Results tagged ‘ John Farrell ’

Bogaerts going through rut

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.”

Another Opening Day of Spring Training

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.

Saturday’s Sox report

The Red Sox played their first road game of Spring Training today, albeit just a few minutes up the road to play the Twins. Here were the significant events.

Nava drills one from the right side: Daniel Nava hadn’t faced a live pitcher since the World Series last year when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat on Saturday. It ended with the left fielder pummeling a homer over the wall in left against Scott Diamond. The most significant thing about it was that it came from the right side. Nava has been a far superior left-handed hitter over the years, so it could make him an even more valuable player if he can start contributing as a right.

Last season, he hit .322 with 10 homers, a .411 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage against righties. Against lefties, he hit .252 with two homers and a .311 on-base percentage and .336 slugging percentage.

“I’ll take any of them — left-handed, right-handed — it doesn’t matter,” Nava said. “But, obviously, I know I have work to do from the right side. Any time I can put together a good at-bat, whether the result is a home run or not, that for me is what I’m trying to allow one of the things of Spring Training to be about.”

Britton looks like he belongs: Drake Britton looks like he means business this spring. In his first outing on Saturday, he punched out the first three hitters he faced, and four out of seven, giving up just one hit. Assuming Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow and Chris Capuano are all on the team, whch seems likely, that leaves Britton without a roster spot.

However, the Red Sox don’t want him thinking about that.

“Do just what I’ve been doing,” Britton said. “I’ve been told, ‘Don’t change a thing,’ just keep doing what I’m doing, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Pierzynski even booed in Spring Training: The one thing the Red Sox haven’t had in recent years is a player who gets booed all the time on the road. Don’t be surprised to see A.J. Pierzynski get his share of jeers. As has been well-chronicled, he is one of those players the opponent loves to hate. Pierzynski even heard it from the fans at Hammond Stadium on Saturday as he stepped in for his first at-bat. Pierzynski played along, tipping his cap..

“Whatever,” said Pierzynski. “It’s fine … [I] expect nothing less. It’s fine, just one of those funny moments. It’s good.”

Webster still trying to prove himself:  When Allen Webster arrived last spring, he dazzled everyone by throwing in the upper 90s. However, he might have set himself back. Webster was trying to impress his new team, so he sacrificed command for velocity. Today, Webster still looked like he was trying to find himself, displaying some of that same spotty location that marked his abbreviated stints with the Red Sox last year.

It could just be a case of Webster trying to refine some of his new mechanics.

“Delivery-wise, he was a guy who went over his head with his hands and was a little bit stagnant with his movement, where he’d begin his delivery and pause at the top with his hands at the top of his delivery,” said Farrell.

And how will that adjustment help him?

“It takes the tension out of his shoulders and, in some ways, it’s comparable to when Clay [Buchholz] made the adjustment, as well,” said Farrell. “You would see Clay begin a game — every pitcher — as they’re trying to get into the flow of the game, there’s anxiety and there’s some uncertainty — and that translates to some tension.

“The key with Clay was, let’s work to get the first ground ball on the infield. Then, you could see the tension come out. This is taking it out naturally by the adjustment in delivery. It just feels more loose and fluid.”

Grady gets a hit: Grady Sizemore played for the second time in three days, and belted a single to right and the last of this three at-bats. The plan is for Sizemore to get two down days and then resume action on Tuesday. However, Farrell said Sizemore could then get another break from game action after that game. The Red Sox are obviously trying to find the right balance to keep Sizemore healthy.

Quip of the day: Johnny Manziel — A K A Johnny Football — paid a visit to Red Sox camp in the morning as part of a sponsorship appearance.

“Maybe he’ll come take over for Tom Brady,” said A.J. Pierzynski, who then added, “I’m joking, I’m joking!!

Sunday’s activity: Felix Doubront makes his first start on Sunday. Edward Mujica, who could be a key man in the bullpen, makes his debut. Regulars Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Jonny Gomes should all see action.

Wrapup from first Grapefruit League game

The Red Sox had another first today, facing Major League competition for the first time. The opponent? The Minnesota Twins.

Prospect dazzles: The most noteworthy development was the lasers that purred out of Anthony Ranaudo’s right hand. The top prospect mowed down all six Twins hitters he faced, striking out four of them.

