Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’

Eerie — Nomar just hit one out

Hard to believe, isn’t it, that this is the first time Nomar Garciaparra has played against the Red Sox.

And as I sit here in the press box, they had just shown footage of Nomar’s first career homer, struck on Sept. 1, 1996, against these Oakland A’s here at the Coliseum. I kid you not, immediately after that highlight, Nomar ripped a solo shot into almost the exact same spot into the LF corner against Jon Lester. This was career jack No. 227 for Nomahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Kind of weird to see Nomar and Orlando Cabrera now teaming up on the left side of Oakland’s infield, isn’t it?

OK. How worried is eveyrone about Lester? Just two bad starts or is something else wrong?

Game 2 — A battle of top lefties

I don’t think there will be any kind of letdown here tonight on the heels of Opening Day. How can there be when you have Scott Kazmir going against Jon Lester?

Consider that these two power arms were built within 17 days of each other in January, 1984. They could be linked for years to come, especially if they stay with their respective teams for the long haul.

These are two of the best young left-handers in the game. The 24-year-old Lester came in with a record of 27-8. Kazmir? He is 47-37. The Red Sox could have traded Lester to the Twins for Johan Santana, but passed it up. The Mets, of course, had the utter indignity of trading Kazmir to the Rays for the immortal Victor Zambrano, something they’ve regretted ever since.

I pity the poor hitters who have to face these two guys on this frigid night at Fenway.

Another interesting subplot tonight is Gabe Kapler vs. Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli, the former Ray, is making his debut for Boston. The opposite is true for Kapler, forever a favorite here at Fenway from his four years (2003-06) with the Sox.

In a shocker, Rocco got a big hand in his first at-bat. As my press box sidekick Lenny Megliola just said, “We ought to get the applause meter out — Rocco vs. Gabe.”

Jetting back to the Fort

Yes, the return of Brownie Points is coming. When last I was in Fort Myers five days ago, it was a slow camp. It was by the far the slowest Spring Training in my eight years on the Red Sox beat. And then I left and all you know what broke loose.

Lugo, surgery. Pedroia, injured, and out of the World Baseball Classic. Jon Lester, signed for five years. Jason Bay, no contract extension this spring. Josh Bard, out of a job. Kevin Youkilis, now out of the World Baseball Classic.

Wow. Quite literally, there was NOTHING going on when last I left Fort Myers. Now we have an official Red Sox Spring Training in full motion.

I land in Fort Myers after 11 tonight. Back in to blog and story mode tomorrow.

Later,

Ian.

Lester, Youk, Lugo and other topics

This is obviously terrific news for the Red Sox that Jon Lester is seemingly on the verge of signing a five-year deal, $30 million that includes a $14 million option for 2013. So now the Red Sox, going into the next four to five years, know that they can depend on a sturdy nucleus of Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester and Ellsbury.

It is so hard to find a big, strong lefty like Lester that you can anchor a staff around, so you knew the Red Sox would pounce at the first opportunity to get him secured for the forseeable future.

Of course, the Jonathan Papelbon situation is still year to year, and you wonder if the sides will ever meet up there. Papelbon has made it clear that he wants to get his maximum worth, and the Red Sox might eventually deem that they can get someone like Daniel Bard to do the job at far less money.

Speaking of Bard, I don’t ever remember a prospect who was all but a lock not to make the team having a camp like this. He is just overpowering hitters.

The Red Sox are representing themselves well at the World Baseball Classic. A day after Dice-K got the win for Japan, Youkilis just obliterated a towering home run, his second longball in his many days. Dustin Pedroia might have broken out of his swing, golfing a pitch down the left field line for a double in Team USA’s big top of the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, in Fort Myers, the shortstop situation continues to be intriguing becuase Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie are both playing well.

“They both look good,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“If that ends up being a dilemma, I’d rather have that happen than guys not
playing well.”

 

Lugo remains confident that he can be the player he was before coming to the Red Sox. 

“Things are going to take care of themselves as long as I’m healthy,” Lugo said.

