June 2010

Pedroia has fractured foot

The Red Sox will be without the man most consider to be their Most Valuable Player for the next several weeks, as it was learned this morning that Dustin Pedroia has a non-displaced fracture in the navicular bone of his left foot.

How long will Pedroia be out? Obviously a minimum of 15 days because he was placed on the disabled list today, but realistically it will be longer. The Red Sox doctors are pouring through the tests done by San Francisco’s medical staff, and a time-table will become more apparent once they study everything. Pedroia will see Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill and also Dr. George Theodore, the team’s foot specialist, on Monday in Boston.

In the meantime, Bill Hall will probably get the bulk of the at-bats at second base. Angel Sanchez has been summoned from Pawtucket to help from a depth standpoint.

Crazy night at Coors

Did some of you fall asleep before tonight’s four hour and 48 minute Red Sox-Rockies game came to an end? You missed a wild one.

There was Dusitn Pedroia, hitting three homers in a game for the first time in his life. He never even did it in Little League.

There was Jonathan Papelbon, blowing a save on back-to-back nights for the first time in his career, and blowing consecutive save opportunities for just the third time. Yet it was Papelbon who earned the win.

“Any time I’m running out of ink, that’s not a good sign,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “That was was … whooo, I’m glad we won. It was gutwrenching. A lot of good, some not so good but there’s something to be said for persistence. Pap goes out and he says, he’s sideways. Then he goes back out and gets them out. That was pretty awesome because that wasn’t easy to do. We were in the same situation they were. We warm up Richardson in the first inning and then we have to warm him up again. Everyone was on fumes.”

The Red Sox had run out of position players, but not resolve.

With Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez already being used in the sixth-inning implosion, Francona had to go with Scott Atchison in the seventh. The right worked a critical clean inning, helped by Jason Varitek’s strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play

“We could talk about nine million things,” Francona said. “Atchison was huge. We were kind of up against it. All we had tonight out of Bard was we wanted him to finish an inning and that’s what he did. We got caught. That six-run inning where we just couldn’t stop them. Oki comes in and atrually threw great and being late covering first ends up being a huge play. He threw the ball great.”.

The Red Sox are developing a strong personality. They suffer adversity but find a way to get up.

“There were a lot of things that happened tonight,” Francona said. “The word resilient keeps coming up. We didn’t do some things correct but we did enough.”

And no pressure on Tim Wakefield, but the Red Sox could sure use, oh, about nine innings at San Francisco on Friday night.

“That would help,” Francona said. “That would be really good. I’m sure we’ll have to sit down and go over some pitching because we’re a little short.”

Westmoreland speaks about recovery

Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland was upbeat in a conference call today with reporters, speaking about how he is feeling in his recovery from brain surgery back in March.

What is his therapy schedule like these days? “It’s four days a week. The therapy consists of physical therapy, occupational therapy, which is your everyday kind of things, and then speech therapy also. four days out of the week I’m doing those three and so far, so good and I’m excited to continue it.”

How is he feeling? “I feel a lot better. If you asked me three months ago, the progress has been amazing. I heard from a bunch of doctors and the progress has been remarkable. I’m just excited to keep it going.”

What is it like going to Red Sox games and Minor League games? Is it tough at all? “Yes and no. I definitely enjoy going to the games and getting to watch them. they’re my favorite team anyway, besides the fact that I’m playing for the minor leagues, it’s just great to go out and watch baseball. At the same time I do miss it, getting to see those games, and then to picture yourself out there, it’s tough to see yourself on the sidelines. At the same time, I’ve come to terms with what I’ve gone through and I know it’s going to take a while but I’m ready for it.”

Westmoreland has been touched by all the support.

“It’s been amazing, it really has,” Westmoreland said. “Ever since we kind of released what was going on, I’ve been getting non-stop messages and e-mails from people I do know, as well as people I don’t know.”

The emotional aspect of all this?

“Well, initially, to be honest, I didn’t really know what was going on. I knew it was a serious situation but before that situation, I felt great going into Spring Training, I felt really strong and when that news kind of hit, I didn’t honestly know what to expect and things kind of went on from there and I learned more, I gained more knowledge about the whole situation I was going through and it started out not knowing much and it really kind of went downhill just knowing everything and knowing all the risks and what was going on, but I tried to keep an even head about it and stay positive.”

Ron Westmoreland was also on the call. What has all this been like for him?

“There was certainly some, at the beginning, some very tough days and nights and tough weeks but once the surgery happened and he came out of it OK and over the next few days in ICU, we saw some progress and even the second day in ICU, he actually got up and walked down the hall,” Ron Westmoreland said. “From that day forward, we got to a point where it just became an everyday positive where we could see the progress and nowadays, seeing what he’s doing and actually being out on a field and doing some running and throwing and things like that, every day is positive. Every day I can’t wait until after therapy to talk to him about what he’s gone through. Even though at the beginning, it was very, very difficult, horrifying for us as a family, it got to a point where it was just positive. Every day was positive from that point on.”