Ranaudo doesn’t come across as cocky. But he does have the type of confidence that is usually necessary to succeed at the Major League level.

“I don’t really want to say I was surprised, but maybe a little surprised because some of them were up in the zone, even some early in the count. Obviously I’ve got to do a better job of bringing the ball down, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” Ranaudo said. “That’s what I’m going for every time I go out there — either swing and misses or weak contact or getting outs. I don’t like to use the word surprised, but I guess maybe in that context, some of them were up in the zone, but it felt good to get those swing-and-misses, for sure.”

Miller rusty: Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Andrew Miller looked rusty pitching in a game for the first time since breaking his left foot on July 6 of last season. The lanky lefty walked three of the five batters he faced.

“It takes him some time to time up that delivery,” said manager John Farrell. “Six-foot-eight, there’s a lot of moving parts there. It’s good for us to see him on the mound after coming off last early July because of the torn ligament in the foot. Spring Training is here to get him online.”

Offense quiet: Aside from Mike Napoli, the Red Sox didn’t have much to show in the way of offense. The cleanup man went 2-for-2. The other regulars who played, Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks, were all hitless. Farrell could only laugh when WBZ radio reporter Jonny Miller jokingly asked him if he was worried about the offense.

Saturday’s info: A.J. Pierzynski will play his first game in a Boston uniform on Saturday against his original former team, the Minnesota Twins. Daniel Nava, slowed by a neck strain, will play his first game this spring. And Grady Sizemore will play for the second time in three days as he continues his comeback attempt.

Ellsbury reached out to Farrell

When free agents bolt for a new home — like Jacoby Ellsbury did back in December — you sometimes don’t hear about the good-byes they have with their former organization.

Manager John Farrell noted this morning that Ellsbury called him shortly after signing his mega-deal with the Yankees, and it sounds like it was a good conversation.

“He called after the deal was agreed upon and to his credit, he called to say thanks,” Farrell said. “I got the sense he was a little surprised it happened so fast and the magnitude that it happened. And I wished him well. We’re certainly going to miss him but now he’s on the other side. He handled it with a lot of class. He was very grateful for his time here  and he gave thanks to the way things unfolded last year.”

Farrell will see Ellsbury in person on March 18, when the Red Sox go to Tampa to play the Yankees. The Red Sox open a four-game series in the Bronx on April 10. But the more noteworthy meeting will come April 22, when the Yankees make their first visit to Fenway Park.

Odds and ends from college doubleheader

The Red Sox of 2014 have played baseball for the first time, albeit against college opponents Northeastern and Boston College.

Northeastern lefty has moment to remember: The most entertaining portion of the afternoon was when Northeastern lefty James Mulvy — a West Roxbury native and Boston Latin School graduate — struck out Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz back-to-back.

Yes, the kid will have something to talk about when he holds court on the quad between classes this spring. And Ortiz doesn’t blame him if he wants to brag.

“I was just trying to see if I could get a strike to hit or whatever. He ended up throwing me a nasty breaking ball, whatever it was. He can party tonight,” Ortiz said.

Comeback story:  It’s doubtful Grady Sizemore will party tonight, but he has reason to be excited after playing his first baseball game since Sept. 22, 2011. Sizemore, an ongoing storyline this spring, went 0-for-2 in his debut.

“Exciting,” said Sizemore. “I was looking forward to it for a couple of days now. I was happy to get out there and get back into games.”

A more comfortable De La Rosa: Rubby De La Rosa, one of the pitchers the Red Sox got back in the August, 2012 blockbuster with the Dodgers, appeared at ease in firing two shutout innings against BC. The righty has been working on his mechanics and is much more familiar with the organization than when he arrived in Fort Myers a year ago.

“I just see a more relaxed guy on the mound,” said John Farrell. “Yeah, I think the second year past, or second year of pitching further away from Tommy John is going to lend to that. He’s come into camp I thought in pretty good shape physically. And all those things combined, I think it was a product of what we saw today.”

A Workman-like effort: After what he did under fire last season, Brandon Workman would be almost a sure thing to make most rosters this spring. But the Red Sox are loaded in the pitching department and there might have to be an injury for Workman to make the team out of Spring Training. He was solid against Northeastern, firing two clean innings.

