Saturday, March 8, 2008

Coco Says Jacoby Is Not Ready

Coco Crisp is starting to feel more pressure with each day he misses. He was out again today and most likely will not be back in the lineup until Monday. Jacoby started out slow this spring and his average is still south of the Mendoza Line, but he is showing signs of breaking out of the slump with a 3-5 effort today including his first home run. When asked about the competition by Coco had this to say about Ellsbury:
"So as far as the competition thing, Ellsbury's a solid player. He just needs a little bit more time to get ... established in the big leagues. In order to do that, you need more time in there ... to get used to the pitchers and things like that, in order to be a good ballplayer. I already did some good things in the big leagues. The last couple of years, I had some down seasons, and a lot of people got on me, but I could care less to be honest. ... I feel like if I was healthy ... I'd have been fine." were healthy for a good portion of the last 2 years and you did not get it done and seeing that you are injured again just how long does Boston have to wait until you are the player you think you are? It's been 2+ years and we are still waiting.I would rather have an inexperienced Ellsbury as the center fielder than an perpetually hurt Coco.


10 Players Cut From Roster

The Naples News reports that the Sox have made some moves to bring their roster to 46 players.

Pitchers Edgar Martinez and David Pauley were optioned to AAA Pawtucket. Pitcher Kyle Jackson and infielder Argenis Diaz were optioned to AA Portland.

Six non-roster invitees: pitchers Michael Bowden, Hunter Jones, and Justin Masterson and infielders Jeff Bailey, Tony Granadillo, and Gil Velazquez were re-assigned to the minor league camp.


Trouble in Ft. Myers: Beckett Hurts Back

There's trouble brewing in Red Sox Nation. Spring has not been kind to Red Sox pitching. First came the news of Schilling's major shoulder problems, then the Sox young arms have pitched like they are still in AA. Now comes word that Beckett is hurting.

Beckett experienced back spasms while warming up for today's game. The Associated Press reports that the Sox ace was holding his lower back and walked to the dugout with an apparent limp.

Back injuries can be big trouble for pitchers. We'll post more as details of the injury become available. Crap


Sox in Trade Talks With Padres

San Diego Padres centerfielder Jim Edmonds is going to be sidelined for a while with a strained calf. The Padres are going to try using Scott Hairston in center, but that may not be ideal. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Padres GM Kevin Towers isn't ruling out a trade for a center fielder.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Theo got in quick contact with Towers to discuss a possible trade deal.

The Sox would move Coco to the Padres. The Sox are reportedly interested in either Chase Headley or Matt Antonelli.

Towers told the San Diego Tribune, “We won't give up either of those guys.”

Keep an eye on this one folks, it could be a real opportunity for the Sox.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Coco Says He Played Hurt Last Season

Coco Crisp is starting to see the writing on the wall. Even with Jacoby struggling out of the gate this season he seems to be the starting center fielder. Coco was called the incumbent before the start of spring training but once he missed a few games with a groin injury the Red Sox found a way to make him a reserve player. Today Coco responded to his position on the team by telling the Union Leader the following:

"I played with a broken toe, an oblique injury, (and) I was freaking popping my shoulder all crazy trying to dive for balls," said Crisp, who clarified that the toe was actually a fracture to the sesamoid bone on the ball of his left foot. "I know, and I think the team knows, that I went out there and played hurt last year. Not to be rewarded with an actual opportunity to help, it kind of hurts."

Coco's days in Boston are numbered; he is starting to sound like Nomar before he was traded.


Red Sox Pitchers Look Like They Are Throwing BP

This will not go down as a good day for Sox pitching. Yes, it is spring training and pitchers are trying out new pitches but many are also competing for a spot on the roster. Take a look at some of the numbers put up by Sox pitchers today:

Buchholz 3.033303212.60
Papelbon 2.03220104.50
Lopez 1.01111003.00

Tavarez 2.24442107.94
Snyder 3.05552117.50


Buchholz Continues to Struggle

It's only the second inning in today's Sox-Twins game in Ft. Myers, but one thing is already clear: Buchholz is not ready for the regular season. He's already given up two taters and hit a batter. He's given up 3 earned runs in the game so far.

Meanwhile Tavarez goes 2.2 giving up 4 hits and 2 walks and 4 earned runs. Does anyone want to be the 5th starter? Bartolo, the door is open maybe you can squeeze through.(no pun intended)

Jacoby is Santana still available?

Papelbon goes 2 innings giving up 2 earned runs...good thing he got his $ yesterday.