Does Ryan Westmoreland know when he might get back on the field?

“From the doctor’s point of view, not one of them has set a time-table as to when I’m going to get back to playing,” Westmoreland said. “I can think in my head, I’m really confident. And going to see the Portland games and the minor league games and the boston games just gives me that extra motivation and confidence that I’m going to get back again but as far as the time-table, I’m not really sure. I’m just really focused on the next day ahead and just trying to get better every day.”

As an organization, the Red Sox have been inspired by the way Westmoreland and his family have handled a difficuilt situation.

“The thing that stands out from our end is just how proud we are of Ryan, the courage he’s shown, facing the initial diagnosis and the surgery, and the determination he’s shown in his recovery. It’s been really awe-inspiring,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “We got to know Ryan and his family pretty well during the signing process. We knew we were getting a great kid from a great family,we knew we were getting someone who could handle adversity, but the type of adversity we were thinking of was a long slump or something like that.

“You never imagine one of your players having to go through something like this.
But every step of the way, he’s showed really incredible maturity and bravery, and for us I think right before the initial diagnosis came. It was really intersting to see how the entire organization reacted like a family.You look at your players and you think of them as having bright futures,but then when something like this happens that’s life threatening, and you
see how it impacts all of his teammates, all of his friends, all of the people in the organization who care for him on a personal level. it really makes you appreciate what we have in this organization as a family, and Ryan obviously is a big part of that family.

“So going through this with him was a pretty emotional thing for many people in the organization. We’re proud of him and with him and his family every step of the way. And we’ll be here for him when he’s ready to return to organized baseball.”

Back to the scene of their glory

Here we are, back at Coors Field, and Jon Lester is starting, just like he was when last we left this place.

Yes, that was Oct. 28, 2007, the night the Red Sox won their second World Series in four years by sweeping the Rockies.

Still here from that squad? Jacoby Ellsbury (DL), J.D. Drew, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Delcarmen, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, Lester, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Hideki Okajima, Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon.

Being back where they won it all, you wonder if maybe the Red Sox are starting to build the scrapbook of another championship season.
Coors Field.JPG

Consider how they got to this point — a half-game back entering tonight. They’ve had one win from Josh Beckett, they’ve gotten just nine games from leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury and barely anything from their starting center fielder Mike Cameron, who is building his health back a little bit more each week.

They overcame an 11-14 start and have the best record in baseball since April 20.

The Red Sox are riding a wave just when New Englanders need them to be. Yes, fans were stung by a certain basketball team coming up short in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But it could be a memorable summer in progress here, with what coudl be an epic three-team race between the Rays, Yankees and Sox.

Boston-LA is in the air

There is a different kind of feel at Fenway today. Not only are the Celtics and Lakers getting ready to play what should be an epic Game 7 tonight — pushing the start time up here — but Manny Ramirez is coming back to Fenway tomorrow. Yes, Red Sox-Dodgers.

It is going to be a circus-like atmosphere for sure. It’s too bad Manny will likely DH instead of play left. It would have been fun to watch him talk to the fans above the Monster, etc. Also, he was always capable of some entertainment on defense.

A lot of people on my twitter page think Manny is going to get cheered instead of booed. That really surprised me. What do you guys think?

In daily news, Dice-K threw a side session today and will throw a simulated game in a few days. He could be back in the rotation by next week.

Give me some score predictions for the basketball game tonight.

Coming tomorrow, you will  get my 3,500 word chronology of Manny’s time in Boston. A lot of higlights, lowlights and bloopers.

Nava makes a grand entrance

Have you ever heard the saying, “You never know what you’re going to see when you come to the ballpark?”. Today is the very meaning of that.

Daniel Nava, a player most of you had never heard of before today, earned a spot in Red Sox lore by hitting a grand slam on the very first pitch of his Major League career.

Here is a sampling of my story for MLB.com:

The kid who was 70 pounds when he started high school made a dramatic entrance to the Major Leagues on Saturday. Daniel Nava, a undrafted prospect the Red Sox signed out of an Independent League in Jan., 2008, swatted the very first pitch he saw from Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton and put it into the Boston bullpen in right-center for a grand slam.
Just like that, Nava became the second player in Red Sox history to hit a grand slam in his first plate appearance with the team and first since Rip Repulski on May 10, 1960 against the White Sox.

Nava is the 10th player in the long and storied history of the Red Sox to go deep in his first plate appearance with the club, and second this season. Darnell McDonald also did so on April 20 against the Texas Rangers.

Even before the grand slam, it had already been a surreal day for the 27-year-old Nava, who was summoned to Boston from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Josh Reddick’s spot on the roster. The Sox optioned Reddick back to Pawtucket after Friday night’s game so that he could get more regular at-bats.

With both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida on the disabled list with rib fractures, the switch-hitting Nava will share playing time in left field with Darnell McDonald and Bill Hall.
Was Nava really 70 pounds as a ninth-grader in the Bay Area?

