There have been extremes with Xander Bogaerts during his rookie season. For a considerable part of May, Bogaerts was the hottest hitter on the Red Sox. That has not been the case of late, as he has struggled mightily.
With the addition of Mookie Betts creating somewhat of a log jam — five players competing for four positions — Bogaerts was the odd man out for Sunday’s game against the Yankees.
Brock Holt played third base, with an outfield of Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Betts.
Over his last 80 at-bats, Bogaerts has nine hits for an average of .113 with one homer ,three RBIs, a .153 OBP and a .163 slugging percentage.
“Those adjustments are in the works,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “His timing is off. We recognize that. There are some things that are tangibly different right now than when he was in a stretch where he was impacting the baseball with regularity. That is being addressed in early work, it’s being addressed in regular BP and while it’s being accomplished more readily at that speed, game speed is where some of that reverting back is taking place. It’s not about talent or commitment to work it’s the execution at game speed. We’ve got to remain patient, keep working at it and that’s what we’re doing.”
Farrell doesn’t think it’s a matter of teams changing their approach. “I wouldn’t say pitched differently. Again, we were able to identify through video and a subjective view from the dugout so these were things that were being talked about with him, shown on video and we’ll continue to work through.”
First things first. Official scorer Bob Ellis changed his call from last Wednesday’s Red Sox-Twins game at Fenway Park, crediting David Ortiz with a hit on a ball first baseman Joe Mauer bobbled on a half-dive.
Ortiz gave a thumbs down sign up to the press box during the game and was critical of Ellis following the game. But on Monday, Ortiz admitted the way he expressed his frustration was wrong.
“All I have to say is I know I owe an apology to MLB, Mr. Joe Torre, even the scorekeeping guys,” said Ortiz. “I know that I had frustration come out that way, and that’s not what you really want. You don’t want things to be like that and everything.”
Ortiz admitted that the way things have gone for him this season — he was hitting .248 entering Monday’s game — probably played a role in his actions.
“This has been a season already that has been jam-packed with frustration. At the end of the day, our job is based on results. I sit down and watch that TV every night after the game and I go 0-for-4, and all people talk and [complain] about is why I’m not hitting .300. of course, you don’t want to get caught into a situation … we are a family that of course needs to protect each other. The whole week has been about me protecting over a hit. There’s a lot of people mad at me because I argued something that I didn’t think I should get. I don’t blame them. I’m not apologizing just because I got that result. It’s because the message was spread out based on frustration. That’s why I’m apologizing.”
“Like I say man, it’s just something, I didn’t want the message to come out that way but it already happened and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
When someone mentioned to Ortiz that he wound up being right that the call should have been ruled a hit, he said, “Well, let’s keep it classy.”
When the 2004 Red Sox have their 10-year reunion at Fenway Park next week, there should be great memories of the characters that helped break an 86-year World Series championship drought.
Amid a festive atmosphere, Pedro Martinez hopes that Red Sox fans rise to the occasion and give Manny Ramirez a warm welcome in his first visit to Fenway Park since 2010.
“It took a lot for him to come,” said Martinez. “He wants to make it up to the Boston fans. He wants to show everybody that he’s a different person, that he’s a Christian man and a role model to his family. His kids are going to be here. It will be nice if we all kind of get together and just make a fun day out of it and remember that Manny was the MVP [of the World Series] and he’s the biggest reason probably why we won it.”
The ceremony will take place prior to the May 28 home game against the Braves.
When the Red Sox signed Ramirez to an eight-year contract in December 2000, Martinez was one of the players who helped recruit him.
Fittingly, Martinez also was one of the key people to encourage Ramirez to come back to Boston for a reunion in which nearly every core member of the “Idiots” will be on hand.
“Yeah, I tried to talk him into it,” Martinez said. “He wants to make up with Boston again.”
There were many highs and lows for Ramirez in Boston, but nobody can dispute he is one of the best hitters in club history.
In eight seasons with the Sox, Ramirez was a .312 hitter with 274 homers and a .999 OPS.
Ramirez was traded for Jason Bay in 2008 after several incidents, including a dugout skirmish with Kevin Youkilis and an altercation in which he pushed traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground.
After his departure from the Red Sox, Ramirez was twice suspended for violation of MLB’s performing-enhancing drugs policy, the latter of which occurred during his brief stint for the Rays in 2011.
But Martinez can sense how regretful Ramirez is of those incidents.
“He made a couple of mistakes,” said Martinez. “He knows it, but now he knows he’s a different man. He’s a Christian man and all he wants to talk about is God.”
This will be the first time Ramirez has done anything in affiliation with the Red Sox since his controversial departure from the club.
