Results tagged ‘ J.D. Drew ’

Tito still mulling over Opening Day lineup

Usually an Opening Day lineup is pretty simple for a manager. You put your best nine players out there in the order you expect them to hit in for most of the season.  But Terry Francona is faced with a bit of a different situation this year, in that his team is going against Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson.

How good is Wilson against lefties? Well, last year, they hit .144 against him with no homers and 12 RBIs. Yes, that is filthy.

“It’s not just the lefty, it’s who the lefty is,” Francona told reporters today from City of Palms Park. “This is something, that’s why I’ve been so hesitant to talk about the lineup. C.J. Wilson is one of those lefties, where on normal days, if it’s July, that’s the day you give your righties a shot. Now, it’s Opening Day. There’s some thought that needs to go into that.”

Here is a breakdown of Sox lefties lifetime vs. Wilson:  Crawford 2-for-12, 1 HR, 4 RBIs; Ortiz 1-for-10, 1 RBI; J.D. Drew 1-for-6, 0 RBIs; Jacoby Ellsbury 0-for-1; Adrian Gonzalez 0-for-1.

So Francona has several dilemmas: Does he hit Ellsbury leadoff or put him at the bottom of the order? Does Drew start, or does Tito insert Mike Cameron?

Even though Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, is going to be the primary catcher this season, does Francona give Jason Varitek the honor of starting Opening Day? His motive in that situation, aside from Varitek’s strong history with starting pitcher Jon Lester, is that ‘Tek is a stronger right-handed hitter and Salty is better from the left side.

What order do Youkilis and Gonzalez hit in? Does he hit Youk fourth and Gonzo fifth or vice versa?

Papi back home tonight — in three-hole

The combination of a short-handed Red Sox lineup tonight — no Ellsbury, no Drew, no Victor — has put David Ortiz back in his former home in the batting order, the three-hole. Ortiz didn’t know about the move until a flock of reporters informed him of it before the game.

Was he excited about it? “I’ll let you know after the game,” Ortiz chuckled.

During Ortiz’s slump of epic proportions early last season, manager Terry Francona took his slugger out of that spot, and this is the first time he’s been back there since May 24, 2009 against the Mets.

Ortiz has played 662 games and had 2,521 at-bats batting third, more than double his total of any other lineup slot. He has 177 of his 326 homers hitting third.

Meanwhile, a pretty big game for the Red Sox tonight if they can pull out a three-game sweep here against Garza and the Rays. Coming here 8 1/2 games back and leaving 5 1/2 back would be a significant leap.

J.D. busts out

Quite a night last night at Fenway from start to finish. It had it all. Tonight? Mike Lowell put one over the Monster, J.D. Drew busted out of his slump with a grand slam and Darnell McDonald added to his instant cult hero status by going deep again. Meanwhile, two slumping players — David Ortiz and Victor Martinez — are on the bench.

Drew had one homer and two RBIs coming into tonight’s game. He couldn’t have picked a better time to break out, as Josh Beckett had dug the Sox a 4-1 hole after two innings.

Before the game, Drew’s slump was a topic of conversation with manager Terry Francona in the media briefing.

What had been bothering J.D.?

“Kind of like David,” Francona said. “He’s got his body out ahead of him. J.D’s got some of the best hitters hands you ever see but when their hands come forward, there’s not a lot left to do anything with the ball. It’s easy to say, ‘hey, drive the ball the other way.’ Sometimes you get in a rut where you don’t feel you can do that. That’s because sometimes your body is out ahead of everything.”

This time, J.D. waited for his pitch, got it and was rounding the bases with his fifth career grand slam.

First getaway day in 2010

It is a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, with the waterfall out in right-center in full effect. Perfect day for baseball.
waterfall.JPG
The only real lineup news for the Sox is J.D. Drew being out for a day with a stiff neck.  Bill Hall will make his first start of the year at short.

Of course, it will be intriguing to watch Clay Buchholz pitch today, because, at some point, Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to be in the rotation and someone is going to have to come out. Tim Wakefield didn’t look like that someone on Friday, when he threw seven terrific innings.

