Red Sox

Drew working on shoulder, happy for Reddick

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Drew working on shoulder, happy for Reddick

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- J.D. Drew, on the DL since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement, said before Thursdays game his shoulder has been bothering him for quite a while, as far back as spring training, and that he has had several injections to deal with the problem in his left rotator cuff. His priority now is to get some strength back in the area.

Shoulders been nagging for quite a while," he said. Everythings coming along. Just trying to get some strength to get back in there. Impingement, irritation, tendinitis, whatever you want to call it, over a period of time its just gotten weaker and weaker, creating some bad habits. Just trying to battle through it, get some strength in there and see where we go from there.

Ive had a couple of injections this year but were trying to let this last one I had about a week ago take effect. In the meantime, Im doing some strengthening work.

In the final year of a five-year, 70 million contract with the Red Sox, Drew is batting .219 with four home runs and 21 RBI. He has never gotten onto a hot streak this season as he had in past years, bothered by the shoulder since the start of the season.

I think I had some of the effects in spring training, first month of the season, he said. Ive felt it for a while but its one of those things thats slowly, gradually taking some strength out of that shoulder, which is causing some bad habits and it got to a point where the discussion with the training staff trying to figure out what direction we need to go to get some strength back in my shoulder without continually tearing it down at the same time.

We made the decision to not really continue to swing for a while. The DL was the obvious option.

Drew is confident, however, that he will play again this season.

Yeah, I think so, he said. I want to get to the point strengthwise where I can go out and start swinging the bat and I can kind of control that (without) too much of an impact. I created some bad habits at the plate. I want to kind of get away from by making the strength gains to kind of regain where I want to be at the plate.

I dont really have a timetable. I just think as soon as I find the strength gains and get back to hitting again and am pain free Ill be fine.

He is working on strengthening the shoulder first, breaking the bad habits that he has developed this season.

When you get weakness what Ive found, the weaker my shoulder has become the more I jump at balls, try to create bat speed, power and everything from my lower half vs. letting my hands work, he said. Its been a frustrating battle because Ive found myself having a couple of nice rounds of batting practice and when I get in the game I want to create that bat speed and when your top hands kind of lagging behind you find another place to try to create that bat speed and its been my lower half kind of jumping out in front.

For whatever reason, a lot of swings throughout my whole career Ive kind of hung onto the bat, followed through with both hands and Ive found myself kind of casting with my bottom hand and releasing with my top hand. Things that I watch the tapes and Im trying not to do that. Its just involuntary motions trying to take a little pressure off my shoulder."

Despite the injuries and being in the last year of his contract, Drew, who in the past has mentioned the possibility of retiring, is not thinking about that at this point.

No, not at all, said. This has been a frustrating year from the standpoints of this and trying to get things figured out at the plate. So thats been the main focus, trying to get everything back to normal, keep rolling and help this team in any way I can. Its been one of them battles where ultimately just from a daily basis, talking to the training staff, I dont feel like I can do what I want to do because of this weakness in there. Well take some time here and get some strength built back up and start taking swings again and see where we go.

Josh Reddick has filled in during Drews absence. He is playing right field, batting sixth in the series finale against the Royals today. Reddick is batting .358 with four home runs and 21 RBI in35 games. He is among the American League rookie leaders in several offensive categories.

Josh has played great, man, Drew said. Hes probably one of the most improved young players Ive seen. He went from one extreme to another. So its been fun to watch.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

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“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.
 

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez sensed he was ready to bust out of his slump and give the Chicago Cubs the lift they needed.

As breakthroughs go, this was a big one. Just in time to keep the season going for the defending champs.

Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

"We have to be much more offensive," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

Baez finally got going with a pair of solo drives .

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to help the Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

"They're the world champs, and you know they're going to fight to the end," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "So today, they did. We got beat today."

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. He had been watching videos and felt his timing was starting to come back in recent trips to the plate.

"I just need to take a step back and see what's going on," he said.

Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley , who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

"Great to have this win, because if not we were going home tomorrow," Baez said. "But I feel like we're still not on track as a team. But I think if we get back on track, everybody as a team, we're going to be the best again."

Contreras' 491-foot homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez sent a towering drive out to left.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

"Hopefully, it's not a goodbye, it's a thank you, obviously," Arrieta said. "I still intend to have another start in this ballpark. If that's where it ends, I did my best and I left it all out there."

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.

"The only frustrating thing is we fell a run short," Turner said. "We played a great game, they played a great game. They just hit one more ball over the fence than we did."

FINISHING UP

Maddon said Davis would not be available on Thursday.

"So other guys got to do it," Maddon said. "We have to be much more offensive. It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

QUOTABLE

Chicago's Kyle Schwarber on all the Cubs' runs coming on homers in the series: "That's fine. A run's a run, anyway you can get them in. Obviously, we want to manufacture some runs, but we won a ballgame 3-2 hitting homers; I'll take that, too."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: The Dodgers turn to Kershaw to try to wrap up the series. The three-time NL Cy Young winner went five innings in Game 1, allowing two runs, and has a 4.76 ERA in two postseason starts this year.

Cubs: Quintana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in Game 1, one day after his wife, Michel, was taken off the team plane in Albuquerque with a medical ailment.

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