Red Sox

Butterfield ready for third-base coach responsibility

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Butterfield ready for third-base coach responsibility

FORT MYERS, Fla. - It has been said that perhaps the only tougher job in baseball than coaching third base for the Red Sox is managing the Red Sox. But, there are some who arent certain those are in the right order.

Brian Butterfield, the Sox new third base coach, knows whats ahead of him, and he knows it will be a challenge.

One of the benefits that Ive had, I grew up in New England, said Butterfield, a native of Maine. Dad (the late Jack Butterfield, who served as vice president of player development and scouting for the Yankees) used to take me to a lot of games. So I went to a lot of games at Fenway, watched a lot of games on TV. I almost feel like Ive been a member of the Red Sox for a long time.

And then being in the division for the last 11, 12 years, Ive had an opportunity to coach third for over 100 times at Fenway in my career. So I feel comfortable. There are some tough spots, but there are also some forgiving spots. We really feel like right field is the best two-base field in baseball, because theres so much area out there. Right fielders have to play a little bit deeper. Its a great first-to-third field and a great second-to-home field. So left field is the toughest two-base field and right field is I think the best two-base field in all of baseball. So the tough parts are offset by some easier parts. The one thing as a coach you always want to keep sight of the ball and that left field corner can be tough because that jut-out with the stands.

Butterfield knows previous Red Sox third base coaches have had a difficult time. Its part of the job with any team. Third base coaches are a lot like umpires. Fans dont notice them until something goes wrong.

Ive watched for years, and fair or unfair, sometimes it can be a very unfair position, he said. Because, for me, I still think to this day that Dale Sveum is an outstanding third base coach. I really do. Hes a guy that Ive had a lot of conversations with and I think that he takes great positioning. Hes a great decision maker. But thats the nature of the beast.

"And I think that just like players, through time you develop tough skin. You may have well-laid intentions but then the defense executes and you get a guy thrown out. And were going to get guys thrown out because good baserunning teams, aggressive baserunning teams run into outs. So you cant worry about it too much, you just got to keep moving forward and keep pressing, and thats what we try to encourage players. Im going to make some bad decisions, but Ive got to learn to flush it and move on and keep pressing the issue.

Butterfield is also responsible for the baserunning game. With an entirely new coaching staff working with a new group of players, baserunning signs have to be revised and reinvented often.

It takes a little while, he said. I know over the last five years as a third base coach, there's always guys being traded, guys who move on to other clubs, and theres things that you have to change. Well, this year, I feel like Ive had to change just about everything that Ive done offensively. So its going to be an adjustment period for me feeling good. But thats what spring training is for, feeling good about getting my signs, plus imparting to them what were going to do.

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.