, April 3: Boston at Washington 3:05 p.m. ET
The venue changes but the team do not as both squads say goodbye to Spring Training.
The Red Sox have taken their sixth and final spring training game against the Minnesota Twins, winning sole possession of the Mayor's Cup with a 5-1 victory.
Turning the game over to the bullpen, Bobby Valentine received impressive results from his relievers. Vicente Padilla was the first on the mound, surrendering a pair of hits in recording five scoreless outs, finishing his day with his second strikeout. Scott Atchison took over from there, bringing the Sox all the way into the fifth inning with just one baserunner to his name.
While Justin Thomas would end the fifth without allowing a run, the Sox' luck would run out in the next inning as Garret Mock allowed a solo shot to Chris Parmelee to lead off the sixth.
That would be all the pitching staff would allow, however, and the Sox' lineup struck back with a vengeance against Carl Pavano in the bottom half of the inning. Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch to start things, and pulled from the game for pinch-runner Pedro Ciriaco (Youkilis was not hurt). Ciriaco quickly stole second and third, then scored on Cody Ross' double. While Pavano would manage to record the second out without allowing any more damage, the third would prove elusive, as Ryan Sweeney, Mike Aviles, and Jacoby Ellsbury connected with a single, double, and triple respectively to open up a 4-1 lead. Only a relay home prevented it from being 5-1 as Ellsbury tried to leg out the inside-the-park homer.
The Sox would score again in the seventh on doubles from Adrian Gonzalez and Pedro Ciriaco, but the extra run would be unnecessary as Mock and Brock Huntzinger finished the rest of the game without allowing anymore runs.
Early Sunday morning the Boston Red Sox and manager Bobby Valentine solidified their starting pitching rotation, however, it seems as if not every decision with the club's pitching staff is done. According to a major league source, closer Andrew Bailey is dealing with right thumb soreness that could put his Opening Day status in jeopardy.
The Red Sox are still gathering information on the injury as they determine how to proceed with the pitcher.
The report, which is from Boston's WEEI, also stats that a possible early-season disable list stint could be an option.
Because Bailey has not pitched in any Grapefruit League games since March 25, a season-opening stint on the 15-day disabled list could be backdated as far as March 26, with the possibility of activation from the DL as early as April 10.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe is reporting that the thumb is some of the cause for Valentine's recent roster moves.
Manager Bobby Valentine said earlier today that an injury concern to a reliever factored into the decision to place Alfredo Aceves, formerly a starting candidate, into the bullpen. Aceves immediately becomes a strong candidate to be the club’s closer.
This injury would be Bailey's second setback of Spring Training, as earlier in camp he battled a strained lat sustained. Bailey hasn't thrown a pitch since March 26.
The Red Sox are down to their last two games in JetBlue Park this year, with their last Mayor's Cup match against the Twins kicking off the homestand. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EST, with NESN and WRKO providing broadcasts.
After a prolonged slide, the Sox have lost just one of their past five games to right the ship as the season draws near. With a 9-7 win against the Twins this past Friday providing them a 3-2 lead in the Mayor's cup, the Red Sox can secure sole possession of the trophy with a victory today.
While Vicente Padilla is out of the rotation race and in the bullpen, he'll be handed the ball for the start against Minnesota. Carl Pavano will take the mound for the Twins.
Unlike Saturday, which saw the Sox field a lineup composed entirely of backups and minor leaguers, Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox have shown up in full force for Sunday's game, featuring the starting nine we're likely to see on Wednesday against the Tigers.
Boston Red Sox (13-11)
Minnesota Twins (18-13)
The Boston Red Sox and manager Bobby Valentine solidified the five-man pitching rotation Sunday, as they announced former set-up man Daniel Bard will be the team's fifth starter to begin the 2012 season with Felix Doubront being the fourth. Bard and Doubront will join Opening Day starter Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.
"Daniel Bard came in and progressed exactly the way we hoped he would progress," Valentine told the media Sunday. Meanwhile, Doubront, who was the Red Sox most consistent starter in Spring Training, was very excited about the news.
"It was awesome and it was the best news from the manager to say I have the first game in Toronto," Doubront said. "For me, that's what I’ve been looking forward to all spring and even when I started my offseason. To hear that news, it's pretty amazing."
The Red Sox managed to earn a 7-7 tie against the Rays despite sending not a single starter to Port Charlotte for the last game of March.
With the Sox' top players electing to stay behind in Fort Myers and participate in the Triple-A level game rather than make the short trip to the Rays' spring training home, Boston sent a roster full of replacements up north to take on Wade Davis and the Rays.
Getting the start for the Red Sox, Ross Ohlendorf perhaps showed why he has been nowhere near the rotation conversation this spring. After being granted a 1-0 lead on doubles by Pedro Ciriaco and Darnell McDonald, Ohlendorf would allow runs in the second, third, and fourth innings, getting hit particularly hard in the fourth as a walk and three straight doubles allowed the Rays to take a 5-1 lead.
The Sox would quickly fight back in the top of the fifth, with three singles and an error allowing them to recoup all three of the runs the Rays had just scored. Michael Bowden would surrender another tally in the bottom half of the inning, but with the Sox striking for two more in the sixth, the score was evened up at 6-6.
With Franklin Morales working a scoreless bottom half of the sixth, picking Sean Rodriguez off first to record the third out, the Sox seized the opportunity to take the lead for the first time since the second inning come the seventh. A double from Kelly Shoppach brought the run into scoring position, with young infielder Sean Coyle bringing it home with a line drive single to put the Sox up 7-6.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Tony Pena could not hold the lead, allowing a homer to Luke Scott in the bottom of the inning to even the score. With neither side striking again in the next two innings, the game ended in a tie.
The Red Sox are ready to close the books on March as they head to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST, with WEEI providing the radio broadcast and the MLB Network carrying the Rays' television broadcast.
Unfortunately for viewers of today's game, Bobby Valentine has opted to give the starters a rest against for Saturday, with Kelly Shoppach and Franklin Morales the closest we'll get to any significant players for today. Ross Ohlendorf will get the start on the mound.
The Rays, on the other hand, aren't taking the day off by any stretch of the imagination. Featuring a full lineup and Wade Davis on the mound, Tampa Bay should pose quite the challenge to the Boston B-team.
Boston Red Sox (13-11)
Tampa Bay Rays (8-16)
As the Boston Red Sox get closer to the end of Spring Training, it's not a bad idea to look ahead to the regular season.
CSN New England's Sean McAdam says that new closer Andrew Bailey doesn't need to dominate like Jonathan Papelbon, but that he will need to have the ability to shake off a blown save in front of a packed house at Fenway Park. McAdam says that Bailey has performed well in his previous stop with the Oakland A's but that is a smaller market team that plays in a bigger stadium. During his three seasons in Oakland, Bailey was 7-10 with a 2.10 ERA with 75 saves. He also had 174 strikeouts and only 49 walks in 174 innings pitched for Oakland.
The Red Sox secured a share of the Mayor's Cup, taking a 3-2 series lead over the Twins with a 9-7 win Friday afternoon.
Getting his last start in spring, Daniel Bard got off to a tough start in the first inning, allowing the Twins to take a 1-0 lead on a walk and a double. The Sox would quickly get the run back and then some, however, as Cody Ross launched a two-run shot to put Boston up 2-1.
Both starters would settle down from there. Daniel Bard would pitch through the fifth without allowing another run, striking out seven batters along the way, while Blackburn responded in kind.
Blackburn would leave the game before the sixth, bringing Jeff Gray to the mound. Cody Ross would have no more trouble than with Blackburn, however, picking up his second two-run shot of the game to make it 4-1.
Daniel Bard, on the other hand, would come back out for the sixth, and run into trouble. Walking Denard Span to start the inning, Bard would allow the run to come across on a single, and then repeat the process to bring in another. The inning would drag Bard's line down to six innings and three earned runs on four hits and three walks after allowing just two baserunners through the first five frames.
The Sox would build their lead to 8-3 in the next couple innings on some small ball and a Mauro Gomez homer, but saw that cut to 8-5 as Matt Albers lost control and walked three batters in the eighth. With an added run in the ninth and Mark Melancon avoiding too much trouble despite a trio of singles and an error in the ninth, the Sox left with a 9-7 win.
Either the Red Sox or Twins can secure at least a share of the Mayor's Cup Friday as they face off for the fifth time this spring in Lee County.
The score is stuck at 2-2 for the Sox and Twins despite Boston jumping ahead to a 2-0 lead in the first pair of games. Since then, the Twins have taken 2-1 and 8-4 victories, both in Ft. Myers.
Now the Sox will turn to the struggling Daniel Bard to keep their hopes for a complete victory alive. The reliever has continued to have difficulties in switching to a starter's role, allowing five earned runs in a six inning start last time out. Though it earned decent reviews from Bobby Valentine, Bard's difficulty controlling his pitches and keeping runs off the board have put fear in the hearts of Sox fans with the start of the season just around the corner.
He'll have one final chance to prove his case against Nick Blackburn and the Twins today.
Boston Red Sox (12-11)
Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is still tinkering with the lineup in Spring Training. Among the spots up for grabs is leadoff, where Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Aviles are all considered candidates. Of the four, Aviles appears to be the most headscratching. He hit .288 in Kansas City last season, with a .319 OBP. John Tomase sat down with Andy Gresh of CSNNE.com to talk about putting Aviles at the top of the order. Suffice it to say, Tomase doesn't think it is a very good idea.
Aviles has bat leadoff in several Spring Training games already, though it's difficult to tell whether Valentine just wants to get shortstop more at-bats or if he is really serious about unseating Ellsbury's traditional spot on top of the order.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Carpenter, also known as the player Boston picked up as compensation for losing general manager Theo Epstein to the Chicago Cubs, will undergo elbow surgery on Thursday (via WEEI).
Headed into surgery tomorrow with Dr Andrews to remove a bone spur in my elbow.— Chris Carpenter (@CCarp37) March 28, 2012
Carpenter has made two Spring Training appearances (1.2 innings) this season and given up six hits, five walks and four earned runs while only striking out one batter.
Carpenter was picked up by Boston back in February after four months of negotiations about compensation for Epstein.
Working behind a strong-if-inefficient Josh Beckett, the Red Sox shut out the Rays and dealt a sound beating to a bullpen asked to pitch nine innings Tuesday en route to an 8-0 victory.
Josh Beckett has had little success against the Rays in the last year, and Tuesday would prove no different for Boston's ace. Throwing five innings on 84 pitches, Beckett held the Rays to just one hit while striking out five batters along the way. If there was a complaint to be made about his outing, it was the length, as three walks built up his pitch count despite the general lack of baserunners.
The Sox' offense, meanwhile, took advantage of a bullpen game from the Rays. After Fernando Rodney started the game with a scoreless inning, the Sox got to work on Joel Peralta in the second with a walk from Kevin Youkilis, a double from David Ortiz, and yet another left field homer from Cody Ross to bring them both home for a 3-0 lead.
After a few quiet innings, Boston would strike again in the sixth on a triple from Dustin Pedroia which brought Jacoby Ellsbury in to score. Now leading by 4-0, the Sox would double their advantage against a woeful Brandon Gomes. Although a strong start to the seventh was wiped out when Ryan Sweeney lined into a double play, leaving the Sox with two outs and just a man on first, Gomes would walk the next three batters he faced to bring a fifth run in.
Gomes' replacement Jhonny Nunez only escaped after a wild pitch and a base hit allowed another three runs to score, giving Boston the 8-0 lead. With Scott Atchison, Franklin Morales, and Mark Melancon providing four strong innings of bullpen work between them, the Sox were able to keep the Rays off the board and end their day with a shutout victory.
The Red Sox will field what is likely to be their full opening day lineup Tuesday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays as Josh Beckett takes the mound looking to continue his run of successful spring starts. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EST. There is no broadcast for today's game.
With Jose Iglesias having been sent down and Carl Crawford highly unlikely to be ready to start the year, today's starting nine featuring Ryan Sweeney and Mike Aviles seems certain to be the lineup to start the season. What's not clear is whether this is the order Bobby Valentine intends to use:
Boston Red Sox (11-10)
The Red Sox are back above .500 after a dominant outing from Jon Lester lifted them to a 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Spotted a 1-0 lead on Dustin Pedroia's homer in the top of the first, Jon Lester wasted no time getting to work, starting off what would be a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout of Jimmy Rollins. The Sox would once again score in the top of the second, and Jon Lester would once again pitch a clean inning, this time with two strikeouts.
Lester faced his only real trouble in the third, allowing a single and double while hitting Jimmy Rollins in a sequence that would have allowed a run to come in were it not for an excellent throw and relay from left by Cody Ross and Jose Iglesias that caught Lou Montanez at home. From there, he would retire the last 13 batters he faced, racking up a total of seven scoreless innings, ten strikeouts, and just three baserunners allowed.
The Boston lineup, meanwhile, got back to hitting Joe Blanton in the fifth, with David Ortiz singling home Lars Anderson and then coming around to score himself on Cody Ross' big shot to left field that put the Sox up 5-0. With Matt Albers and Ross Ohlendorf holding down the fort for the final two innings, and Mauro Gomez adding a sixth run with his homer, the Sox left Dunedin 6-0 winners.
With his Opening Day start against the Tigers just over a week away, Jon Lester will look for a late tune up against the Philadelphia Phillies. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST, with ESPN carrying all the action.
It's been a bit of a tough spring for Jon Lester so far, as the Sox' lefty ace has frequently struggled with command to this point. While it's never advisable to draw much from spring training appearances, it would certainly be encouraging to see a few more strikeouts and a few less walks with Opening Day so close. The Phillies will counter with Joe Blanton.
Neither team will field a terribly impressive lineup, with the Phillies dealing with injuries and the Sox avoiding overworking their star players:
Boston Red Sox (10-10)
With only a week and a half left in Spring Training, the Boston Red Sox head down the stretch hoping to simply avoid injuries and play decent baseball.
So far, the club has been able to do both with a 10-10 record and no serious health issues to speak of. Once again, the docket is packed with a full slate of games to close out March.
Monday, March 26: Boston at Philadelphia 1:00 p.m. ET
The Red Sox will get to play a Phillies team that has been seriously bitten by the injury bug early on.
Tuesday, March 27: Boston vs Tampa Bay 1:35 p.m. ET
Bobby Valentine won't have to get his team pumped up to take on Evan Longoria and Tampa.
Thursday, March 29: Boston vs Toronto 1:35 p.m. ET
Friday, March 30: Boston at Minnesota 1:05 p.m. ET
Ron Gardenhire's team doesn't have high expectations from the outside this season, but they're always dangerous.
