Here is a transcript of tonight’s conference call in which the Red Sox announced the acquisition of four-time All-Star closer
Dave Dombrowski started out by recognizing the events of the day:
“I just want to acknowledge the tragic events that took place in Paris today and are taking place as we speak. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people and those that have been affected by those attacks. It just didn’t seem appropriate to start talking baseball without addressing what’s taking place across the Atlantic. We really were somewhat thinking if we should have this or not, but just thought it was appropriate to do so, but we didn’t want to do so without first acknowledging that.”
On why Kimbrel was the ultimate choice: “First and foremost, what was extremely important was the ability, because when we looked at Craig, we looked at him as a premium closer and there are various names out there, but one of the best in the game of baseball. There was no question that the years of control do make a difference, because you’re looking at the ability to control the contract as far as three years are concerned. And that was also able to make a difference as far as what we were able to give up, because we gave up a lot of good young players. We also thought that we’re going to have to give some quality to get quality. But giving the quality and having the three years made a significant difference.”
Getting someone with closing experience: “The key for us was we had identified a couple of guys that maybe stood above the rest as far as the ability to close, and the ability to get one of those guys we thought was extremely important. Because with the acquisition of Craig, we’re in a spot where we’ll move Koji to the eighth inning, and John Farrell really thought he’d be fine with that, knowing the type of individual that Koji is. And John made sure to reach out to Koji and spoke to him tonight already and said he was really good with the change of the role and that all he wants to do is pitch in the World Series again. He basically said, you don’t have to worry about me, I’ll pitch whenever you’re asked to and he acknowledged Kimbrel and understands the shift to the eighth inning, so I think that whole combination for us is really what made it work.”
Bullpen set for the most part: “I think this is enough of a major move that we need to make. Because when you shift Koji into the eight and Tazawa into the seventh, that’s significant. I can’t say we won’t do some tweaking as time goes on, I’m not really sure about that, but I think with the major moves, this is a big step for us and probably the major step we look to make at this point.”
Status update on Kimbrel? “He’s perfectly healthy. He feels great. He’s in the prime of his career. He’s 27. Our last scouting reports, which were late in the year in September, he was throwing 97 to 99 at that time with the good breaking ball. So he’s healthy, he’s been consistent throughout his career, he’s at the prime time, and so we look for him to be our guy back there for years to come.”
The haul: “Well, you don’t ever like to give up young talent. We think they’re very talented individuals. But I do think with the good job that the people in player-development, scouting, international operations have done, we do have some depth at those positions and we also have some other quality young players that we were asked about repeatedly. In addition to that, I think the real key for us is that we made this acquisition in acknowledging that we didn’t give anything up at the major-league level to affect our club this year. So, we were able to add an All-Star closer without giving up the big-league-level guys. And so, again, it’s talent that is good talent. Some of it’s a while away. Again, you don’t like to give up this type of talent. I think San Diego did a very fine job, but we’re happy, of course, with getting Craig.”
Ace will be a free agent: “Well, my guess would be — and again, these are only guesses at this time — going into the wintertime and with conversations we’ve had with clubs over the last month, my thought process is most likely any acquisition we’d make in the starting pitching would first happen as far as the free-agent field is concerned. You never know, but that would be my guess. I thought that our acquisition of the relief pitching aspect would more likely come through a trade. We’re in a spot that this is probably our major acquisition for the wintertime as far as the trade market is concerned. You never can tell, but that’s what my instincts tell me.”
The importance of hard throwers in bullpen: “I think it’s always been a great way to go. Again, you have to look at different ways you put a bullpen together and to me, it starts with having a quality, premium closer, somebody that can get a big strikeout, get out of a tough situation. Someone who gets the save for you eventually. There’s different ways to go about it. Having that power arm out there at the back end is really important. I think it really strengthens the back end of our ‘pen overall then because you’ve got a closer there, a guy that’s closed in the eighth inning for us and in the seventh. You see the way clubs have been successful, I think it’s important if you can do that. I’d like to combine it with real good starting pitching too and then you’ll really be in a quality spot. Having a strong bullpen is extremely important.”
