Category: MLB News (page 1 of 2)

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.

Red Sox Sign Mike Napoli; Is Josh Hamilton Next?

The Boston Red Sox  have agreed to 3-year deal with free agent Mike Napoli. The deal is said to be worth $39 million. Napoli can play both first base and catcher, but is expected to play mostly at first for Boston. Napoli’s physical is scheduled for Wednesday which means the official announcement should be by the end of the week.

“We’ve made some progress,” Cherington said regarding the potential Napoli deal. “He’s a guy who’s getting on base, has power and could be a good fit for our ballpark. We knew when we made the Dodger trade, when we moved (Adrian) Gonzalez, that we would have to try to find a way to replace that offense, and as we got into the offseason we understood that was probably going to have to come from a combination of guys and maybe not one guy. “He can catch and he can play first. If he’s here, I would imagine he’d do some of both but that would be up to our manager to figure out.”

Red Sox pitcher John Lackey hasn’t contributed anything on the field so it was good to see him helping recruit off the field. Lackey had this to say:

“I’ve been working on him and I had a couple of guys text him,” Lackey told ESPNBoston.com. “We’ve been recruiting him the last few weeks, so I’m glad things worked out and we got him. He’s going to be a great addition to the club.”

Does this move mean the Red Sox could be targeting Napoli’s former teammate Josh Hamilton next? He would cost Boston a good chunk of change, but afterall they do have money to spend. Does adding Hamilton increase the Red Sox chances of winning it all? If you think so it’s easy to bet on baseball. Most would say Hamilton is a bad fit for a town like Boston and they could be right. However, rumors are still swirling and some say not to count the Red Sox out just yet.

Beckett Pitches Well, Bullpen Doesn’t

The Red Sox lost…again. After starting off last season 2-10, though, this season seems like a breeze. The Red Sox already have 4 wins, but they collected their 8th loss tonight against the Texas Rangers. It really should come as no surprise though considering the Rangers’ prolific offense and the Red Sox general lack of pitching. On the bright side, a 6-3 loss feels so much better than the 18-3 loss they suffered yesterday at the hands of these same Rangers.

Josh Beckett started for the Sox and put together a very solid start (7IP 7H 3R 3ER 1BB 7SO 110 pitches), and Boston only trailed 3-2 when he left after 7 innings, but the bullpen could not keep it close as Franklin Morales gave up three runs while only recording one out to start the 8th inning. That brought the Rangers lead to 6-2, a lead they would never look back from. The Sox tried to rally in the 9th as they cut the lead to 6-3 with two on and one out, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined into a game-ending double play to end the game and squash any hopes of a rally.

The Red Sox will look forward to their day off tomorrow as they prepare for Fenway Park 100th Birthday celebrations on Friday against the New York Yankees at 3:05pm. Festivities will start around 2pm, so if you’re going to the game make sure to get their early, and if you’re watching from home, make sure to have your television tuned to NESN at least an hour before game time.

The Yankees will send Ivan Nova (2-0, 4.15 ERA) to the mound to face Clay Buchholz (1-0, 9.82 ERA).

 

@TaylorFisher

Pedro Ciriaco: Running His Way to the Majors

If I were to tell you in January that there would be a player that would hit .415 during spring training, most fans would think I was talking about Adrian Gonzalez, maybe Dustin Pedroia or even Jacoby Ellsbury, however I don’t believe anyone would have thought that player was Pedro Ciriaco.

Ciriaco has not only impressed Red Sox coaches with his bat, but also with speed, last weekend he was able to score twice from second base on a bunt, something I have rarely seen in my years watching baseball. In his 24 games played he has stolen seven bases (which is currently tied with Jason Repko for the team lead,) as well as 47% of his hits going for extra bases (Eight out of seventeen).

Last season while playing for the Indianapolis Indians (AAA Affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates) he hit a dismal .231 with 2 homers 24 RBI’s, he stole 13 bases in 71 games he was also caught stealing 7 times in that stretch. Over his seven minor league seasons he has hit .270 with 24 home runs, 298 RBI, and 401 runs scored.

