Results tagged ‘ Josh Beckett ’

Winter of ’10-11 about to be undone

If the Red Sox-Dodgers blockbuster trade clears the final hurdles and gets consummated, it will effectively eliminate one of the most dramatic 72-hour periods in team history.

Remember all that buzz at the Winter Meetings in Dallas in December of 2010? On the eve of the Meetings, then-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein finally acquired his long sought-after prize — slugger Adrian Gonzalez — in a blockbuster with the Padres. And just three days later, Epstein was at it again, striking a seven-year, $142-million deal with free agent Carl Crawford.

One epic September collapse of 2011 and highly disappointing 2012 season later, and it appears Gonzalez and Crawford will again be linked together — this time in a trade that sends them to Los Angeles, along with underachieving righty Josh Beckett.

Though Gonzalez was largely the hitter the Red Sox expected him to be (.321, 42 homers, 203 RBIs, .895 OPS in 1,114 at-bats), he didn’t always seem thrilled with the attention that came with playing in this market.

Ditto for Crawford, who was often surprised to be swarmed by media members, whether it was for an injury update or something else newsworthy.

As for Beckett — who will also be in the deal assuming he doesn’t exercise his 10-5 rights –  I think it had become pretty obvious that his time had run its course here in recent weeks and months.

The Red Sox will be able to re-allocate the money they would have paid those three players next year — which would have been well in excess of $200 million — and have a highly interesting offseason.

Covering the team this season, it seems that the baggage that came with last year’s collapse never really went away. So if this trade does go down, perhaps there will be a cleansing of sorts.

 

Beckett appears set for Wednesday

Some good news on the Red Sox’ injury front. Josh Beckett appears over the back spasm that forced him off the mound in the third inning of his start on July 31 against the Tigers, and Bobby Valentine has penciled in the righty to pitch on Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers.

Beckett went out to right field for some flat-ground and long-toss work before Saturday’s game, and appeared to be throwing with ease, as he got out to 120 feet.

The plan is that he will test his back again with a bullpen session again on Monday, and will be slotted in for Wednesday as long as that goes well.

The side effect if Beckett can return is that it could give Felix Doubront an extra day of rest. Doubront will easily surpass a career-high in innings pitched this season, In fact, he’ll probably do it by his next start.

Deep in the heart of Texas

If the Red Sox seem a little more comfortable in Texas than other road spots, there’s good reason. Their team is surrounded by players who have Texas roots.

Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey all hail from the Lone Star State, as do Scott Atchison, Matt Albers, Kelly Shoppach, Carl Crawford and Will Middlebrooks.

Monday was particularly special for Middlebrooks, who grew up a Rangers fan, living about two and a half hours from Arlington. This was his first Major League game in Arlington, though he played here in high school All-Star Games.

“I remember how hot it was. It was in July before my senior year of high school. I don’t remember much. It was an All-Star game or something,” said Middlebrooks.  “I grew up in Texarcarna which is like two hours from here. But I live here in the offseason now. I have a lot of friends here. I came to a lot of games out here.  I’m excited to play here. It’s a fun place. When I was a kid, i remember watching Juan Gonzalez, Pudge. Who else was here? Rusty Greer. A-Rod for a little bit.”

Manager Bobby Valentine also has deep roots in Texas, as the Rangers gave him his start in  Major League managing from 1985-92. His son still lives here, and Valentine said he has several friends in the Arlington area.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit a mammoth home run tonight, played for the Rangers for parts of four seasons before coming to Boston. Adrian Gonzalez played 59 games for the Rangers over two seasons.

Beckett gets clean bill of health

Some good news on the injury front. Red Sox righty Josh Beckett had an MRI Monday and there are no structural problems with his right shoulder.

Beckett said he should miss just one more start, and return to the rotation by the end of next week.

“We did an MRI yesterday and everything looks pretty good,” Beckett said. “Took the steps necessary. I think we’ll miss a start and maybe push me back a day.”

The discomfort Beckett felt wasn’t unfamiliar.

“I just had some pain that I was dealing within my shoulder,” Beckett said. “It’s stuff that I’ve dealt with before. But whenever it starts taking away from strength, that’s kind of where we got to, and the trainers made the decision that they made.”

Franklin Morales will again take Beckett’s spot in the rotation on Saturday against the Marlins.

In other news, the Red Sox activated Cody Ross before Monday’s game and put Scott Podsednik (left groin strain) on the disabled list.

Game 8 Grapefruit League: Red Sox 5, Marlins 3

FORT MYERS, Fla. –- Josh Beckett and Andrew Bailey both recovered nicely from shaky beginnings. Pedro Ciriaco again proved why he might be a utilityman the Red Sox will be able to use at some point during 2012. And Mike Aviles is hitting like a man determined to be the Opening Day shortstop.