The timeline of the deal: “We were working on it during the GM meetings. We’ve actually talked to San Diego almost since the very end of the season, just about various things, and they were really in a little bit of a hold as they went through their managerial hiring process, so it picked up right before going to the GM meetings and picked up as soon as we got there. We met on Monday face to face and really conversed about this, went back and forth on names. The whole GM meetings, we talked numerous times, met a few times, talked on the phone numerous times, but also did talk to other clubs. That was something that was taking place the whole time period. I was hopeful that we could make a deal after we left, but you never knew about those things. We actually finalized things this morning — it was about 8:30, I was in the office doing some work, catching up, got in here earlier than that. A.J. Preller called me around 5:30 in the morning his time, he was thinking about it and called me, and then we consummated the deal then, tentatively, agreed to things, and we had to go through different stages, medical people talking to one other, updating ownership at the time, and myself, too. That was really the time frame.”
Craig Kimbrel’s reaction
On being traded last year: “It definitely opened up my eyes, it definitely made you grow quite a bit. Especially with the trade being so last minute, the night before Opening Day. Things went kind of fast. I could barely know my teammates. I’m looking forward to having spring training to learn the team I’m going to be on this year. That’s going to be very nice. I felt like I’m from the south and playing in atlanta for that duration kind of spoiled me a little bit, being so close to home. I learned a lot about what it takes to move away from home and move away from my family and learn how to play the game that way. It definitely made me a stronger player and definitely a stronger person.”
Being traded twice in a year: “It’s part of the game. The more we looked at the game, there’s players who move around a lot more. From my view, especially being out of the bullpen, it’s something I won’t say I want to get to used to, but it’s become more common. Being moved to the American league, I’m excited. It’s a league of big bats and as a pitcher you want to have the opportunity to face those big bats. It’s a challenge in itself and I’m looking forward to.”
On Pitching in Boston: “The history, the fans in Boston, the atmosphere is always awesome every time I’ve been there. You can tell the history and everything behind it there, so to be able to put the uniform on, to be able to play in front of those fans, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
An annual rite of passage at any General Managers Meetings is power agent Scott Boras holding court with a barrage of reporters for 45 minutes or so. That took place today in Boca Raton, but Boras doesn’t have as many Red Sox ties as we’re accustomed to this time of year.
We did ask him about his client Xander Bogaerts, and whether he might sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox several years in advance of free agency.
“Again, anything their clients say to me about their interest in doing things … Xander is very happy in Boston,” Boras said. “He had a great year there. It’s really a relationship between him and the coaching staff. They did a great job with him and he did a great job with him and he did a great job for them so we’re very encouraged about his future there.”
What if Mookie Betts — a non-Boras client — signs an extension? Would that make Bogaerts more apt to do so?
“I don’t know if players look to other players,” Boras said. “Look, the Red Sox have a history of signing players to long-term contracts. I don’t think that’s a secret among players. So the fact that they’ve been an organization that commits to good players and commits to good players long-term, I think all the young players there know they have the capacity to do that. I wouldn’t think the signing of any particular player would affect how [Bogaerts] would view things.”
What if Bogaerts says he’s interested in an extension?
“I would listen,” Boras said. “My job is listening to the player so whenever a player wants to sign a long-term contract I would make sure I would facilitate his goals for him.”
How does Boras think the Red Sox will impact the market this winter?
“The Red Sox have some very good players and their outfield and their up-the-middle, the talent they have at catching, they really have some really, really good players so obviously the teams that are in the playoffs they seem to have that really dominant pitching so that seems to be in today’s times what makes these clubs get past to that championship level. I’m sure they have every intention of focusing on that.”
The Red Sox expressed confidence that Clay Buchholz is healthy again, exercising the right-hander’s $13 million option for 2016.
Buchholz’s 2015 season ended when he suffered a strained flexor in his right elbow pitching against the Yankees on July 10.
Prior to the injury, Buchholz was on a superb run, going 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in a 10-start run between May 15 and July 4.
Buchholz’s career has been defined as much by sterling runs like that one as untimely injuries and dips in performance.
Still, a $13 million annual value is a bargain in today’s market if Buchholz pitches anywhere close to his capability and stays relatively healthy.
The Red Sox hold a $13.5 million option on Buchholz for ’17.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has been open about the club’s pursuit of an ace this offseason. The Red Sox have Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens under their control for next season.