Saturday March 31: Boston at Tampa Bay 1:05 p.m. ET
One of the best teams in baseball will host Boston for the last time this Spring.
Sunday April 1: Boston vs Minnesota 1:35 p.m. ET
For the second time in three days, the Red Sox will get a good look at the Twins.
The Red Sox were capable of sticking with the Blue Jays for nine innings Sunday, but could not hold on for a tenth as Doug Mathis gave up a walkoff hit in the tenth to give Toronto a 6-5 win.
For Daniel Bard, this outing was much like his last. After a clean first inning, Bard would take damage in the second, allowing a home run to Adam Lind on a slider that caught too much of the plate. While he wouldn't suffer the three-run second he did last time, a walk, wild pitch, and single would score another run in the third, and a leadoff double and single would cost him a third in the fourth.
If Bard's day had ended after the fifth, he would have left the game with the same decent line he'd managed five days ago. Instead, coming back out in the sixth, Bard lost all semblance of control, walking Adam Lind and hitting Jose Bautista to set up Edwin Encarnacion for an RBI double. With another run scoring on a groundout, Bard was left with five earned runs in six innings of work--another disappointing and not-at-all encouraging result.
The Sox' lineup had managed to keep in lockstep with the Jays offensively to that point. Scoring twice in the first with extra-base hits from Mike Aviles and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox would make it 3-0 in the second on Aviles' second double of the day. Immediately after the Jays had equalized at 3-3 in the fourth, Boston would strike again when Darnell McDonald tripled home Adrian Gonzalez and, once again, Aviles.
From there, however, the offense would die off, and while Scott Atchison, Andrew Bailey, and Justin Thomas managed to hold the Blue Jays in check through the end of the ninth, Doug Mathis had nothing going in the tenth. Loading the bases with two walks and a bunt, the Jays would end up walking off without even recording a single out in the tenth on Ricardo Nanita's fly ball single to right.
The Red Sox will take on the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon at their home in Dunedin. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST with NESN and WEEI providing television and radio broadcasts respectively.
If you're paying attention to all the rumblings that come from the Red Sox' camp of late, you might get the feeling that Daniel Bard is in need of a good outing if he wants to guarantee his spot in the starting rotation when the Sox break camp. While his last performance--also coming against the Blue Jays--provided some encouraging signs in terms of pitch count and stamina, the results (three earned runs in five innings) were apparently not quite what Bobby Valentine was looking for. Bard will be hoping to provide better and show improvement as he once again takes the mound against Toronto.
The Jays will counter with Aaron Laffey, whose held the Sox to just two runs in his five innings of work on March 20.
Red Sox (10-9)
The Red Sox split their two games Saturday afternoon, winning 4-1 against the Marlins in Jupiter, and falling 10-5 at home against the Phillies.
The results of each game were largely decided by the starting pitching. In Ft. Myers, this was to Boston's disadvantage, as Alfredo Aceves found himself brutalized by Philadelphia's lineup. With runners on 2nd-and-3rd in the first, a wild pitch would allow the first run of the game to come across. And while a good throw from Adrian Gonzalez would leave Juan Pierre out at home, a John Mayberry single would bring home another run before the inning was over.
If the first inning had been difficult for Aceves, the second was far worse. Pete Orr and Freddy Galvis would hit back-to-back long balls in the first two at bats to double Philadelphia's lead to 4-0, and two more hits combined with a hit batsman gave the Phillies a fifth and sixth run.
Though the Sox would manage to fight back some in the bottom half of the second, scoring twice on a wind-aided Jacoby Ellsbury triple, Aceves would again be victimized by a leadoff homer before allowing another pair of runs on a triple and two singles. By the time his short night was done, Aceves had given up nine runs on ten hits, a walk, and a hit batter. While the Sox would recoup some of their losses, they would never come close to catching up on the scoreboard.
Things went rather better in Jupiter with Felix Doubront on the mound. Spotted a three-run lead after the top of the first on hits by Pedro Ciriaco, Cody Ross, Ryan Lavarnway, and Jason Repko, he would work around a double in the first before being taken deep by Austin Kearns in the second. The lefty starter would escape the second after allowing another pair of batters to reach base.
From there, however, Doubront was strong. Throwing a clean third and fourth, the Marlins would only reach base again in the fifth, and then find themselves victims of the double play. Doubront finished his day with six innings of one-run ball, giving up just five hits and a walk.
The Sox would tack on a fourth run in the top of the sixth on singles from David Ortiz, Ryan Lavarnway, and Ryan Sweeney, but it would prove unnecessary thanks to three innings of relief from Clay Mortensen, Doug Mathis, and Justin Thomas holding the Marlins without another run through the end of the game.
The Red Sox will split their squad for some N.L. East action Saturday afternoon as they welcome the Philadelphia Phillies to Ft. Myers, and head to Jupiter to play the Florida Marlins. First pitches are at 1:05 in Jupiter and 1:35 in Ft. Myers, with WAXN providing a radio broadcast of the Marlins game and NESN/WEEI covering the Phillies match.
On the road, the Sox will feature Felix Doubront in the starting role. The lefty has been solid so far this spring, posting a 3.38 ERA over three games of work, though he was touched for eight hits in under five innings in his last appearance. Alfredo Aceves will receive the nod at home, and could well force his way into the rotation if he continues his performance. With just one earned run in nine innings, Aceves has struck out eight batters along the way and walked none--a far cry from what he usually did in starts last year. Both starters will be given the chance to go six innings as they gear up for the beginning of the regular season.
With two games, but just half a squad at each, can the Red Sox finally grab a win? It's been five games since they last emerged victorious, and with just under two weeks left to go until the regular season, now would be the time to get their engines started again.
Boston Red Sox (9-8)
Boston Red Sox (9-8)
For his first few starts of the spring, Clay Buchholz had been one of Boston's strongest pitchers. But a bad day at the mound marred especially by a pair of homers left the Red Sox looking up at the Orioles after nine innings, 6-5 losers.
The troubles would start quickly for Buchholz when, with two out and one on in the first when Adam Jones caught hold of one and sent it deep to left field for the first two runs of the game.
The Sox would fight back in the top of the second, scoring twice to tie the game, but Jose Iglesias would strike out to leave the bases loaded--a missed opportunity that would come to haunt the Sox later.
While Buchholz managed to buckle down in the second, he would again find himself in trouble come the third. Despite working around a leadoff walk by inducing a ground ball for the double play, Buchholz would allow a double to Nick Johnson, and then his second home run of the game--this time to Nick Markakis--to put the Orioles back up by two.
The Orioles would score again in the fourth on doubles from Mark Reynolds and Robert Andino to leave Clay with five runs allowed at the end of his five inning appearance.
The Red Sox would finally get back in it come the late innings, scoring a run in each of the sixth, seventh, and eighth mostly on singles. But with the Orioles already having added a sixth run in the bottom half of the sixth off of Mark Melancon, the Sox came up one run short when all was said and done.
While the Red Sox managed to snap their three-game losing streak with a tie against the Yankees Thursday night, they're still looking for that elusive win. Friday, they'll have their shot against the Baltimore Orioles as they head to Sarasota for an afternoon match. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EST, with the MASN broadcast being offered for free on MLB.TV.
After fielding an almost completely full lineup against the Yankees, Bobby Valentine has drawn up a lineup comprised almost entirely of replacements for the Baltimore game. They'll have to provide some backup for Clay Buchholz, who has overcome some shaky fastball control early on to become one of Boston's best starters so far this spring. It's a good sign for the young starter returning from injury--hopefully he'll keep on rolling right through to April.
The Orioles, meanwhile, have tabbed Jason Hammel as their starting pitcher. The former Colorado Rockie allowed a 4.76 ERA in 27 starts last year.
Boston Red Sox (9-7)
The Red Sox are winless for a fourth straight night, but at least this time they didn't lose, as a late offensive surge kept the Sox alive to secure a tie against their top rivals.
For once, the Sox were not sunk by the starting effort. With Aaron Cook taking the mound, Boston finally received some decent starting pitching, as the ground ball specialist managed to go four innings allowing just two runs in the process.
Said runs would come quickly in the fourth, with Curtis Granderson tripling in Brett Gardner and then being singled in by Andruw Jones before an out was recorded. But with Cook picking off Jones at first and then inducing a fly ball and ground ball out, he managed to avoid any further damage in finishing his outing.
The Yankees would quickly strike again in the fifth inning, however, taking advantage of three hits off of Ross Ohlendorf to double their lead to 4-0.
The Sox, meanwhile, received almost nothing from their starting lineup early on, with hits coming only from David Ortiz and Ryan Sweeney. And while the relief effort from Dellin Betances was not quite as solid, with three walks forthcoming, he would avoid hits to escape unharmed as well.
Then came the eighth, and the Sox' big comeback. Doubles from Jason Repko and Pedro Ciriaco off of Cory Wade. Nate Spears would break the power surge with just a single, but Lars Anderson would start it up again with a double of his own to make it 3-4.
The Sox wouldn't tie it up just yet, but the ninth inning proved the final push they needed. With a single from Ryan Sweeney and a double from Mike Aviles, the Sox had men on second and third with just one out. A rare sacrifice bunt would tie it up, but unfortunately Pedro Ciriaco could not push the final run across, leaving them stuck in a tie with the Yankees when the game came to a close.
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is continuing to rehab from Tommy John surgery that ended his season last June. On Thursday, Matsuzaka threw two simulated innings against batters which prompted questions about his return.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that his pitcher could return to game action "closer to June 1" than July 1.
"July? I think that that's more than realistic, yeah. We have it mapped out before that. Closer to June 1st," said Valentine, who clarified that he was referring to a timetable for Matsuzaka to return to the major leagues. "I mean, potentially. And there I went. I threw out a date, didn't I? I told you the first day I'll never throw out a date, didn't I?" (via WEEI)
Last season before the surgery, Matsuzaka made seven starts and was 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA. During his Red Sox career, he is 49-30 with a 4.25 ERA.
The Red Sox will look to snap a three-game losing streak behind Aaron Cook as they face the New York Yankees for the second time this spring. First pitch is at 7:05, with broadcasts from NESN, ESPN, and WRKO.
Struggling to find solid contributions from the pitching staff, the Sox have allowed 23 runs over the last three games, leaving them to turn to Aaron Cook to right the ship. Though he's seemingly out of the rotation conversation after being forced into a late start by injury, Cook has yet to allow a run in 5.1 innings of work this spring. He will be followed by Ross Ohlendorf, Jesse Carlson, and Mark Melancon in relief.
The Yankees will turn to minor leaguer Adam Warren. A 4th round draft pick in 2009, Warren enjoyed a successful season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, throwing 152 innings with a 3.60 ERA. He'll have his hands full tonight, as the Sox are set to feature a lineup we could well see against a lefty in April; luckily for Warren, he's right handed.
Boston Red Sox (9-7)
New York Yankees (10-9)
Boston manager Bobby Valentine said about Bard's appearances this Spring
"I don't think that even with his good stuff I could handle the walks," said Valentine. "Now I don't know if they're spring and trying to impress. That's why I looked for the changeup. If there's a pitch that he wasn't comfortable with and that was causing some of these negative counts, I would have been able to use that as an excuse. I don't know. It's hard. This isn't an exact science and I don't proclaim to have the exact answer or the right answer in this short sampling. It's tough. We'll figure it out." (via WEEI)
Bard is 1-2 with a 7.11 ERA during Spring Training. He has pitched in 12.2 innings, struck out six batters and has given up 10 runs and 10 walks.
The Red Sox fell to the Pirates 6-5 Wednesday afternoon as Jon Lester's spring struggles continued.
After working around three hits between the first two innings, Lester would fall apart spectacularly to start the third. Allowing a ground-rule double to the first batter he faced, three straight singles scored a pair of runs before a single out was recorded. It would only get worse, however, as Matt Hague grabbed hold of a flat pitch and sent it out of the park to left, scoring just two more thanks to a baserunning mistake by Casey McGehee on the previous play.
With Lester already out of the game after just three innings, the Sox' bats had their work cut out for them, but proved up to the task at first. Already a run had scored in the second when Josh Kroeger singled home Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had gone to the opposite field for a double. Then again in the top of the fourth it was Saltalamacchia getting things done, taking Kevin Correia deep to right after Adrian Gonzalez' double to pull within a run at 4-3.
The Sox would tie the game in the next inning, with Gonzalez picking up his second double to send Kevin Youkilis homeward, and then even take the lead on a seventh inning homer from Mauro Gomez. The bullpen, unfortunately, would not prove up to the task of keeping said lead. With Andrew Bailey taking the mound in the bottom half of the inning, one bad pitch would undo the offensive effort. A ground ball single would set up Nate McLouth for the big hit: a home run to right field that put the Pirates on top once and for all.
The Red Sox are back on the road Wednesday afternoon, heading to the Pirates' home for their last Grapefruit League game against the beleaguered franchise. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST, but neither team is offering a radio or television broadcast.
Coming off a pair of poor pitching performances, the Red Sox will turn to opening day starter Jon Lester to provide some solid innings. It's been a tough spring so far for Boston's lefty ace, as he's never truly looked settled on the mound. Still, the results haven't been too bad, and one strong outing can make it seem like he was never struggling in the least.
The Pirates will respond with Kevin Correia. The former Padre has yet to allow a run in nine innings of work this spring, despite walking four batters to just three strikeouts.
Boston Red Sox (9-6)
Pittsburgh Pirates (6-10)
Bobby Valentine has noticed, and is starting to get concerned about the man many feel has serious potential as a nice piece in the rotation. The manager expressed his thoughts about whether or not this is just a Spring issue, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
"That’s exactly what I’m looking at, though, or wondering. I don’t think that even with his good stuff I could handle the walks," said Valentine. "Now I don’t know if they’re spring and trying to impress. That’s why I looked for the changeup. If there’s a pitch that he wasn’t comfortable with and that was causing some of these negative counts, I would have been able to use that as an excuse. I don’t know. It’s hard. This isn’t an exact science and I don’t proclaim to have the exact answer or the right answer in this short sampling. It’s tough. We’ll figure it out."
Boston is really counting on Bard to deliver the goods in a division where a few bad starts can mean the difference between first and potentially fourth place.
Valentine did go on to say he still feels good about Bard's overall performance.
