Red Sox

Gonzalez gets six at-bats in minor league game

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Gonzalez gets six at-bats in minor league game

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. With general manager Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, third baseinfield coach Tim Bogar, and his agent John Boggs among the onlookers, Adrian Gonzalez got six at-bats in a game at the Red Sox player development complex Wednesday afternoon.

Batting third in each of the first six innings another sign of spring training in the Pawtucket Red Sox game against the Rays Triple-A Durham Bulls, Gonzalez went 3-for-6, all singles, with a run scored and an RBI, as he makes his way back from off-season surgery on his right shoulder to prepare for full-time play in the regular season. He saw a combined 24 pitches in his plate appearances. Gonzalez did not play in the field.

It went well, Gonzalez said after his outing, a large ice pack wrapped around his right shoulder. The shoulders been feeling really good. I know for head trainer Mike Reinold, the important issue was playing back-to-back games. For me it was more getting my timing down. The first couple of days I was just hitting, just looking for a fastball. And then the last couple of days Ive been trying to actually have at-bats. It hasnt gone too well. So, it was good to be able to go up there and try to have at-bats. And then kind of mix it up and be aggressive. It felt good.

Gonzalez faced Rays' minor league right-handers Richard De Los Santos and Jeremy Hall.

Held out of games until March 12 as the Sox monitored his shoulders progress, Gonzalez has gotten just 16 plate appearances in six Grapefruit League games. By comparison, minor-league infielder Nate Spears leads the team with 56 plate appearances in 21 Grapefruit League games. Gonzalez is hitting just .143, going 2-for-14 with two walks.

Ive been seeing the ball great as far as seeing it out of the hands, seeing ball-strike, Gonzalez said. But when it comes to actually seeing a pitch I want to swing at and swinging, it just wasnt clicking. I really dont care about results because results, it doesnt really matter in spring training. It's just being able to see a strike and take a good swing at a strike with the right timing. It hasnt been there quite. So today I felt a lot better out there.

Gonzalez expects to play in the Sox remaining Grapefruit League games, except Thursday in Jupiter against the Marlins and Sunday in Sarasota against the Orioles.

He has also resumed using his regular bat instead of the lighter one which he used for most of his spring training at-bats.

Im using the right one now, he said. Today I used the normal bat. Ive been trying it out an at-bat here and there. But today I actually took it out every at-bat because they were all righties. It felt fine.

Gonzalez had surgery in October, after originally injuring his shoulder in Houston in May diving for a foul ball.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate marred in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

Brett Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled crowd on its feet.

He reached down to stay with a slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Gardner came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros had just three hits and are hitting .153 in the series.

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off, and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

MORE:

Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE