Results tagged ‘ Mike Lowell ’

Dice-K is 1-0 — 4-0 lifetime in the Classic

No, I did not wake up to watch Dice-K pitch against Korea either, but I got a full recap of e-mails from my friend Jonny Miller of WBZ Radio. Jonny is, how shall we say, an early riser.

Jon’s first e-mail came to me at 5:44 a.m. “First inning, gave up 455-foot homer to Kim.” … 30 pitches, end of 1, 3-2 Japan.

Jonny fired off another one at 6:16 a.m. “DIce-K update, second inning, one hit, 14 pitches, end of 2, Japan 8, Korea 2.”

Jonny strikes again at 6:32 a.m. “1 BB, 14 pitches, Japan 9, Korea 2 after three.”

Last Jonny update came at 7:15 a.m. “Dice-K done after 4. Japan 11, Korea 2, Mid five”.

At any rate, Matsuzaka and Japan cruised to a mercy rule victory. Matsuzaka wasn’t particularly sharp, but keep in mind he has never been a fast starter in his career.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona — who always awakens early this time of year — saw most of the outing (four innings, four hits, two runs, two walks, one strikeout) on television.I think all Tito really wants to see from Dice-K out of this tournament is a healthy finish to it.

“I watched most of that,” Francona said. “ A little shaky first inning, 29-pitch first
inning. Gave up some hard hits in the second, but they had a baserunning error,
then he settled down and got the last eight of nine. It was OK. It’s Spring
Training and you don’t have the luxury of missing your spots because the game
is on television.”

In other news, Mike Lowell is expected to make his exhibition debut on Tuesday, as the DH against the Orioles. He will proably play at third for the first time in the night game against the Yankees on Friday the 13th.

Brad Penny will fire off a 35-pitch side at City of Palms tomorrow. No word yet on his first game.

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.

Lowell speaks

Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, a couple of hours after arriving into camp, just held court in the parking lot, speaking to a small group of reporters from the driver’s seat of his black BMWM5.

Will Lowell (right hip surgery in October) be ready for Opening Day?

“I am thinking
about it because I’d like to do it. I don’t know how much pressure I feel. I
think it’s a time-table that I want to beat. If I’m not going to be able to
contribute then there’s no point. I still think it’s a realistic time-table and
it’s not really Opening Day that I’m shooting for. I’m shooting to be able to
play in games before that because I don’t want my first taste of games being a
regular-season game. I want to get some games under my belt, which I think is
also a realistic goal. I’m really interested to see what the doctors say
tomorrow on the physicals and kind of map out what I’m going to do
baseball-wise.”

How is the hip?

“I feel pretty
good, man. I’ve been hitting for about three weeks, not every day but I’ve been
able to go through tee toss and a regular batting practice out on the field
with no pain. I think more importantly, no swelling the next day, no flare-ups.
I’ve been throwing for a while, my arm feels fine, it’s just, I think the next
step is going to being out on the field, taking groundballs, going from station
to station, just being on my feet all day. I think being in spikes might be an
adjustment but, I don’t know, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m actually looking
forward to practicing and getting ready.”

Was Lowell upset when it looked like the Red Sox were going to sign Mark Teixeira, meaning Lowell could have been traded in Spring Training?

“I was delighted,
man. (joking). At first, there’s a lot of rumors that float around. I kind of
went to my sources. I was assured by several of them that this was a legit
thing. I’m not going to jump the gun or anything. I think I said it before, you
feel hurt, but I think that’s a normal human reaction that anyone would have.
It just kind of shows you that there are some times when this sport is really a
business and you have to treat it that way and you go from there. It doesn’t
take away any excitement or how much I like the guys that I play with on the
field, and I’m on a team that has a chance to win the World Series. I don’t
know too many people that can say that even in the big leagues that each year,
year in and year out, they’re on a team that has a chance to win a World
Series. I’m still really excited about that. It wasn’t the greatest process in
the world.”

How weird would Spring Training have been if Teixeira was there?

I envisioned a
very awkward scene of me and Youk taking groundballs at third and then basically
talking to you guys after every single practice, saying, am I ready or not? I’m
glad that was avoided.”