“His kids, I’m pretty sure, are very excited to come over and see their dad again in Fenway,” Martinez said. “I think fans should take that in consideration.”
As the Red Sox welcomed one key hitter back to the lineup in Dustin Pedroia, they lost another — at least for the night — in Mike Napoli.
Pedroia is leading off tonight, with Bogaerts hitting second and Gomes hitting fourth. Napoli dislocated his left ring finger on Tuesday night in a gruesome-looking head-first dive into second.
He is day-to-day.
Daniel Nava will play first base in Napoli’s absence tonight.
Dustin Pedroia admits he had some concern that something was seriously wrong with his left hand. Instead, it was just inflammation, and the invaluable second baseman could be back in the lineup as early as Wednesday.
“Very [relieved].” Pedroia said. “If it was broke, I would have been out a long time. It’s good news. Hopefully I’ll be in there tomorrow. They gave me a shot to calm everything down. Hopefully, it takes, they say 24 to 48 hours to kick in and then get out there and go.”
More on the injury: “Yeah, I was a little bit worried. It was getting worse every day. it happens. I get taken out every day. it’s my job. I just felt like it was part of the deal. I’m still obviously doing the rehab on my thumb stuff. they wanted me to get checked out and make sure everything is fine.”
What is the issue? “Just inflammation in this area spot in my wrist. It was basically with my rehab stuff with my thumb. Just a spot where I got caught in a weird angle when I got taken out. everything just got inflamed and then I keep swinging and playing, it just adds up and so, you think something is really wrong.”
He hopes it doesn’t linger. “Yeah, that’s why I’m not playing today. I’m trying to strangle John and get in there but you know if one more day can, this can go away, that’s great.”
Courtesy of Red Sox PR, here is the press release on Friday’s Home Opener.
BOSTON, MA – The Red Sox open their 114th home season this Friday, April 4, with Opening Day festivities set to begin at 1 p.m. The Red Sox play the National League’s Milwaukee Brewers at 2:05 p.m.
The pre-game ceremonies will include the presentation of the World Series rings, presented by Samsung, the performance of the national anthem, a helicopter fly-over, the Ceremonial First Pitch, and the call to “Play Ball.”
The ceremonies will include a moment of silence in tribute to Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, who perished last week when a 9-alarm fire raged through a Back Bay home a mile and a half from Fenway Park. The firefighters were from the station on Boylston Street that also protects the ballpark.
The singing of God Bless America in the middle of the 7th inning will be performed by the Boston Fire Department Quartet.
The Dropkick Murphys, along with Keith Lockhart conducting members of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, will perform during the ceremonies. Members of the Hanscom Airforce Base military will line the length of the Green Monster wall as the American flag drops for the anthem.
To maintain the Opening Day tradition of a fly-over at Fenway Park, the United States Coast Guard will fly a single MH-60T helicopter, representing all of our armed forces, at the conclusion of the national anthem.
In honor of the 2013 championship, players will wear special gold-trimmed Red Sox jerseys with gold stitching around the World Series Championship patch on the left sleeve, and around the letters and numbers on the front and back of the jersey.
Fenway Park gates will open at 11:35 a.m., 2 ½ hours before the first pitch. For the rest of the regular season, gates will open 1 ½ hours before the game, except for Season Ticket Holders and Red Sox Nation members, who may enter at Gate C 2 ½ hours before each game.
As always, and especially on midweek day games, the Red Sox urge fans to take the T. In addition to the familiar Green Line stops at Kenmore Square, the MBTA has also built a new Yawkey station for its Commuter Rail service.
The refurbished station, located just 511 feet from the doorstep of Fenway Park, now has as many as 40 scheduled stops per day, up from only 17 flag stops previously. Yawkey Station is part of the Commuter Rail’s Framingham/Worcester line, which runs from Worcester to South Station. The last outbound train from Yawkey Station departs at 11:36 p.m. on weekdays and 11:10 p.m. on weekends. Departure times for the last train leaving Yawkey Station are subject to change based on the length of the game.
Shane Victorino isn’t a fan of Major League Baseball’s rule this season to limit walk-up songs to 15 seconds. In this case, Victorino is speaking out on behalf of Red Sox fans.
His song, “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, turned all of his at-bats into a galvanizing moment at Fenway down the stretch last season. After “Don’t worry about a thing”, the crowd would then roar the rest, “because every little thing is gonna be alright.”
From the start of the song, it takes about 15 seconds to get to “Don’t worry”.
But fear not, Sox fans. Executive vice president Charles Steinberg indicated the club will do whatever it takes to keep the best part of the song going for the fans.
For example, the operations staff at Fenway can modify when the song starts so that the catchy part of the song can get in.
The song could start playing 10 seconds in and still have time for the whole lyric that everybody loves. Or it could start five seconds in, and the crowd could finish the lyric without it playing on the sound system.
“I just think it’s not right. It’s disappointing to hear that,” Victorino said of the rule change.
Victorino reasons that studies proved he was one of the most efficient hitters in the game last season in between pitches.
“Per pitch, I was like six seconds,” Victorino said. “It was the top five fastest between every pitch, getting in the box and going. There were only a few other guys who were ahead of me. Now you’re going to have however many disappointed fans every night because you’re changing that part of the game.
“I don’t want to [keep the lyrics] just because I want to listen to the whole song. It’s just because of the way it’s been picked up and the way it happened towards the end of the season, that’s why I let that part of the song go. I don’t pay attention to it, and I never do with my walkup song.”
The Red Sox made their first round of cuts today, sending several of the organization’s best prospects back to Minor League camp.
Right-handed pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Alex Wilson, infielder Garin Cecchini, and outfielders Bryce Brentz and Alex Hassan were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Right-handed pitchers Matt Barnes, Miguel Celestino and Noe Ramirez, left-handed pitcher Henry Owens, catcher Blake Swihart, and infielders Heiker Meneses and Travis Shaw were reassigned to minor league camp.
The Sox now have 46 players left in camp, including 35 from the 40-man roster. In other words, 21 cuts to go.
Cecchini and Brentz both had impressive at-bats in game action. Ranaudo was dominant in his first outing. Barnes had shoulder problems early, so we didn’t get much of a look at him.
“And I will say this, as a whole, maybe with the exception of Barnes because he was slowed with the shoulder stiffness, I thought guys showed very well,” said manager John Farrell. “I think it speaks loudly of the unity that Major League and Minor League has. I thought guys came in and handled themselves well. they handled the environment well. and on the field, there was a lot of positive signs, whether it was the consistency of at-bats to Hassan, to Brentz, to the way a young guy like Swihart showed behind the plate … not that we’re over-valuing or over-evaluating our own players, but that’s a lot of talent.”
The slate of Spring Training games started for the Red Sox on Feb. 27. But in essence, today is the true start.
This represents the closest thing manager John Farrell has had to an Opening Day lineup.
Sizemore, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, Nava, Victorino (Spring Training debut), Bogaerts, Pierzynski, Middlebrooks. And Jon Lester, who is all but certain to start on Opening Day, is making his first Grapefruit League start.
“We’re starting to get what shapes up to be our regular roster back on the field. And as we talked about yesterday, this next turn through the rotation we’ll have all of our projected starters on the mound,” said manager John Farrell. “Clay did an outstanding job yesterday and I think the more we get that continuity from the starting staff, as we’ll achieve here in spring training, I think it sets the tone for everything else. and the fact that we get Vic on the field today for the first time, this is definitely a positive step.”
What is Farrell looking to accomplish over the final three weeks of Spring Training?
“To get all of our starters built up to the appropriate number of pitches inside of a given game,” Farrell said. “To make sure our everyday players have gotten there 55 to 65 at-bats in camp. That Vic gets on the field with regularity and gets past some of the physical challenges, the physical challenges. And not just Vic, but any of our guys getting past the physical challenges that they face. And then for us to get a more accurate read on where Grady Sizemore is.”
Toward that end, Sizemore will start again on Tuesday, marking the first time he’ll go back-to-back this spring.
John Farrell also confirmed that the way his rotation is lined up now is likely the way it will be to start the season. Jon Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz.
Count Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski among those who believe Will Middlebrooks will have a bounceback season in 2014.
“I like the way Middlebrooks is swinging,” said Yaz. “Talked to him a little bit and he said he’s thinking up the middle more this year. I think he’s going to have a great year. He’s got a quick bat. There’s no reason for him not to hit .300. If he doesn’t think pulling the ball and just let his reactions take over, he’s going to have a hell of a year.”
Of hearing what Yaz said, Middlebrooks said, “Of course it means a lot. I have a lot of respect for him and how he played the game and obviously his success and what he means to this organization. It means a lot. For him to come up and say he’s coming to watch me take BP … and he has something to say. He wants to help out. It means a lot to me. I had a good talk with him.
When Middlebrooks was in the lower levels of Boston’s farm system, he was one of the many players Yaz would work with in the batting cage.
“That was before I understood who he was and what he had done,” said Middlebrooks. “I think it means a little more now.”
As for the notion that Middlebrooks might have been too pull-happy last year?
“Not purposely. It’s just something with my body, I don’t know. Yeah [I was], but not purposely,” he said. “I’ve never gone up there with the intent to just pull the ball.”