Boston could have starting depth to trade from, and Buchholz’s contract could be attractive to another team.
Buchholz hopes to continue pitching for the Red Sox, the franchise he’s spent his entire career with after being selected in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
A two-time All-Star, Buchholz has a career record of 73-51 with a 3.85 ERA, notching 806 strikeouts in 169 games, all but two of them starts.
Buchholz’s .589 winning percentage is the 10th best in the AL since the start of 2007 for pitchers who have a minimum of 100 decisions.
The 31-year-old Buchholz is the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox’ pitching staff and has been with the club the last nine seasons.
Just as everyone was arriving to the ballpark for Game Number 162, the Red Sox announced that John Farrell will return as manager in 2016. Torey Lovullo signed a new two-year deal to stay on as bench coach, and continue to lend support as Farrell battles back from Stage 1 lymphona.
Here was the reaction of former Red Sox manager Terry Francona:
“I actually didn’t know it needed to be news. I really didn’t. So I’m not sure how to react because I didn’t know that it necessarily needed to be news. I guess I always figured he would. I’ve been so fixated on him as a friend and what he’s going through that I’ve really never thought about it. I never even thought to ask him. In all the conversations, I never thought to ask him. I guess as much as we all care about baseball, when that enters into it, I really never thought to even bring it up.”
Here was the reaction of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia:
“That’s the thought the players had all along. We’re hoping that John recovers what he’s going through and can’t wait to get him back. It’s going to be good to have John back healthy and around the guys again. That’s’ everyone’s first concern, health. We want him to be back to normal and be fine. If he is, he’s obviously going to be our manager.”
Here was the reaction of Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski:
“John’s case, and have been consistent and meaningful in his situation that I told him all along that he needs to be healthy, first and foremost. He finished his last chemo treatments, this round, this past week. At some point, we needed to move forward and kind of set where we’re going into the future. I called John yesterday and when we’ve had conversations, all of our conversations that we’ve had, which hasn’t been as numerous as would normally be the case if he was healthy of course, have always been towards 2016. But I never really gave him that 100 percent that, I had always given him the indication, but needed to be in a position where it basically closed that loop. Yesterday, I called him back and said we’re ready to step forward to do this. ”
“The problem with it is the process of his health is still first and foremost. All indications are good. He will have some tests again in about three weeks to see where he stands at that point so in his case it’s a situation where in three weeks he’ll have a little bit better feel. But right now, he feels as if he will be OK for next year to move forward. The doctors have given that indication. The difficulty becomes, and I’m not an expert on this, so I cannot claim to give you any special insight, other than what doctors have told me a couple of times that I’ve talked to people, when you go through what John is going through, which is of course, major, the feelings are that he will be in a spot where 97 percent of the time you come through from a health perspective on this.
“Sometimes you don’t feel up to 100 percent for three to six months, is what people tell me. I do know that. I’m just telling you what the doctors have told me. I also think that the commitment’s made to John, he’ll be our manager for 2016, he should be fine. But I also want to make sure, how do we protect ourselves in case when you put six months, and again, I’m not sure it’s going to be six months, I hope it’s three months, and if it’s three months, the time frame works out well. But what happens if it’s six months? We’re already into the start of next season. You’re also in a position where you start talking about spring training, preparation for Spring Training, it’s a great time of year but it also can be a grueling time of year and I don’t want that extra stress on him to feel that I’ve got to be ready, I’ve got to be ready.
“Trying to come up with what ideally would be a fallback plan if he just wasn’t quite up to par. Thought long and hard about it. Have been very impressed of course with Torey and Torey’s done a great job for us. I don’t think he could have handled himself any better than what he has, not only running the club in John’s absence, taking control, but also always giving the proper authority to John and staying in contact with John, knowing it’s John’s team. So I had a thought that perhaps this would be a way that it would work, to protect ourselves. I didn’t know how Torey would feel about it. I ran it through John Henry and Tom Werner a couple of weeks ago my thought processes and how it would work in approaching Torey about staying on board to see if he’d be willing to do that. Offered him the two-year contract, but it wasn’t about that with Torey. It was really a situation where he thought about the scenario. He’s very committed to the Red Sox organization, very committed to John, so he has given up his ability to interview for next year as a manager. He made that commitment to the organization. We’re very thankful for what he has done. I think it’s a situation where hopefully we’re protected as well as we possibly can. Hopefully John’s back, he’s feeling great, he’s ready to go. If for some reason, he’s a little slower to come back or not 100 percent, his trusted right-hand, lieutenant is there for him to help him at that point, so that’s really how we went with it.”
