Results tagged ‘ 2004 ’

Pedro to Sox fans: Cheer Manny next week

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.”

Embree, one of those 25, is back

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox fans are always happy to get some reminders of 2004, and today they have one. Alan Embree, who you might remember as the man who got the last out in Game 7 of that American League Championship Series against the Yankees, is back on a Minor League contract with a Major League invite.

“He was obviously a very huge part of a very good bullpen for us,” said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. “He’s
got deception, he’s got experience, he’s got some power. I don’t know
where he’s at time-wise right now, but he’ll be a very welcomed
addition.”

Obviously Embree, who is 40, could be a a factor on the Major League team this year, or the Red Sox wouldn’t have signed him at this late point in camp. Hideki Okajima is the only other lefty reliever sure to make the team. Brian Shouse, more of a pure situational lefty than Embree, is also in camp, trying to make the team. Shouse is 41. Keep in mind that Embree, because of his late arrival, doesn’t figure to be ready for the start of the season. Then again, the Sox are keeping all their options open.

“Well, Alan is signed to a Minor League contract and today we’ll go out and kind of see where he is,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He says he’s almost game-ready. That’s encouraging for us. At the same time, we’re not going to go do something like that. We’ll go out and let him do his stretching. Whether that takes him to a bullpen or not is going to kind of depend on how he and John see fit. We’ll try to estimate where he is in his progression and then we’ll try to get him ready to get in games.”

The lefty reliever had his 2009 season with the Rockies end abruptly when his right leg was broken on a line drive.

Embree was acquired by the Sox in June of 2002 and was a key contributor as a setup man through the end of that memorable ’04 season.

In 2005, however, it all fell apart (1-4, 7.65 ERA) for Embree, to the point where he was released shortly after the All-Star  break. He hooked on with the Yankees for the end of that season, but rediscovered his form in San Diego (2006) and Oakland (2007-08). Embree had a 5.84 ERA with the Rockies last year before taking the line drive.

The 40-year-old Embree will try to regain his form for the Red Sox. He is here this morning and will address the media in a bit.

Embree has pitched 882 times in his Major League career, going 39-45 with a 4.59 ERA. In 774 innings, he has 691 strikeouts. Opponents have hit .254 against him in his career. He pitched 211 times for the Red Sox, posting a 4.69 ERA.

He came up big for the Sox in the 2003 and ’04 postseasons. In ’03, he didn’t allow a run in eight outings. If you remember, manager Grady Little was criticized for not bringing on Embree to face Hideki Matsui when Pedro Martinez faltered in that infamous eighth inning. Embree was called on 11 times by manager Terry Francona in the October ’04 run to the title, posting a 2.45 ERA.

“He seemed to have the ability kind of mix a little more his secondary pitches when he was in Oakland — that was the last time we saw him,” said Varitek. “But he was still powerful. I don’t know where he’s at right now, but he’s very welcomed. It’s a nice face to see.”

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