The Manny Rewards Program

Increasingly baseball contracts are filled with incentives. Recent contracts have included clauses providing extra cash for making the playoffs, staying healthy, or reaching statistical milestones.

Manny has taken it upon himself to augment the Red Sox contracts with his own incentives program. We'll call it "Manny Rewards." The primary beneficiary of the Manny Rewards program is 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia. Manny felt that Pedroia needed some bling to go along with his Rookie of the Year trophy, so Manny bought Pedroia a Rolex watch.

Manny told the ProJo: “He’s a great kid with a great heart. I love him. He’s got a great personality and I don’t care what he does on the field because, as a person, he’s such a great guy. You can talk to him and he’s always happy and working hard.”

“If he hits .300 this year, I’ll give him something else,” Ramirez said. “I want him to keep it going.”


Split Squad Today

The Red Sox are splitting up for two today; one against the Twins and one against the O's. Here are the lineups from Extra Bases:
vs. Twins
Argenis Diaz, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Sean Casey, 1B
Keith Ginter, 3B
Jonathan Van Every, CF
P -- Clay Buchholz

vs O's
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jed Lowrie, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Mike Lowell, 3B
Brandon Moss, LF
Alex Cora, SS
Bobby Kielty, RF
Chris Carter, DH
Dusty Brown, C
P -- Julian Tavarez

Things of note: Coco and Lugo are both still out, Buccholz and Tavarez are both looking to earn the #5 spot, pressure starting to build on Jacoby who has only one hit this spring.


Dice-K is Scheduled To Make the Japan Trip

Dice-K is expecting his second kid on March 19th but is now scheduled to be with the team for the Japan trip barring any unforeseen problems.


Manny's "Secret" Weapon

Jeff Horrigan of the Herald reports seeing Manny Ramirez in the clubhouse reading the New Age self help book The Secret with a highlighter. It must be required reading for the Scott Boras Agency book club. Manny may also be loading up the Ipod with Yanni to get him through the long innings in left. Here is a quote that Manny may have highlighted: "You are the most powerful magnet in the universe . . . so as you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you." Could this make us all finally understand Manny? File this one under Manny being......well, Manny I guess. Manny as a New Ager is not the image most people arrive at when they think of the self described "Bad Man."


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Will Coco Be On The Other Side of the Diamond When The Sox are on the Other Side of the World?

According to Buster Olney of the Red Sox are still discussing a trade with the Oakland A's involving Coco Crisp. Billy Beane likes to get players cheap and Coco's $4 million salary for a has to be enticing. It would make for an interesting storyline if Coco were on the opposing team when the Sox open up in Japan on the 25th. The Red Sox still need the a catcher for the future, and you can never have too much pitching. Coco was out again today to go to the dentist (along with resting his groin) but it seems he could have an appointment after the game or could have been given at least 1 AB. Is this a sign of an imminent deal? Tito has to make some roster moves soon so do the Sox carry Kielty, Ellsbury, and Coco? Look for a move soon, unless Jacoby continues to struggle at the plate.

Tito's take on the absence of Coco: “It’s not an issue yet, but we’re trying to make some decisions and (missing almost a week) doesn’t make it any easier, that’s for sure.”


Papelbon Gets His $

Thanks to The Bottom Line for the heads up on this one. Papelbon gets $775,000 for the he needs to go back to throwing strikes and attempting to dance.


Spring training for all

It takes skill, this following baseball. I mean following a single game, in progress. It takes practice. It takes training. Especially following a game on the radio, which I do a lot living out here in the Rocky Mountain West, where most of my Red Sox fixes are injected either through or via XM Radio.

So while the BoSox are in spring training, so am I. I'm getting this football softened brain back into shape -- working hard on my ability to maintaining a running consciousness of the status of a ball game whilst keeping up the pace of my multitasking of daily work and life. It takes me a few weeks before my mental dexterity returns to its major-league game-ready regular-season agility. So I'm thankful for those few weeks of spring training games to work on my own game.

But the reward of this spring training is more than merely sharpening my mental game-tracking skills, of course -- just the same way that the joy of following those Grapefruit League games is more than just notching the (relatively) meaningless wins and losses. Spring training is about ... spring. (And here in the southern Rocky Mountains, where this ex-pat New Englander now lives, spring is most welcome this year.)

