Red Sox

Atchison has tear in elbow, may need surgery

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Atchison has tear in elbow, may need surgery

BOSTON -- Scott Atchison knew as soon as he woke up the morning after his rehab outing Friday night with Triple-A Pawtucket that something was wrong with his elbow. It was more than the forearm tightness that had him on the disabled list since July 14.The right-hander had an MRI done, which revealed a tear in his elbow, and will now travel to Pensacola, Fla., to meet with Dr. James Andrews Monday morning for a second opinion.Its a matter of how severe the tear is and what my options are as far as what I do, he said. Obviously, I know a couple of them. Everybody knows Tommy Johns obviously missing a year. But see what he has to say and then go from there.Hes braced himself for the worst news, which would be that he needs Tommy John surgery.I think before the MRI even happened I was kind of prepping for the fact that I was probably, the news wasnt going to be maybe what I wanted to hear, Atchison said. But as far as for the surgery, if thats what I need and thats what we feel is the best route and the only option, then Ill do it. Ive been through a shoulder surgery. Its been 15 years but I put everything into and thats the only way I know to do something and hopefully get back and be the same guy that I was before.Atchison, who has a record of 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games spanning 46 innings this season, said the elbow injury didnt happen on one pitch. It was more a gradual process.I cant go back to one pitch, he said. And thats kind of what the Red Sox doctor told me just going off what he was reading on the MRI it looked more like a gradual. It didn't look like something just popped right on one pitch, that it was kind of over time. Ive thrown a lot of pitches, so its understandable I guess.He essentially gave me what he felt like were three options: surgery, rest, and theres another procedure, Im not sure exactly what its about. But he recommend going ahead and seeing either Andrews or Dr. Lewis Yocum or seeing someone else. Just those guys are not that he wasnt confident in his analysis of it but hes never done Tommy John he told me. So he said, Go ahead and go. Id recommend you see one of those guys that have done obviously lots of them. Which I agree with. Go down there, lets see what they have to say and then discuss it with the Red Sox and figure out what the next step is.Atchison, who turned 36 in March, was originally drafted by the Mariners in the 36th round in 1994. He is in his third season with the Sox. Atchison wasnt really surprised to learn he had a tear in his elbow.I figured there was probably some kind of tear at this point in my career, he said. But obviously its common for evyeboyd to have a little bit of something in there, I think. Thats maybe part of the reason we didnt do the MRI right away the first time it happened. Because I was feeling better and progressed with it. And afraid if you look at something maybe youll see something and thats not the cause of the problem. But when it felt the way I did the day after I threw the other day, I thought something else might be going on because it just didnt seem the way it should for having pitched even just a little sore.Im going to kind of reserve till I hear everything on Monday. Then Ill worry about the rest of it. But its a little disappointing. But hopefully maybe theyll look at it different or maybe well do another one or whatever and see something else and theres another option or something. Well see.

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

For the glass-is-half-full folks, there are those back-to-back Eastern Division titles. For the glass-is-half-empty folks, well, there are those two first-round playoff ousters (though both their conquerers made it to the World Series, and one of them won it). But, here on Thanksgiving night, there's plenty for Red Sox Nation to be thankful for, starting with . . . 


YOUR GOOD HEALTH

We know you don’t need the Red Sox to know you how important the most basic elements of life are. But sometimes, the typical fantasy land of baseball can grab our attention. The death of 17-year-old Sox prospect Daniel Flores (above) this month from complications because of cancer didn’t take away only a potentially great baseball career. It took away a beloved, hard-working young person from the people who loved him. He had just made millions of dollars in July for his talent on the field, but what does such a windfall matter compared to one’s health? His cancer was both rare and fast-moving, per the Boston Globe.

MOOKIE, JACKIE, XANDER, BENINTENDI, DEVERS

The kids deserve some love. They probably won’t be together on the Red Sox forever. Heck, the group could get broken up this winter. But while any of the Killer B’s (plus a D) remain on the Sox, there should be a sense of optimism. Two straight 93-win seasons may have resulted in a first-round exit, and 2017 didn’t meet expectations for some individual performances. But you know what? The youths are still damn good, and there’s time for them to show us they can be even better.

INSANELY GOOD PITCHERS IN CHRIS SALE AND CRAIG KIMBREL

Neither hogs the spotlight once the game ends or says too much. Sale doesn’t even have Twitter. But the righty closer and lefty starter both do two things exceedingly well: make batters swing and miss, and prevent runs. When both pitch, your seat at the park may well be worth the price of admission. (But we won’t ask what you paid for those seats.) Sale didn’t take down Pedro Martinez’s Sox single-season strikeout record this year, finishing with five fewer than Martinez’s 313 in 1999. But he could have done it. And with a little more rest next year, one can envision him plowing his way through playoff opponents too.

ALEX CORA'S NEW DIRECTION

A first-time manager’s not a sure thing, but as Sox owner John Henry noted, there was a feeling it was time for a change. It’s a little early to be thinking ahead to a New Year’s resolution, but a manager who better connects with his players and brings a different vibe to the day-to-day scene is reason to feel the Sox are following the right road map. Plus, if nothing else, Cora took that awesome picture walking toward Fenway.

A CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SPREE MAY BE AROUND THE CORNER

We don’t want to be too materialistic. But Uncle Dave Dombrowski couldn’t let you buy everything you wanted last year. The credit card companies needed him to step back for a year. Now he’s ready to spend. He might not close down Bloomingdale’s for the day for you to do your private shopping, but if you need a couple great jackets to complete your look, it sounds like he’s ready to get you some designer threads. He probably feels there won’t be too many chances to have a moment like this with you, at this stage of your life, and he wants to make the most of it.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

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Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

BOSTON — There is a world outside of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton, at this point, simply doesn’t appear likely to end up in Boston. That should feel obvious to those following along, and so should this: it can change. 

But there are other pursuits. Besides their search for a bat or two, the Red Sox have been actively pursuing left-handed relief options. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is a fast mover, but this year’s market has not been.

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Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad are both free agents, leaving Robby Scott as the lone incumbent southpaw from last season's primary group. Brian Johnson is bound for the pen, with Roenis Elias as a depth option too.  Still, even if Johnson’s transition pans out, the Sox still have an opening for a late-inning reliever with the departure of free agent Addison Reed. 

Reed is a righty, but between Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel, the Sox have more right-handed choices than left. Coming back from surgery, Tyler Thornburg, should be in the mix eventually too, but it's difficult to expect too much from him.

What the Red Sox should do: sign one of each for the bullpen, one righty, and one lefty. And then trade a righty or two. Turn some of that mishmash into an addition elsewhere. Be creative. 

Because inevitably, come midseason, the Sox will want to add another bullpen arm if they sign just one now. Why wait until you have to give up prospect capital when you can just add the piece you want now?

Go get a near-sure thing such as Pat Neshek, a veteran who walks no one and still strikeouts a bunch. At 37 with an outgoing personality, Neshek also brings leadership to a team that is looking for some. He walked just six guys in 62 innings last season. Entering his 12th season in the majors, he’s looking for his first ring.

All these top of the market relievers may be handsomely paid. But relievers are still something of a bargain compared to position players and starting pitchers. One of the key words for this winter should be creativity. If there’s value to be had in the reliever market, capitalize on it. 

Comeback kid Mike Minor, Jake McGee and Tony Watson headline the crop of free agent lefties available. Brad Hand of the Padres could also be had by trade but his market isn’t moving too quickly (and he won’t come cheaply).

Minor, 29, who posted a 2.55 ERA in 2017 after health issues kept him out of the majors in 2015-16, is expected to be paid handsomely. He is also open to the idea of potentially starting if a team is interested in him doing so. The Royals reportedly could give him that shot.

McGee’s American League East experience could be appealing.

He's 31 and had a 3.61 ERA with the Rockies in 2017 and has a 3.15 ERA lifetime. He’s not quite the strikeout pitcher he was earlier in his career — he had an 11.6 K/9 in 2015 — but a 9.1 K/9 is still very strong, particularly when coupled with just 0.6 homers allowed per nine.

For what it’s worth: McGee has also dominated the Red Sox, who have a .125 average, .190 on-base percentage and .192 slugging against him in 117 regular-season plate appearances. 

McGee throws a mid-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. He can operate up in the zone, and he actually has been even more effective against righties than lefties in his career, including in 2017. McGee’s been a closer, too, with 44 career saves.

The Sox had the second-best bullpen in the majors by ERA in 2017, at 3.07. Yet, come the postseason, there wasn’t a sense of great confidence or even a clear shape to the pecking order behind one of the absolute best relievers in the game, Kimbrel.