The only reason that Ciriaco has a chance to make the roster is due to Carl Crawford’s injury, and the possibility that closer Andrew Bailey may begin the season on the DL as well. While Mike Aviles has been named the starting shortstop coming into the season, it will be interesting to see how manager Bobby Valentine will be able to work Ciriaco into the lineup and use his speed on the base pads late in games. I for one hope that the Red Sox give Ciriaco a chance to start the year in Boston, it is a low risk high reward for the Red Sox and a risk I hope they are willing to take.

 

 

 

 

 

http://twitter.com/#!/cjfee

 

Beckett To Have Thumb Evaluated

In the latest news from the 2012 Red Sox pitching rotation, Josh Beckett is headed to Texas. The pitcher has an alleged thumb injury that needs to be evaluated, and he will have it done in San Antonio. Apparently this came up about 10 days ago, but there were no negative effects on  his pitching, so nobody was worried. This is just a matter of putting Beckett at peace with the situation.

Although Beckett is fully expected to make his first start of the season on Aprtil 7th, the club has told Alfredo Aceves to prepare just in case he will be starting that game. Additionally, the Sox are having him prepare for the Red Sox home opener on April 13th. This is just a precautionary measure in an effort to cover all of their bases. Expect Josh to be taking the mound on Saturday.

Is this something that the Red Sox need to be worried about moving forward? Have your say in the comments section below!

 

@TaylorFisher

Bobby V Sets Red Sox Rotation

Just four days before the beginning of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has finally settled on his starting rotation. The final decision came down just moments ago on who the 4th and 5th starters would be.

Here is a look at our Boston Red Sox starters this season – and a quick look at their pitching numbers from last season. (Please take note that Felix Doubront’s pitching numbers are his minor league stats from last season and Daniel Bard’s pitching stats are all from relief appearances) You can study stats with the best sports books.

1. Jon Lester – 31 GS, 15-9, 3.47 ERA, 182 SO, 75 BB, 191.2 IP

2. Josh Beckett – 30 GS, 13-7, 2.89 ERA, 175 SO, 52 BB, 193 IP

3. Clay Buchholz – 14 GS, 6-3, 3.48 ERA, 60 SO, 31 BB, 82.2 IP

4. Felix Doubront – 18 GS, 3-5, 3.96 ERA, 74 SO, 26 BB, 77.1 IP *

5. Daniel Bard – 70 G, 2-9, 3.33 ERA, 74 SO, 24 BB, 73 IP **

* Minor League pitching stats

** All relief appearances

Felix Doubront also made 11 relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2011, amassing a 6.10 ERA, with 6 SO and 8 BB in 10.1 innings pitched. Time will tell how the back end of this pitching staff will fare over the course of a 162-game season. We can only hope that Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz mentor Doubront on how to be a big league starter while also helping Bard make the transition from reliever to starter.

What do you think about the Red Sox rotation for this season? Have your say in the comments section below!

 

@TaylorFisher

Sox Option Iglesias to Pawtucket

Red Sox Nation can rest easy today knowing that an important bit of business has been finalized prior to Opening Day 2012. Jenny Dell, better known as Heidi Watney 2.0 to Red Sox fans, tweeted minutes ago that the Red Sox have optioned potential starting shortstop Jose Iglesias to Triple-A Pawtucket. Given that the Red Sox are a little short on shortstops, this move can only mean one thing, Mike Aviles will be manning the middle infield alongside Dustin Pedroia. Aviles got a good amount of action last season, so he should be good to go once the season starts. Look for Iglesias, who was rumored to potentially be the starting shortstop this season, to get called up here and there to get some action. Also, you can pretty much guarantee that he’ll be a September call-up.

 

@TaylorFisher

Wait we got Chris Carpenter for Theo?

Yes, actually we did. Unfortunately for us it is not the Cy Young winning starter from Exeter NH, but he is a way better pitcher than Theo.