Here was the reaction of Torey Lovullo on going back to his bench role, but being available in case John Farrell still isn’t feeling 100 percent:
“Like I said, I’m a processor, so I got as much information as I possibly could and I thought about a lot of things. That was one of the main reasons, is that I want to see that process through. I want to be here for John, I want to assist John in any way I possibly can, and I want to make sure it lines up the way it’s supposed to line up before I ran out on him, is how I’m looking at it.”
Here is Dombrowski’s reaction on if things could become awkward if the Red Sox get off to a slow start under Farrell, given Lovullo’s success as interim manager.
“Not really, for the simple fact that he’s John’s guy. John is the one who brought him on board. He’s his closest confidant. That’s his bench coach. I think what ends up happening is, there’s always speculation in today’s world about what takes place if the club is not playing well. Hopefully that won’t be the case. Hopefully the club will play well. But it’s a situation – I can’t think of a situation where he’d be more comfortable with someone. That’s John’s guy.”
Here is Lovullo’s reaction on being secure enough in himself to feel comfortable passing on managerial openings that might arise in the coming days.
“I’ve learned that being a major-league manager is all about timing and opportunity. They don’t come up all the time. Whether this enhances my ability to manage one day or not is out of my control, as it has been since Day One. I’m just going to continue doing my thing the way I know how, and the right situation will pop up if it’s supposed to happen. I’m a big believer in timing. We’ll see what happens once things move in the direction that I could possibly correspond with a team. For right now, for one year, it’s not going to be a possibility.”
BOSTON – Though Hanley Ramirez’s right shoulder ailment – the one that had him out of the lineup again on Monday night – didn’t become public knowledge until a few days ago, it has bothered him for several weeks.
And it perhaps explains why Ramirez has had such limited production since the All-Star break, a span in which he’s hit .183 with no homers, seven RBIs and a .449 OPS.
“I made one throw here at home,” said Ramirez. “I don’t remember what month it was. And I hurt something, but I played through it. And then it happened again last homestead here. Since then it wasn’t feeling right and I was playing through it.
“But it got to the point where I took it to the manager and the trainer and they understood and they didn’t want me to go out there if I wasn’t 100 percent. That’s what we’ve been dealing with right now. I’ve just been waiting to get back to Boston to get it checked out with a doctor.”
Ramirez was set to be examined prior to Monday night’s game against the Yankees, at which point the Red Sox will have a better read on how to proceed.
When Ramirez was out of action from Aug. 8-16, the club said it was due to discomfort from when he fouled a ball off his foot. Truth be told, Ramirez said, his shoulder was the main thing that was bothering him tat that time.
“But I didn’t say anything until the last game in Detroit [in early August]. This is not me,” Ramirez said. “I’m such a good hitter and I can’t look like that on the field. But I didn’t want to say anything because I wanted to play.”
The production didn’t improve when Ramirez came back from that hiatus. In fact, in an eight-game stretch, he hit .097 with no RBIs, after which the club held him out of the lineup for four straight games, including Monday.
Ramirez got off to a monster start at the plate this season, banging out 10 homers in April. But in his last game that month, he sprained his left shoulder while running into the wall. A few weeks after that, Ramirez was smoked by a line in the left hand.
“If you go back and think how this could happen, to get hit by a line-drive in that spot — ‘m a lower-hand hitter. My power comes from my left hand, not by top hand. It’s unbelievable,” said Ramirez.
Though Ramirez has been maligned by fans and media mainly for his defense this season, his lack of offense has probably hurt the Red Sox more. Ramirez can never remember a season in which so many different injuries piled up on him.
Until Monday, Ramirez never really spoke much about his injuries. Instead, he just played through them and took the criticism.