Big Papi on himself, A-Rod and the game

It’s officially a full house in Fort Myers as Mike Lowell just walked into a mostly-empty complex to unpack his belongings. Lowell will likely speak to the assembled media in the next couple of days. Today was David Ortiz’s turn to have center stage.

Ortiz addressed the media for some 25 minutes today, addressing issue after issue:

He is driven to bounce back in 2009 and silence some perceived critics:

“I
sometimes, I listen to comments and it just does nothing but make me stronger.
I heard people saying, he’s getting old or whatever. Dude, I just turned 33. I
never seen a player be called old at 33. People are kind of used to seeing
David Ortiz producing like I have done as long as I’ve been here. I don’t blame
nobody. But people sometimes need to sit down and analyze the game. This is not
a game where you just play it and go home and that’s about it. We come here, we
get prepared to play. I try my best every time I go out there. Like I said, I
try to help this ballclub. These negative comments that people make about you,
just for one year that you’ve been off for injuries and things like that, that
makes no sense. So I just put that behind my back and it’s a new year.
Everybody is starting at zero. Let things happen.”

Ortiz is very happy about the way his wrist feels:

Yeah,
I finally don’t have my mind worrying anymore. I took my time off swinging like
the doctor said and I started right on when he told me and I went back to
Boston. I’m feeling fine right now. I’ve got no problem swinging.”

He seems a little concerned that the Red Sox didn’t pick up a bona-fide slugger to replace his pal Manny Ramirez in the lineup:

“Whenever
you can add a slugger to your lineup, it can do nothing but help. Everybody in
this division is getting stronger. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s
a lot of people out there in the offseason looking for jobs, guys who have done
it before. I guess sometimes our office needs to hear from somebody about what
we need at the time. I always talk to Tito and I always talk to Theo and they’re
always asking me questions. I tell them straight up. So, the problems we’re
facing right now, J.D. has back problems, still. If we would have another
slugger here, we would worry about it, but not that much. We don’t know what’s
going to happen with him during the season.”

Ortiz was proud of his close friend A-Rod for admitting wrong-doing on ESPN in regards to the failed steroid test in 2003:

“I
think the A-Rod situation, it was a little tough for the game because you’re
talking about the best player all the way around. At the same time, people have
to give the guy credit because he came out and said what he said at the point
of his career where he had done it all. On top of that, that was what, six
years ago? The guy has put up numbers his whole career. It was one thing that
he said that caught my attention a lot and it was that he was young and at the
time, that was [happening] all around the league. When you’re young and
somebody comes to you with an idea of improving your production and things like
that, sometimes you make a wrong decision like he did. But he’s been playing
clean and still producing, and he’s still been the best player in the game. If
I’m a fan and I had to judge a guy, I would put that in the past and move
forward. The guy, he works hard, man. He’s still doing his thing. He still has
nine more years on his contract and he’s definitely going to do some damage.”

 On the game distancing itself from the “steroid era”:

Like
I said, man, this game has been hurt, a lot already. This is not a players game
or a team’s game, this is a family game. everybody, we have a lot of families
that live off this game, we have a lot of families that enjoy this game, that
bring their kids to watch these games, and I don’t think that this game can
take anymore. Whatever happened in the past … Everybody right now, I guarantee
you that more than 80 or 90 percent of the players are playing clean. But what
you see out there right now is what you can get.  We’re going through a tough situation all the
way around, the economy, our soldiers fighting in Iraq and all this stuff, and
this game is a distraction for people, for the American families. I would like
to see some things. I would like people to leave this game alone and just let us
play the game. I would do whatever it takes to make this game get better, but
not everybody is on the same page. The game has changed a lot. There’s a lot of
pressure. This game, it’s been getting a lot of heat lately. Let’s just play
the game. The game is tough enough. People need to hear something different.

 

Looking Ahead

The World Series is over, and I think a lot of Red Sox fans are happy about this. Wasn’t it hard to watch that Fall Classic knowing that your team was so painfully close to being in there, and very well could have won it all?

Anyway, congratulations to the Phillies and to the Rays. They both had great seasons and should be extremely proud of what they accomplished.

