Author: Griffin Gallagher

Travis Shaw Emerges In Place Of Pablo Sandoval

After winning the starting third baseman job over Pablo Sandoval in Spring Training, Travis Shaw has become one of the most important players in the Red Sox lineup.

The 26-year old has yet to miss a game this season, playing 25 games and hitting .322 with a .923 OPS, three home runs, and 17 RBIs.

Shaw has been playing in place of Sandoval, whose Red Sox career has been nothing short of a disaster. He arrived to camp clearly out of shape, and hit just .209 in spring training, while Shaw posted a .469 batting average, and played much better in the field. In the end, Red Sox skipper John Farrell made the call to place the 240 pound third baseman on the bench, starting Shaw.

Entering Spring Training as a guy who was supposed to be a utility at best, the choice was definitely a surprise.

“It’s very exciting,” Shaw said, per The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton after hearing of the decision. “I feel like I did what I needed to do this spring to put myself in this position. I’m really looking forward to experiencing my first Opening Day and in the starting lineup.”

Farrell’s decision has clearly paid off, as Shaw’s hot start has helped lift the Red Sox to a 15-10 record, first in the AL East.

“You’ve got to continue to prove yourself,” Shaw told NESN before the start of the season. “I’m not going to take this opportunity for granted. I’m going to try to keep my foot on the pedal and run with this. Hopefully it’s mine for a long period of time.”

He has continued to prove himself, being a frequent contributor to Boston’s success, including a two run home run in last night’s 8-7 victory over the Yankees.

As Shaw gets better, so do the Red Sox. Expect Shaw to continue making a significant impact on this team as the season goes.

Carson Smith Will Start Season on DL

The Boston Red Sox will have to start their season off without relief pitcher Carson Smith in the bullpen.

Smith exited Monday’s exhibition against Miami after facing just one batter, complaining of cramping in his right forearm.

An MRI the next day revealed a strain of the flexor mass muscle. This is not good news, though it could have been worse as forearm cramping can be a sign of needing Tommy John surgery.

“There’s no throwing schedule in place yet,” Farrell told ESPN after the Red Sox lost 3-0 to the Miami Marlins in an exhibition game. “We’ve got to get a few days of treatment just to see how he comes through that. This is a little bit of a setback, obviously.”

Smith posted a 2.31 ERA last year with 13 saves and 92 strikeouts.

“For the most part, it feels natural. It’s not forced,” Smith told NESN last week. “If I tried to throw over the top, that would be forced. I’m just running with it. It feels good, healthy — knock on wood. But for the most part, I feel real comfortable with it.”

Smith’s injury opens the door for right handed pitchers Matt Barnes and Noe Ramirez, who otherwise would have started the season off Triple A.

Breaking Down the David Murphy Signing

On Monday night, David Murphy and the Boston Red Sox agreed on a minor league contract.

Murphy is going back to the place it all started. He spent the first two years of his career playing for the Red Sox in 2006 and 2007. Since then, he has played for the Rangers, Indians, and Angels.

The thirty-four year old outfielder hit .283 with 10 home runs in 132 games last year for the Indians and Angels.

The deal allows Murphy, Boston’s 2003 first-round pick, to make a $2 million base salary if he is added to the big league roster.

Murphy mostly played in left field last year, though he is well rounded and can play any outfield position, something that attracted the Red Sox to him in the 2003 draft.

“I don’t know if it was kind of the perfect storm,” Murphy told ESPN. “I know that I’m getting older. I know that the game is being analyzed differently now in terms of numbers and sabermetrics. I don’t know if that had to play into it or not. I know that there was a lot of good free agents out there on the market this year. I don’t know if I’m going to point to one thing.

Now, Murphy will compete for a spot in the Red Sox outfield, which consists of Mookie Betts in left field, Rusney Castillo in right field, and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center. Brock Holt and Chris Young hold spots on the bench.

Hanley Ramirez’s Move to First Means Improvement

There’s no denying the fact that three-time all-star Hanley Ramirez’s first season back in Boston didn’t go too well.

His fielding was disastrous in left field, a position he switched to after playing at shortstop and third base for the majority of his career. The team performed better without him in the lineup late in the season, and he finished the season with a batting average of .249, the lowest in his career.

Ramirez will make his return to the infield though, shifting to first base, another position he has never played.

However, people who have watched Ramirez take fielding drills have been impressed with how he has performed.

“He looks like he’s going to be fine over there,” President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told RedSox.com. “I think he can do it. He looks like a natural infielder, and I don’t see him having any problems fielding ground balls. The key for him is that he’s going to have to continue to work at it and we’re going to have to make sure he continues to work at it on a daily basis.”

“I thought Hanley had a very good day today,” manager John Farrell told RedSox.com following a workout earlier this week. “He completed all the plays. As far as the throws … his footwork today was very good.”

Ramirez’s return to the infield is going to greatly improve his value to the team. Yes, it’s yet another position Ramirez has never played and yes he is coming off of a rough hitting season, one of the worst in his career. However, Ramirez has been a consistently great player in his time in the MLB, and a move into the outfield and a move to a different infield position are two completely different things.

After a reporter asked him if he was excited to return to the infield, Ramirez responded, “Definitely, definitely, definitely. That’s my area and I’m very happy to be there.”

Ramirez will start in the first spring training game of the year against Boston College, and he will be playing first base, and that’s something Red Sox fans should be excited about.

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