“They don’t know those little things. My teammates know and the team,” Ramirez said. “So that’s the difference. You can control what you can control. They don’t know what’s going on in here, what’s going on with my body. I respect that because they pay to see you prove every day that you’re there. They want us to do the best every day. I know I’ve tried my best every day when I’ve been out there, but some things don’t go the right way.”
Did you think Pedro Martinez’s pre-induction day press conference would be anything but entertaining?
Here were the highlights from his 21-minute session with the English-speaking media.
How does Pedro want to be remembered? “I’ve always been open-hearted and outspoken about the way I am. I think if you want to grasp a better idea of Pedro Martinez, you have to deal with me on a daily basis. I don’t have anything I can say that they don’t know. Maybe that I am a very regular human being, once I take my uniform off. I am lovely. I’m a joker. I’m a gardner. I’m a fisherman. I’m a father, a very dedicated father. I love my mom. I love gardening with her.”
Should there be baseball in Montreal again? “Great. Great. As soon as possible, we need a team in Montreal. I think Montreal was robbed of an opportunity to have probably a franchise that would last forever. It’s a great city. It’s probably the safest city I’ve ever played in, and I feel in Boston like I’m in my backyard. It goes to tell you that Montreal is that safe. And for people to play baseball and see baseball, and have family time, I think Montreal is the perfect place.”
Pedro visiting the Babe’s statue in Cooperstown. ““Yeah, we are teammates and I had the opportunity to go over and look at his statue and actually I did apologize for the comments I made that day [in 2001]. It was Shaughnessy and Jonny Miller getting in my face and I said those things because I didn’t believe in curses but I know especially after that moment, I got to really appreciate who the Bambino was and how good he was to the people and society, and for baseball. Oh yeah, I am his teammate. He forgave me for what I said. We moved on now. I’m counting on him to go deep and I’m going to get the next eight shutout innings.”
Pedro’s weekend experience: “You know what, this has been great. From the first moment we were announced, for some reason, these are four guys that respect, admire and look after each other to learn something from each other. I’ll tell you what, dealing with Randy, my big brother now, that’s how he calls me, my little brother, I call him my big brother, we have been hanging out together. It’s great to actually see the kind of person behind the uniform. If you watch him and watch me competing, you would never tell that Randy is the kind of guy that he is. John Smoltz, the same way. You didn’t know that John Smoltz was one guy that could pull off a prank on you at any moment. You look at them pitching, and it’s so serious, so committed to the game. You don’t perceive that whatsoever the kind of person behind it. I’m the same way. You would never tell that I’m a joker, that I’m someone so happy on days that I’m not pitching when you saw me pitching. It’s great to see that. It’s great to see the family interact with each other. How great they mix together as soon as they saw each other and they saw the way Randy and I walk around.”
Which direction will Pedro take in his speech? “I think it’s a commitment to Latin America. I feel the commitment more than anything as far as what I represent. I think it’s important that I go out there and show the level of education that I have. I’m going to be speaking in two languages, which is a little bit more difficult than people think. I’m going to be able to actually showcase how we are, how our people feel. I hope that I can express with the moment how much I love, respect and treasure everything I did in baseball, America, the people, the fanbases, the teams, the organizations, I hope I can project the right image at the time I get to the podium. Hopefully emotions won’t cut me off guard and make me cut it short.”
The 32-year-gap between Dominicans in the Hall: “You know what, what we got is what we deserve. There’s no crying in baseball we always say, right. We did not have the numbers, we did not have the kind of things that made us qualify to have another one. Juan Marichal was the Dominican Dandy, the one that represented the Dominican Republic for a long time. Now after 32 years, I showed up in the area. Now, I don’t think we’re going to wait 32 years more to get another representative. I think Vladimir Guerrero is right on the edge of becoming the next Hall of Famer. Guys that are still playing and posting numbers, I think, our going to be in the Hall of Fame, especially on the first ballot. Guys that if they decided to retire today, they would be Hall of Famers in five years, for sure.”
A-Rod a Hall of Famer? “No, I’m not talking about A-Rod, but I’m talking about Albert Pujols, maybe David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre – I think those are guys that will make it right away in the first ballot.”
Why not A-Rod? “I’m not going to go into that because there’s nothing I can do with the way voters handle who did what. Certainly the numbers are there but as you know from previous case – why not Roger Clemens, why not Barry Bonds? — because of the same reasons. So i’m not going to go into that and make a big deal out of this. I hope they all make it to be honest.