“I was,” said Nava. “I really was. I was really small. I didn’t grow until sophomore year of college. I really was 70 pounds. I couldn’t go on the rides at the theme parks, I was so small.”

Could that kid have ever dreamed of starting for the Red Sox and standing in front of the historic Green Monster?

“That kid could barely swing a 32-inch bat so I don’t think he was thinking about the big leagues or anything like that,” Nava said. “It’s been a fun run, that’s for sure.”

Something happened along the way. Nava started to fill in to his body – he is listed at 5-10 and 200 pounds in the media guide – and never stopped working. After college stints at the College of San Mateo (junior college) and Santa Clara University, he played for the Independent League Chico Outlaws, winning the Most Valuable Player of the Golden Baseball League. He started his stint with the Red Sox at Class-A Lancaster in 2008, before moving on to Salem and Double-A Portland in ’09. He played 54 games for Pawtucket this season, hitting .294 with eight homers, 38 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage.

“Nava is kind of a good story,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He’s an Independent League kid out of college — he’s hit everywhere he’s been. There’s been a lot of people in player development that have been talking about this kid for the last little while, saying, he can help you win games. So he’s going to get a chance.”

Nava could hardly contain his excitement before the game. Actually, he didn’t try to contain it.

“It’s obviously a dream come true,” Nava said. “I was telling my friends, ‘sorry guys if I don’t know what to say because I’m kind of speechless, the whole thing happened so fast.’ I’m trying to learn what to do, where to go.”

The nerves quickly turned to production, as Nava introduced himself to Red Sox fans in the most emphatic way possible.

Ellsbury has different fracture

The Red Sox now know why Jacoby Ellsbury had recurring pain during his brief stint back from the disabled list. After an exam in California with the renowned Dr. Lewis Yocum, and a follow-up phone consultation with Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill, it was determined that Ellsbury suffered a different fracture in his left ribs. The injury was likely sustained on May 23, when Ellsbury made a diving catch in Philadelphia against Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the seventh.

The Red Sox issued the following joint statement just moments ago from Dr. Gill and Dr. Yocum.

“An MRI of Jacoby’s thoracic spine and posterior rib area, recommended by us jointly, revealed a non-displaced rib fracture and edema in the left posterior-axillary line.  This fracture, which is in a different area than the initial fractures and which was not present on previous scans, is likely the result of a new injury which occurred when Jacoby dove and impacted the ground during his brief return to play.  Jacoby will require several weeks of rest and physical therapy.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Ellsbury flew from California to Arizona and will work out at the Athletes Performance Institute for roughly the next two weeks, doing non-baseball activites. Though the Red Sox didn’t issue a time-table for his return, it seems unlikely that Ellsbury would return before the All-Star break, which starts on July 12.

Ellsbury initially injured his ribs on April 11 in a nasty collision with teammate Adrian Beltre. On that occasion, Ellsbury suffered a hairline fracture of four ribs. The outfielder has played in just nine games this season.

Ellsbury still ailing; more rest prescribed

We will get more information from Red Sox manager Terry Francona in a little bit,  but Jacoby Ellsbury’s visit to the renowned Dr. Lewis Yocum in California revealed that the center fielder is still needs more rest for his ailing left ribs, which have been injured since that jarring collision with Adrian Beltre on April 11 in Kansas City.

In other news, David Ortiz has really struggled on this road trip, going 1-for-22 over the first six games. His average has gone from .273 to .242 in that span. And Dustin Pedroia just can’t get going at the plate. The second baseman is hitting .248, the lowest his average has been since April 9, when he was at .235.

The Red Sox will try to make it three out of four in Cleveland tonight between the red-hot Jon Lester.

Terry catches up with Tito

One thing a trip to Cleveland always means for the Red Sox is that Terry Francona always catches up with his father Tito, who lives in Pennsylvania, driving distance from the Indians’ home stadium.

Tito Francona was in the house before and after Monday’s game, conversing with his son.

How is Tito doing?

“I think pretty good,” said Terry. “He went home last night. He’s doing alright. He’s getting a little old. But he’s doing alright. He walked in, me and Heidi [Watney] were doing the interview last night. He walked right in and said, ‘I just came to say goodbye.’ I said, ‘can you wait a minute?'”

The way Terry looks at it, his dad is living a pretty good life these days, and he makes sure to watch just about every Red Sox game on TV.

“He golfs in the morning, he goes to dinner, they watch the game – it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him,” Terry said. “It gives him something to kind of get juiced up about. He loves it.”

First of Four in Cleveland

Here in sunny Cleveland for the first of a four-game set at Progressive Field. Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the mound tonight, trying to make it back-to-back solid starts for the first time this season.

Boof Bonser has been activated and will officially start his Red Sox tenure tongiht, working out of the bullpen. He will take closer Jonathan Papelbon’s roster spot. Pap has a serious medical issue in his family and has been placed on the bereavement list, which puts him out of action for hte next three days. Best wishes to the Papelbon family.

In addition to the daily stuff, the MLB Draft is tonight, so there will be updates on that as well. More later.

Just wanted to kick things off and get a new post up.