And fans will be happy to know that the shortstop is working very hard on his defense this spring with new infield coach Tim Bogar.

“Very well, i think Bogar is going to be a big help to me,” Lugo said. “He’s letting me be myself and making plays the way I know how to make it and that’s the way it should be. That’s what got you here. Just refine those skills and that’s it.”

Just one game today

It was good to get stretched out yesterday with a doubleheader, but just a mere nine innings here at City Of Palms today!

Jon Lester‘s first start of the spring is in progress.

Jason Bay was a story for the Pittsburgh media this morning, as this was the first time the left fielder has seen his former team — the Pirates — since that July 31 afternoon when he was traded for some guy named Manny Ramirez.

Jason was at his self-deprecating best when a reporter noted to him that he went from unheralded in Pittsburgh to the lead on SportsCenter every night.

“Was it the Canadian SportsCenter?” quipped Bay.

In other news, Brad Penny and Jonathan Papelbon both threw 40-pitch BP sessions on the backfield. Papelpon will make his first appearance of the spring on Sunday at Hammond Stadium in a game that will also include Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield.

Grapefruit League rotation; Ortiz returns to practice

We have a pitching order, at least for the first few games.

Ace Josh Beckett will be the first Boston pitcher to take the mound in Spring Training, when he faces Boston College at City of Palms Park on Wednesday afternoon. Tim Wakefield pitches that night at the Twins’ complex.

Jon Lester pitches at home against the Pirates on Thursday, followed by Michael Bowden at Port Charlotte against the Rays on Friday. Lefty Kris Johnson, a Minor Leaguer, starts against Northeastern on Saturday afternoon, and Clay Buchholz pitches that night at City of Palms against the Reds.

And to come back in and answer Julia’s question. David Ortiz’s shoulder is fine. He was back out there taking BP today after missing two days of workouts.

Papi stays inside

For the second straight day, David Ortiz did not participate in outdoor drills with his teammates. Is it Papi’s knee that was surgically repaired after the 2007 season? Is it that left wrist that kept him out for seven weeks last year?

Relax, you Red Sox Nationers. It’s nothing of that sort. Ortiz merely had a bit of a sore shoulder and will be back out there for a full day of drills on Saturday.

“He’s a little better,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“Actually, a lot better. We held him back one more day. I think he probably just overdid
it the other day a little bit. He’s not a guy that’s probably done a ton of
throwing coming into camp. We go out there and he does the groundballs with
everybody and then he went home and fell asleep on it but I think tomorrow he’ll
be fine. It’s his left shoulder. It’s sore. It’s nothing that anybody has had
any concerns about.”

To give you an idea of how slow camp has been the last few days, Ortiz actually drew a crowd at his locker to talk about the nagging shoulder. He completely downplayed it, saying that he was fine and that he expects to be back on the field tomorrow.

“It’s just the kind of thing that happens and you have to do what you have to do, you know?” Ortiz said.

After the workout, Ortiz, still in workout shorts and a Red Sox sweatshirt, could be seen sitting in the drivers seat of his red ferrari. Nice ride!

In other news, Josh Beckett threw his first live BP of the spring and looked pretty impressive in doing so.

“Thought Beckett
did well,” Francona said. “[He] kept the ball down and stayed in his delivery.”

Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Justin Masterson were some of the other significant pitchers to face hitters.

Stay tuned Saturday, as Francona will unveil his early Grapefruit League pitching rotation at that time. I know, it doesn’t quite compare to the Kevin Garnett knee injury in terms of news value, but interesting to pent-up Sox fans nonetheless. 

The guy just gets it

How else to explain Dustin Pedroia? Could he have made more money if he had gone year to year and took arbitration for three years and then free agency following the 2012 season? Of course.

But Pedroia didn’t take that into account when he opted to take the six-year, $40.5 million contact that includes an $11 million option for 2015. What he took into account is the fact that he loves Boston, he loves everything that comes with playing in Boston.