"All in all, I thought he threw the ball well. He didn’t get the great results in the [second] inning and  pitches in five innings is probably too many," said Valentine. "It’s another five innings that on a normal day with our offense isn’t giving us that bad a chance. When he left the game, I would think we were still in it, totally. I like the fact he was able to make the adjustment. Seemed the wind up wasn’t quite as crisp as the stretch, even though they got the hits out of the stretch too. We’ll see."
With the NFL "offseason" going on, Bill Belichick found a little free time and decided to spend some of it in Fort Myers, FL with the Boston Red Sox.
Belichick often goes down to Spring Training, usually to visit long-time friends Tony La Russa and Terry Francona, according to ESPN.com.
Well, even with those two having moved on for the time being, the Patriots head coach still stopped in to say hello to Bobby Valentine and the rest of the club.
"When I was in New York, Bobby was in New York with the Mets," Belichick told ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss at the time Valentine was hired by the Sox. "Love Bobby. Great guy. Great baseball guy. Love to talk to him. He's got a lot of energy.
"Don't get me wrong, I love Terry [Francona]. I had a great relationship with Bobby in New York. I went to several Mets games and stuff like that, watched Keyshawn [Johnson] throw out the opening pitch and all that. Bobby is a wonderful guy. I look forward to catching up with him and seeing him here."
Soon Belichick won't have to travel as far to see Bobby V and the Sox, who are less than two weeks away from Opening Day.
The Red Sox' bats could not back up an inconsistent performance from the pitching staff Tuesday night, leaving the Blue Jays 9-2 victors in Fort Myers.
While Bard seemed poised to make up for his rain-interrupted implosion against St. Louis after a strong first inning saw him retire the side in order, the reliever-turned-starter would struggle mightily in the second. Losing control of both his fastball and slider, Bard would load the bases with no outs in the second on two walks and a bloop single before leaving a fastball over the plate to Travis Snider. Snider would get on top of the ball a bit, but managed to shoot a hard ground ball past Nick Punto at third and into the corner in left field, bringing two runs around. A sacrifice fly would bring a third run in before Bard escaped with a ground ball and strikeout.
Bard would continue to struggle with his command into the third before finally settling down some in the fourth, finishing the night by retiring eight straight batters. While Bard was not at his best throughout, his velocity stayed in the mid-90s even 75 pitches in, which is certainly a good sign for a pitcher in Bard's situation.
The Red Sox would fight back at first, with Kelly Shoppach slamming a two-run shot off of Toronto starter Aaron Laffey in the bottom half of the second. Those runs would keep the Sox in it for the next few innings, but the Jays would pull away late. Called on to face a lefty, Jesse Carlson would give up a hit before quickly being pulled for Michael Bowden, who gave up three hits of his own to leave both Carlson and himself with an earned run apiece.
Andrew Miller would enter the game next, but before finishing even his first at bat had to be taken out with what appeared to be a hip injury. Doug Mathis would relieve him, and allow the Jays to score twice more to make it 7-2 after seven innings. Matt Albers followed suit with a two-run ninth aided by Pedro Ciriaco coming up short on a fly ball to center as he tried to show some versatility in the outfield. With no rally forthcoming in the bottom half of the inning, the Sox fell for the second straight night, 9-2.
Daniel Bard will be looking to prove that his last outing was a rain-interrupted fluke Tuesday night as he gets the start against Aaron Laffey and the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch is at 7:05, with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Entering the Red Sox' game against St. Louis in the middle innings, Bard recorded all of one out before being made to wait out a rain delay. When he came back out to restart his appearance, the results were not pretty. Allowing seven runs on four walks and six hits, Bard's 2.2 innings of work were a concerning mess.
While he was quick to mention that he was lacking the adrenaline that came with a start due to the circumstances, Bard's terrible outing was enough to put some fear into the hearts of Sox fans who are hoping he will fill the fourth spot in the rotation. A big outing tonight would go a long way towards easing minds.
Boston Red Sox (9-5)
Bad outings from Mark Melancon and Scott Atchison left the Red Sox big losers against the Twins Monday afternoon, as Minnesota poured on the runs to knock off the Sox, 8-4.
From the beginning, it was clearly the Twins' day at the plate. Felix Doubront would suffer through eight hits in his 4.2 innings of work, though he managed to limit damage to just two runs. Despite being outhit, the Red Sox actually managed to hold a lead to that point, scoring three times in the second on a Jason Repko double and Jacoby Ellsbury single.
The Twins would seize the lead, however, in the sixth inning. Showing no mercy to Mark Melancon, the Twins would load the bases with their first four batters, and unload them with their fifth, as Joe Benson drove home three runs with a double.
While the game was still in reach at that point, the Twins would pull away with a big ninth inning. Grabbing a double, single, and another double to start the inning, the Twins would add two more runs on sacrifice flies to build a commanding 8-3 lead. With the Sox only managing to push across one more in the bottom of the ninth, Minnesota closed to within a game in the Mayor's Cup.
The Red Sox look for a decisive 3-1 lead in the Mayor's cup Monday afternoon as they welcome the Twins to JetBlue Park. First pitch will come at 1:35, with Minnesota's TIBN providing the radio broadcast.
Felix Doubront will receive the start for the Red Sox as he continues his campaign to start the year in the rotation. He's thrown six official innings of two-run ball so far in spring, but will need to cut down on his walks if he wants to avoid greater damage.
The Twins will respond with free agent acquisition Jason Marquis. It's been a pretty terrible spring so far for the former National, having allowed nine runs on 14 hits and seven walks in just under nine innings of work. It won't get any easier against the Sox, who are sent to start one of their best lineups so far this spring:
Boston Red Sox (9-4)
Bobby Valentine finally announced how the front end of his rotation will be setup on Monday morning.
It's an interesting shift by Valentine showing that Lester is the ace of the staff in his mind. While most fans would agree with that assessment, it's not always the popular move to bump a veteran with clout down a bit in stature.
However, after the disaster of last year maybe it's a prudent move by Bobby V to shake things up a bit and show the youngster he expects more from him.
Sending a weak-looking lineup against top prospect Matt Moore, the Red Sox could have been forgiven a mediocre performance. Instead, scoring in four straight innings to start the game and 6-of-9 overall, they gave Clay Buchholz ample backup, sending the Rays to an 8-4 defeat.
While big things are expected of Matt Moore in the coming season, the Red Sox were not impressed Sunday afternoon. After some hard contact resulted in outs for Mike Aviles and Nick Punto, Cody Ross put the Red Sox on top all by himself, going deep for the second straight day to left field.
Moore would give up another long ball in the second to Josh Kroeger before being chased from the game in the third after walking three batters. His replacement, Romulo Sanchez, would fair a little better, walking Jarrod Saltalamacchia to bring in a run, and giving up a sacrifice fly before ending the threat.
While both of those runs would be charged to Moore, Sanchez would suffer some damage of his own in the fourth, allowing three straight batters to reach base. The Sox would manage to bring two of them around to score, bringing the score to 6-1.
The one Rays run had come from a home run on a low Clay Buchholz fastball dug out by Evan Longoria. Aside from that blemish, however, Buchholz was incredibly solid, striking out four batters and allowing just three more hits--one on a bunt--in five innings of one-run ball.
The Rays would manage to fight back in the later innings against Justin Thomas and Vicente Padilla (who would allow five hits but just one run in three innings of work), but with the Red Sox managing to add their own pair of late runs, would never really make it much of a game.
The Red Sox are headed to Port Charlotte for their second spring training game against the Rays Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 1:05, with the action broadcast on NESN.
Clay Buchholz will get the call to start the game for the Red Sox--his first official appearance since March 9, having pitched an intrasquad game rather than face the Yankees on March 13. Last time out against the Pirates, Buchholz allowed two runs in three innings of work.
Buchholz will be opposed by the Rays' newest young pitching phenom in Matt Moore. Rated the #2 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America headed into 2012, Moore is looking to deliver on his hype. In his only spring training appearance to date, Moore struck out three and walked one in the process of recording five outs against the Orioles.
The Sox were 5-0 winners in the last matchup between the two teams, but with a very diminished lineup, today's game might prove rather more difficult:
Boston Red Sox (8-4)
The Red Sox will leave from their split squad games against the Orioles Saturday afternoon with one win and one tie, taking their home game 7-4 and matching the O's in their own house 3-3.
Getting the start in Fort Myers, Josh Beckett was in fine form against the Orioles' road lineup. Stretching out to five innings--the longest appearance of any Boston pitcher to date--Beckett did not have the strikeouts rolling in, but made up for it with weak contact, recording nine outs on the ground.
Giving up just a single through three scoreless innings, Beckett finally ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing a leadoff walk to Xavier Avery. Moving to second on another ground out, Avery would score the Orioles' only run off Beckett on a Wilson Betemit single. A double play would end the frame there, however, and Beckett retired the side in order in the fifth to wrap up a strong outing.
The Sox, meanwhile, had just taken the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Dustin Pedroia singled home Lars Anderson. Having seen their advantage disappear, they earned it right back, scoring three runs in the fourth on hits from Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, Nick Punto, and again Lars Anderson. They matched that total in the fifth, with Ross this time providing the finishing touch: a three-run shot over the Monster in left field.
With the 7-1 lead in hand, the Sox managed to ride out some late game difficulties from Junichi Tazawa, taking the home game 7-4. They would not prove so successful on the road.
A few steps behind the rest of the rotation candidates due to injury, Aaron Cook was limited to just three innings in his start. Allowing just two baserunners, Cook would hand the ball off to Clay Mortensen with one out in the fourth. Working around a pair of singles, Mortensen would escape the inning unharmed, giving the Sox a chance to take the lead in the top of the fifth, when Nate spears brought home Ryan Lavarnway and, of course, Pedro Ciriaco with a long ball to right.
The Orioles would cut away most of that lead in the sixth inning. While the damage was set up by a double and a single, Mortensen would have been able to escape were it not for some sloppy play. An errant pickoff throw allowed Nick Markakis to score from third, and gave two bases to Adam Jones. Those two bags would make all the difference when Luix Exposito let a ball get by him, allowing Jones to come in for the second run. That Mortensen recorded the last two outs by way of the K makes the errors all the more difficult to swallow.
Still, the Sox were in line to win the game headed to the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, however, Joe Mahoney doubled off of Doug Mathis, and then came around to tie the game on Steve Tolleson's single. With neither side scoring in the tenth, the game ended in a draw.
According to John Tomase, the Boston Red Sox have released veteran pitcher, Carlos Silva.
The Red Sox just announced that they've released Carlos Silva. When you sign a bunch of minor league FA, not all of them stick.— John Tomase (@jtomase) March 17, 2012
The 32 year old veteran has 70 career wins with an ERA of 4.68. He last pitched in the majors in 2010, when he racked up 113 innings with the Chicago Cubs. He won 10 games that season, while recording a respectable 4.22 ERA. Last season he spent time in the Yankees' minor league system. He pitched a total of 36 innings at three different levels (high A, double A and triple A).
Silva's best season came in 2004, when he pitched 203 innings for the Minnesota Twins, winning a career-high 14 games.
The Red Sox and Orioles will split their squads today to play a pair of concurrent games, with one at each team's home. First pitch for the away game will come at 1:05 p.m. EST with WBAL providing radio coverage, and 1:35 p.m. EST for the home game broadcast on WEEI.
In JetBlue Park, the Sox will turn to their most consistent starter of the spring so far in Josh Beckett. Beckett allowed just his first run of the year in four innings of work last time out against Miami. Junichi Tazawa will also appear in the home game, while Aaron Cook will lead the charge in Sarasota. They will face off against Armando Galarraga and Bruce Chen respectively.
Boston Red Sox (7-4)
Baltimore Orioles (5-6)
Boston Red Sox (7-4)
Baltimore Orioles (5-6)
The Red Sox's quest for a third straight win in the Mayor's Cup came up short Friday night, as a strong Liam Hendriks led a stifling pitching performance from the Twins to defeat Boston 2-1.
Getting the start for the Red Sox, Jon Lester continued to struggle with his control. After allowing four walks in four innings last time out, Lester did manage to hold the Twins to just the one base on balls, but also hit Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe in the process. First, however, he would suffer some damage from a trio of hard hit balls to the outfield to start the second inning, bringing a run across for the Twins.
It wouldn't be until the fourth inning that the free passes caught up to Lester. With Plouffe's plunking leading off the fourth, Lester found himself with two runners in scoring position after a Sean Burroughs double. While Lester would record one out without giving up the run, a Drew Butera single was enough to bring Plouffe home and give the Twins a 2-1 lead before the inning was over.
With only a walk to their name through the first three innings, the Red Sox would finally strike in the bottom of the fourth as Pedro Ciriaco continued his remarkable spring with a double, and then scored on a single from Kevin Youkilis.
From there, however, the Twins' pitching went right back to its stingy ways. The Sox would not see another baserunner until the seventh, when Ryan Lavarnway picked up a leadoff single. Lars Anderson would match that feat in the seventh, and Lavarnway would pick up another hit along with Bryce Brentz in the ninth. Lacking the big hit, however, they would never manage to push across the tying run, leaving the Twins 2-1 victors.
The Red Sox are off to an early 2-0 lead in the Mayor's cup, and will look to essentially wrap the annual spring training competition up Friday night as they welcome the Twins into JetBlue Park. First pitch is at 7:05, with WEEI providing a radio broadcast.
Boston will be looking for a better pitching performance than they received last night, when Daniel Bard allowed seven runs in an outing interrupted early on by rain. With Jon Lester on the mound, they'll have a pretty good shot at getting just that. It's taken the Sox' lefty ace a while to get into the swing of things so far this spring, giving up four walks in four innings in his last outing, but as he continues to get stretched out and warmed up, that should improve.
The Twins, meanwhile, will turn to Liam Hendriks, who was named the organization's Minor League pitcher of the year for 2011, striking out 111 batters to just 21 walks between Double-A and Triple-A.
Boston Red Sox (7-3)
The Red Sox' four-game winning streak is at an end after a 9-6 loss to the Cardinals, but it's Daniel Bard's terrible performance rather than the final score that will truly worry Sox fans.
With Alfredo Aceves taking the mound to start he game, the Sox found themselves behind 1-0 in the early going thanks to an RBI double from Cardinals right fielder Erik Komatsu in the second inning. Aside from that one blemish, however, Aceves had a strong outing, striking out four of his last eight batters as he went four strong innings.
The Red Sox would erase that deficit shortly after Aceves threw his last pitch. Doubles from David Ortiz and Ryan Lavarnway would match the run from Komatsu, and Darnell McDonald's homer over the faux Monster made it 3-1 in Boston's favor. Dustin Pedroia would tack on a fourth run in the fifth inning on a home run of his own.
But then came Daniel Bard. While the sixth started innocently enough with a ground out from Carlos Beltran, it would quickly get out of hand. Bard gave up a solo shot to the second batter, Matt Adams, and then allowed five of the next six batters he faced to reach base, giving up two more runs in the process.
While it seemed as though Bard may have reeled things in after a 1-2-3 seventh, that proved not to be the case. Bard started the inning with a walk, recorded two outs, and then could not for the life of him find a third. A single and another walk (Bard's fourth) would load the bases, and just as quickly Shane Robinson unloaded them, tripling and sending Bard to the showers with six runs to his name. Corye Spoone would allow Robinson to score to make it seven runs for Bard, before giving up one last tally on three straight hits to bring the game to its final score of 9-6.
The Red Sox will welcome the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals into Fort Myers Thursday as they return to their Grapefruit League schedule after having Wednesday off. First pitch is at 2:35 EST, though neither team is offering television or radio coverage.
With four straight wins at their backs, the Red Sox will look to maintain their momentum behind Alfredo Aceves, making his first actual start of the spring. He has been keeping pace with the other rotation candidates in terms of innings, however, so expect Aceves to match them with four frames of work barring significant trouble.
Things are not going quite so well for the Cardinals, who sit at 4-5 after a 3-4 loss to the Astros on Wednesday. They will turn to Kyle Lohse to get them back up to .500.
Boston Red Sox (7-2)
With spring training underway and the roster largely in place, Ben Buchanan breaks down and grades the 2012 Boston Red Sox, position-by-position. Optimism may not be running rampant, but the Sox are better than most people think.
The Red Sox defeated the Yankees 1-0 Tuesday night thanks to a strong night of pitching from Felix Doubront and Vicente Padilla, and a ninth inning comedy of errors from the Yankees.
With Ivan Nova pitching four scoreless innings against a relatively weak spring training lineup, the Sox needed some strong work from their lefty starter, and received just that. Working out of some first inning trouble, Doubront would strike out three batters en route to four scoreless innings of his own, making a strong argument for his selection as the fifth starter out of spring training.
Not two innings after Doubront left, however, he was one-upped by one of his primary competitors: Vicente Padilla. Entering the game in the sixth, Padilla pitched three perfect innings, allowing not one baserunner while striking out four batters in the process.
The Sox would still need a run, however, and that came in the ninth thanks to the aforementioned comedy of errors. With David Phelps entering his third inning of work, up came Pedro Ciriaco--the very man who had provided a walk-off homer against the Marlins. Ciriaco would only provide a single this time, dropping a hit into right field, but the Yankees provided the other three bases he needed.
Ciriaco's hit would bounce past a lost Zoilo Almonte in right, leaving the ball to roll all the way to the wall. As Ciriaco headed to third, Almonte's throw home sailed well behind the cutoff man and even the catcher. The last ditch throw to home from behind the plate proved unsuccessful, allowing Ciriaco to score what would prove to be the winning run.
The Red Sox will enjoy a day off Wednesday before welcoming the Cardinals to JetBlue Park Thursday afternoon.
The Boston Red Sox improved to 5-2 in spring training with a 5-3 win over the Florida Marlins on Monday afternoon. Josh Beckett struggled early, hitting two batters and walking in a run in the first inning. He retired nine straight batters over the final three frames, giving up just one run on a single hit in 57 pitches.
The bigger story was Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who was ejected in the top of the sixth inning for arguing with an umpire over whether a fair/foul call had been made before the ball had traveled past the first-base bag. Guillen reportedly told Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to "go [bleep] himself" after Valentine waved as Guillen passed Boston's dugout on his way to tunnel.
Pedro Ciriaco won the game for the Red Sox in the 10th inning on a two-run home run off of Alejandro Ramos. Nick Punto, Kelly Shoppach and Cody Ross also batted runs in. Mike Aviles doubled and tripled in his three appearances at the plate.
So far this Spring, the Red Sox have looked excellent. Under a new manager in Bobby Valentine who's known for his disciplinary ways, Boston appears to be buying early with a 7-2-1 record thus far.
Granted it's Spring Training, but Bobby V seems to have his finger on the pulse of this squad. Nobody doubts the talent, just the focus of the team at times.
After beating Baltimore 6-1 on Saturday, the Red Sox are ready for another week of Grapefruit League action.
Monday, March 12th
Boston vs. Miami, 1:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, March 13
Boston at New York, 7:05 p.m.ET
It's the first meeting of the year between these two bitter rivals. Enough said.
Thursday, March 15
Boston vs. St. Louis, 2:35 p.m. ET
The Red Sox will get a crack at the defending champs, and the team they broke "The Curse" against.
Friday, March 16
Boston vs. Minnesota, 7:05 p.m. ET
Ron Gardenhire always has him team prepared and fundamentally sound, so this will be a nice test to see how Boston is doing.
Saturday, March 17
Boston at Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. ET and Baltimore at Boston, 1:35 p.m. ET (Split Squad)
All of the youngsters and veterans trying to make the team will be afforded the opportunity to make an impression against the division-rival Orioles.
Sunday, March 18
Boston at Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m. ET
The Red Sox will get another look at the Rays, who could very well be one of the best in baseball again.
The Red Sox got another win behind strong pitching.
Daniel Bard started the game and went three innings of shutout ball. Bard only allowed two hits and struck out one, although he did issue two walks.
Alfredo Aceves came in for relief duty and looked to be in midseason form. The ex-Yankee also threw three scoreless frames while surrendering two hits and punching out a pair.
Darnell McDonald scored a run and also had a hit to continue his nice Spring, leaving him with a .455 average so far.
The Red Sox can also feel good that they got to a legitimate big league pitcher and not some camp fodder. Wade Davis was knocked around a tad, giving up four runs (two earned) in just 2 2/3 innings.
The Boston Red Sox announced Friday that the organization has agreed to one-year deals with 16 players for the 2012 season. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
From the press release:
"Agreeing to terms were pitchers Michael Bowden, Drake Britton, Chris Carpenter, Felix Doubront, Mark Melancon, Clayton Mortensen, Stolmy Pimentel and Junichi Tazawa; catchers Luis Exposito and Ryan Lavarnway; infielders Lars Anderson, Will Middlebrooks and Oscar Tejeda; and outfielders Ryan Kalish, Che-Hsuan Lin and Darnell McDonald."
After the signings, everyone on Boston's 40-man roster is now under contract.
Doubront is still being considered for the fifth spot in Boston's starting rotation. The 23-year old threw two-plus innings Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing two runs, three walks and three hits while struggling with his control.
If you are going to suffer your first loss in spring training, losing to the defending World Series Champions isn’t an awful way to do so.
The Boston Red Sox lost their first spring training game of the season Thursday afternoon, falling 9-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The game was not without its strong points for the Red Sox. Starter Josh Beckett held the Cardinals scoreless for the three innings he pitched. He only allowed two hits.
While Felix Doubront maintained Beckett’s steadiness coming in for relief, left hander Jesse Carlson was not as lucky. He allowed three runs in the sixth to give the Cardinals the 3-0 lead.
Jose Iglesias kept his powerful spring training performance going and got the Red Sox back in the game in the top of the eighth. The shortstop hit a three-run triple to even the game at 3-3.
The Cardinals quickly answered at the bottom of the eighth. Chris Carpenter, the former Chicago Cubs pitcher acquired by the Red Sox in the Theo Epstein compensation agreement, had a less than stellar debut inning. He gave up a bases loaded walk and a Shane Robinson three-run double to hand the Cardinals their first win of Spring Training.
The game saw a lot of position player substitutions after a rain delay halted the game in the third inning.
The Red Sox will send Clay Buchholtz to the mound at 7:05 p.m. Friday evening against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Behind a combined 6 1/3 scoreless inning from Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Clayton Mortensen, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 5-4, in a Spring Training game. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-2 at the plate, while pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco drove-in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning for Boston, which earned its third straight victory.
Boston (3-0) jumped out to a 4-0 lead as it scored a run in the first inning and three in the third, but the Orioles rallied with two runs in each the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 4.
Red Sox reliever Alex Wilson almost gave the whole game in the fifth inning, as he allowed all four Oriole runs in the fifth inning off the bats of Wilson Betemit and Scott Beerer. The game went to 4-4 after Wilson's disastrous outing.
With two outs in the bottom in the seventh, Ciriaco drove in third basemen Nate Spears, who scored from second base after singling and advancing on a ground ball to the right side of the infield.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox play a split-squad contest with the Toronto Blue Jays.
With the win, the Red Sox (2-0) picked up their second win in the Grapefruit League and moved a top the standings. Boston also can now clinch at least a tie for the Mayor's Cup with one more win over the Twins (2-2). The two teams don't play each other until March 16 at JetBlue Park.
While there was big offense in the game, the night was all about Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who returned to the mound for the first time since last July. In his Spring debut, Buchholz looked solid in his two innings. He had control issues in the first inning with a lead off walk to Denard Span, but quickly settled down and got out of the inning. In the second, Buchholz lead off the inning by plunking Josh Willingham, but got out of the inning, courtesy of back-to-back strikeouts. A very encouraging sign from Buchholz for Red Sox fans.
Jason Marquis however, struggled in his first Spring outing of the year, which is nothing but good for the Sox. Marquis was all over the place, and it resulted in four Red Sox runs. Darnell McDonald got it all started with a leadoff triple (I'm not kidding) thanks to a botched play by left fielder Ryan Doumit, who's a catcher by trade. Josh Kroeger drove home the first run (McDonald) with an RBI single to center. Jason Repko brought home Kroeger with a force play out.
Marquis and the Twins continued to help the Red Sox out, as the Twins hurler thew a wild pitch that scored Nick Punto from third, who got on base earlier in the inning. A Justin Morneau throwing error brought home the fourth run of the inning. That's three out of the four runs, handed to the Red Sox by the Twins. Yeesh.
The Red Sox didn't need any help from Twins fielders for their fifth run, as David Ortiz crushed a Jeff Manship into the bleachers for his first spring homer of the season to make it 5-0, Sox. Ortiz was playing at first base for Boston on Monday night.
After Buchholz departure after two inning, fifth starter hopeful Vicente Padilla came on for his first appearance of the Spring. He, like Andrew Miller did yesterday, impressed me. Padilla displayed remarkably good control, as he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two. Padilla started out in the third with a 1-2-3 inning, but did run into some trouble in the fourth. He allowed singles to Morneau, Doumit and Joe Mauer to begin the inning, but was able to out of inning thanks to a pop up and a ground ball.
The same success couldn't be said for the next Boston pitcher, Will Inman, as he relinquished the only two Twins runs of the night. Inman started the bottom of the fifth by allowing four straight singles, which resulted into RBIs by Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
Brandon Duckworth and Jesse Carlson kept the Twins off the scoreboard, to preserve the 10-2 win for the Red Sox. The Red Sox will head back home on Tuesday, as they will welcome the Baltimore Orioles to JetBlue Park at 1:35 p.m.
Clay Buchholz's return to the mound was better than I really ever expected. He looked fresh and pain free and was able to keep the ball in the strike zone. Buchholz's health during the season will be very key for the very questionable pitching rotation... After a quiet first game against Boston College, David Ortiz made some noise on Tuesday night, going two for three including his towering home run. The 36-year old slugger looked to be that same threatening presence he's been for years in the Boston lineup... In the battle for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, Vicente Padilla showed some good and some bad in his showcase. After breezing through the third inning, Padilla ran into some trouble in the fourth, but he was able to pull himself out of it and get out of the inning, unscathed. Should be an interesting competition as the Spring progresses.
After defeating them on Sunday. 8-3, the Boston Red Sox look for Grapefruit League win number two against the Minnesota Twins on Monday night at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida.
The Red Sox (1-0) played most of the regular starters for about two innings on Sunday, and will feature more minor leaguers in this one. In fact, Bobby Valentine only has about three of his opening day lineup guys. The Twins (2-1), meanwhile will feature nearly all of their regular players in their lineup tonight. It looks like the Twins have more firepower in this one. But relax everyone, it's just Spring Training!
On the mound for Boston in this one will be Clay Buchholz, who will be making his first start of the spring tonight. Buchholz's 2011 season was cut short due to nagging back issues, so all eyes will be on him to see if he's close to returning to his All-Star caliber form in his expected two innings.
Opposing Clay will be right hander Jason Marquis, who will also be making his first start of the Spring. Marquis was signed by the Twins in the offseason in hopes that he can return to his form that he had with the Rockies back in 2009.
As for who Buchholz and Marquis will be up against (at least for a little while), here is tonight's lineups:
Boston Red Sox Lineup And Pitchers
Starting Pitcher: Clay Buchholz (0-0, 0.00)
Minnesota Twins Lineup And Pitchers
Starting Pitcher: Jason Marquis (0-0, 0.00)
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida
The Red Sox began their attempt to take back the Mayor's Cup with an 8-3 win in Boston's Grapefruit League opener yesterday at JetBlue Park...Today marks the 2nd of back-to-back tilts against the Twins and 6 overall this spring, with 4 of those games at JetBlue Park and 2 at Hammond Stadium...Clay Buchholz owns a 2.704 ERA (77 ER/256.1 IP) over the last 2 seasons, trailing only LAA's Jered Weaver (2.700) for the best mark among AL pitchers in that time (min. 250.0 IP)
Through three games, the Boston Red Sox have looked very good and look on pace to regaining in season form quicker than most teams are thus far. Here is a look at the Red Sox position players and pitchers statistically thus far through one Spring Training game (courtesy of MLB.com):
Those yet record a hit with at least one plate appearance in Grapefruit League play: Pedro Ciriaco, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, Che-Hsuan Lin, Darnell McDonald, Jason Repko, Cody Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach, Nate Spears, Alex Hassan
After defeating the Minnesota Twins on Sunday 8-3 in their Grapefruit league opener, the Boston Red Sox improved to 1-0 with seven more games scheduled for this week.
Other teams around the Grapefruit league have already further along than the Red Sox. As of Monday, March 5, here is the complete listing the Grapefruit League Standings:
2012 Grapefruit League Standings-- As Of March 5, 2012
After opening up Grapefruit league play on Sunday afternoon with an 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins, the Boston Red Sox will continue league every day this week in their quest towards gaining in-season form.
The Sox will feature seven games this week, with three of them being played at home at JetBlue Park. Check out the full schedule for the week of March 5-March 11, below:
Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins
When: Monday, March 5 at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Where: Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida
Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox
When: Tuesday, March 6 at 1:35 p.m. ET.