So when I tune my browser to a spring Red Sox game, sure, I'm rooting for each at bat. And, yes, I'm working on my ability to follow the game while I do my work, since games that matter are only a few weeks away (and work never goes away). But, really, what I'm doing is listening to music, like some cool jazz, feeling the groove, tuning in to musical soundtrack of spring itself.

With Joe Castiglione on vocals.


Moneyball Part II

Bill James of Moneyball fame has been working as a consultant with the Red Sox for a few years. He has a new book coming out that includes a series of essays about how his data shows the game differently. He was interviewed by Time Magazine about the shift teams use when Papi comes to the plate:

Time: You use some colorful language in the book, making the reams of statistical information much more reader-friendly. At one point, you basically compare teams that use the shift against Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz to "Polocks hunting landmines." You say they're "dumb." Though you are quick to point out that there are only "three Polish guys" who are "offended by Polock jokes." Why push the envelope?

Bill James: Everybody who is my age, or everybody who is over 30, knows that joke. I mean, I'm not sure I get the point of the over-shift against David Ortiz. It helps you if he hits a ground ball, but if the bomb goes off, you can put those infielders anywhere you want to, it doesn't really do you any good. The damage that David does comes when he hits the ball 380 feet. It really does not matter much where you put your infielders when that happens.

James will also be featured on an upcoming episode of 60 Minutes. His book The Bill James Goldmine will be available on March 13.


Sox-Dodgers Update

The Red Sox are facing D-Lowe today in Fort Myers. Ellsbury is on the board with his first hit of spring (double)...Pedroia is 2-2 with 2 RBI's...Wake is pitching well with 1 hit in 3 innings...Casey has another hit. Sox lead 3-0.
Items of note: Coco is getting a root canal today....Joe Torre faces the Sox without the rivalry.

Update: Timlin gives up 2 hits including a gopher ball in 1 inning...Casey and Moss get RBI's...Sox lead 5-1


Papelbon Remains Unsigned

The ProJo has the latest on the situation with Jonathan Papelbon's contract discussions. Reportedly, Papelbon wants $900,000 while the Sox are offering $750,000. Today is the Red Sox self-imposed deadline for inking a deal.

Let's hope it gets resolved and doesn't become a distraction for Papelbon or the Sox.

Over at the NESN, Keven Paul Dupont and Bob Ryan discuss the situation. Watch it below.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Trouble In Yankeeland As Joba Struggles

The Yankees began to wonder why they passed on Johan today when their young pitcher struggled on the mound. Joba gave up a long home run to the Twins #8 hitter. Kennedy was not much better today as the starter. Girardi had the following to say about his pitchers: "Neither one of them was extremely sharp today. It's a learning experience. They're not going to be perfect every time out. I'm sure they .understand that. This is a humbling game and I don't care who you are, you're going to struggle at times." NY Newsday was already saying this about Yankee pitching: "the Yankees, their fans and even Hank Steinbrenner are going to have to be patient at times."


Sox-Reds Update

Lester has better control to start the game and is getting the curve ball over the plate for strikes today but some hitters are getting to him. He has given up 4 hits and 1 run 2 innings. At the plate Kevin Cash gets a 2 run single giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.

Update: Lester goes 3 strong innings giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 2 K's, and 1 walk.....Oki comes in and retires them in order (the "Doki-Doki" seems to be working). Delcarmen take the hill for the 5th and gets 3 quick outs including 2 K's.

Update 2: Lopez gets shelled... gives up 4 hits, a walk, 5 runs, and beans a batter in 1 inning...Sox now losing 6-2

Update 3: Sox battle back with 4 runs in the 7th but end up losing 7-6.

The good: Lester, Oki, and Delcarmen all pitch well.
The bad: Pedroia and Tek go a combined 0-6 with 3 K's and 5 L.O.B.
The ugly: Lopez gets a blown save giving up 5 runs in 1 inning


Schilling Likes What He Sees From Colon

Curt Schilling gave an update from Fort Myers on his blog today and had the following to say about Bartolo Colon:
"Had a chance to see Bartolo throw again today and I was blown away. He looks incredible. Throwing the snot out of the ball and very free and easy. Could be a huge steal, not sure how other teams passed on him. He looked awesome the 10 minutes I watched him throw."


Youk, Tek, and Pedroia Talk About Manny

Red Sox players spoke with Glenn Miller of and had the following to say about Manny:

Youk: "Nothing amazes me with him. He's going to be a Hall-of-Famer. People don't realize how special he is. I think people don't also realize the fact that he's pretty much a lock to get into the Hall of Fame. There's no doubt about it. I don't think Manny hears anything, he's calm, cool, collected. If he hears some stuff, he'll laugh about it. Some people say some stuff that is hilarious. He blocks out a lot. People don't realize, when people are screaming, you don't hear anything. Manny is probably the best at concentration."

