Results tagged ‘ Dustin Pedroia ’
Without Jacoby Ellsbury for a while, the Red Sox might be doing some improvising in the lineup.
There is a clear example of that tonight as Dustin Pedroia bats leadoff for the first time since 2009. In ’09, Pedroia was a .219 hitter in 25 games.
More on the lineup decision in a bit when we speak with manager John Farrell.
SAN FRANCISCO — Prior to the bottom of the seventh inning in Wednesday’s game against the Giants, Red Sox manager John Farrell raised two fingers to Will Middlebrooks. Poor Middlebrooks. He had no idea what his manager meant by the signal.
How could he? Middlebrooks had never played second base in his life. Not in LIttle League, not in high school, not in the Minors and certainly not n the Majors.
But with the latest roster shuffle leaving the Red Sox without a backup second baseman, Middlebrooks has now inherited that role. Farrell decided to give him a trial by fire in Wednesday’s game with the Red Sox holding a double-digit lead.
Middlebrooks did not disappoint, turning the middle of a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the seventh.
On the same day Middlebrooks hit a two-run homer earlier in the game, he had no problem identifying his highlight of the game.
“Probably turning the DP,: Middlebrooks said. “That was a lot of fun. That was out of nowhere, I wasn’t expecting it, that was a lot of fun.”
Farrell took a leap of faith thinking Middlebrooks could be comfortable at second just by judging how he looked when the Red Sox overshift on left-handed batters. That doesn’t mean Middlebrooks has had much time to work on second base since his return to Boston a couple of weeks ago.
“Not much. I haven’t worked on it. I haven’t turned a play up the middle since I was 18 in Texarkana, Texas, so it’s been awhile.’’
It was a funny moment when Farrell told Middlebrooks he was switching from third to second late in the game.
“I thought I misunderstood him,” Middlebrooks said. “He looked at me and [held up two fingers]. I had just grounded out. He gave me ‘this’ and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I had to run up and get a different glove. I have a smaller one.”
Middlerooks agrees with Farrell’s reasoning that the shift coverage helped him prepare a little for the unfamiliar responsibility.
“Yeah, absolutely, that way I can at least see the angle of the balls and how the ball comes off the bat. It really wasn’t that big of a difference, it wasn’t a big deal,” said Middlebrooks.
So Middlebrooks really never played second before Wednesday?
“No, never, never, never. Shortstop my whole life then I played third my first year in pro ball.,” Middlebrooks said.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia doesn’t require much time off. Middlebrooks will be the insurance option at second until Sept. 1, when rosters are expanded. With the Red Sox having multiple off-days before then, Pedroia probably won’t need to come out of the starting lineup, barring an injury.
And the way Middlebrooks has been swinging the bat, the Red Sox want to keep him right where he is — at the hot corner.
Here are the terms of Dustin Pedroia’s new contract, through an industry source:
The contract is eight years, $110-million including the restructuring of Pedroia’s original contract for 2014.
The signing bonus is $1 million.
Here is the year-by-year
2014 — $12.5 million
2015 — $12.5 million
2016 — $13 million
2017 — $15 million
2018 — $16 million
2019 – $15 million
2020 — $13 million
2021 — $12 million
Some of the salary is deferred.
The deal contains trade protection, but not a full no trade.
There is a standard awards package.
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 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.”
After a last-place finish, it’s only natural that expectations will be down for the Red Sox this season. But Dustin Pedroia doesn’t much care what the pundits think. He has arrived in camp with his typical enthusiasm and drive.
“That it was easy, and you expect it to happen every year,” Pedroia said when asked what it was like winning the World Series his rookie year. “But I still do. I still feel that it will never change. Our goal is to win the World Series every year. If we come into camp and that’s not the goal [something’s wrong]. I know everybody thinks that’s not our goal right now but it is. “
Pedroia loves the roster moves Ben Cherington made over the winter because he feels there are a bunch of newcomers who share his mentality.
“Yeah, it’s going to be fun,” Pedroia said. “You see them around the game; they are guys known for loving to play the game. They like tough atmospheres and good places to play. It’s going to be fun playing with those guys.”
Nobody around the Red Sox had any fun last year. And though it became trendy to blame one-year manager Bobby Valentine for everything that went wrong, Pedroia said, “None. It’s the players. Bobby didn’t go out there and get any hits or make any errors or do any of that. We lost those games. It’s on us.”
That said, Pedroia can’t wait to play for John Farrell. “John’s awesome,” Pedroia said. “Everybody got to know him when he was here before. He’s easy to talk to. Obviously when he walks into the room, he has that presence. It’s going to be great for us.”
By the way, Pedroia got a kick out of the revelation in Terry Francona’s recently-released book that the Red Sox conducted a marketing research study that indicated the Sox needed ‘sexy’ players like … Dustin Pedroia to increase ratings.
“What was my first reaction? They didn’t need to hire a damn marketing team,”quipped Pedroia. “I could have told them that for free. I don’t know. I just started laughing. I was like, no, that’s pretty funny.”
As a Boston sports follower, one of my most vivid memories was after Game 3 of the 1984 Finals, when a disgruntled Larry Bird lit into his Celtics teammates, saying they played like a “bunch of sissies” in a 137-104 loss to the Lakers.
Dustin Pedroia didn’t question anyone’s machismo, but he seemed to be at the end of his rope with the way the team is playing following Friday’s 10-3 loss to the Yankees. Maybe Pedroia’s words will have a similar impact as what Bird said under entirely different circumstances some 28 years ago.
“The first 100 games have been [expletive],” Pedroia said. “I mean, at two games under .500, we’re the Boston Red Sox. If everyone’s thrilled about where we’re at then we need to re-evaluate. Because I don’t like losing. I know everyone else doesn’t like losing, we got to play better man.”
At 49-51, 11 1/2 games back in the American League East and 5 1/2 back in the Wild Card standings, Pedroia still believes.
“I think we can. We got to play good, that’s the bottom line. We have great players, we just need to play good,” Pedroia said. “That’s it. We didn’t. Their guys did, late in the game they extended themselves from us. That’s what great teams do. We didn’t do anything. Our at-bats later in the game were not good. Swinging early in the count — heck, if their eighth-inning guy is going to come in the game, let’s at least get 25, 30 pitches so maybe he can’t pitch tomorrow. Do something productive. And we’re not doing that. That’s a sign of not a winning team. So those are the little things that we need to do better, and it’s frustrating.”
And please don’t tell Pedroia that injuries are a reason the team is where it is.
“When I was hurt, Pedro [Ciriaco] hit .400. When Carl was out, Nava hit .350,” said Pedroia. “The injuries, that’s an excuse. I’m not going to make one. These other guys shouldn’t either. We win as a team and we lose as a team. When injuries happen, guys have stepped up and played their butts off. They put us in a position to make a run. We got to play better, man, that’s it.”
Do Pedroia and his teammates discuss these type of things?
“Yeah, hell yeah we talk about it. We talk about everything man. We got good guys man, we got a good group of guys. We talk baseball all the time. We just got to settle in and play better man, that’s it,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia’s thoughts on what the front office might do between now and Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline?
“I don’t know. I don’t talk to them about stuff. As players, we’re focusing on trying to beat the Yankees right now. Our job is hard enough, we got to come out and execute,” Pedroia said. “Their job is to put the best players they can on the field.”
Pedroia knows the Red Sox can’t wait any longer to get hot.
“I still believe in us. I mean you have to. With the makeup of these guys and the way we work, I feel it’s only a matter of time. Hopefully we don’t just run out of it. You know what I mean, we got to go. We got to play well.”
Is there enough urgency?
“I hope. I can’t speak for everyone,” said Pedroia. “I feel urgency, talking to a lot of guys, we all do. We need to win. It’s not — that’s all we feel. Maybe that’s putting added pressure on guys to come out of their comfort zone and do things that they’re not capable of doing. Need to take a step back and relax. Got to win man.”
It all seemed so simple at the All-Star break. The Red Sox would get Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back to start the second half and go on a nice little run. Then Ben Cherington’s trade strategy would be simple. He would add a piece or two to help the Red Sox get that extra push for their pursuit of a playoff berth.
And like clockwork, they ripped off five wins in their first seven games, the last of those five a thrilling win on a Cody Ross three-run walkoff shot.