Where: JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays
When: Wednesday, March 7 at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Where: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida
Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals
When: Thursday, March 8 at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Where: Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Boston Red Sox
When: Friday, March 9 at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Where: JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
When: Saturday, March 10 at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Where: JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
When: Sunday, March 11 at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Where: Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida
With the win, the Red Sox (1-0) took the first game of the Fort Myers Mayor's Cup and will face the Twins (1-1) again tomorrow down the road at Hammond Stadium. The two teams will face each other four more times.
After a really nice gesture by the Red Sox in holding a pregame ceremony for team legends Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant and Carl Yastrzemski, it was time to 'play ball', as a Fort Myers resident proclaimed at the new JetBlue Park.
Josh Beckett made his spring training debut for the Red Sox, and looked really good in his two innings of work. Beckett gave up only one hit and walked two and kept the Twins off the scoreboard through two innings. Beckett, liked Jon Lester did yesterday, looked to have shaken off most of the rust that accumulated in the offseason.
Andrew Miller did more of the same, as the lanky left hander pitched for two innings after Beckett and walked only one and struck out three. This was definitely something Red Sox fans want to see more of from the former first round selection and fifth starter competitor.
The Red Sox offense was kept in check by Francisco Liriano (2 IP, H, BB, 2 K) and Jared Burton (1 IP, 0 H) through three innings, but came to life in the fourth. Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross both reached base so that Mike Aviles could drive them in with a two-run single off Phil Dumatrait. With it, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota got one back in the top of the fifth off set up man Mark Melancon, who gave up back to back singles to begin the inning. Ben Revere brought home the run with an RBI groundout. Not exactly a perfect outing for Melancon, who pitched an inning and gave up the one run, but it's something to build off of.
After Minnesota tied the game in the seventh inning off another Ben Revere RBI off Red Sox reliever Tony Pena Jr, Boston broke the game open with a five run bottom of the seventh. The big highlight of the inning came from Lars Anderson, who knocked a Jason Bulger pitch into the right field bleachers for a grand slam. Good way to build trade value, if I may add. Red Sox took a 7-2 lead into the eighth.
After an Oscar Tejada RBI triple for Boston and a Darin Mastroianni RBI double for Minnesota, Scott Atchison closed the door and preserved an 8-3 win for the Red Sox.
Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have both taken big steps towards putting this Chicken n' Beer business behind them. Their two shutout innings without any trouble should mean good, early news for Red Sox fans... Lars Anderson is helping himself out as well as the Red Sox. There's no tension there I bet, it's just that both the team and Lars need to ultimately part. If Anderson keeps hitting as good as he did today, there could be a suitor that could phone Ben Cherington fairly soon... Mark Melancon's rough inning shouldn't be looked on to heavily. It's early, and relief pitchers are often the slowest in finding their personas. He should still be a valuable commodity out of the bullpen in 2012.
Taking the mound for the Red Sox today is Josh Beckett, who will be making his spring debut today. Beckett, like yesterday's starter Jon Lester, is looking to get 2012 started on the right foot. Today will hopefully be the start of Beckett putting his September struggles and beer and chicken habits behind him. The Sox are expecting a lot of Beckett in 2012, so hopefully he can have a nice outing in his expected two innings of work today.
Opposing Beckett will be Twins left hander Francisco Liriano, who is looking to improve upon a disastrous 2011 campaign. Despite throwing a no-hitter last season, Liriano finished up with a 9-10 record and a 5.09 ERA. Liriano remains one of the key pieces for the Twins that will have to come up big in 2012 if they want to compete in the AL Central. Jared Burton, Esmerling Vasquez, Sam Deduno and Daryl Thompson will also see actions for the Twins.
As for who Liriano will be facing, here is today's Red Sox lineup:
Boston Red Sox Lineup vs. Minnesota
Starting Pitcher: Josh Beckett (0-0 ---)
When: 1:35 p.m.
Where: JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida
Today's contest against the Twins will be the 1st Grapefruit League game at JetBlue Park...The Red Sox attempt to take back the Mayor's Cup against theircross county rivals in 2012, beginning with the Red Sox 1st Grapefruit Leaguegame of the year today vs. a split Minnesota squad...Boston dropped last year's series, 2-3, its 1st Mayor's Cup loss since 2006, after taking the title in1997-1999, 2004 and 2007-2010
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Boston College Eagles 6-3, to go 2-0 in their Saturday collegiate double header on Saturday at JetBlue Park.
Felix Doubront overall looked good in his two innings of work for Boston. The fifth starter candidate got hit hard a few times, but it didn't result into anything, as he pitched two scoreless innings while relinquishing just one hit and striking out one batter.
After a relatively pedestrian first inning, the banging then began in the second inning. Ryan Lavarnway (single), Josh Kroeger (walk) and Alex Hassan (walk) all reached base quickly. Mike Aviles connected in his second at bat with a two-run double off the replica green monster in left field. Pinch hitter Juan Carlos Linares grounded out to bring home another. Aviles scored on a passed ball. Sox led 4-0 through two.
Junichi Tazawa was, well not very good coming off an injury-plagued season in his Spring opener. Tazawa gave up two earned runs on four total hits through his two innings of work. Not exactly the performance you want to have against the college kids.
After Alex Hassan singled home Ryan Lavarnway in the third, the Sox tacked on one more in the fourth as Linares singled home pinch runner Pedro Ciriacco, who came in for Aviles. Sox led 6-2, through four innings.
The Eagles tacked on a run in the fifth off Red Sox minor league reliever Doug Mathis, who gave up just the one run through two innings of work.
The Red Sox couldn't do anything at the plate in the fifth and sixth innings, so the job was handed off to Chorye Spooner to close out the game. Spooner went 1-2-3 in order to do so, as the Red Sox win this one, 6-3.
Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz did better than the numbers indicated. Youkilis did what he did best in this one, get on base with three walks to show for it. Ortiz nearly had a game breaking double, but was robbed by a beautiful fielding play by the Boston College right fielder...Felix Doubront got off to a pretty strong start to possibly claiming the fifth starter role. Doubront pitched two shutout innings and showed relatively good control of his off speed pitches... Also making a play for a starting role on the Red Sox was shortstop Mike Aviles, who had two great swings that resulted in doubles off the replica Green Monster. Aviles did better than his competitor Nick Punto, who was hitless on the night.
After routing the Northeastern Huskies, 25-0 on Saturday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox (1-0) return to the field at JetBlue Park to face the Boston College Eagles in the second game of their collegiate doubleheader today.
With most of the big names playing in the earlier game, the Red Sox will feature only a few of the regulars for the night cap of their doubleheader. Even though the Red Sox probably won't score 25 runs in this one, there shouldn't be any worry about them taking home the W in this one.
Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz are the notable big names that will take the field for the Sox this evening as they look to go two for two in the Saturday double header. Ortiz will be at first base, so this should be fun to watch. Check out the Red Sox lineup manager Bobby Valentine will put together to face their collegiate friends from New England:
Red Sox vs. Boston College Eagles
Starting Pitcher: Felix Doubront
Time: 7:05 p.m.
Location: JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers, Florida
TV/Radio: NESN, WEEI
The Boston Red Sox opened up Spring Training game play on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Northeastern Huskies 25-0 in the first game of a double header at JetBlue Park. The Boston College Eagles await the Red Sox at 7:05 p.m.
I know this is against a Division II college, but I really liked what I saw from this bunch! Boston got things kicked off in the first inning with a two-out double by Darnell McDonald that brought home Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, who both reached base with two outs.
The fun continued in bottom of the second inning for Boston as they put up a seven-spot on the scoreboard in the frame. Newcomer Cody Ross got things started for the Red Sox with a home run over the monster in left field. Jacoby Ellsbury's sac fly scored Will Middlebrooks from third. With Jose Iglesisas and Dustin Pedroia on base, Adrian Gonzalez cleared the bases with a three-run shot by Adrian Gonzalez over the monster. With Jarrod Saltalmacchia and McDonald on the base pads, new comer Ryan Sweeney singled them home both home. Phew. When it was all said and done, it was 9-0 Red Sox through two. But wait, there's more!
After a relatively quiet fourth inning for the Sox offense that saw Oscar Tejada single home Jose Iglesias, the pounding resumed in the fifth inning for the Red Sox. A wild pitch by Northeastern led Nate Spears scoring the first run of the inning. Ryan Sweeney reached base so Cody Ross could hit a grand slam over the monster. With one gone, Pedro Ciriaco was brought home by a two-run home run by Che-Hsuan Lin. It's Red Sox nation's version of Linsanity! Red Sox lead, 17-0.
Boston added a pair in the sixth thanks to that guy again, Ryan Sweeney, who scored on a single by Max St. Pierre after doubling. Middlebrooks added the other on an RBI double to center. 19-0, Sox.
The man slaughtering ended in the seventh inning, because that's when the game was designed to end. It could have been a whole lot worse. Boston scored a quick three thanks to Ryan Sweeney's home run, and the offense added three more to make it 25-0. Goodness gracious.
Oh yeah, about Northeastern not scoring any runs.. Jon Lester, who was this afternoon's starter, was nothing less than perfect in his two innings of work. Lester allowed just one hit and struck out three in his two shutout innings. More of the same for Justin Germano and Michael Bowden, as they each had two shutout innings. Germano struck out one batter and allowed one hit while Bowden struck out three and didn't allow a hit at all. Matt Albers ultimately shut the door for the Red Sox in the bottom of the seventh, with a one-two-three ninth inning.
A Quick look at some notable batting totals for today:
Jose Iglesias played some pretty solid defense over at shortstop today, but struggled against a college level team at the plate. It's early, but I don't think the kid's ready for the full time big league job just yet after today.... All the debate about right field should be a little silenced after today. The expected lefty-righty platoon of Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross combined to go 6-8 with three dingers and 10 RBI. We knew they could field, but they also proved to us they could hit... Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia appear to have shaken off most of the rust.... Good to see Lester pitch well today, especially after that disastrous September.
The Red Sox have about two hours to spare before they take on the Boston College Eagles at 7:05 p.m. in the second game of the double header. The game will be televised in the Boston area on NESN and will be able to be heard on WEEI.
After months of waiting, baseball is finally back! On Saturday, the Boston Red Sox will take the field at brand new JetBlue Park for a collegiate double header against Northeastern at 2:35 p.m. and Boston College at 7:05 p.m.
Buckner, who is not related to former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, was in the Rockies' system in Triple-A last year. He was 4-8 with an ERA of 6.03 in 21 starts. Buckner threw 80 strikeouts and 52 walks in 23 appearances. In 36 MLB appearances (21 starts), Buckner is 6-11 with a 6.25 ERA.
Mock was 4-13 in three years with the Washington Nationals, making a total of 55 appearances. His ERA was 5.17 with the Nationals and he struck out 8 batters per nine innings. In the minors last season, Mock was 1-5 with a 6.39 ERA. He had 51 strikeouts and 29 walks in 49 1/3 innings pitched.
Buckner is expected to compete for a starting job in the Red Sox system while Mock will compete for a spot as a reliever in the Red Sox system.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the wait is finally over. Baseball is back! Starting on Saturday, March 3, you'll be able to see your Boston Red Sox in action for the first time since their disappointing finish to the 2011 season. With baseball back this weekend, we can't help but just move on from the past and watch our Sox redeem themselves in 2012.
This weekend, the Red Sox will start off with a doubleheader on Saturday at JetBlue Park with games against Northeastern, starting at 2:35 p.m. and Boston College, starting at 7:05 p.m. Because of the double header and it being so early, we won't be able to see the entire expected MLB roster playing together on the field on Saturday, but we'll get to see bits and pieces of it.
Here are the projected Red Sox lineups and pitchers for Saturday's games:
Red Sox vs. Northeastern-- 2:35 p.m.
SP- Jon Lester
Red Sox vs. Boston College-- 7:05 p.m. (TV: NESN)
SP- Felix Doubront
The Red Sox will open up Grapefruit League play on Sunday afternoon as they welcome the Minnesota Twins to JetBlue Park on 1:35 p.m. The game will televised on NESN. No lineups for that one have been released to this point.
Sports Illustrated sports injury guru Will Carroll has released his MLB Health Reports, and he says that the Boston Red Sox may have a few problems, but some bumps and bruises are not a major one.
Carroll preaches caution when it comes to Kevin Youkilis and the back, leg and sports hernia issues that hurt his 2011 season. Carroll warns:
“Expecting Youk to play more than 120 games is a high bar given the past couple seasons.”
He also is tentative about the abilities of pitcher Clay Buchholtz, who is still recovering from a stress fracture in his spine, an injury related to pitching motion.
Carroll does point out that the team does have high injury risk, listing 12 players under either “Yellow” or “Red Light.” Some additions to the conditioning staff (the Sox have brought in well-known strength coach Mike Boyle) and the already steady quality of the medical staff will help players with more long-term injuries recover, and should help ease some of these concerns for the 2012 Red Sox.
The Bobby Valentine era has brought quite the blunt style to the Boston Red Sox coaching philosophy.
A Tampa Bay Times piece Wednesday profiled the new Red Sox manager’s first few days in camp in Fort Myers, where his hands-on style and open mouth has surprised some players.
The article quotes RHP Daniel Bard as commenting:
“I’ve never seen anyone approach a spring training, or deal with players quite the way he does.”
Valentine is big on instruction and observation, wanting to take overview of everything he possibly can. His instruction is laced with candid criticism. The Times mentioned that the Red Sox pitching staff learned about that particular trait of Valentine’s early on:
“But Red Sox players say Valentine is just as blunt with them, telling pitchers in their first meeting they “stunk” in fielding last year."
After that comment, the Jetblue Park clubhouse televisions just so happened to have clips of pitchers from across MLB making good fielding plays. Coincidence or the mark of shrewd managing?
Will the Boston Red Sox' shortage of shortstops keep the team from returning to the playoffs? Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci thinks so.
Verducci told WEEI's Mut & Merloni that he expects the Red Sox to finish in third place in the AL East this season, thanks to the uncertainty surrounding their shortstop position and the back end of their rotation.
"Boston to me is third, because I don't like the shortstop situation," Verducci said. "It's too important of a position to try to move people around, and certainly to force people in when they are not ready. In terms of [Jose] Iglesias, I don't like that situation. And they're going to need 90 starts from [Clay] Buchholz, [Jon] Lester and [Josh] Beckett. Anything less than that and they are going to be really in trouble and be less than a 90-win team."
Despite his hesitancy to endorse the makeup of Boston's roster, Verducci believes the Red Sox brass picked the right skipper.