What went right: Aviles hit the ball with authority twice, clubbing a double and a triple. Ciriaco belted a walkoff two-run homer and made a nice relay throw to nail a runner at the plate. Beckett hit two batters in the first, but settled down to pitch four solid innings. David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia impressed manager Bobby Valentine by hustling from first to third on hits.

What went wrong: Outfielder Ryan Sweeney left the game after two innings with a nagging left quad. Bailey, making his first appearance as Boston’s closer, gave up hits to the first three batters he faced. At least he minimized the damage, giving up only one run.

What they said: “He’s got big league stuff. He’s an All Star. We just want him to break camp healthy.” – Saltalamacchia on Bailey.

What’s next: Fifth-starter candidate Felix Doubront will get the ball in a 7:05 p.m. ET contest airing live on MLB.TV against the Yankees. The Sox regulars scheduled to make the trip are Mike Aviles, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Righty Vicente Padilla, who is also vying for a rotation job, is slated to pitch in relief. Ivan Nova will get the nod starting nod for New York.

Injury update: “He’s going to throw 90 feet today with the trainer. He’s ready to progress here mid-week with some monitored swings.” – Valentine on left fielder Carl Crawford.

Game 1 Grapefruit League: Red Sox 8, Twins 3

FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the first time since that infamous night of Sept. 28, 2011, the Red Sox played a game against a Major League team. This was a mere Grapefruit League contest against the Twins, but still a necessary step in the ramp-up toward the real Opening Day.

The best part of the day for fans might have been the pre-game ceremony, when a star-studded quartet of Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant and Dwight Evans strode on to the field.

What went right: Andrew Miller was dominant, striking out three batters over two shutout innings. Lars Anderson improved his trade value by walloping a grand slam. At a time where Anderson might be coming into his own as a player, the Red Sox simply have no room for him on the team, provided everyone else stays healthy. The same can’t be said for Miller. Everyone is always looking for a lefty. The way Boston’s roster is constituted, Miller might be more valuable out of the bullpen. He has done a lot of work on his delivery this spring.

What went wrong: The Red Sox gave up three stolen bases – two when Josh Beckett was pitching and one off of Andrew Miller. In fairness, the Sox did throw out a couple as well, but controlling the running game has been a point of emphasis for Valentine this spring. Valentine seemed slightly annoyed that Beckett pretty much tuned out the running game for part of his start.

What they said: “Oh God. Adrian who?,” quipped Valentine on Lars Anderson hitting a grand slam.

What they said, Part 2: “I don’t think he could hit the ball better than that. It was a low breaking ball, it was too far to be a souvenir. Probably broke something when it landed in the parking lot.” – Valentine on Anderson.

What’s next: The Sox play a night game at Hammond Stadium against the Twins on Monday. Clay Buchholz makes his first start since being shut down with back woes last June.

Injury update: Crawford will get a check-up on Monday to see how his surgically repaired left wrist is progressing … Daniel Bard has been dealing with a minor back ailment, but should make his scheduled start on Tuesday … Closer Andrew Bailey is improving from the lat strain he suffered early in camp and should pitch in his first Grapefruit League game soon.

Reaction on the retirement of the captain

David Ortiz, on the notion that Varitek was a quiet leader: “He did say a lot. He did. He just always found the right moment to say it, you know what I’m saying? Tek was somebody that I think this organization is going to need forever, especially now that he’s going to retire. I think he’s the kind of person this organization needs to keep very close. This is a guy who does nothing but add things – good things and like I say, it was an honor for me to be his teammate. I learned a lot of good things from Tek. One of the most important things from Tek was the hard work. He based his whole life on working hard and making sure that you were Ok. His preparation was so good, it was ridiculous. He was a guy that as long as I watched him play, he wanted to do well, he wanted to do good, he wanted to be prepared for that.”

Dan Duquette, the man who brought Varitek to Boston with one of the greatest trades in team history. “We were looking for a catcher. Everybody in the business new Jason Varitek because he was drafted twice in the first round. Did we know he’d be with the Red Sox for 15 years and lead the team to two championships? No. but to his credit, he had all the skills and he deserves all the credit for the great work ethic that he developed. His tenacity as a competitor. This kid, whenever we went into Yankee Stadium, he always had a big game. He always did something to help the team win on the big stage.”

Clay Buchholz, who threw the third of the record-setting four  no-hitters Varitek no-hitters Varitek caught in his career. “There were a couple times, early in the game I shook off him a couple times and had a couple missiles hit. They were caught. But after that it was just I’m going to throw what he puts down. The game started speeding up on me a couple times and I remember him calling timeout, running out there, telling me to take a couple deep breaths, throw a pitch down and away and get a ground ball and get out of the inning. That’s what I’ll always remember about him. He was always the guy that could calm you down when things started to speed up.”

Jarrod Saltalmacchia, who absorbed Varitek’s lessons last year and will take over behind the plate. “Just the way he went about his business, watching him –– it wasn’t even in the clubhouse –– I could see from across the field, how people looked at him, how people respected him. So you definitely look up to a guy like that.”