This Chris Carpenter is a 26 year old right handed relief pitcher that recorded some solid stats in the minors and in his 10 appearances in the majors (2.79 ERA).

According to Baseball America he was the 13th prospect in the Cubs organization and could fit nicely in the Red Sox pen.

Thanks Bud.

Just A Bump In The Road

The Red Sox have hit a rough patch of late and after losing two out of three to both the lowly Seattle Mariners and rival Tampa Bay Rays the Sox find themselves trailing the New York Yankees by a half game in the A.L. East.  Ironically it has been the Red Sox bats and not the pitching that harvest the blame for their recent struggles.  Ellsbury has been the only bright spot of late, continuing his push for MVP and a new paycheck.  Adrian Gonzalez has been doing his best Tony Gwynn impression, dominating the average department while only collecting one big fly since the All-Star break (I am as concerned as others are with that) and has gone a season long eight games with out collecting an RBI.  Carl Crawford is still no help  continuing  his miserable  season and I have officially given up hope that he is going to turn it around (shipped his .200 avg off my fantasy squad last week),  Pedroia has cooled down of late and with Youkilis hitting the D.L. today and Ortiz out for at least a week it looks like the offense will continue to struggle in the immediate future.

Despite the recent offensive power outage, the last few performances by starting pitchers John Lackey and newly acquired Erik Bedard have me optimistic heading into the final six weeks of the season.  Lackey picked up his first loss in over a month yesterday and although he has yet to register a win in a Boston uniform, Bedard has pitched well enough to win in each of his outings with the new ball club.  Lackey and Bedard have really solidified the back end of that rotation during the last month, an area that was of great concern three weeks ago.

Baseball is funny that way, one day your third starter can’t get through 3 innings and the next day the best offense in the league is only able to collect a total of 9 hits during a three game set, but over the course of a 162 game season everything evens out. The injury bug has hit of late but none seem too serious and I am confident the offense will figure it out sooner or later.  The next couple of weeks will be important in deciding the eventual winner of the A.L. East and as I predicted earlier there would come a time where the farm would have to win them some games and it looks like the time is now.  Theo has a great track record of finding production from some unlikely sources (Darnell McDonald, Josh Reddick, etc) and hopefully some new names will join the discussion over the next couple of weeks.  Mike Aviles may prove to be one of Theo’s bigger deadline moves as he will likely see some regular playing time in Youkilis’s absence.  The Sox also called up AA slugger Ryan Lavarnway to fill Youkilis spot on the roster, maybe he is next in line to be one of those unlikely contributors.

So no need to hit the panic button just yet ,every team endures these kind of stretches and frankly I would rather have it now than later.  I am really looking forward to one of those outrageously unnecessary celebrations when the Sox clinch the A.L. East.

Sox In 1st Again and Continue To Make The Yankees Their Daddy In 2011, Yawn

The New York Yankees came to town Friday tied with the Red Sox atop the A.L. East, but left Sunday finding themselves looking up at the Red Sox once again.  The Red Sox relinquished the top spot in the division for the first time since the middle of June after Jon Lester and the boys lost the first game of the series Friday night.  However their time in second did not last long as the Sox, behind their sticks and solid outings from Lackey and Ace Beckett, took back first place by winning the next two against the Yanks.  The series victory continued the Sox success over the Pinstripes in 2011, improving to 10-2 against the Bombers and clinching the season series.  Here is a quick look at the series:

– Game 1 NYY 3 BOS 2:  Unfortunately I did not get to watch much of this game because I am not a complete loser and was out having a couple cocktails, but highlights and the box score suggests it was a pretty clean game.  The Sox took an early 2-0 lead but a shaky 6th inning for Lester lead to 3 runs for the Yankees and that was all their bullpen needed.  Lester’s line was far from terrible, he surrendered 5 hits over 6 innings pitched leading to 3 earned runs while striking out 7, but struggled with command walking 4 batters on the night.  No team is better at taking advantage of free passes than the Yankees and two of Lester’s base on balls were issued in that game deciding 3 run 6th inning handing Lester his 5th loss of the season (11-5).  Bartolo Colon did not factor in the decision only going 4.2 innings, the Yankees bullpen tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball with Boone Logan picking up the win.  A cleanly played game here, the Sox just came up a little short.