I am still just blown away by the season that Brad Lidge had. There wasn’t one time all year he didn’t do his job. He converted every save opportunity from the beginning of April until the end of October. That is mighty impressive.

On to Red Sox matters. The end of the World Series means that we can start looking ahead to the winter, and what will soon be a simmering stove of player movement.

I’m not sure the Red Sox need to spend over $200 million on Mark Teixeira as great a hitter as he is. The Red Sox have a highly productive bat in Kevin Youkilis at first, and Mike Lowell — coming off hip surgery — at third. Let’s face it, because Lowell is rehabbing, you’re not going to be able to trade him. This is an uncommon injury so I don’t think many teams would take the risk. And if Lowell can get himself healthy, the Red Sox have a very productive bat in the middle of that lineup.

Pitching is always a place you can upgrade and there’s a lot to like in this year’s market. I’d start by making a furious run at Jake Peavy. This guy is a stopper, and pitching in an environment like Boston could get him to take his game to another level. The Red Sox have the chips to legitimately be in the race for a player like this, much like they were for Santana last year. And Theo Epstein and Padres GM Kevin Towers obviously have a great relationship.

I’m not big on Sabathia. He’s going to be overly expensive, so if I’m the Red Sox, I let the Yankees overspend on him.

Derek Lowe is an interesting one. We all know what he can do. We all know how much he thrives in Boston, especially in October. But what will the market be for the sinkerballer? Obviously he wants to come back  but it’s unclear how much the Red Sox would spend for a player in his mid 30s, albeit one who has been exceedingly durable throughout his career.

A.J. Burnett? I’d be a little leery there. He’s a tease. Sure, he finally had a great year and it was in a contract year. Not sure he could keep that up over the course of a long-term deal.

Catcher is the most intriguing part of this winter. It is hard to fathom that the Red Sox could be without Jason Varitek when pitchers and catchers report in February. As Kevin Youkilis said after Game 7,
“If I walk into Spring Training and don’t see Jason Varitek, it will be a day that will be very eye-opening and very sad.”

I’m with Youk on this one. I know Varitek was beyond terrible offensively this season. Could it be, however, that it was nothing more than a player putting too much pressure on himself in a contract year, not to mention the fact that he was going through a divorce? The guy is human. Both these things could have played an impact. If I’m the Red Sox, I try real hard to get Varitek signed for two years and hope that it’s enough. There’s just not a lot of catching out there.

I think the Boston offense doesn’t need a big shakeup. If you get Lowell healthy and David Ortiz close to back to what he was, those are two big additions to your lineup right there. Jacoby Ellsbury will probably get better and so, too, could Jed Lowrie.

What would all of you like to happen this offseason?

Game 4 of the ALDS — Lowell done?

Not only is Mike Lowell out of tonight’s game, he probably won’t play again until 2009. He’s off the roster, meaning he loses eligibility until the World Seres. Last night, it was clear as day just how limited Lowell had become on both sides of the ball.

Mark Kotsay will again play first base. Red Sox manager Terry Francona says everyone from Jonathan Papelbon to the rest of his relievers are likely available.

The lineup is pretty standard: Kotsay hitting seventh and playing first. Everything else is the same.  J.D. Drew back in there in the five-hole.

Jason jumps on one — Again

How about Game 2 of Bay Watch? Jason Bay absolutely cranked that pitch
from Santana for a three-run homer and it’s 4-0 before you can even say
“Time for Dice-K to warm up”.

Obviously the Angels have plenty of time to mount a rally, but quite an opening salvo for the Sox here in the OC.

For those who might think that Red Sox manager Terry Francona is overly loyal to his veteran players, it was perhaps interesting to see that Mike Lowell started Game 2 on the bench.

Lowell has had no setbacks with his right hip. It hurts, and it is going to hurt for the rest of the postseason. Sure, Lowell wanted to play tonight. But Francona liked the favorable matchup with Mark Kotsay — 7-for-18 against Santana — and played him at first, with Youkilis moving across the diamond to third.

I also like the move at shortstop, where Alex Cora will make his first psotseason start in a Red Sox uniform in place of the slumping Jed Lowrie.

But what tonight boils down to more than anything is this: Which Dice-K will we get?

The answer is coming shortly.

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