Josh Beckett, who never wanted anyone but Varitek catching him since arriving in Boston in 2006. “I loved working with him. I’ll answer that part first. I’ve never had a catcher before that who I felt like cared more about what wanting me to be successful even before he wanted to be successful. He’s going to be missed a lot in the clubhouse and on the field.”

Bobby Valentine will never get to manage Varitek, but he has a strong grasp of what he meant. “From afar, he was everything you wanted a guy who wore a ‘C’ to be. He was a man’s man. He was a big hitter when needed. He was the leader of a pitching staff. He was able to beat up Alex [Rodriguez]. All that stuff  is good stuff. He was exactly what he was supposed to be.”

Derek Lowe, who was traded to Boston along with Varitek some 15 years ago, viewed his catcher as a human security blanket.  “It was hard to leave [Boston],” Lowe said. “One of my biggest fears when I left to go to Los Angeles was to leave Varitek. I had not shaken him off in years. You just pitch. You throw whatever he says. And I think a lot of times it’s easier that way, because all you’re doing is reacting to what he’s putting down. You don’t have to think, really, about anything.  I think that was one of the biggest things when I left. It was like, ‘Whoa, I’m going to have to start doing more of this stuff on my own.’ If you ask a lot of people, you’d be amazed at how many people, that even spent two or three months in Boston, say Varitek is the best catcher they’ve ever thrown to. A lot of those comments, clearly, he never hears. But to have that many people say this guy is the best, and we’re talking about well accomplished guys, he should be proud of the stuff he’s been able to do. “

Pitching plans for early exhibition games

Manager Bobby Valentine had his pitching plans for the first few exhibition games posted on the clubhouse wall this morning. Here are the lists

Thursday’s B game vs. the Twins.

Aceves
Bard
Mortensen
Carlson
Pena
Wilson
Inman
Thomas

Saturday vs. Northeastern

Lester
Germano
Bowden
Albers

Saturday vs. Boston College

Doubront
Tazawa
Mathis
Spoone

Sunday vs. Minnesota

Beckett
Miller
Melancon
Thomas
Pena
Atchison

Monday, March 5 at Minnesota

Buchholz
Padilla
Inman
Carlson
Duckworth

March 6 vs. Baltimore

Bard
Aceves
Wilson
Mortensen
Bowden

March 7 “B” Game vs. Minnesota

Lester
Spoone
Britton
Albers
Thomas
Atchison
Mathis

March 7 at Toronto

Silva
Tazawa
Melancon
Pena
Germano

When it rains, it pours

Not only was John Lackey getting hit hard tonight, but then he joined the seemingly unending barrage of injuries that have inflicted the Sox of late.

Lackey left tonight’s game at Tropicana Field after being belted on the left calf by an inning-ending groundout by John Jaso. Lackey actually made a nice play to get Jaso out, but had to be taped in the dugout after that and could not continue.

So Lackey joins Josh Beckett, Erik Bedard and Clay Buchholz as Sox starting pitchers who can be classified as the walking wounded. And that’s without mentioning Kevin Youkilis, who is back in Boston having his ailing left hip looked at.

Just a few days ago, the Red Sox were hoping to win the division. Now a large chunk of Terry Francona’s focus has to be just getting his team to the postseason in one piece.

Youk getting tested back in Boston

Kevin Youkilis hadn’t really looked right the past few days from a mobility standpoint and we found out why today. While the Red Sox flew from Toronto to Florida, Youkilis flew back to Boston to have his left hip checked out. The exam included an MRI.

Youkilis had been on the DL from Aug.  18-Sept. 2 with a lower back strain. Is this latest development alarming? That all depends on what the test results show.

“We were going to give Youk the day off today most likely,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He was really limping last couple of days, especially last night, so his hip started bothering him a little bit, so we got him back to Boston to get looked at, he’s probably getting looked at right now. just rying to figure out what, when, where why so he doesn’t have to limp through the last couple of weeks because we need him. Hopefully we’ll have news here pretty soon.
It’s been – trying to figure out if it’s connected. Hopefully we’ll get some answers.”

Youkilis isn’t alone on the banged-up list. Erik Bedard, who had his start skipped this week anyway because of knee stiffness, went back to Boston to get some discomfort in his left lat checked out.

“Erik went back to Boston,” Francona said. “After the other day, he talked about his knee bothering him and it was, he was throwing all arm as he got through that start, his lat started flaring up on him so we got him back to Boston, he’s got a mild lat strain. I think he’s flying back tonight to join us. We’ll slot him in when we think it’s appropriate, I don’t know when that is.’’

As for Josh Beckett, there is still no word on when he will return from his sprained ankle.

“Well, he gets looked at every day, and he’s doing much better today,” Francona said.  “He can do his throwing, so he’s not going to get set back and then we all kind of know how important his five-day schedule is so when we get to that point we’ll kind of slot him in.”

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