Pedroia loves playing under pressure. He loves playing in games that count. He loves losing to manager Terry Francona in cribbage. OK, maybe he wins those battles every now and then. He loves roaming around the clubhouse after a big home run, proclaiming himself as “the strongest 165-pound man in baseball.”

It’s good to know that the little man is set to become a fixture in this town for years going forward. And whenever Jason Varitek leaves the Red Sox or retires, we all know who the next captain is.

Now that Pedroia is in the fold, you wonder if guys like Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester will follow suit with deals that will keep them in a Boston uniform for many years.

Speaking of Pedroia, could this winter get any better for him? A Gold Glove. A Silver Slugger. An MVP. And now, $40.5 million worth of security.

And The Envelopes, Please

I must admit, I’m a sucker for awards, be it the Oscars or whatever.

This is baseball awards season, beginning in less than an hour. Red Sox players are involved in some of these races.

Here is a quick look at the AL awards. I simply don’t have time to follow the NL enough to make worthy selections.

AL Rookie of the Year, to be announced Monday: My prediction: Evan Longoria. Imagine if this guy had played the full year? His production numbers were impressive and of course he got even more impressive in the postseason, but that doesn’t count.

Other worthy selections. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox; Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox. Ellsbury had an up and down year offensively but still stole 50 bases and just missed 100 runs.

AL Manager of the Year, to be announced Wednesday: Joe Maddon, Rays. I think jovial Joe wrapped this thing up somewhere around July 4. What a great job. Not enough can be said.

Other worthy selections: Though Maddon by far guided the most dramatic turnaround of any team, some other managers did a very nice job this season. Look at Ron Gardenhire, for instance. When Johan Santana was traded, everyone just assumed the Twins would be non-contenders. Think again. They lasted all the way to a one-game playoff. The guy here in Boston did a pretty nice job in his own right. Terry Francona had injuries to major players at virtually every point in the season. But he found a way to keep his team focused and into the playoffs for the fourth time in his five years as manager. Don’t forget Mike Scioscia. He got 100 wins out of the Angels and they were a juggernaut until the playoffs. But again, the playoffs don’t count in these votes.

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, Indians. This one is about as suspenseful as the Maddon choice for manager. Lee completely dominated from start to finish.

Other worthy selections: Roy Halladay. A complete-game machine! This guy is the definition of a throwback. Mike Mussina, Francisco Rodriguez and Jon Lester also belong in the conversation.

AL MVP: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox. Perhaps you have to be around this guy every day to see just how much he means to his team. Pedroia topped the league, or was near the top, in several major categories, including runs, hits, doubles and batting average. Oh, and he was also a Gold Glove second baseman who hit for power for a little guy — 18 homers — and stole 20 bases.

Other worthy selections: Justin Morneau, Twins. A .300 average and 129 RBIs should get you MVP consideration every year, particularly on a team that didn’t have a lot of other sluggers in the lineup. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. If not for Pedroia, he would have gotten a ton more discussion in this debate. Manny was traded, Ortiz wasn’t himself, Lowell was hurt and there was Youk, belting 29 homers and driving in 115. Oh, he also hit .312 and played tremendous defense. Josh Hamilton was the best player for a non-contender, but I just don’t think that can win you an MVP.

Bay Watch — looking good so far

Jason Bay nervous in his first playoff game? Perhaps not. The left fielder absolutely obliterated an ill-placed heater by Lackey, launching it over the wall in left.

1-0 Angels is now 2-1 Sox. That was Bay and the Sox’s answer to Manny Ramirez‘s ridiculous golf shot at Wrigley earlier today.

Jon Lester competed his butt off tonight — 117 pitches worth. Anyone who thought this guy had the composure to pitch a Game 1 was absolutely right. If not for that Lowrie error, he’d have been unscored on.

And I loved the move by Tito of bringing in Masterson to start the eighth. As he’s done since coming up, Masterson came through. He got some help from Ellsbury (great catch) and Youkilis (nice throw).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers