Red Sox

Gonzalez 'feels good' after first swings of spring


Gonzalez 'feels good' after first swings of spring

By Sean McAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It may have been only 20-25 swings off a tee, taken in the early morning, in the solitude of the batting cages.

But it was a nice return to baseball activity for Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez swung for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder last October, putting him on the road back to recovery a little earlier than expected.

Originally, Gonzalez was to go visit Dr. David Altchek this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. But Altchek was delayed in arriving and the Sox instead decided to have their own medical director, Dr. Tom Gill, speak with Altchek by phone Sunday. As Gill described what he found in his routine physical last Friday, Altchek gave Gonzalez clearance to begin swinging off a tee.

"I felt good,'' said Gonzalez. "They said four months after surgery to start swinging and today is four months plus a day, so I'm on schedule. I didn't hold back. I took good, healthy swings and I felt fine.

"You're waiting to see if you feel something different and I didn't, so that's a good sign . . . The only thing I had any concerns with were the first couple of swings, see how it responded. Once the first two swings felt great, it was just like taking 18 more swings.''

Gonzalez will also swing off a tee Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a day off from swinging Thursday. At that point, he'll be revaluated and perhaps starting taking regular batting practice.

"I've been ready to swing,'' said Gonzalez. "It was just a matter of getting the clearance. First, it was today that I was going to see the doctor, then it was pushed back to a couple of days later and Altchek still hadn't reported to New York Mets' camp. We didn't know exactly what day it was going to be, so we just kind of turned it around and had Dr. Gill give him a call.

"Dr. Gill checked me during the physicals and on his take, I was good, so we just went ahead with it . . . We'll just take it a day at a time.''

Gonzalez reiterated that he feels he'll be ready for the April 1 regular season opener.

"Even if I had started swinging March 1, I was on pace to start April 1,'' said Gonzalez. "Shoulder's healthy, so it's just like normal.''

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.