More on the juice era: “When I pitched it was the middle of that era where they say it was a juiced era. Well, guess what? I wanted the best out there, I wanted to face the best, I wanted to beat the best, I was able to do that. So if you ask me again, if I want to fact that kind of competition, yes I do. If I’m going to be given the 99 and the change-up and the curveball, bring it on again. I don’t care. There’s no crying in baseball right? I’m going to repeat that, there’s no crying in baseball, so I just hope that whoever gets a chance to make it here, makes it. It doesn’t matter. I’m not condoning people cheating the game or doing the wrong things, because I never did it. Hey, enough of the whining, let’s just play ball and face it. Once again, I’m going to repeat – i’m not condoningbad things in the game, but at the same time, let’s go and compete, let it be.”
Colin Cowherd disparaging the intellect of Dominicans: “It’s only going to be an insult to anyone that falls to that level, I’m not at that level, I’m sorry. I’m dealing here with polite people people that understand human rights, people who understand who we are and these are the people I’m paying attention to. That person, I don’t even know, I never heard of him, I don’t want to know him. I want to know the people that represent something, that mean something to us, the people that understand how we can get better.
More on Cowherd: “Yes, we are a Third World country, yes we don’t have the resources to be more educated but you know what every once in a while you’re going to get one like me, that’s not afraid to face you guys, to tell you how educated or uneducated I am, how proud I am of becoming who I am. We’re not going to stop and go back to probably the third world country that we were 30 years ago, we want to go forward, we’re looking forward. We don’t want to look down, to where he is, I want to look up to you guys, the voters, the seniors who are here, the Hall of Famers who are here and hopefully set the bar high like Roberto Clemente did.
On the bilingual approach Sunday: “Bear with me. It’s going to be in both languages. I have to go back and forth. With all due respect to America and the understanding it’s America’s pastime, baseball, and it’s played in America, I am committed to the Latin community and I am committed to America.”
Representing different cities and teams: “The same way we have fan bases in Boston, the same way in New York — believe it or not, I was a Met, and I’m proud of it. I was a Phillie, and I’m proud of it. I ran the Eastern division, I moved around. So I’m going to have people from all over and all of you are welcome and appreciated the same way. Mon amis in Montreal are welcome as well. Everybody that’s coming over is welcome. It’s part of baseball. It’s part of a huge tradition. I’m extremely proud to have had the opportunity to represent baseball in so many places, and to do it with honor and humbled to do it.”
Pedro on the fans of Boston: “They’ve got a place right here, in my heart. They’re with me here. I’m representing Boston. Like I said, I represent many things, but Boston is one place that I’m representing proudly. They can feel comfortable that Pedro is going to be Pedro. And Boston, whatever Pedro is, Boston is going along with it. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain this very much to the Bostonians, because they know what I’m made of and they know who I am. I’m a walking party in Boston. The parade just keeps going.”
Clay Buchholz on his trip to see Dr. James Andrews.
Sum up the trip: “It was basically re-affirming what we know. The one thing that came out of it that I was thinking a little differently about is the catch that I was playing. It probably wasn’t the right thing to do, in his mind. Yeah, that’s the reason for the PRP, because the time I’m going to be down, it’s not going to extend that time at all. Being that I don’t have any tears and it wasn’t a surgical issue, he said that I’d probably be in the upper 80 percent for this PRP stuff to either help or form a stronger muscle rather than just taking rest.”
Recovery time? “I think the total amount of time is probably going to be five to six weeks. I’m going to be back whenever I can. This is sort of frustrating. Yeah, whenever I’m able to go. He gave me the steps to follow, and that’s what I’m going to do, and that’s what I went to him.”
Frustrating? “Pretty frustrating. It always seems to happen when I’m on a good run. That’s the most frustrating part of it. It never can happen when you need a little time off or a little break. It’s just the way it is. I don’t have a whole lot else to add.”
Explain the flexor tendon: “It’s the muscle that covers up that protects the UCL so if you mess that up, the next thing that’s going is … I think it’s the exact same thing the guy they got from the Royals that got hurt the other day, yeah, Jason Vargas. That’s what he went on the DL for was flexor. Seeing that, that’s definitely not what I want to do. I’m going to take the time I need to take off for it to be better.”
