Red Sox

Gonzalez hoping to play 162 for Sox

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Gonzalez hoping to play 162 for Sox

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A day after making his Grapefruit League debut, Adrian Gonzalez took batting practice in Fort Myers and reported that his surgically repaired right shoulder felt "great.''

While his teammates traveled to Bradenton to face the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Sox gave Gonzalez a day out of the lineup to recover from his first game action.

"Batting practice today felt better today than it did Saturday and the day before, which is good,'' said Gonzalez. "Today was more of a strength day. I got some weights in. It felt good after everything we did.''

Asked if he felt any anxiety about how the shoulder would respond Sunday after his first game action of the spring Saturday, Gonzalez said: "The only anxiety I had was making sure I got here on time with the daylight saving time change.''

Gonzalez is scheduled to play again Monday night against the Yankees and said he hoped to get three at-bats after getting two at-bats Saturday.

"I'll have to talk Terry Francona into it,'' said Gonzalez. "We'll see how that goes. If you see a brawl in the dugout, you'll know what it's about.''

With the first test passed, Gonzalez's spring is more about "the everyday grind of it. Right now, I'm still on the 'day-in, day-off' mentality. It's when you start getting into the four, five, six days in a row, which I don't think will happen until the season. The fatigue kicks in at that point.''

The first baseman said the shoulder is strong, but there's some fatigue in the joint from time to time.

"I'm still not fully recovered,'' he said. "I'm good enough to play and all that, but as far as being 100 percent, it's not there yet . . . It's not about strength. It's about endurance or stamina. I get to a certain point where I take too many swings or swing real hard numerous amount of times, I feel the fatigue.

"It's not about strength. It's not about those kinds of things. Say I have to take an extra 20 swings in the cage to get my swing right -- right now, I wouldn't be able to do that because that would just wear it down. So right now, everything's real controlled.

"You only take this many swing here, this many swings there, this many swings before the game, then when the game starts, you take x amount of swings and that's it. It's not, 'Hey, I need to take an extra 30 swings to be ready.' If I go into the cage to get my swing right and 20 swings in, it doesn't feel good, oh well. You take that into the game. I don't have the ability to take another 20.''

It's unlikely that Gonzalez will play on consecutive days until late next week. Gonzalez, who has averaged more than 160 games over his last four seasons, said his goal is to play all 162 games.

"I'm a first baseman,'' said Gonzalez, smiling. "How much energy do you really put out there? I don't steal bases. I don't run fast. I play first base. As long as my legs can take it, I'm good and thank God, up until now, my legs have been good enough to take it.''

Gonzalez prefers to play as much as possible and said he's never asked a manager for a day off.

"I've gotten into an argument when he's tried to give me a day off,''said Gonzalez. "The times they've given me a day off, I'm really annoying in the dugout. So the next time, they're like, 'Let's just throw him in there so he's not annoying me.' ''

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

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.