And a happy 38th birthday to Sox captain Jason Varitek, who celebrated with a pair of homers last night.

Dice-K has a mound date

Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw his first full-fledged side session of camp on Friday morning. Dice-K, who had a minor back issue earlier in camp that forced his delayed program, played long toss again on Wednesday morning, and finished by throwing some pitches off the mound, with the catcher standing up.

 “Dice-K had a real good day and he’ll have a side on Friday,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “[Wednesday] was the same as last time. Catcher didn’t get down yet but it’s a way of progressing. Once you get out there to 180, 190 feet and you’re fully loose, then you get on the mound and create that angle, but not as much as when you have the catcher down. He’ll go right to the bullpen Friday.”

The Red Sox are confident Matsuzaka is completely over the injury.

“I think he’s done it the right way,” Francona said. “There’s no way you can get out and throw as far as he has [and not be healthy], that’s hard to do. It’s impressive, actually. He’s ready to go. He’s ready to go. The timing, I think we did it right.”

In other nuts and bolts-type news:

Casey Kelly’s first game action in a Red Sox uniform was productive and brief. He threw 10 pitches, seven of them strikes, in setting Northeastern down 1-2-3.

“I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling since I got off the mound,” said Kelly. “It was a good first outing. To have the crowd, and some of the people behind me playing defense behind me was a tremendous honor.”

Center fielder Mike Cameron, bothered by minor tightness in his left groin this week, will likely take his first “game swings” in a Sox uniform in Friday’s game against the Twins. J.D. Drew is expected to make his spring debut that day also, serving as the DH.

Francona said that nothing is wrong with Drew physically.

“I think I’m probably slowing him down,” Francona said. “He stayed indoors a day and a half.
I just don’t think it makes sense to rush him. I think I’ve been around him long enough that I think I know what works for him, and that’s why we have spring training. I don’t think it’s a huge big deal that we run our everyday lineup out there today or tomorrow.”

Though there aren’t many positional battles in camp, one to watch is for the final slot(s) in the bullpen. Right-hander Joe Nelson and lefty Brian Shouse are two veteran contenders who are in the running. It is a fine line because the Red Sox have never been big on evaluating specific results from Spring Training games.

“It’s not easy,” Francona said. “It’s really not. That’s why, as we get into this, we watch how they’re throwing the ball. You can make some mistakes. Shouse is a good example. If he goes through a day where a couple of righties take him over the palm trees, that doesn’t mean he can’t help your team. We try to make good decisions on what can help your ballclub.”

Mike Lowell continues to get closer to game action, though no official date has been set.

“Mikey was already in the cage. He’s going to take BP again today,” Francona said. “He actually, [hitting coach Dave Magadan] made a comment that he looked pretty good – the ball was coming off his bat pretty good. I think Mikey was happy about it.”

Sunday subs

Not your average Red Sox lineup out there today.

No Pedroia, no Ortiz, no Varitek and no Drew.

It’s just a day off for Pedroia, who has four hits in his last 38 at-bats. Varitek caught 13 innings Friday and a long night last night, so he gets a rest today. With an off-day Monday and Wake pitching Tuesday, ‘Tek actually will have three days off in a row. J.D. Drew got smoked in the right shoulder by a pitch Saturday, so he’s sore. Rocco only played half the game, so he’s fine to go to today. And Ortiz is simply a product of National League rules and a lefty on the mound.

Here is the lineup.

Lugo SS
Ellsbury CF
Youkilis 1B
Bay LF
Lowell 3B
Baldelli RF
Green 2B
Kottaras C
Beckett P

Looking for spark, Tito switches lineup

With the Red Sox doing close to nothing offensively in the five games that preceded Sunday’s finale in Toronto, manager Terry Francona switched around the lineup to try to change the results.

Dustin Pedroia was moved to leadoff. Jacoby Ellsbury moved to eighth. And for the first time in his Red Sox career, J.D. Drew batted second. This, with lefty Ricky Romero on the mound for Toronto.