– Game 2 BOS 10 NYY 4: The Sox were able to rebound and even the series Saturday with a blowout victory over the Yankees and their horse C.C. Sabathia. This game displayed a couple impressive performances from two guys having disappointing seasons. John Lackey continued his redemption tour pitching 6 strong innings and allowing 3 runs while picking up his 10th (thats right his 10th) win of the season. This was an extremely encouraging start from my new best friend Lackey, the Big Hoss was able to command all of his pitches and hold a very dangerous lineup to only 3 runs, let’s hope my man can keep it up.  Carl Crawford followed up his 2 hits Friday by scoring 3 runs while going 4-4 at the plate.  Crawford has been very streaky for the Sox this season and has seen his fair share of troubles against left handed pitching, 3 of the left fielder’s 4 hits came off the southpaw Sabathia.  Hopefully the 142 Million Dollar Man will start to show some confidence at the plate for the stretch run.  Finally, Jacoby Ellsbury showed no signs of cooling down and continued his MVP campaign by collecting 2 hits in 4 plate appearances, poking his 19th long ball of the season and driving in 6.  Ellsbury has to be the only man in America not concerned with all the struggling economy headlines dominating the news these days.

– Game 3 BOS 3 NYY 2 (10 innings):  The rubber game of this 3 game featured a couple of unlikely heroes in another extra innings walk off for hometown boys.  Josh Beckett took the bump in this first place deciding game for the Sox, and continued his bounce back season with another strong start against their rivals from the Bronx.  The trend continued as the Red Sox gave their right handed ace very little run support resulting in another no decision for the rock steady Beckett.  Joshua Patrick was not as efficient with his pitch count as we have seen out of him this season, throwing 101 pitches in 6 innings of work but surrendered only  1 run on a Fenway friendly homer off the bat of ARod fill-in Eduardo Nunez.  Beckett has certainly put his last season struggles against the Yankees behind him, dominating the Bombers to the tune of a 4-0 record while posting a 1.00 ERA in 2011.  The Yanks put a tally in the run column courtesy of a solo shot from weak hitting Nunez, and the Sox were carried offensively by clutch hitting of…wait for it….Marco Scutaro?  Scutaro went 4-4 on the night with an RBI and scored the game tying run after leading off the 9th with a wall ball double off of the great Marino Rivera (Scutaro already had a walk off HR off of Rivera on his resume, glad to have him on the roster). Lowrie is scheduled to come off the DL this weak and it looks as though Scutaro isn’t giving up any playing time without a fight.  Daniel Bard pitched a clean frame in the top of 10th, setting up the dramatics that occurred in the bottom half of the inning.  After Youkilis flied out to center to start the inning, an Ortiz double off of Phil Hughes followed by an intentional walk to Crawford set the stage for Josh Reddick to join Scutaro in the hero’s circle.  Reddick singled home pinch runner Darnell McDonald by lining a first pitch curveball from Hughes to the left field corner, leading the Red Sox to their third walk off of the week and sole possession of first place in the American League East.

 

After this series it is hard for me to believe the Yankees would be able to matchup with the Sox in a 7 game series.  The line ups can both put up runs but the Sox starting pitching and defense cannot be matched by the boys in pinstripes.  The only area where I see the Yankees having an advantage would be the bullpen.  The Sox have the 8th and 9th innings locked up but the middle of that bullpen can certainly be rattled, the Yankees’s bullpen (especially Robertson) was very impressive this weekend and they will have to continue their great work into October to make up for the lack of starting pitching depth.  At this point I am far more concerned matching up with the Rangers, Angels, Tigers, and even the Indians, the Bronx needs to step it up if they want to prevent Theo and the boys from steamrolling through the American League.

After some nice home cooking the Sox now hit the road for 6 games. Tim Wakefield takes another stab at 200 tonight as the Red Sox begin a three game set with the Minnesota at Target field before heading out West to take on the Mariners.

Wouldn’t Mind This Guy Being The No. 3 Starter


The Sox picked up a series split last night after falling to the Indians 7-3 at Fenway Park behind the efforts of once friend of the program Justin Masterson.  Masterson went 6 strong innings giving up 3 runs while striking out 9 Red Sox batters, improving to 3-0 in four career starts against his former mates. Masterson has quietly had a great season for the Tribe and currently holds a 2.63  ERA.  After two walk off victories in the previous games, this contest was relatively boring with the Sox scoring early (scored 2 in the 1st inning) and the Indians taking it from there.  Carlos Santana, fresh off a four strike out night, lead the Cleveland offense going 3-4 with a HR and 3 R.B.I. and Jacoby Ellsbury stayed hot going 2-3 in a losing effort.

The Indians were able to add one to the win column but the big story of last night’s game was the highly anticipated Red Sox debut of Erik Bedard.  Bedard was decent, I guess, throwing 70 pitches through 5 innings while allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and striking out 5.  As I said before it is going to take a while for me to pass judgement on Bedard (since this was only his 2nd start since returning from the DL) but there were definitely some encouraging sings out the left hander.  Bedard did not light up the stat sheet and the Indians are far from the ’27 Yankees but he threw strikes (no walks) and made some good pitches when it was needed, an encouraging sign considering he gave up like 10 runs during his pre-game bullpen last time out.  Bedard is most certainly still a question mark, but not a bad start.

The loss last night dropped the Red Sox to a tie with the Yankees atop the A.L. East, setting up a pretty exciting weekend series at the Fens.  Lester will face Colon tonight, a true pitchers dual Saturday with Lackey matching up with C.C. Sabathia, and Beckett finishes off the series Sunday night against Freddy Garcia.  It should be a fun series, enjoy it.

 

P.S. I would be more than pleased if Masterson was still in a Sox uniform holding down the third spot in the rotation.  I do not blame Theo for trading Masterson in that package for Victor Martinez, (Theo was trying to win that year and as a fan you like to see the GM make those kind of moves), it is just a little ironic that on a night when a guy who many hope can be that third starter makes his Red Sox debut a former Sox pitcher comes to Fenway and carves up the Stockings.

200 On Hold, Sox Other MVP Candidate Continues Path to Pay Day

Looks like Timmy boy will have to wait for his next start (Monday at Minnesota) to gather win number 200.  The newly turned 45 year old yielded 3 runs on 5 hits while collecting a no decision in the Sox 4-3 walk off win last night at Fenway.  Wake was the story early but Ellsbury was the story late, collecting his second walk off hit in two nights, this one by way of the long ball sending the Sox to one of the more memorable wins this season.  Here are a few thoughts about last nights game:

– Is there any truth to the rumor that HBO has been following Timmy around for Drive to 200 documentary, if there isn’t there should be.  All kidding aside, I am really looking forward to Wake collecting his 200th win (with all but 14 of them coming in a Red Sox uniform).  It will be a time where we as Red Sox fans get to honor one of the greatest Red Sox players of all time and our generation.  Wakefield has been pitching in Boston since 1995 and from the first time he stepped on a field in Fort Myers to this very day he has been nothing but a class act.  Think about it, how many 200 win pitchers have been back in forth from starter to pen as much as Timmy? We have never heard a peep from this guy, if you want to sum up Tim Wakefield’s career look no further than him coming out of the pen in game 3 of the 2004 ALCS in that blow out loss to the Yankees.  Wakefield gladly took the ball, ate some innings and took a little beating just so the Sox would have some fresh arms to attempt a comeback from down 0-3 (we all know what happened), a class move by a class guy and I couldn’t be happier for any player.  Also in today’s game of free agency and changing pitchers every batter who knows when we will see one of our own reach this mark.

