Red Sox

Beckett's ankle improving


Beckett's ankle improving

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Josh Beckett, sidelined with an ankle sprain, couldn't say when he would return to the mound for the Red Sox, but said the ankle has shown a lot of improvement in the last day or so, leaving him optimistic.

Beckett long-tossed Saturday afternoon from a distance of about 120 feet.

"It was more just getting loose and come back in and throw some breaking balls and changeups,'' said Beckett, "and kind of see how it feels pushing off. Because that's been the big issue, with my body weight on it.''

Beckett said the ankle, which forced him from the game Monday, "feels a lot better today. Two days ago, it was pretty rough.''

He wouldn't put a timetable on his return to the rotation, saying: "It's not my decision. The trainer's got to be comfortable with where I am. (But) I don't see it being too much longer.''

"He's doing good,'' said manager Terry Francona. "He's got minimal soreness. We'll continue to re-evlaute. When he pitches, we don't know. But he's going OK.''

Asked if he could envision throwing a between-start bullpen mid-week and taking his next turn next weekend, Beckett said: "I think that sounds reasonable, but like I said, it's not my decision. It's going to be up to them. Obviously, they're going
to have my input and I'm ready to come back whenever it feels good.''

Beckett said he's been able to maintain his arm strength during his downtime by doing normal shoulder exercises and some light throwing.

"We just have to take it day-by-day,'' he cautioned. ''If I come in tomorrow and it's flared back up, this was all for naught.''

Some swelling some exists in the ankle, "which shuts down some of the muscles... The fluid takes up space and whenever you do certain movements, it pinches you.''

Beckett revealed that, when he came off the mound Monday, "it hurt bad,'' and he feared the injury was related to his Achilles tendon, since the discomfort was in the back of the ankle joint.

With the post-season less than three weeks away, Beckett doesn't see this compromising his readiness.

"I'm hoping this isn't a question mark,'' he said. "It needs to be 100 percent whenever I come back. I don't think we're going to (rush it); we're going to test it off the mound first and then figure stuff out.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins


Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins

He was dubbed "Closer B" by Red Sox manager John Farrell when acquired at the trade deadline last summer, now Addison Reed is "Closer B Gone" the Twins.

The right-handed reliever, 29, has agreed to a two-year, $16.75 million free-agent deal with Minnesota, pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and reports. 

Reed began last season with the Mets and had 19 saves and a 2.57 ERA before being traded to the Red Sox, where he had a 3.33 ERA in 29 games (27 innings) without a save as a setup man for Craig Kimbrell.  

Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration


Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration

The Red Sox and star right fielder Mookie Betts intend to go to an arbitration hearing in February, and there were signs this was coming even a year ago.

Betts was the only arbitration-eligible player on the Red Sox who did not settle on a contract with the team on Friday, when a deadline arrived for all teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange 2018 salary figures. Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Drew Pomeranz were the biggest names to avoid hearings.

Betts filed for a $10.5 million salary and the Red Sox filed at $7.5 million.  Betts and the Red Sox agreed previously that if no figure could be settled on by the Friday deadline, they would proceed to a hearing, assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran said. 

A three-person panel of arbitrators therefore is set to determine what Betts makes in 2018: either the $7.5 million figure the Sox filed or the $10.5 million figure Betts' camp submitted. The arbitrators won't settle on a midpoint for the parties. 

O'Halloran noted to the Globe there are no hard feelings involved.

Nonetheless, such a large gap would seem to provide incentive to settle. The parties technically could still decide to do so, but that would take a change of course from the present plan. The idea was to settle any time before Friday, and they did not. 

Betts is asking for near-record money for a first-year arbitration eligible player. Kris Bryant set the record Friday with a $10.85 million settlement.

The hearings can be difficult for player-team relations because teams have to make the case in front of the player that he is worth less money than he wants.

Betts, 25, hit .264, with 24 homers, 102 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a .803 OPS in 2017, numbers that fell from his American League MVP runner-up performance in 2016, but were nonetheless very strong and coupled with first-rate defense.

This offseason is Betts' first of arbitration eligibility. In the first three years of service time in a players' career, there's no recourse if you don't like the salary a team is offering. Teams can pay players anything at league minimum or above. 

The only option a player has in those first three years is to make a stand on principle: you can force the team to technically "renew" your salary, which notes to everyone that you did not agree to the salary. Betts and his agents did that in 2017 when the Sox paid him $950,000, a very high amount relative to most contract renewals.

Some of the standard thinking behind forcing a team to renew a contract is that if an arbitration case comes up down the road — and one now looms for Betts — it's supposed to show the arbitrators that the player felt even in seasons past, he was underpaid.

Still, the Sox may have effectively combatted that perception by paying Betts almost $1 million on a renewal. Per USA Today, that $950,000 agreement in 2017 was "the second-highest one-year deal ever for a non-arbitration-eligible player with two-plus years of big league service." Mike Trout got $1 million in 2014.