Youkilis is hitting third, with Jason Bay in the cleanup spot, followed by Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Ellsbury and Nick Green. Lugo is on the bench again, with Tito feeling that Green’s range is necessary with Lester pitching on turf.

And for all of you Tweeters out there — or Twitterers — or whatever you want to call it — I am now a member. Check me out at IanMBrowne.

Drew leading off; Youk, Ellsbury not playing

Definitely a different Red Sox lineup tonight as they open a five-game homestand at Fenway. J.D. Drew is leading off, Jason Varitek hitting sixth, Jeff Bailey batting seventh, Jonathan Van Every eighth and Nick Green ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who injured his right hamstring last night, should return to the mix tomorrow night. Manager Terry Francona seemed a little more iffy on when Kevin Youkilis might be back.

Rocco Baldelli is here at Fenway, but won’t be activated tonight. He was scheduled to have today off. There will be a decision on Rocco tomorrow.

Jed Lowrie was back with the team today for the first time since his surgery. His rehab is right on schedule. He should start swinging a bat in early June.

The team is in the process of deciding where Dice-K’s next rehab start will be. The choice is either for Pawtucket at Columbus, or home for Portland. If I was in Matsuzaka’s shoes, I’d beg for Portland so I could have the best lobster imaginable.

John Smoltz re-started his throwing program on the Fenway lawn, playing catch at a distance of 60 feet.

All for now.

Red Sox against Puerto Rico

An interesting day here at City of Palms, with the Red Sox facing off against Puerto Rico’s World Baseball Classic squad.

It is the return of Alex Cora to City of Palms, though Cora isn’t in the lineup. Neither, for that matter, is Bernie Williams. Carlos Beltran is batting third and Pudge Rodriguez, still looking for a job, is hitting sixth. Sidewinder Javier Lopez could pitch against the Sox today, which is an interesting twist, but not exactly Derek Jeter facing the Yankees.

It’s a bittersweet day for Mike Lowell, who wanted to play for Puerto Rico but had to give up that dream thanks to his hip surgery. Overall, Lowell is in great spirits and plans on playing in an exhibition game within the next week.

The J.D. Drew situation really seems very minor. His main thinking behind the cortisone shot was simply to eliminate the problem before it became one. Drew should play Friday.

Clay Buchholz is pitching today for the Sox. He’ll be followed out of the ‘pen by Jonathan Papelbon, Michale Bowden, Marcus McBeth, Charlie Zink and Daniel Bard.

The Sox have a lineup of Ellsbury; Lugo; Carter (1B); Bailey (LF); Wilkerson (RF); Lowrie 3B; Kottaras; Green.

Penny back to flat ground; J.D. gets shot

Early news today: Brad Penny is officially out for Thursday’s start against Puerto Rico, and there is no timetable for his first exhibition game. He was a little fatigued, so he’ll work exclusively on flat ground for the time being

I feel pretty
good,” Penny said. “I don’t think the shoulder strength is quite where it needed to be yet
for the workload that had been scheduled out. It’s better to take it easy right
now then to get out there the first week of April and have it flare up on me.
So, just staying on the shoulder program, still going to play catch, and just try
to get my shoulder strength to where I need it to be.”

J.D. Drew flew back to Boston the other day for a cortisone shot on his back, but manager Terry Francona stressed that it was nothing to be overly alarmed about and that it was done more for maintenance than anything else. Drew could be back in the lineup by Friday.

“[I’ve] been
working with a chiropractor and started talking about some of the underlying
issues and thinking that the facets might be a little bound up,” Drew said in
an interview with NESN’s Heidi Watney before leaving City of Palms Park on Tuesday. “So,
talking with the training staff a little bit, decided to do an injection in
that area to see if that would free up some of the old scar issue, an old
injury, and give me some freer motion in that area.”

It looks like Nomar is on his way to Oakland. A little ironic, isn’t it, that Nomar and Orlando Cabrera will now be teammates?

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