-Speaking of Wake, what’s up with Tito pulling him with one out left in the 7th?  I hate people who criticize managerial decisions, because lets face it there is a reason we are all where we are and Tito has 2 rings, but in my opinion with the circumstances considered you have to either let him finish the 7th or give it up to the bullpen after 6 and let them try and protect that 1 run lead.  I know Terry was going for the win, and once the calendar hits turns to August thats the play but seeing how it turned out and Gordon Edes tweet about Wake having a 49 ERA or something after pitch 85 I think the skipper might have handled it differently if given a second chance.

– Is Asdrubal Cabrera starting to annoy people as much as he annoys me? It is to his credit though, he is having a great season and his killing the Red Sox.

-I have to admit, I enjoy baseball when the Indians are competitive.  They have a strong fan base and it is fun to see the Jake rockin night in and night out.  The city of Cleveland is definitely miserable, but in the last 15 years or so the Indians have been right in the middle of some great Red Sox story lines.  The two clubs matched up twice in the post season in the late 90’s, with the first round going to the Sox (who can forget Pedro’s memorable relief appearance leading the Sox to a Game 5 victory) and then saw Cleveland knock the Sox out of the playoffs the following year on the back of then Indian Manny Ramirez (Manny was on the Sox payroll 2 months later).  Then 8 years later the Sox were able to comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the 2007 ALCS, a dramatic 7 game series headlined by a couple dominating performances from Joshua Patrick Beckett and some clutch hitting against that year’s Cy Young, C.C. Sabathia, and then stud Fausto Carmona.  The intensity of this series reflects the solid season so far by this year’s Indians.

– What’s up with Carl Crawford?  I know he has killed the Indians this season and had a couple hard hit balls last night but once again we saw some very poor ABs out of him in important situations the past few nights.  I’m pretty sure he walks into the box down 0-2 and I am starting to wonder if he has even seen a breaking ball until this season.  Kind of strange out of perennial All-Star who made his dough off of crushing A.L. East pitching and now finds himself in a lineup which provides more protection.  (Not to mention he is killing me fantasy team).

– Not only was last night the second straight walk off win for the Sox, but it was also the second night in a row where we saw a great performance out of the pen by an unlikely candidate.  Franklin Morales looked great pitching 2 scoreless innings on Tuesday and Randy Williams surprised me last night in his 1.1 innings of work.  It is not the results that impress me the most, but the confidence these two displayed on the mound that have me excited.  Theo has quietly put together a strong bullpen despite Jenks being a bum.

-Finally, how can you not mention the hero of last nights game, Jacoby Ellsbury.  I will keep this brief because I am sure I will be looking at it in more detail soon, but Ellsbury has quietly played himself into the MVP discussion.  The timing couldn’t be better for Ellsbury either with talks of the Red Sox looking to sign the young CF to an extension, this season will be sure to test Theo’s wallet.  The skill set is there (we always knew that), his defensive would be hard to replace,  and he is doing it all offensively.  While manning the lead off spot Ellsbury is hitting for average, driving in runs, and poking balls over the fence (18 this season, had 20 for his career coming into this year).  Statistics are fun and everything, but my MVP needs to produce when the pressure greatest and Ellsbury certainly showed he can do that these past 2 nights, officially making it a two man race for MVP (ironically enough the other guy plays for the Sox too).

 

The Sox will face a familiar foe in the series final tonight, as Justin Masterson (who is having a great season by the way) faces off against newly acquired Erik Bedard.  The Sox look to take 3 out of 4 from the Indians.

P.S. A buddy of mine recently played Minor League ball for the Sox and got invited to a couple spring trainings.  He is full of some funny player stories but one of the better ones has to be the fact that Wakefield dominates the Jack Daniels.  Wake loves himself some Jack and it is understood that nobody can enjoy a little Jack without the 199 game winner’s permission on team flights.  Get after it Wake.

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