"In 2012, I think Valentine is the right guy," he said. "Especially to get them out from beyond the garbage of last September. I like both guys. Terry is going to be a great candidate for somebody, at some point -- maybe as early as July this year. He'll be that Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden guy who is sitting up in the booth waiting for the next job on everybody's list. And he'll be better for it. I do think there needs to be attention to detail and things cleaned up around the Red Sox, and that's what Bobby does really, really well.
In saying that Derek Jeter's infamous "flip" play was a result of the shortstop being out of position, Bobby Valentine stirred the pot nicely.
In response to Valentine's remarks, Jeter took a predictable approach, according to WEEI.com.
"I don’t think anything," Jeter said, according to reports from the assembled media. "I really don’t. I have no thoughts whatsoever. Who cares? Why are we talking about this? They must be bored over there, huh? I don’t understand."
Jeter does bring up a valid point. Why bring up a play that didn't involve Valentine and which occurred over a decade ago? Considering Bobby V's history, it's probably nothing more than an attempt to get under his rival's skin.
Jeter did seem a bit miffed in his response to whether or not the Yankees do practice that type of situation.
"Think about it. We don’t practice it? We do," he said. "You guys see it. What else can I say? I was out of position? I was where I was supposed to be."
Nothing like a little Spring Training feud to get the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry off a nice foot for 2012.
Boston Red Sox current head coach Bobby Valentine was asked about former Red Sox manager Terry Francona's comments about his no beer policy. Francona indicated that he thought Valentine's policy was a PR move after last season's collapse.
Valentine said about Francona's comments:
"Any comments on that? You need a comment? My opinion, if it was PR move you mean?" said Valentine. "I don't know. How was it PR? Well, you know, I don't really have a comment on that. It means like 20 teams are looking for PR and that's why they're making good decisions. I don't have a comment on that."
"Remember, you're getting paid over there for saying stuff. You get paid over here for doing stuff," said Valentine. "I've done both." (via WEEI)
Jason Varitek, longtime Boston Red Sox catcher and captain, will annouce his retirement on Thursday, according to a report (via Boston.com). Even after his retirement, it is expected that Varitek will remain with the Red Sox in some capacity.
In a career that spanned from 1997-2011 (all with the Red Sox organization), Varitek hit .256 with 193 homers and drove in 757 runs during the regular season. In 63 postseason games, he had a .237 batting average, 11 home runs and 33 RBI. Varitek was team captain from 2005-2011 and helped the Red Sox win two World Series titles (2004, 2007). Varitek was also a three-time All-Star and one-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner.
Varitek's longevity as a Red Sox player put him in elite company.
Only Carl Yastrzemski (23 seasons), Ted Williams (19) and Jim Rice (16) had longer tenures with the Red Sox without playing for another team.
What a difference a year can make. Last season, the Boston Red Sox entered the 2011 season the odds-on favorite to win the World Series, but this year is a complete different feeling says CEO/President Larry Lucchino, who sees his team as the underdogs.
"I am absolutely not concerned about [the fact that some are predicting the team to finish third in the AL East]. In fact, I relish it," Lucchino said some time after the morning press conference. "I’ve had enough of the overestimation, the hype attached to last year’s team."
Though, Lucchino says this team may not be the favorite to win it all this year. The expectations that Boston will do so is still there.
"When I say [championship-caliber team], I mean playoffs, because after that, everyone knows it’s a crapshoot. But do I think we have the talent to get into the postseason? I do," said Lucchino. "But we’ve got to have a safe and healthy year. We’ve got to have highly motivated players, individually and collectively. A lot of things have to go right. We need the baseball leadership to do its job.
"But I’m optimistic and excited about 2012, not just about the ribbon cutting [at JetBlue Park, a ceremony that took place on Saturday]. It’s exciting. This is the first day of the 2012 season. I’m excited -- more so than I’ve been in several years."
Following last season's disastrous late-season collapse rumors swirled that players on the Red Sox were drinking beer in the clubhouse and even during games. That won't be a problem during the upcoming season, as new manager, Bobby Valentine, has officially banned alcohol from the Red Sox clubhouse.
"The rules are not to embarrass themselves or the team, the community, their teammates," Valentine said. "I don't think that's a new rule. That's a longstanding rule of life. There's no beer in the clubhouse and no beer on the last leg of road trips."
Long-time Red Sox, David Ortiz, endorsed the rule.
"We're not here to drink," Ortiz said. "We're here to play baseball. You know what I'm saying? This ain't no bar."
Boston Red Sox manager Bobbie Valentine is trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together as his full team, not just pitchers and catchers, are set to take the field for the first time in Fort Myers, Fla. on Saturday. This is his his first spring training with the Red Sox as he was hired in November. This isn't the first time he's managed a professional baseball team, he was the manager of the both the Rangers and the Mets at one point, but that doesn't mean that his first experience with the Red Sox isn't stressful.
According to ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald and Gordon Edes, right now his main focus is just getting to know his players.
"To me, I'm still trying to get to know everybody. That's my main chore.
"I'd like to get that first meeting (full squad, Saturday morning) over with. I heard there's a lot of introductions, talking. I want to get pitchers on the field with players. We've got 60-plus players in camp, there are six practice fields we're trying to utilize all the time. It's a lot more work than, ‘Oh, good, this is really enjoyable.'''
Pitchers and catchers have been taking the field for practice for a while now, and that has been Valentines main focus. However, all the other players show up on Saturday to get their spring training started. Even though most of them are in Fort Myers, Valentine has only seen a couple of them and introduced himself to one or two.
"I have been focused so much on pitchers and catchers. I briefly said hello to Dustin (Pedroia), saw him once out here. I've barely seen anybody else of the position players. I had a couple of nice little talks with Carl (Crawford) because he was early. But tomorrow that page turns. Tomorrow is the full squad.''
In early March, the Grapefruit Exhibition league games start and Valentine was asked whether or not he would stick with certain pitcher-catcher pairings by that point in spring training. Valentine said he hopes by that point, pitchers will get comfortable in some kind of a rotation and that three of his pitchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway, will likely get the majority of the playing time.
Valentine, keeping mostly with his pitching staff, also spoke of Chris Carpenter, who was sent to Boston from the Chicago Cubs as compensation for Theo Epstein. Valentine said that he briefly spoke to Carpenter but that he still doesn't know if the pitcher is happy with his new home or not.
"(Carpenter) said he was better today mentally, so it must have been a little confusing for him. I can understand that. (The decision came) so late. Leave the house, get settled in, then have to leave and move your family, it's very difficult I think. How he views this opportunity, I have no idea if he's thinking this is a better place to be or not as good a place, if he's been told something.
"It'll be a footnote (being traded for Epstein). We should take the kid into consideration. It is difficult.''
On Thursday, Massachusetts General Hospital released a statement about Boston Red Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks told reporters his surgery to correct a pulmonary embolism was mishandled and resulted in him having a life-threatening infection on his spine.
"We are very sorry that Mr. Jenks experienced complications following his surgery, and we are glad that he is continuing to improve. It would be inappropriate for MGH to provide any specific information about Mr. Jenks' surgery without the consent of the patient and the Red Sox organization."
After nearly months of pondering and wondering, free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt announced that he will continue to sit out and wait for better opportunities after receiving offers reportedly from the Red Sox and the Cardinals. Oswalt's agent Bob Garber released a statement about Oswalt's intentions.
"After much thought and careful consideration, Roy has decided to continue to evaluate his options," Garber said in the statement. "He is in great health and will continue to stay in shape, while throwing regularly off the mound. Roy has every intention of pitching for a contending club at some point this season."
Even though location has been the apparent key factor in Oswalt's decision making, the trouble was actually the low offers from competing, according to former Oswalt teammate Lance Berkman.
"It's strictly a money thing," Berkman told reporters on Thursday. "The Cardinals [offer] ... wasn't enough to lure him out of Mississippi ... I think he feels like that he can get the same money in half a season as he could in a full season and he's probably right."
Had he joined the Red Sox, Oswalt would have added a strong veteran presence as well as a successful track record to the Boston starting rotation. He would have likely been placed right behind Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz and right in front of Daniel Bard in the five-man rotation. However since he's not coming, Vicente Padilla, Carlos Silva, Alfredo Aceves, Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller will continue to battle it out for that final spot.
Since Oswalt didn't sign with another team today, there remains that slight possibility that he could sign with the team during the middle of the season, assuming whomever wins the fifth starter job struggles out of the gate. However, it seems that Oswalt doesn't want to pitch and Boston, and after today I don't think to many people in Boston even want him anymore.
With the Red Sox in dire need of starting pitching, the team decided to convert long time set up man Daniel Bard to the role of starting pitcher during Spring Training. So far, he's been impressing his coaches and peers with it all.
While it is clearly a different lifestyle than being in the bullpen, Bard seems to comfortable and confident with his conversion to becoming a starter.
"I love being in the bullpen. I think, in a different way from Pap, it fits my personality. I love the everyday aspect of it," said Bard. "I do think I can mold that into being a starting pitcher, too. I just haven't done it in four years."
In recent years, former Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson made the transition from reliever to starter in 2010, and performed well enough to earn himself a big payday by signing a 5-year $77.5 million deal with the Angels this past offseason. Bard says it's hard not to notice the money difference one makes from being a starter and a reliever, and takes into perspective that Wilson will be making more than former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon next year, after Pap had five solid years as Boston's closer.
"There is that. It's hard not to notice that. The money's better in closing and starting," said Bard. "But you look at an average starting pitcher vs. an average closer, you've got Mariano [Rivera] making 15 [million] and A.J. Burnett was making 15 last year. That was a great comparison I heard last year.
"There's a cool comparison between Papelbon and C.J. Wilson's career, how Papelbon was so much better for the first five years of their career, both being bullpen guys, then C.J. makes the conversion to starter, does it well for two years and then makes more than Pap."
After spending nearly three seasons with the division rival Rays, catcher Kelly Shoppach signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox this offseason in order to return to the organization where it all began.
With all of the questions surrounding the Red Sox, many experts around the league have already given the Yankees the division crown and the Rays the Wild Card spot, henceforth writing off the Red Sox completely during 2012. When asked about whether he feels the Rays have the upper hand over his new club in 2012, he didn't really think that notion was completely accurate.
"I don't think it matters," he said. "I mean, last year has no relevance on this year. We have a very powerful team in the AL East that they're trying to beat. I think that's the same on both sides."
"It's time to move on," Shoppach said. "Last year happened. It was one of the greatest days in baseball history. I was fortunate enough to be a part of it. But I'm looking forward to Twenty-Twelve! It's Twenty-Twelve!"
Now that he's back in Red Sox uniform for the 2012, he's ready to help contribute to the best of his ability and is hoping for big things for the upcoming season.
"There's a lot of pressure -- a lot of unnecessary expectations coming in on these guys who have been here the last couple of years. We all know there are 25 guys who need to be able to trust and depend on each other. Actually, it will be 35 to 40 people. We'll need everybody. Expectations are just part of New England. We can't let that affect anything. It's time to go play some ball and have fun."
During media availability in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse on Thursday, relief pitcher Bobby Jenks described his offseason back surgery that went woefully wrong and resulted in a spinal condition he called life-threatening.
Jenks underwent the initial surgery on Dec. 12, but described to reporters how he required follow-up surgery two and a half weeks later to correct what he called an "error" during the first procedure. (via WEEI)
"With the whole blood clot issue last year, I couldn't have the surgery until December," Jenks said. "All the way up until that point, I was basically doing nothing but cardio and trying to get myself as strong as possible going into the surgery. I had the surgery on the 12th of December. It didn't go that great. I had to have an emergency surgery on the 30th to correct what happened in the prior surgery. [Doctors] went in and had that fixed and [I have] been pretty much laid up the last two months.
"I don't know whose fault it was but there was an error done inside. When I went in [for consultation], we had talked about it. I had four bone spurs basically on my spine. We talked about having the top two out and the third one was started and not finished. Basically, there was a serrated edge that sliced me open in two different spots and I was leaking spinal fluid. It just pulled at the bottom of my incision and just kind of blew up on me which caused an infection to climb up that incision wound, so now I had an infection in my spine."
Jenks said the surgery was in the middle part of his back, in the thoracic region.
"It was a combination of everything that could've gone wrong, went wrong," Jenks said. "If I didn't have it done immediately, the infection could've gotten into my spinal fluid and up to my brain, and who knows what happens then. I could obviously not be here right now."
Jenks, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal prior to the start of the 2011 season, was placed on the 60-day disabled list and there is no timetable for when he'll begin throwing a baseball again.
The pitcher said he will let his legal representatives determine whether to pursue legal action.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford caused a small stir earlier in spring training by mentioning his desire to bat higher in the order, but manager Bobby Valentine brushed off the comments during an interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, noting that he expects Crawford to help Boston no matter where he bats.
"Carl Crawford will not be a problem," Valentine said. "He's going to be a major contributor to the 2012 version of our team. Wherever he's hitting in our lineup, he'll be a major contributor to our team."
Crawford's first season with the Red Sox was like a ten-foot wave approaching shore that fizzled out instead of crashing, and the team fell apart in a similar fashion during its epic September collapse. With last year's shadow still looming, Valentine understands the Red Sox need to improve from last season, but sees the potential to win a lot of games.
When asked what he would predict for the Red Sox season if he still worked at ESPN, Valentine showed confidence in his squad.
"I would say that I would want to say what this team is," Valentine said. "I would say that, at ESPN I would say, 'listen, they have holes to fill, let's see how they fill them, if they fill them with people that are going to be contributing members of this team and contribute properly this might be a team to win 97 to 100 games."
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is no astronaut, but he does plan on “going to the Moon” plenty this spring.
Pedroia unveiled his new phraseology to WEEI on Wednesday. Following some endorsement work, he told the media that he was “heading out to hit cage bombs, going to the moon.”
More than just a catchy new expression, Pedroia’s lunar reference points to a certain level of excitement for the season ahead as well as the fundamentals-first approach of new manager Bobby Valentine.
The change in managers and approach did little to dampen Pedrioa’s enthusiasm in preparing for the season.
“We’re going to play good baseball," Pedroia said. "I’m excited, I’m excited to go play. Last year, the end was tough but we have to regroup together, come out and play good baseball and do it all year long.”
The Red Sox will be counting on another big season from Pedroia, who hit a career-best 21 home runs in 2011.
Even thought the first official team workout isn't until Saturday of this week, every player of the current Boston Red Sox roster has reported to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida as of Tuesday afternoon.
The last player to report to camp today was a somewhat disgruntled David Ortiz, who has had several contract battles this offseason with Red Sox management. Last week, the two struck a deal on a one-year deal worth a little over $14 million to avoid arbitration. At one point this offseason, Ortiz thought that he may have to find a new home.
"I'm not going to lie to you -- at one point I thought I was done here,'' he said.
"The front office was caught up in a lot of things ... and at one point I guess I thought I wasn't a priority here. That's the way it looked to me.''
Like many times before with other players, the media asked Ortiz about the infamous September collapse that saw the Red Sox fall from being a sure playoff bet. Ortiz, like many of his peers, says he's mindful of last year and just trying to focus on this year.
"There were a lot of games that we let go,'' he said. "I was very disappointed. But let's move on. There's nothing we can do about it now. Just pull yourself together and do some damage this year.''
"Turn the page, man. We don't need no more negativity. We don't need no more confrontation.''
With the Red Sox starting shortstop position a revolving door since the departure of Nomar Garciaparra, there is once again open competition for the position again this year.
Following the Marco Scutaro trade, veterans Mike Aviles and Nick Punto as well as former top prospect Jose Iglesias are among those fighting for the spot. At such a young age, Iglesias would be overjoyed if he ends up winning the job out of Spring Training.
"Of course I would like to," the 22-year-old said Wednesday. "Even if I'm not starting, I'm going to play hard. I'm going to play at 100 percent no matter where I play."
While there's no denying the 22 year old is a defensive wizard at shortstop, he's still got work to do at the plate. He hit just .235 in the minors last year at the plate. Because of it, he seems like a bit of a longshot to win the job.
"I'm just focused on saying positive all season long and try to be healthy every single day and be consistent at the plate," he said. "I want to be more disciplined."
As for the man who will decide whether he's ready or not, manager Bobby Valentine has been very impressed with what he's seeing out of Iglesias in the field. He even is buying into the comparisons of Iglesias and Rey Ordonez, a defensively gifted but offensively challenged shortstop he had when he was 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."
This is a subject I think every Boston sports writer/blogger that covers the Red Sox is really getting tired of. However, we heard late Wednesday night that a resolution may be coming soon.
ESPN's Jim Bowden is reporting the Oswalt could make a decision as early as Thursday, which could be mean good news for the starting pitcher seeking Red Sox. Even though they don't have the room in either their payroll or roster like Boston does, the Cardinals, Rangers and Reds remain possibilities. Boston however seems like the best fit for Roy, but he doesn't seem to think so.
If the Sox were able to add Oswalt, that would be bad news for guys like Vicente Padilla, Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook, Ross Ohlendorf and Alfredo Aceves if they wanted to win a starting gig. With the top four virtually locked in (Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, Oswalt) Daniel Bard would appear to be the clear favorite to take the fifth starter spot, leaving the other guys fighting for bullpen spots.
All quotes used in this notebook are courtesy of ESPN Boston
After the Boston Red Sox let general manager Theo Epstein go to the Chicago Cubs, they were finally compensated on Tuesday with the addition of 27-year old right handed pitcher Chris Carpenter. No, not THAT Chris Carpenter. The other Chris Carpenter isn't exactly someone you'd call a household name, but he caught the attention of a young Red Sox prospect.
On Wednesday, Boston third base prospect Will Middlebrooks was asked about the newest member of the Red Sox since the two faced each other a few times in the minor leagues.
"I only faced him once. All I remember is he threw hard and had good stuff. He was one of the guys who was a later-innings guy, who came in and threw hard - good, hard stuff: hard fastball, hard slider. It was definitely good. ... He didn't have any control issues against us." (via WEEI)
David Ortiz is ready to go once again, showing up a day early for Spring Training.
According to Peter Abraham of Boston.com, Oritz isn't concerned about last year's problems but is looking forward to 2012.
"They came out and apologized. That means they're not going to do it again. For that, you need to turn the page. We're going to be thinking about the fried chicken and the beer that they had last September in March or February 2012? No. You're not going to solve any problems with that."
Ortiz and the Red Sox were able to avoid arbitration with a one year, $14.575 million contract. The 26-year-old slugger is still playing at a very high level. He posted a .307 average to compliment 29 home runs and 96 RBI.
"I'm happy with what I got," he said. "I'm not going to lie to you. I'm happy with it. ... I'm back, I'm here at least for another year and like I always tell you guys, I'm going to do my best."
It will be interesting to see if Ortiz has another year left in the tank. Obviously both he and Boston believe so, but a big man who's getting up there in age isn't always a recipe for success.
In what will be his 15th year, Ortiz will be looking to break through the 400 home run barrier, needing 22 to get it done.
The Boston Red Sox announced that pitchers John Lackey and Bobby Jenks have been added to the 60-day disabled list (via NESN). The team also added pitcher Rich Hill, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox last December, to their 40-man roster (via WEEI.com).
Both Lackey and Hill have had recent Tommy John surgery, last June for Hill and last December for Lackey. Jenks had procedures done on his back in the offseason. Jenks' addition made room for pitcher Chris Carpenter, who the Red Sox acquired from the Cubs as compensation for former general manager Theo Epstein.
Lackey was 12-12 last season for Boston with a 6.41 ERA. As for Hill, the team now thinks that he will be able to make some rehab appearances in April.
For the first time in 2012, the Boston Red Sox will hold Spring Training at the brand new JetBlue Park in Fort Meyers, Florida.
The new stadium, which seats 11,000 fans, is designed to share many of Fenway Park's characteristics, including a Green Monster that features seating on top of the wall, as well as a manual scoreboard like the one in Boston.
It is part of Fenway South, the team's new Spring Training and player development complex. In addition to JetBlue Park, Fenway South features six practice fields and a rehabilitation facility designed for use by Boston's Major League team and its Minor League affiliates.
FInally, it's over. Well, sort of. The Boston Red Sox have acquired right handed reliever Chris Carpenter (no, not that one) from the Chicago Cubs as well as a player to be named later, completing the compensation for Theo Epstein.
Five months after allowing former general manager Theo Epstein to leave his position to become president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Red Sox should learn Tuesday of the compensation they will get in return, reports Boston's WEEI.
According to an industry source, the compensation will be a pitcher from Chicago's 40-man roster. Here's currently the pitchers on the Cubs' roster:
|68||Jeff Beliveau||L-L||6'1"||190||Jan 17, 1987|
|76||Alberto Cabrera||R-R||6'4"||210||Oct 25, 1988|
|37||Chris Carpenter||R-R||6'4"||220||Dec 26, 1985|
|52||Lendy Castillo||R-R||6'1"||170||Apr 8, 1989|
|27||Casey Coleman||L-R||6'0"||185||Jul 3, 1987|
|46||Ryan Dempster||R-R||6'2"||215||May 3, 1977|
|66||Rafael Dolis||R-R||6'4"||215||Jan 10, 1988|
|22||Matt Garza||R-R||6'4"||215||Nov 26, 1983|
|54||John Gaub||R-L||6'2"||210||Apr 28, 1985|
|28||Paul Maholm||L-L||6'2"||220||Jun 25, 1982|
|57||Scott Maine||L-L||6'3"||215||Feb 2, 1985|
|49||Carlos Marmol||R-R||6'2"||215||Oct 14, 1982|
|62||Marcos Mateo||R-R||6'1"||220||Apr 18, 1984|
|40||James Russell||L-L||6'4"||200||Jan 8, 1986|
|29||Jeff Samardzija||R-R||6'5"||225||Jan 23, 1985|
|21||Andy Sonnanstine||L-R||6'3"||190||Mar 18, 1983|
|32||Chris Volstad||R-R||6'8"||230||Sep 23, 1986|
|56||Casey Weathers||R-R||6'1"||205||Jun 10, 1985|
|36||Randy Wells||R-R||6'5"||230||Aug 28, 1982|
|34||Kerry Wood||R-R||6'5"||210||Jun 16, 1977|
|30||Travis Wood||R-L||5'11"||175||Feb 6, 1987|
It is expected that particulars of the deal will be announced later Tuesday, and it is still uncertain what kind of quality player the Red Sox will get.
Manny Ramirez is back in the sport that made him a legend. The ex-Boston Red Sox star and performance enhancing drug user signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics. Ramirez is a career .312 hitter with 555 home runs.
The shadow of yesteryear still lingers, but the Boston Red Sox are set to embark on a new season, which they presumably hope will feature less alcohol, chicken wings and September losses.
Pitchers and catchers reported Sunday, with position players set to join them Friday. A little more than a week after that, the Red Sox begin spring training games on March 3 with a twin bill against Northeastern and Boston College.
The Red Sox will play in the Grapefruit League. The full schedule follows (courtesy of SpringTrainingOnline.com):
||Boston College (ss)
||7:05 p.m.||NY Yankees
||2:35 p.m.||St. Louis
|March 17||1:35 p.m.||Baltimore (ss)
|March 17||1:05 p.m.||Baltimore (ss)
||1:05 p.m.||Tampa Bay||Tix||Pt. Charlotte|
|March 19||1:35 p.m.
||7:05 p.m.||Toronto||Tix||Ft. Myers|
||7:05 p.m.||N.Y. Yankees
|March 23||1:05 p.m.||Baltimore
||1:35 p.m.||Philadelphia (ss)
||1:05 p.m.||Miami (ss)
|March 26||1:05 p.m.||Philadelphia||Tix||Clearwater|
|March 27||1:35 p.m.||Tampa Bay
|March 28||OFF DAY
||1:05 p.m.||Tampa Bay||Tix||Pt. Charlotte|
||6:05 p.m.||Washington||Tix||Nationals Park|
FORT MYERS-- Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the players, coaching staff and fans of the Boston Red Sox as Sunday marked the official start of Spring Training with pitchers and catchers taking the field.
The gates of brand new JetBlue Park opened for the first time to the public at 9:00 a.m. this morning, with several fans of all ages anxious to see their ball club in action.
Starting pitchers Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard all participated in a game of catch with others before heading over to the bullpen to get in a session. Lester even took some time to sign some autographs with fans after his day of work.
Out of the three, I was the most impressed with Beckett. He seems to have worked on his mechanics some and it looks as if he's lost some weight since last September.
Newcomers Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon worked close together on the far field, but both spent most of their time at the large sized bullpen. Based on what I saw, both are very excited to be working together and to be pitching again.
As for the catchers, I believe that second year Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in store for a better year offensively and defensively. He seems to have worked a lot on his throws, and was a lot less erratic on his pitch outs to second base.
Bobby Valentine was nowhere to be found on the grounds of JetBlue, as he addressed the media earlier in the morning. Hitting coach Dave Magadan fed the early arrivals/minor leaguers batting practice while pitching coach Bob McClure spent all of his time in the bullpen area.
After an injury plagued year with the Dodgers, Vicente Padilla was in Red Sox camp this morning doing a lot of sprints after throwing his bullpen session.... Junichi Tazawa is back after Tommy John surgery took his 2011 season away from him... Matt Albers seems to look slimmer and was throwing the ball like he was before the start of the All Star break last year.... Catchers Kelly Shoppach, the defense ace and Ryan Lavarnway, the offensive force both look in shape and ready to battle for a roster spot.
Former Boston Red Sox outfield Mike Cameron has decided to call it a career after 17 seasons, as his current team the Washington Nationals announced his retirement plans Sunday. According to a report by the Sporting News, Cameron had a good shot of making Washington's Opening Day roster as a platoon center-fielder, however, decided to not report to Spring Training.
Over the course of his 17-year career, Cameron made one All-Star team (2001), three Gold Gloves and was a part of eight different MLB franchises with his longest tenure being just four seasons.
Cameron played a small portion of his career in Boston, who signed him in the winter of 2009 and then traded him in the summer of '11.
In just 81 games with the Red Sox, he hit notched a .219 batting average with just seven home runs and 14 RBI.
For the latest on the Boston Red Sox Spring Training news, check back to this SB Nation Boston StoryStream. For everything on the Red Sox, check out the SB Nation blog Over The Monster, as well as our baseball hub, Baseball Nation.
New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine officially addressed the media over baseball related topics, as the Red Sox opening Spring Training in Fort Myers, FL on Sunday. According to a report by Boston's WEEI, Valentine spoke for 27 minutes and admitted he has concerns about the team's attitude heading into the quickly approaching season.
"At the start of the season, you have all questions," Valentine said. "You have questions about how the team will come together, how the pitching staff will work with the catchers and how the lineup will look and work together. I'd say we have all questions, and questions of good health, too."
"Whether or not a team wins a championship or finishes last, there's always concern on how attitude will develop in a new year," Valentine said. "Considering there were some major issues last year at the end and there's major changes here at the beginning, I'm concerned about the attitude."
Valentine did say that the early arrival of pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester were good signs and a step in the right direction. Valentine also touched on the vacancies that need to be filled by Opening Day.
"As far as positions, we have a vacancy at shortstop, we have a vacancy in right field, right now Carl's health is of question for maybe opening day, and opening day of spring training, so we'll deal with left field. A couple of spots in our starting rotation and a couple of spots in our bullpen have open spots also. Personnel, those are the questions that need answers and the general idea of all the things coming together need to be answered."
For the latest on the Boston Red Sox Spring Training news, check back to this SB Nation Boston StoryStream. For everything on the Red Sox, check out the SB Nation blog Over The Monster, as well as our baseball hub, Baseball Nation.
Pitchers and catchers report to Boston Red Sox spring training at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida on Sunday, and the team has announced via press release that fans will be invited to the complex to take in all of the festivities.
Specifically, the Player Development Complex at Fenway South will be open to fans on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. EDT to 12:00 p.m. The complex will be open to the public on Monday as well at the same hours, and fans are invited and encouraged to attend the first workout on Tuesday at the complex.
Fans will also be able to tour JetBlue Park, which is the new spring training home of the Sox, beginning Monday from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Tickets cost five dollars per person and can be purchased directly at the JetBlue Park box office.
Position players report on Thursday and the first full team workout is next Saturday. Fenway South is located at 11581 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers, Florida 33913. Here are driving directions from the Red Sox.
DIRECTIONS TO FENWAY SOUTH: From the North: Take I-75 South to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Make a left off the exit and go east for approximately two miles. Fenway South will be on your left. From the South: Take I-75 North to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Make a right off exit and go east for approximately two miles. Fenway South will be on your left. If using a GPS, please enter the following address: 11581 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33913.
The wait is over. Spring training is finally here. Pitchers and catchers officially report to Boston Red Sox training camp in Fort Myers, Florida on Sunday afternoon, marking the official beginning of the 2012 baseball season. The first workout will be held on Tuesday and the first full team workout will take place next Saturday.