When to resume throwing? “I don’t know exactly the day but it’s a couple of weeks until I start throwing.”
Back this season? “I definitely want to pitch again. I don’t care how many starts. I need to … that’s why I’m here. This is actually a big year for me too.”
Again, unable to pitch 200 innings: “It’s not going to bother me. It might bother a lot of other people. I’ve said it a lot, it doesn’t bother me how people think about me. They can say what they want to say, you can write what you want to write. That’s basically the bottom line. I know that I’m a good baseball player when I’m out there so that’s how I look at it.”
Uncertainty of next season: “I’m going to be throwing somewhere. Baseball is baseball. I’ve definitely been here my whole career. I don’t really want to go anywhere. When it comes to the time where somebody’s got to make a decision, the decision doesn’t always match the same way you feel. It is what it is. That’s the business side. I’ve said it a hundred times. It happens to a lot of guys. It’s very rare for a guy to stay in one spot his whole career. If it does happen, it happens.”
For nearly a decade, it was a certainty that David Ortiz would only need his first baseman’s mitt for a road Interleague or World Series game, in which the Red Sox did not have the designated hitter. But things changed on Sunday, as the slugger got the nod at first and the heavily-slumping Mike Napoli was on the bench.
Hanley Ramirez served as the designated hitter. This was Ortiz’s first start at first base in a game being played under American League rules since June 22, 2006, at Seattle. It was his first start at first at Fenway since July 16, 2005 against the Yankees.
“Well, today’s lineup I think gives us the best lineup we can put on the field,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “[We] Recognize that it’s been quite some time since David has played first base in an American League game. It also gives us the ability to put [Alejandro] De Aza in left field. It’s about putting the best lineup on the field today.”
Ortiz playing first will not become a staple for the Red Sox. This seemed to be an isolated occurrence, and the Red Sox have a day off on Monday in which the 39-year-old DH will be able to rest his legs.
I don’t know how frequently we would see this going forward,” said Farrell. “David and I had a chance to talk after the game last night, then this morning. Tomorrow with an off-day this was kind of an ideal set of circumstances to get him at first base.”
If Napoli continues to struggle, the Red Sox would have the option of getting Brock Holt more regular playing time at first base once Dustin Pedroia returns from the disabled list.
Ortiz has generally held his own while playing first for the Red Sox, making standout plays in the World Series in 2004 and ’07.
“A guy like me, when I play first base, the thing is that when you’re playing defense out there you got to do a lot of bending and a lot of moving. You’re moving a lot every time the pitcher makes a pitch,” said Ortiz. “So maybe the next day you feel a little sore or whatever, but it goes away. I kind of start feeling things out as the game goes and try not to go too crazy.”
Napoli’s struggles have been one of the surprises of the season. The first baseman is hitting .192 with 10 homers, 30 RBIs and a .652 OPS.
“Napoli’s what, 32 years old? He’s still young,” said Ortiz. “He’s going to come out of it. It’s just not that easy to come out of it. You can have a good game and that gives you the positive vibe, and all of a sudden you are hitting. It’s just like, when you never see that game come, you just keep on digging and digging and digging, and it’s hard to come out of it.”
Highly-touted lefty prospect Eduardo Rodriguez will make his Major League debut for the Red Sox when he starts on Thursday night at Texas.
The Red Sox will make a corresponding roster move before Thursday’s game. Manager John Farrell said that he isn’t bumping anyone from the rotation, and that he will go with six starters this time through. The Red Sox are in the midst of a stretch of 20 games in a row without a day off.
At this point, Rodriguez — ranked as the fourth best Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline — is only expected to make the one start before going back down to Triple-A. But Farrell has reserved the right to change his mind.
The Red Sox acquired Rodriguez from the Orioles for Andrew Miller on July 31, 2014.
Rodriguez, 22, is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
David Ortiz, off to his worst start to a season since 2010, was dropped to fifth in the batting order tonight by manager John Farrell.
This is the first time Ortiz has started a game at a spot other then third or fourth since 2012, under Bobby Valentine.
Pablo Sandoval will hit third, followed by Hanley Ramirez, at Target Field against Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey.