In a matter of days, the Red Sox will formally announce that they’ve reached a seven-year, $100-million contract with Dustin Pedroia.
While the financial security is nice, Pedroia made it clear that his motivation was to make sure he never plays a Major League game for any team besides the Red Sox.
“It’s not official or anything, but this is my home.” Pedroia said. “I love being here, I love my teammates, love this city. If it becomes that, I’ll be pretty excited.”
“That’s really important. The Red Sox drafted me. A lot of teams passed on me because of my size and stuff like that. It’s pretty important. That’s why I want to make sure I work as hard as I can to make sure that they made the right choice in drafting me and me being here my whole career.
The deal will be complete once Pedroia passes his physical, which is expected to be on Wednesday.
That being said, Pedroia admitted how exciting the likelihood is that he will be with the Red Sox through at least 2021.
Pedroia, 29, is in the fourth year of a six-year deal that included an $11 million team option for ’15. Instead of an option year, that will now mark the starting point of his new deal, which was first reported by WEEI.com and subsequently confirmed by MLB.com.
“I just want to make sure I’m playing my last game here. That’s important,” Pedroia said. “It’s the only thing I know. I love putting on the Red Sox uniform everyday. Every game is important to me and my teammates. It’s pretty special.”
In this day and age, it is rare for star players – or any players for that matter – to spend an entire career with one team. But Pedroia and the Red Sox have always had a unique relationship.
Pedroia loves all that entails with playing baseball in Boston, and the Red Sox fully appreciate a player who embodies everything they want their franchise to represent.
“As far as the contract, I know there’s conversations going on. I don’t know that anything is official yet,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “What Dustin means to this team is the example which he demonstrates every day, whether it’s his early work, the way he competes inside a game. He sets the tone for us. He embodies everything that we value as far as a player — the respect to the game that he has and the effort which he puts forth every night.”
Fresh off making his fourth All-Star appearance last week, Pedroia is hitting .308 with six home runs, 57 RBIs and 13 stolen bases while appearing in an American League-best 100 games.
His consistent production during his eight seasons with the Red Sox has included his winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in ’07 and AL MVP one year later. He led the AL in hits, runs scored and doubles in his MVP season and also led the league in runs scored in ’09.
Overall, Pedroia is a .303 lifetime hitter with 96 home runs, 466 RBIs and 115 stolen bases.
While there can sometimes be concern about a player letting down his guard after signing a long-term extension, it’s hard to fathom that ever being an issue with Pedroia.
“Not at all,” Pedroia said. “You guys have all seen me since I had a little bit more hair. I think I’ll play the same way I do for every game I play to the end. That’s about it.”
Perhaps the Red Sox will one day make Pedroia their captain, a role Jason Varitek filled from 2005 through his retirement after the ’11 season.
But titles have never meant much to Pedroia.
“It’s not going to change who I am or my role with the team. My job is still to go out there and to try to help us win a game every day. I try to do all I can to make that happen,” Pedroia said.
The importance of wearing the Boston uniform is something Pedroia can’t emphasize enough.
“Yeah, it’s really important to me. I’m a pretty loyal guy. I love being here,” Pedroia said. “I live and die by this team. It’s important to me to be here my whole time.”
Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz got just the piece of encouraging news he was looking for when he visited with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. on Monday.
There is nothing significantly wrong with Buchholz’s right shoulder or neck. The pain he feels when he tries to throw off the mound is normal considering the time he is missed.
Andrews had basically the same diagnosis as the Red Sox’s medical staff. Instead, he is just recovering from inflammation.
Now that Buchholz has heard that news from two different sources, he should have more self assurance in the final phases of his rehab.
“Most importantly, Clay comes back with a little more peace of mind, and he’ll continue on the throwing program that’s been already put in place,” said Red Sox manager Jon Farrell. “He’s coming off a good day of throwing yesterday — out to 100 feet with greater intensity. He’s traveling back here tonight, so he’ll be at the park tomorrow.”
Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8, running his record to 9-0 in 12 starts.
Farrell estimated that Buchholz will need to throw three bullpen sessions and a simulated game in front of the Red Sox before he leaves for a Minor League rehab assignment.
“He’s got more of an understanding of what he’s experienced in the progression of the throwing that he’s done to date since being put on the DL,” Farrell said. “That assurance that the discomfort he’s feeling is not injury-related, it’s more about getting back into game shape, so I would think there would be more readiness on his part to push through that.”
The Red Sox emerged from the All-Star break with some worrisome news. Right-hander Andrew Bailey might be done for the season.
The reliever felt some discomfort in his shoulder following his appearance on July 12 in Oakland and was examined in Boston on Monday. A follow-up with Dr. David Altcheck on Tuesday confirmed what Bailey and the Red Sox feared.
“Both exams concur, there’s some damage,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I think Andrew is at the point now of just weighing all the information that he’s receiving to take the next step. There’s some damage to the labrum, there’s some damage to the capsule. So it’s fairly significant.”
Surgery is definitely an option Bailey is considering. Even if he took a more conservative approach and tried rest and rehab, there’s no guarantee he would pitch again in ’13.
“There’s still no guarantees with that,” said Farrell. “You’d be looking at a fairly prolonged rehab if that’s the path chosen.”
The Red Sox have already lost two pitchers for the season who were considered vital parts to the bullpen – right-hander Joel Hanrahan (Tommy John surgery) and lefty Andrew Miller (right foot surgery).
Bailey had spent time as Boston’s closer earlier this season before going into a slump. He had pitched much better of late and had been setting up for Koji Uehara.
In an effort to add as much depth to the organization as they can following the recent injuries, Boston signed veteran righties Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to Minor League deals on Friday. Both pitchers will report to Triple-A Pawtucket.
“We’ve had a tough 10 days to our bullpen, given the injuries we’ve sustained,” said Farrell. “I think our thoughts right now are with Andrew [Bailey] and what’s the best action for him and the commitment that he’ll have to make to the rehab, whether that’s through strictly rehab or following a surgery.”
Mike Napoli is not in Boston’s lineup tonight. Mike Carp is at first. This is becoming a big issue for the Red Sox when you consider how well Carp has been hitting in limited opportunities and the fact that Napoli’s bat has gone ice-cold since his grand slam homer at Yankee Stadium the night of June 1.
In his last 74 at-bats, Napoli is hitting .230 with one double, no homers and 10 RBIs.
In Napoli’s first 212 at-bats of the season, he hit .269 with nine homers, 44 RBIs and an .846 OPS.
The Red Sox need Napoli’s production from the right side, particularly because of the protection he can give David Ortiz in the lineup.
Napoli was out before today’s game taking extra batting practice. This is definitely a story to monitor in the coming weeks.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington discussed a variety of subjects today in a lengthy session with Boston baseball scribes. Here is a sampling.
On where the team is and where they might go:
“We’re always trying to get better. Over the course of the season, there’s going to be parts of a team that perform really well at different points of the season. Guys are going to go through hot streaks and slumps. We’re like any other team. But overall, the effort’s been great. Our players and staff have worked really hard everyday, we’ve been prepared every night and we’ve come out on the winning end more often than we haven’t. The guys have put us in a position here in the middle of June to be right in the thick of things. The division is not really that different than anyone thought it would be. It’s a jumble. I don’t think anyone knew exactly what the order was going to be, but it’s very competitive. We knew it was going to be competitive. And I still think that the teams that end up on top are going to be the ones that stay the healthiest, get the best starting pitching and make the best in-season adjustments. We’re going to try to do that. Time will tell.”
On the bullpen:
“Overall, the guys have done a good job. Andrew’s had a couple tough outings here recently, but if you look at the total body of work, his performance over the course of the season, he’s still having a very solid year. Every player goes through slumps. When your outfielder goes through slumps, those 0-for-5 days, nobody really notices. When it’s the closer, it gets more attention. He’s going through that, but we’re really confident he’ll get back on track and start closing out games again. Certainly no one is working harder at it than he is. Before the ninth inning, we’ve been pretty solid of late — the combination of Uehara, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller are doing a good job. So you can’t ever be complacent when it comes to pitching. We have to keep our eyes open to what’s going on. We think we have some internal options if needed, perhaps a little better situated there than we have been the last year or two. But it’s something that, if the season goes on, it’s just something to stay on top of, stay aware of, and if there are ways to get better, we’ll consider those. But moreover, the guys have done a good job and we’re in the position that we’re in because a lot because the guys in the bullpen pitching in the seventh, in the eighth and ninth inning overall, on the whole this year, have done a pretty good job.”
Could Andrew Miller develop into a closer?
“He’s certainly got that kind of stuff. As you said, he hasn’t been in the role yet. But he’s certainly got the kind of stuff. The confidence is growing. You see him out there executing, getting right-handers out as much as he’s getting left-handers out, all those things, he’s certainly got the attributes to pitch at any point in the game. I think a lot’s made of the ninth inning. We understand why. It’s the last three outs of the game. I’m not trying to diminish the importance of those outs. But we need to get hitters out from the time the starter leaves through the last out of the game. We need as many effective pitchers as possible, give John as many options as possible. We have a lot of those, but we’ll certainly keep our eyes open if there are ways to improve.”
On the move of Xander Bogaerts to Triple-A:
“I’ve always kind of felt like there’s no such thing as a prospect in Triple A. Once you’re in Triple A, you’re either ready to come to the big leagues or you’re not. And that’s what we’re finding out about the guys in Triple A now. We felt like Xander had done enough in Double A to warrant a promotion. He spent some time there last year, went back this year and really improved in the areas he needed to.”
Will Dustin Pedroia eventually get a contract extension?
“Well, as you know, I’m not going to comment on any contract issue with a player. To speak generally about Dustin, certainly he’s a guy that we think very highly of. He’s a huge part of our organization, not just this team. He represents a lot of what we’re all about. Our sincere hope is that he’s here for a long time, but you know, that’s all I can say about it. We have a good enough relationship with Dustin and his representatives that the conversation can happen over time and at the right time. He’s a very valuable player and shows up every day in all sorts of ways.”
The Red Sox accumulated another lefty reliever on Thursday when they signed veteran Rafael Perez, who had spent his entire Major League career with the Cleveland Indians. It was a Minor League contract and Perez is expected to report to Double-A Portland.
The 31-year-old Perez pitched in 338 games for the Indians from 2006-12, posting a 3.64 ERA.
Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller are Boston’s curent lefties in the bullpen. Franklin Morales would be a third when he comes off the disabled list in the near future.
When the Red Sox played Terry Francona’s Indians in Cleveland from April 16-18, slugger David Ortiz was still in the final stages of his Minor League rehab.
On Thursday night at Fenway, Ortiz will stand in the batters box against Francona for the first time since they parted ways at the end of the 2011 season.
“I mean, yeah, it’s definitely going to bring memories back,” Ortiz said. “I was with Tito for eight years. He’s a good dude. He did a lot of good things. I learned a lot of things from him. It’s going to be a little weird just watching him from the other side. It is what it is, right?”
Ortiz and Francona experienced a lot of success together, winning two World Series championships together, most memorably the one in 2004 that included the comeback from 3-0 down in the best-of-seven ALCS against the Yankees.
“It was weird watching him on ESPN at the beginning until you get used to it,” Ortiz said. “So now you watch him on the other side and it will feel weird for a couple of series. At some point, it will be pretty normal.”
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has been hitting at a torrid pace since coming off the disabled list. This, even as he deals with a personal matter.
Ortiz and his wife Tiffany are filing for a divorce. The couple has been married for nearly a decade after meeting when Ortiz was in the Minor Leagues.
“There are some situations in life that work out for a period of time and at some point they don’t work out anymore and you have to move on,” Ortiz said in an interview with MLB.com and WEEI.com. “I’m moving on. She’s moving on. Hopefully everybody respects that.”
While Ortiz wanted to release the news before it leaked out, he hopes the public will respect his family’s privacy in the ensuing weeks.
The one thing Ortiz hopes nobody will do is try to look for a connection between his marriage ending and his performance on the field.
“I’m going to separate things,” Ortiz said. “Whatever is happening to me off the field is happening, but I try not to confuse that and bring that into my job. I know how to separate things. Personal life matters, and hopefully everybody respects that.”
The couple raised three children together, daughters Jessica and Alexandra, and son D’Angelo, who remains a constant presence in the Red Sox’ clubhouse.
Ortiz wanted to emphasize that the separation has been amicable, and that both sides want to move forward with their lives.
In Sunday’s win over the Astros, Ortiz went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Over eight games, he is hitting .516 with two homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.400 OPS.
Jose Iglesias will get the thrill of playing in Monday’s home opener, as Stephen Drew will need an extra day at Double-A Portland thanks to a postponement on Saturday.
Drew, who sustained a concussion on March 7, will make his debut for the Red Sox on Wednesday.
“I think just talking with him late yesterday afternoon, he felt an additional eight to 10 at-bats would be helpful,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s starting to feel much more comfortable but he felt like two additional games, to go nine innings each day, would put him in a better position to return to us.”
Meanwhile, Iglesias was back in the lineup on Sunday after missing Saturday’s game with a bruised right forearm.
“Yeah, and even yesterday, he was available yesterday but we had planned a down day for him, day game after the night game, just trying to balance guys’ not being accustomed to the turf here, which is the same reason Napoli is DH-ing today with Daniel at first. Jose is fully ready to go,” said Farrell.
David Ortiz will be on a plane to Florida on Thursday to continue his rehab there, and could be playing in extended Spring Training games by the beginning of next week.
An official Minor League rehab assignment might not be too far behind. In fact, it’s starting to sound as if Ortiz could play for the Red Sox in April.
“In talking with David, I think he’d feel comfortable with 25, 30 at-bats, likely to be taken place at Pawtucket,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “When that rehab assignment begins remains to be seen. We’re still hopeful of a target timeframe of sometime middle to third week of April.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Drew played in an extended Spring Training for the second day in a row and will play at Double-A Portland tomorrow. Drew could play for Boston in the Fenway Park Opener on Monday.