“It’s a tribute to the focus and the concentration that he’s gained a reputation of coming through the system, what he showed last year in the two different roles in which he pitched,” Farrell said. “And today he comes out, he attacks the strike zone, showed a good breaking ball. I think in addition to him, overall, it was a good day on the mound.”

Tomorrow’s activity: The Red Sox open the Grapefruit League portion of their schedule on Friday, when the Twins make the short bus ride to JetBlue Park. Anthony Ranaudo, the talented righty Pedro Martinez touted earlier in the week, will draw the start against the Twins. Manager John Farrell said the entire starting infield of Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks will be in the lineup.

Werner goes around the horn

Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner held court on a variety of topics this morning with the media. Here is a rundown.

On the future of Fenway:  “Well, I don’t know when is going to be the last day they’re going to play baseball at fenway but it will be after we retire. We continue to do improvements every year for the ballpark and I think it’s one of the great places to watch a sporting event, I expect it will be there for many more decades.”

Turning the page: We just got out of a meeting with John Farrell and I think that as much we appreciate what happened last year, the focus is on 2014, what we’re going to do now. The team has come to work and John Farrell said let’s think about not the last out of the World Series last year but how we approach the year, how we approach the first day of Spring Training and so I think as much as we can sort of appreciate what we did last year, we’re all focused on today and tomorrow.”

Difference from this time last year?  “A lot different. Last year I think people thought we had taken a stupid pill. What john said is true. This is an extraordinarily close group of guys who almost, to a man, they came to work early this year. they’re prepared, they’re focused. Obviously we’re very proud of what we did last year. I think John said it right today, the focus is on today and tomorrow and getting off to a good start in April and we’ll see how we go.”

Goal of the franchise: “I think our focus has to be to put competitive teams on the field every year. it’s obviously a challenge. People are, we have a mark on our back this year. but I don’t think we’re thinking too much beyond getting the team prepared and getting off to a good start. Our goal is the same – just to see if we can be competitive on Labor Day and see if we can play postseason baseball.”

Team’s philosophy on putting together a team: “Well I think first of all, we don’t think that necessarily spending the most money always produces a winner. obviously we’re probably in the top three or four teams each year in terms of our payroll. I think that we have a great organization. I think Ben, I think we all know that the moves Ben made last year at the beginning of the year in terms of how we put this team together was probably part of the reason that we won. It wasn’t that we went out and signed one player for 150 or 200 million dollars. I think that obviously that started with the decision we all made to shed payroll the year before with the dodgers and re-deploy it and I’m not saying that the Yankees aren’t going to be very competitive this year. They’ve got an extraordinarily good team but I like our chances.”

 This team’s likability: “Well I think Ben and John put together an enormously likeable and talented group of people last year that I think they were focused on winning. I think that we didn’t have a period where we lost more than three games in a row all year. as much as we remember the great moments in the world series, the Victorino home run, the Ortiz home run, each night it was something kind of special. When Mike Carp hit that grand slam [at Tampa Bay]. So I just think it maybe a cliché  but this is a really good group of guys. they perform well on the field, they perform well in the community. I thought the way they addressed the families and the people who suffered through the marathon day bombings, they didn’t do that because somebody told them to do that. they did that because, to a man, they felt that sort of connection and responsibility. You guys know. you’re around them as much as I am. This is an extraordinary group of people.”

What was most impressive?“There were so many things that impressed me. I was impressed by Koji Uehara coming in every night and being lights out. I was impressed by Clay Buchholz coming back from an injury. And the way John Lackey, you all talked about it, the way that John Lackey sucked it up for such a long time then performed such a great role through the postseason. There were so many things that were impressive. I think it probably starts with John Farrell. We thought last March, a year ago today or whenever it was he spoke to the team, that there was just something how eloquent he was how articulate he was, that we were going to surprise people. I think last year is behind us but he was just as eloquent today.”

On Jerry Remy’s return to the broadcast booth: “I think what we said to Jerry at the time was we just offered him our support after a tragedy and said there is a place for you if and when you want to come back. This is going to be a very personal decision but you have a home here at NESN if and when you feel it’s appropriate to come back. We’re delighted he’s back. We know he’s very mindful of the tragedy but I think he’s excited about returning to the booth.”

On Jenny Dell not being the sideline reporter for NESN anymore after acknowledging she is dating third baseman Will Middlebrooks: “I think that we talk about it internally because I think Jenny is a terrific reporter. And I think we came to the conclusion and Jenny came to the same conclusion that it would be a distraction for her to be a reporter and so she’s moving on. I think that it wasn’t sort of a black and white decision because, can she sort of divorce her personal life from being a professional? But we decided in the end it was probably better for her to move on and not be a distraction.”

Dell might move on from NESN, or be re-assigned: “She’s looking for other opportunities.”

Red Sox weigh in on Jeter’s retirement

Sometimes you learn the most about a player from what his top rival thinks of him.

Several Red Sox players, and manager John Farrell, commented on Jeter announcing he will retire after the 2014 season.

John Farrell: 

“In some ways, bittersweet. I think we all have enjoyed watching him play, the way he’s carried himself, the way he’s performed in between the lines. And yet you realize that players don’t go on forever. I guess in a word, he epitomizes the word professional, in just the success he’s had and the way he’s conducted himself on and off the field in a city like New York and to do it in the style that he has — he’s synonymous with winning and just a Yankee legend.”

How about game-planning against Jeter?

“Oh, like many good hitters, you couldn’t take the same approach each time.You had to find ways to stay ahead of him and his thought process. He was just a model of consistency. When you think of the guy, he’s 10th on the all-time hit list, he’s 120 to becoming the number six guy. All things wrapped up in one, you’re talking about elite performance, durability, long-term career, multi-world champion. He sets the bar for the way guys go about their game.”

Jeter’s last regular season game will be at Fenway Park.

“If it wasn’t in New York, maybe it’s fitting that it’s in Boston given the number of series he’s played both regular season, postseason — he was in the middle of a rivalry for 20 years. “

Clay Buchholz:

“A little bit surprised, but the guy has done about as much as he can do in this game and … First-ballot Hall of Famer. Growing up idolizing him as a player, he was the ideal shortstop, it was fun to get to pitch to him a couple times I got to. And also fun to watch what he could do.”

“He was as down to earth as down to earth gets. For somebody to be the captain of that team and that franchise for as long as he was there, being able to keep everything on an even-keel, do everything as a professional, it was pretty special.

“He was obviously always a threat first pitch of the game — you saw him a number of times hit the first pitch of the game out of the park. Oo I had to spot up pitch  and hopefully get him to chase something out of the zone. That’s what’s hard about him – everybody says his hole is down and away, but you see how many hits he gets to the opposite field, so he’s just a tough guy to pitch to overall, and just a really good baseball player.”

Farewell tour, “I have no idea. I’m sure it’s going to be really special. There wasn’t one person in the game that disliked him in any way. He’ll get the best of everything at every park he goes through throughout the season. It’s what he deserves too. I wish him the best of luck.”

Last regular season game for jeter at Fenway: “It’s going to be crazy. There’s not going to be any boos in the stadium. He’s going to be treated well in his farewell. It’ll be a special day for everybody.”

Interactions with Jeter:  “When they’re taking BP he’ll pass me, that’s basically how it’s been. The last couple years it’s, ‘Hey Buch, how you doing? Good start last night,’ or whatever. It’s never been sit-down dinner or anything but he’s always been really personable to me.”

DANIEL NAVA:

“His consistency speaks for itself. The type of he player he was to everyone, whether you were a rookie or 10-year vet. I know for me, he knew that was my first season in 2010, he said congrats and everything like that. It means a lot when it’s your first time. We had a lot of rookies on the team and they all said the same thing.”

“Clutch. As clutch as they come. I think everyone admires a guy like that, who can do what he does in the regular season and then obviously in the postseason on the biggest stage, and he did that consistently.”

“I think at least for my generation, that’s all you know. I’m sure prior generations can say the same about any great on any team, but certainly for the Yankees and a lot of guys that grew up watching Derek Jeter play for the extent that he’s played.

Last reg. season game against Red Sox: “I haven’t gone that far down the schedule yet. It’s going to be a special day. I hope for his sake his last game would be at home in front of the Yankee faithful, but either way it’s probably fitting that it’s either at home for the Yankees or against the Red Sox.

MIKE NAPOLI:

“After the year he had last year, battling injuries, trying to come back, I don’t know. He knows his body best. It’s kind of sad to see this is his last year, but, my God. I mean, growing up, looking at a professional athlete, you’d probably want to take a good look at his career and how he handled it.”

“Just the way he went about his business. He played for a big-market team that won five championships. He came to work every day and handled himself well. It’s sad to see him go.”

“I got to talk to him at my first All-Star game. If I don’t really know you, I’m not going to go up to you and try to talk to you or anything. But I definitely watched the way he played and the way he went about his business.

“It’s crazy. The run they had. You looked at the Yankees, you looked at those guys.”

Last game against Red Sox, “Someone like that, one of the greatest Yankees, to be on the field with him for his last game would be pretty cool.

Facing him, “I was hoping he’d get himself out. I remember calling the game the way he stayed inside the ball. Hopefully he was getting himself out, rolling over a pitch or popping something up. He’s always a tough out. You knew he was going to give you a tough at-bat every time up.”

Farrell on Sizemore

Red Sox manager John Farrell knows Grady Sizemore rather well, considering they overlapped together in the Indians organization for several years when Farrell was farm director.

“We had a brief conversation, but it was more about getting a comfort level with what he’s come off of with the knee injury and surgery, the opportunity and the need to create further depth with our roster. Knowing who he is as a person and a player, yeah, that certainly aided our comfort level. Comfort level being he’s going to do whatever’s in his power to come back from what he’s gone through physically. We’re certainly excited to have Grady in the mix.

“We added Grady because one, he’s available and two, it provides some competition. And yet we have to see once we get to spring training, Grady’s tolerance physically and what the — we don’t have a projected number of games that we look at that he might be available for. We have to gradually build that up, build his endurance up. That’s how spring training will be spent with him.

“I know he’s running right now. Whether there’s been a lot of work with change of direction, I think that’s the next step in his progression. But straight away speed, it feels like he’s at 90, 90-plus percent. He’s swinging the bat every day, he’s thrown.”

“The one thing he hasn’t done in a couple of years has been on the field for any length of time, or reps had in center field or at the plate. We feel like he’s making good progress health-wise, otherwise we wouldn’t have signed him to the deal we did.

“Yeah, I think what we have to do is get a read on where he’s at from a baseball standpoint, does that project to be ready Opening Day, is more time needed. Those are things we’ll adjust to as we get into spring training, particularly the games.”

“Uh, it doesn’t take Jackie out of the mix at all. There’s questions that we have to answer in spring training with our roster. So the fact of Grady signing and being added to our roster doesn’t remove Jackie from [consideration]. I think one of the things that Ben and all of us have set out to [do] in these final weeks before spring training is add to the depth of our team, and Grady certainly does that right now.”

“We’ve gotten enough of a comfort level with Grady’s physical condition to move forward and sign him to a contract. This is an All-Star caliber player when he was healthy, and yet over the last couple of years there have been some physical ailments that he’s had to endure. But we feel like he’s making very good progress, and he adds to the depth of this team as we stand today.”

“Well one, we’ve got a lot of history with the person, he was — as a member of the Indians when I was there — we understand who he is as a person. He fits what we value in a player in terms of he’s strong, he’s tough, he’s got character.”

“But we also know we’ve got to get him back on the field, and to what level of tolerance and consistent games played is a question we still have to answer. But all the due diligence and the background that we’ve done on him with respect to his knee has given us that confidence and the comfort level that he’s going to regain a level of performance that will make us better.”

Take it slow for Spring Training?

“He will, and we’ll get a read on that once we start everyday workouts — what his tolerance is and how he recovers from added volume. We’re fully expecting that to be, I want to say give-and-take, but we’ll adjust accordingly. Everything points to him getting back on the field as a Major League player.”

Hello, Mr. President

President Barack Obama was in Boston to speak on healthcare reform before the decisive Game 6 of the World Series last Wednesday. On Monday, he called manager John Farrell.

“I’m sure customary to past winners during his administration, he called to congratulate,” Farrell said. “And hopefully there’s a chance somewhere around Opening Day next year when we open up in Baltimore that we might be able to swing by [the White House] and say hello.”

Boston opens the season in Baltimore on March 31.

President Obama noted the great job that Farrell did in his first year managing the team, remarked on the incredible pitching performance by closer Koji Uehara and extended his congratulations to David Ortiz on being named the World Series MVP, according to a team press release.

The Red Sox were also invited to the White House, as they were the year following their World Series titles in 2004 and ’07.

– Jason Mastrodonato

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