Tek: "When he came up, the best right-handed pure hitter at the time was Edgar Martinez, and if anybody resembles that and adds even more power to it, it's Manny."

Pedroia: "He's a Hall-of-Famer, that's pretty much the only thing I can say. He's one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time. Just being around him every day, we learn a lot from him."

Manny is going to hit HR #500 this season, head over to Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory to enter the contest on the date of Manny's historic home run.


Lineup for Today's Game

Dustin Pedroia 2b
Kevin Youkilis 1b
Jason Varitek DH
Manny Ramirez RF
Mike Lowell 3b
JD Drew LF
Julio Lugo SS
Jonathan Van Every CF
Kevin Cash C
Jon Lester P

Items of note: Coco is still sidelined...Pedroia at the top of the ohdah....Van Every gets the start in is on WEEI today.


Lester Will Be Back On The Mound Today

Jon Lester had trouble finding the plate in his last start over the weekend but will have a chance to redeem himself today at 1 pm Eastern against the Reds in Fort Myers. He blamed his last performance on nervousness and getting too picky. This being spring training he can have an outing like that but if he does it back to back there may be some pressure from Snyder, Pauley, Masterson and possibly Colon. Lester pitched very well in Game 4 of the World Series and has a 11-2 career record but he also has a career ERA of 4.68. This should be a breakout year for him as he joins the rotation full time and is injury free. Today's start needs to be much better if he is on the track the Red Sox have projected him to be.


Red Sox Cookie-Off 3

The third annual Red Sox cookie-off is took place yesterday with Gabe Kapler stopping by to defend his title. You can watch all of the action here. You would think Schilling would win with all of the free time he now has.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Papelbon Wants More Cash

After another good outing today Papelbon spoke with reporters and talked about the negotiations with the team. He is not up for arbitration until next year so the Red Sox do not have to increase his salary but he has started to make some noise: "it’s a tough situation for me right now because I’m at a point where I feel like the position I’m in, there’s a certain standard that needs to be put put in place here,’’ said Papelbon after his scoreless inning of work here in a game against the Pirates. “I feel like with me being at the top of my position, I feel like that standard needs to be set and I’m the one to set that standard...I don’t think the Red Sox really necessarily are seeing eye to eye with me on that subject right now. Hopefully we can get somewhere. We’re chugging away at this thing and we want to get it done, believe me and we can move on....At the same time, I feel a certain obligation to not only to myself and my family to make the money I deserve but for the game of baseball. I mean, Mariano Rivera has been doing it for the past 10 years. With me coming up behind him, I feel a certain obligation to do the same. And, yeah, I’m at the mercy of the club right now to a certain extent but you know, it’s just a matter of ironing out the numbers and we haven’t ironed them out yet. Hopefully we can get a mutual agreement...I don’t want to renew, I don’t want to but if I have to, I have to, that’s just the cold, hard facts of it and if I have to do that to set the tone, that’s what I do. We’ll figure something out.’’
I hate this part of the game of baseball; players want to get more money than a club wants to offer them before becoming a free agent and then players want to get paid for past performances after their prime.(just ask Scott Boras) Papelbon has every right to ask for more money but do it through your agent not through the press....and why do you throw Rivera into the argument?


Sox- Pirates Update

Dice-K is on the mound again today. His performance is not on par with his first start as he has given up 1 run and 2 hits including a double and triple as well as 2 walks in 3 innings. At the plate Jacoby and Sean Casey are still in search of their first hits of the spring. Manny has a double and scored a run when J.D. drove him in. Papelbon is expected to pitch later in the game.

Update: Papelbon retires them in order in the 4th....Jacoby 0-2...Casey gets his first hit of spring (its a double) SS Diaz drives in Drew...Sox lead 2-1... Tavarez takes the mound.

Update 2: Tavarez pitches well...Jacoby ends his day 0-3(still no hits this spring)....Casey goes 2-3.....Hansen has a better showing with 1 scoreless pickup Van Every gets an RBI...Sox lead 4-1


Crisp Is Sidelined...Time For Jacoby to Step Up

Coco Crisp will be out a few days with a groin strain giving Jacoby Ellsbury a few consecutive starts to prove he deserves the starting spot. So far he has demonstrated his speed and has a few RBI's but no hits. The door is wide open for him to take the spot with a few quality games. Is he the player Red Sox Nation thinks he is? The next few games will give us that answer.