Plenty of controversy surrounded the end of the season just five months ago. Blown leads, out of shape players, rats in the clubhouse -- it couldn't have been much worse for the Sox. Now that spring training is here, we can finally move on.
The pitching staff is still mostly intact, with the dominant trio of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz all expected to be on top of their game, especially considering the way last season ended. The bottom of the rotation is a little shakier, as Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves are slated to make the jump from the bullpen to the starting five.
In the bullpen, the Sox have added closer Andrew Bailey (who takes the reigns at the back end of the bullpen with the departure of Jonathan Papelbon) and other relievers such as Mark Melancon and Clayton Mortensen. The team also welcomes back Franklin Morales, Matt Albers, Bobby Jenks and Andrew Miller to the pen, among others.
Speaking of the battery, the Sox also bring back their starting catcher in Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Kelly Shoppach was brought back by the team via free agency and both Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Expostio are invited to camp. Jason Varitek, the team's captain and longtime backstop, received an invite to spring training, but he still may retire.
Are you ready, Red Sox fans? All things considered, we're in for another good season.
JetBlue Park is officially open for business. The new spring training home of the Boston Red Sox was shown off to the media on Friday, and it looks an awful lot like Fenway Park, the true home of the Sox on Yawkey Way in Boston. Of course, there's a reason for that.
The stadium was built as a replica of Fenway Park, with the dimensions matching that of Fenway. It even has the legendary Green Monster out in left field. It's brilliant when you think about it. Why have your players get used to a different park for over a month, only to have to readjust themselves to Fenway once they return at the season's start? Very smart.
Just like Fenway, it's 310 feet down the left field line, 379 to left-center, 420 feet to center, 380 feet to the right field bullpen and 302 feet to the right field pole. In left field, there is the Green Monster, standing at 37 feet tall. Also, the wall features a restored version of an original manual scoreboard that had been kept inside Fenway for years unused.
JetBlue Park will officially open on March 3, 2012, when the Red Sox host Northeastern and Boston College in their first games at the new stadium. Construction began on March 3, 2011, and the stadium cost $77.9 million and has a capacity of 10,823. Manhattan Kraft Construction is the name of the stadium's general contractor. Planning on driving down to spring training? We hope you are, but you will need an address to plug into your GPS. JetBlue Park is located at 11581 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers, FL, 33913.
Prior to inhabiting JetBlue Park, the Red Sox most recently played their spring training home games at City Of Palms Park, which is also in Fort Myers, FL. There were rumors that the Baltimore Orioles would move into City Of Palms Park in the Sox' absence, but the franchise declined the opportunity to move.
A new park for a new season with plenty of new faces. Doesn't get more exciting than that.
Spring training has arrived, and the Boston Red Sox are preparing for the 2012 season. Pitchers and catchers report on Sunday, February 19 and the first workout will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The first full team workout takes place on Saturday, Feb. 25. The games don't begin for a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, here is the complete schedule.
BOSTON RED SOX 2012 - SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES EASTERN)
February 19 - Pitchers and catchers report.
February 21 - First workout.
February 25 - First full team workout.
March 3 (SS) - Red Sox vs. Northeastern (2:35 p.m.)/Red Sox vs. Boston College (7:05 p.m.).
March 4 - Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (1:35 p.m.)
March 5 - Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (7:05 p.m.)
March 6 - Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (1:35 p.m.)
March 7 - Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1:05 p.m.)
March 8 - Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)
March 9 - Red Sox vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:05 p.m.)
March 10 - Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7:05 p.m.)
March 11 - Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (1:05 p.m.)
March 12 - Red Sox vs. Miami Marlins (1:35 p.m.)
March 13 - Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (7:05 p.m.)
March 14 - Off Day.
March 15 - Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals (2:35 p.m.)
March 16 - Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (7:05 p.m.)
March 17 (SS) - Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (1:35 p.m.); Red Sox Vs. Baltimore Orioles (1:05 p.m.)
March 18 - Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays (1:05 p.m.)
March 19 - Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (1:35 p.m.)
March 20 - Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (7:05 p.m.)
March 21 - Red Sox vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1:05 p.m.)
March 22 - Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (7:05 p.m.)
March 23 - Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (1:05 p.m.)
March 24 (SS) - Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies (1:35 p.m.)
March 24 (SS) - Red Sox vs. Miami Marlins (1:05 p.m.)
March 25 - Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1:05 p.m.)
March 26 - Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies (1:05 p.m.)
March 27 - Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays (1:35 p.m.)
March 28 - Off Day.
March 29 - Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1:35 p.m.)
March 30 - Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (1:05 p.m.)
March 31 - Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays (1:05 p.m.)
April 1 - Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (1:35 p.m.)
April 2 - Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals (1:35 p.m.)
April 3 - Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals (6:05 p.m.)
Complete television listings for the Red Sox' spring training games can be found here.
Spring training is finally here. New and old faces gather at brand new JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida as the players and coaches of the Boston Red Sox prepare to gear up for the 2012 season facing a plethora of questions and doubters.
Tim Wakefield, surrounded by teammates, team executives and friends, announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after 19 seasons, 17 of which he spent as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
"It's with a heavy heart that I stand here today, and I'm saddened to say that I have retired from this wonderful game of baseball," Wakefield said at a press conference in his honor at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida on Friday afternoon.
Wakefield's was drafted in the eighth round of the 1988 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played for two seasons and compiled a 14-12 record with a 4.17 ERA, 110 strikeouts and 110 walks in 37 games. Wakefield was released by the Pirates on April 20, 1995 and signed with the Red Sox on April 26, 1995, where he's been ever since.
In 590 games with the Red Sox, Wakefield had a 4.43 ERA, 2,046 strikeouts, 1,095 walks and a career 1.34 WHIP in 590 games and 430 startes. Wakefield notched his 200th career win last season, making him the franchises' third all-time winningest pitcher. Wakefield helped lead the Red Sox to two World Series championships in 2004 and again in 2007.
New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is not Terry Francona. He will rule with more of an iron fist and less friendly banter; his spring training practice schedule already is eliciting frowns among the players. Becoming successful will take three parts art and two parts science, or something like that.
CSNNE's Sean McAdam listed five things Valentine needs to accomplish during spring training 2012. The bold are McAdam's suggestions. The words underneath the bold are the reactions of a crazed blogger.
1. Make everyone forget the 2011 season
"DO NOT REMEMBER THE BIGGEST COLLAPSE IN MLB HISTORY! RID YOUR MINDS OF BEER AND CHICKEN MEMORIES! THAT CRUSHING FINAL NIGHT OF THE REGULAR SEASON NEVER HAPPENED! YOU ARE GETTING VERY SLEEPY!"
2. Earn the players' trust
For some reason, I picture the scene in Good Will Hunting where Will won't speak during the therapy sessions, so Sean doesn't either. Not sure exactly why.
3. Sort out the pitching staff
"Can't we just go with a three-man rotation?"
4. Form a relationship with baseball operations
"Hey, Ben. It's me, Bobby. I'm still not sure why you traded away Marco Scutaro for a box of Bagel Bites, but I'd love to get together for coffee one of these days."
5. Work with the team to develop its own personality
"Anything but last year's personality, please."
BOSTON - Officially, the Boston Red Sox season doesn't start until April 5, but for all intents and purposes, the new year began at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon with Truck Day 2012, everybody's favorite holiday that combines baseball and moving trucks.
Hundreds of fans gathered on Van Ness Street behind Fenway to watch movers load up a truck (this truck) with bats, baseballs, gold clubs and all sorts of supplies before it made the 1,480 mile drive from Fenway to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida, which is the new home of Red Sox spring training.
Fans came from far and wide to witness the event, which concluded with a rolling rally at noon as the truck began its journey. Wally the Green Monster, the team's mascot, was on top of a flat bed truck along with other team employees tossing souvenir balls into the crowd as such songs as "Dirty Water" and "Play Ball" played in the background.
It seems that every year, the fan support has continued to grow. Larry Lucchino, the president and chief executive officer of the Red Sox, was on hand at this year's truck day, taking pictures with fans and even handing out cookies and other team-related freebies to the many fans who braved the cold and snow to show their love and support for the team.
"I am amazed and inspired," Lucchino said. "I talked to some fans today, one who drove up from Pennsylvania. Some other folks came up from New York City for it. It's a right of passage, a right of spring, and some people have a streak going. Some people think they are good luck, the last time they did it was 2007 or something and they want to make it happen again. It's inspiring to me, we can't forget how important this team is to so many people and to their spirits and their sense of community. It's energizing to see them."
Lucchino, who arrived on the scene near 11 a.m. and stayed through most of the celebrations, said that this year has a new feel to it, considering the new spring training ballpark and the changes in baseball management.
"There's a lot of newness with the new general manager and new field manager and a new facility down there," Lucchino said. "It's just not the same thing as it's been down there for the last several years, and I hope that the newness results in some new energy.
"We hope the new facility, especially, results in some competitive advantage. We have a state of the art facility in Lake County which has all of our players combined for the first time in many, many, many years. I think it's going to be good for evaluation, good for training, good for our Red Sox culture -- the major leaguers and the minor leaguers will be interacting and eating together and working out together. I think that can be a very positive thing, and let's hope a competitive advantage."
The truck is en route to the new spring training facility, although it doesn't officially begin for another week. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Sunday, February 19, with the first workout being held on Tuesday, February 21 and the first full team workout taking place on Saturday, February 25.
Liz Kinnal, a local quality engineer for a medical device startup company, was one of the first (but from my vantage point, the first) fans to show up at Truck Day.
"It's the start of baseball season and the beginning of the end of winter, which is very hopeful," Kinnal said. "I've been a Red Sox fan forever, and this is the start of the season."
Kinnal had never been to Truck Day, mainly because of the timing of the event. Last year, Truck Day was held on a Tuesday, so the fact that is was on the weekend this year was a big plus.
"I've never been, because it's usually on a weekday so I'm at work," said Kinnal. "But this year it was on Saturday. It works out nicely."
New England has been having an unusually lite winter snow wise to this point. Of course, one of the few days that mother nature did decide to sprinkle Boston with snow was on Saturday for Truck Day.
One would think that the weather (it had snowed earlier in the morning and continued to snow lightly all throughout the event) would have caused some fans to stay home. That wasn't the case for many fans, Kinnal in particular.
"Absolutely not," she said when asked if the weather factored in her decision to attend. "I thought it was like you are more of a fan for showing up today, because it was snowing, and of course you still have to go to Truck Day."
As for Kinnal's thought on the Red Sox this season, she isn't quite sure what to expect, and for good reason -- the team has a new general manager and manager to go along with some new faces and a lot more competition around them.
"I don't know, I'm going to always be hopeful that [the team] goes pretty far," Kinnal said. "We haven't had spring training yet, so we'll see what happens there and how things come together. There's a lot of changes over the offseason, so we'll see. It should be interesting to watch."
One of the toughest parts about last season for Kinnal (and pretty much every member of Red Sox nation) was how it ended. The Red Sox blew a nine-game lead in the AL Wild Card at the start of September and finished the month with a 7-20 record. On the last day of the season, the Sox blew a lead and allowed the Tampa Bay Rays to claim the AL Wild Card title and eliminate Boston from the hunt.
"It was heartbreaking and there was a lot of drama at the end of the season, and I hope that we can put that away and that everybody went home and relaxed with their families over the winter, and now we're back and we can get back to being a good team," said Kinnal."
Being the sports capital of America, there were plenty of other sports to focus on. The Boston Bruins were starting a new season and coming off the Stanley Cup victory one season ago and the Boston Celtics were resuming play after a lengthy lockout that ate into the regular season.
There was also the New England Patriots' and their run, which brought them all the way to Super Bowl XLVI last Sunday. Alas, Tom Brady and company couldn't get the job done. The loss certainly hurt, but for Kinnal and others, the arrival of Truck Day was a good distraction from an otherwise depressing situation with the Patriots.
"I think definitely," Kinnal said. "This is what was pulling me through last week. I was like, 'it's OK, it's only six days until Truck Day.' That's totally fine."
Al Hartz, a resident of Milford and local mover, was the man in charge of driving the famous truck from Fenway to Florida. He began driving the truck in 1998 and is now in his 15th year of making the long drive to Fort Myers.
"I go down to Florida with the big monster [he means the truck, which was dressed in green in honor of the Green Monster] an awful lot, but this is a little out of the ordinary, all of the attention, the media, this" Hartz said in reference to the big fan turnout. "Other than that, it's another run down to Florida."
During his time driving the truck, the crowd has grown dramatically from when Hartz started. When he began doing runs for the Red Sox, there was some media attention, but for the most part it was unorganized, something he gave the new ownership credit for fixing.
"[The crowd] has grown quite a bit," he said. "When I first started in '98, I'd show up at six in the morning [and] there would be TV trucks here. It wasn't really organized. The new owners have kind of organized things and tell everybody what time I'm going to leave. Originally, I would leave when I was full. Now they have a set time and everybody shows up, so it's a lot more crowded."
Hartz, as most truckers are, is regulated regarding how many hours he can drive at once.
"I'll probably run down to maybe south New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland tonight," Hartz said. "I don't have to deliver until Tuesday, so I have a nice, easy run. I can take my time."
To get where he's going, Hartz also has to drive through enemy territory, like New York.
"I haven't had any problems," he said. "Nobody's really paid a lot of attention to me. It doesn't really say 'Red Sox' on the side of the truck."
It's not just baseball equipment that Hartz is hauling, either. Everything from bicycles for children to lego models of Fenway Park have been tossed in the truck in years past, and that hasn't changed this year.
"A little bit of everything," Hartz said about his load. "Besides baseball equipment, I have an X-Ray machine. I've got a lot more personal items. They send a small army down there. They all have their luggage. If they have kids, they've got little bicycles and playpens. A lot of golf equipment, because we're going down south. It's just an awful lot of everything, it really is. About a third of the truck is baseball equipment."
Hartz isn't keen about the media attention he receives surrounding the haul, but he does recognize the significance surrounding the experience, and for that, he is grateful.
"This is probably my favorite job of the year," he said. "The rest of the time I'm a mover, carrying things in and out of people's homes. This is my easiest job of the year.
"It's a pretty special feeling. I get to see inside the clubhouse and behind the scenes. It's going to be a unique experience, it really is."
And just like that, baseball season has arrived (at least in New England). Buckle up.
Red Sox President Larry Lucchino recently spoke on the contract situations of Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and David Ortiz, and whether the team regrets signing Carl Crawford.
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