How many games have the Red Sox won since Ross got bathed in a splash of Gatorade? That would be zero. The Sox have lost four in a row to fall 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East, and four behind the A’s for the second Wild Card spot.
So now what does Cherington do?
“I mean, we hope not,” Dustin Pedroia said, when asked if the Sox could become sellers by July 31. “That second wild card, it could come down to the last week of the season. I was talking to Gary Tuck on the bus. He tells me every year, ‘Look at the standings Sept. 15 and see where you’re at.’ Usually every year, I remember 2010, we had half of our starters hurt and we look up Sept. 15 and we’re still there. We’ve got to keep fighting. That’s our mindset.”
But Cherington has to protect the Red Sox both this year and going forward. To help this year’s team, he might have to mortgage a future trip. And he must ask himself in that case: Has this team justified giving away future chips for?
There is always added tension in a clubhouse at this time of year, as rumors make their way from team to team. Almost to a man, the Red Sox say they aren’t thinking along these lines.
“All we can focus on is going out there and playing the game today,” said Adrian Gonzalez. “That’s all we can control. That’s what I’m pretty sure everyone feels in here. We’re not focused on the trade deadline. I don’t even know what today is to be honest with you. Actually I do know. today is the 23rd. that means it’s my daughter’s eight-month birthday. That’s the only reason I know what today is.”
Cherington is fully aware of the date. Back in 1987, the late Lou Gorman released veterans Bill Buckner and Don Baylor, and let the kids – from Ellis Burks to Mike Greenwell to Sam Horn to Todd Benzinger to John Marzano — play for the rest of the season.
Could Cherington take a similar approach this year with prospects like Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias and unload a few veterans?
The Red Sox are likely going to determine his path with what they do on the final five games of this crucial road trip through Texas and New York.
“It’s the same mood,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “We’re trying to win. We’ve got to go out there and battle. We’ve just got to continue to do what we do best, and that’s stay in there and grind. We’ve got to pitch better. We’ve got to play better. We’ve been playing decent baseball since the break. Obviously, the last homestand wasn’t great, but other than that, we’ve been playing all right.”
To become a factor in 2012 — and to buy instead of sell — the Red Sox need to start playing better than all right real soon.
Dustin Pedroia was not in manager Bobby Valentine’s lineup on the Fourth of July, thanks to some soreness in a different spot of his thumb than what had previous been bothering him.
Pedroia thinks he tweaked his thumb on a diving play in short right field in Tuesday’s loss.
“I was fine during the game and then after the game, I was sore and then today, I’m pretty sore. It’s not in the area I first got hurt. I think when I dove for that ball in right field, I don’t know what happened. Bobby wanted me to not play today, because we have an off-day tomorrow. Hopefully everything [will be OK].”
Still the thumb that hurts? “Yeah, like the back side. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the doctors or anybody. I don’t know, man. I’m just pretty frustrated. It stinks.”
Are you worried? “I don’t know, I kind of have a high pain tolerance so I don’t know. I hope I’m alright.”
Bother you to swing a bat? “I haven’t tried. They told me not to do anything but if they need me to hit, I’ll hit. Whatever they need me to do.”
Pedroia confirmed he will see team doctors in Boston on Thursday, when the team returns home.
For all Terry Francona did during his time as manager of the Red Sox, the one thing he never got was closure. He remains a popular figure among the fans, even after last September’s 7-20 collapse.
On Friday, during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, the fans will get their chance to give Francona a standing ovation. Originally, Francona indicated he wouldn’t participate in the pre-game ceremony, in which several key figures of the team’s history will be in attendance.
“I think it’s great.,” said Dustin Pedroia. “I’m excited to see him. I’m sure everybody else is. I’m sure the fans will enjoy it. It’s a pretty big thing we’re doing here for the 100th year and he’s a huge part of this organization.”
The ovation will probably be one of the loudest of the day.
“I hope so,” Pedroia said. “There’s not a manager to do what he’s done here. He was pretty important to this organization for a long period of time so I’m sure the fans will be excited to see him.”
“I think that’s good.That’s a tough personal decision for him the way things ended here for him a few months ago. But he’s such a big part of the recent history of the team and the ballpark. I think it’s only appropriate that he’s here,” said Daniel Bard