Over/Under on Sox Wins Set at 94

The Las Vegas Hilton sports book has posted betting lines on over/under win totals for the 2008 Major League Baseball regular schedule.

Red Sox 94; Yankees 93.5

Seems like it would be wise to drop a C-Note on this one. For the Sox over, of course. The Yankees under also looks like a nice bet.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Sox Lose To Marlins...Still No Hits For Jacoby

The Red Sox dropped their second consecutive spring training game to the Marlins by a score of 3-2. Boston only managed to get 3 hits in the outing. Jacoby Ellsbury is still searching for his first hit of the spring but he did get a sac fly and a stolen base. Snyder pitched well going 3 scoreless innings and giving up 2 hits. Masterson did not pitch as well as he did in his first outing and gave up 4 hits and a run in 2 innings. The worst performance of the day belongs to Dan Kolb who walked 3 and gave up a hit in 1/3 of an inning.


Colon Does Well In His First Bullpen Session

Bartolo Colon threw 42 pitches today and according to pitching coach John Farell he "hit both sides of the plate and may have thrown a few pitches that approached 90 miles per hour." Colon is scheduled to make his first start on March 15th but may be moved up. If he continues to do well he will put some pressure on Buchholz and Tavarez for the #5 spot.


Mike Lowell Holds Fundraising Event...Pedroia Embarrasses Himself

Mike Lowell held a cancer fund raiser in Florida yesterday where there was a "Dancing with the Stars" component. Papelbon and Pedroia is what Pedroia and Tito said about the event:

"[Papelbon's shirt] was terrible," Pedroia said. "I thought my body pulled it off, and his didn’t. That’s my personal opinion. A lot of women, they loved it."

Pedroia threw his shirt to owner John Henry, nearly killing manager Terry Francona in the process.

"I thought I was going to have a heart attack," Francona said. "My chest hurt, I was laughing so h.ard. Pedroia is a moron. You can write that. He is a moron. He was dancing, he looked like a puppet on a string. He’s such a little gamer, but he’s looking over knowing we were crushing him. He’s drinking the Red Bull. He’s exhausted. He’s trying to do these things with this girl he’s not strong enough to do. It was hilarious.

"They showed me something getting up on that stage, because I guarantee they were scared to death


Mirabellli Describes Catching Wakefield's Knuckler

Doug Mirabelli talked to WBZ radio in Boston about his Spring Training routine, and what it's like to catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball. Listen to Mirabelli's interview here.

Asked if a Wakefield was coming out of high school this year if he would even be drafted, Mirabelli said he doubted he would. The knuckleballer is truly a dying bread. WBZ's Jon Miller described Wakefield as one of the most underrated pitchers in the game.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hansen Awful in Loss to Twins

Pitcher Craig Hansen, working to earn a spot in the Sox pen, looked awful today. He faced 9 batters giving up three walks, two hits, and hit a Twins batter. Hansen had 4 earned runs in the lone inning that he pitched, debuting his ERA for the Spring at 36.00.

Hansen usually has good stuff. He had an ERA of 3.86 in Pawtucket last season. He features a fastball in the mid-high 90's and a good slider. It's too early for this to mean much of anything. Let's hope Hansen gets back on track in his next outing.

The Sox lost to the Twins 8-2. Lowell and Pedroia had the only RBI's for the Sox, both going 1-3. Lowell hit an HR in the 2nd inning.


Wake Looks Good, Buchholz Shaky

Tim Wakefield pitched two scoreless innings today, giving up one hit and no walks. He looked good.

Buchholz, on the other hand, did not. The Twins were able to bat around in the 3rd before Buchholz was able to get out of the inning. Buchholz gave up two doubles, two singles and a long ball in the inning.

Let's hope he's just trying out some new stuff.


John Henry Makes Steinbrenner an Official Member of Red Sox Nation

Red Sox Owner John Henry told the Boston Herald the following in an email:
""Just to ensure he knows how cool Red Sox Nation is, [Saturday] we officially inducted him as a member of Red Sox Nation and we are sending him his membership card giving him access to an array of options including our newsletter, bumper stickers, pins, Green Monster seats and a hat personally autographed by David Ortiz."

If you want to send anything to Hank yourself you can mail it to:
Hank Steinbrenner
Legends Field
1 Steinbrenner Dr.,
Tampa, FL 33614



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