Red Sox

Cano tops Gonzalez in Home Run Derby

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Cano tops Gonzalez in Home Run Derby

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHOENIX -- Just like seemingly everything else in Major League Baseball, the Home Run Derby Monday night came down to a battle between the Red Sox and Yankees.

With the American League already assured of a one-sided victory, the final round came down to Adrian Gonzalez vs. Robinson Cano.

After Gonzalez belted 11 homers in his turn to set a record for most homers in the final round, Cano topped him, hitting 12 and winning the title.

David Ortiz's American Leaguers finished with 76 homers to just 19 for Prince Fielder's National League squad.

"That was a lot of fun, said an exhausted Gonzalez. "Cano did an unbelievable job. He deserved to win -- he hit homers a lot farther than I did. I just got them over the fence and it was fun to make it to the finals.

Gonzalez said he didn't feel this represented another chapter of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry.

"No, it didn't, said Gonzalez. "It was National League vs. American League and we put a pretty good whipping on them.

Gonzalez confessed he was "beat. You get to that 15-swing range and you're just focused on what pitches to swing at and all that goes out that door.

The Red Sox first baseman helped set the tone with nine homers in the first round.

"You really don't have an approach, said Gonzalez. "You just try to hit home runs. You try to get a good pitch to hit.

That was my only thing going in because in St. Louis (in 2009), I was really antsy and I didn't take a lot of pitches. I didn't focus enough on getting a good pitch.

Until about 20 minutes before the event, Gonzalez didn't have anybody picked out to throw to him in the Derby. He had hoped to have his older brother David pitch to him, but his brother couldn't make it. He then tried his former high school coach, who also was unavailable.

Looking for volunteers, Gonzalez found Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta, who is serving as a coach for the American League All-Star team.

"He quickly found where I liked the ball, said Gonzalez, "and he did a great job of just grooving it in there. There wasn't any choice. I was asking around and he said, 'All right, I'll do it.'

Ortiz, who selected the squad, joked that he proved he could be a manager.

"Tito, look out, man, said Ortiz. "Im coming to get your job. I made the right choice. It was an unbelievable show between Robinson and my teammate, Gonzo. What Cano did out there was unbelievable.

Ortiz admitted that he thought about the Red Sox-Yankee showdown in the final round.

"I thought about that for a minute, said Ortiz. "But in the end, you really want either one especially from your team to win. But the most important thing was to put on a good show for the fans.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

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Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

Dustin Pedroia has been cleared to run following October surgery on his right knee.

“It’s been pretty much what they thought it would be,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “This is always the time they had told me. So you start running at this point, but that’s just running. So you’re not cutting, you’re not doing all things. We still have two and a half months until opening day. 

“I cant say he would never be ready, but we’re not pushing him for that. I think it’s more important he follows step by step. So you run, then cut, then you pick up the pace. But he’s made very positive strides. But that’s why he’s not going to be there this weekend, with the big crowds and all the treatment he has it’s probably not good for him in case someone would run into him accidentally. But he’s making good strides.”

Pedroia told WEEI this month that he’s eyeing Opening Day. Dombrowski said at Alex Cora’s introductory press conference in November that the Red Sox were targeting May. 

“We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say," Dombrowski said.

  • Dombrowski expects Mookie Betts and the Sox will wind up at a hearing, as assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran also said. The team made clear that if filing numbers were exchanged, a hearing would follow. That’s called a “file and go” approach, or “file and trial” or “file to go.” The Sox don’t employ the approach universally — they exchanged numbers with Drew Pomeranz before settling last year — but it is the approach they’re taking with Betts. A panel of arbitrators will decide if he makes $10.5 million, as Betts filed for, or $7.5 million, as the Red Sox filed for (barring an unexpected settlement before then).

 

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Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 2017 injuries should not be overlooked

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Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 2017 injuries should not be overlooked

It’s well known that Xander Bogaerts was playing hurt for much of 2017. All players in a 162-game season work through multiple injuries, nicks, strains and sometimes worse.

But it has probably gone too far under the radar that Jackie Bradley Jr. was not physically himself last season.

MORE - Sox aren't avoiding Martinez because Harper, Machado loom

One of the reasons to believe Bradley can rebound in 2017 — and a reason to advocate keeping a cost-controlled player who is both comfortable in Boston and immensely talented — is renewed health.

Bradley suffered a right knee sprain in April that put him in a brace through May. He sprained his left thumb in August.

A baseball source with direct knowledge of Bradley’s situation emphasized his injuries did affect him. Bradley, like many players, on Thursday did not want to discuss the extent of his health.

“Y’all know I’m never gonna say anything about that. It’s just not who I am,” Bradley told NBC Sports Boston before accepting the defensive player of the year award at the 79th annual Boston baseball writers awards dinner. “But as a player, you just have to deal. You’re injured. But I felt at the time that I could still help the team out. So I was in a brace. I think once I got it off, it actually was feeling pretty good.

It didn’t linger all year, Bradley said.

“It felt pretty good until the thumb happened,” Bradley said. “But it’s one of those things where nobody’s ever really 100 percent. You grind, and you make the best with what’s due.”

Bradley slashed .245/.323/.402 in 2017 with 17 home runs. That's down from a .267/.349/.486 line with 26 home runs in 2016.

One of the things Bradley wants to do more of in 2018 is steal bases. He stole eight last season after a career-high nine the year before. In the minors, he stole 24 bases in one season (2012, between High-A and Double-A).

“I’ve always wanted to run more and I’m glad he’s going to give me the opportunity to be able to do that more often,” Bradley said of new manager Alex Cora. “I’ve always felt like I can run. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger every year. I’ve been pretty successful on the base paths but I guess certain times situations did not dictate it in the past. The red light was something more of a thing they wanted to do with certain people at bat instead of taking the next base.”

Asked if he considered how his health would play into stealing, Bradley noted the reward available.

“I’ve never gotten hurt stealing,” Bradley said. “I’m not saying there’s not a possibility, obviously there’s a possibility. Guys who steal a ton of bags can attest to that. Jacoby [Ellsbury], Billy [Hamilton], stuff like that. There is risk/reward. But, I feel like the reward outweighs the risk in most cases. I just want to be in scoring position. That’s what I want to be in. I want to help.” Bradley acknowledged that he heard about the trade rumors this offseason.

"Yeah that’s one of those things where you do see it,” Bradley said. “You definitely have family members who are constantly talking to you about it. You know, ‘Well, what if this, what if that?’ 

“Well, what if this what if that? What will be, will be. That has always been my mindset. It’s something that I can’t really control. You know, so, I’m just not going to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m perfectly fine. I feel like I’m in a great situation. I feel like I have great teammates. I’m glad to be around them. And like I said, I understand if it did happen, then it’s something that I’ll have to live with.”

Bradley said he and his teammates have not discussed how long they will (or won’t) be together.

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