Red Sox

Jenks back to DL, Randy Williams up


Jenks back to DL, Randy Williams up

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. For the third time this season, reliever Bobby Jenks is heading to the disabled list, reducing the Red Sox' bullpen depth with two weeks to go before the July 31 trade deadline.

Jenks experienced a flareup of back stiffness when he attempted to warm up Friday night in the Red Sox' 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

To replace Jenks on the roster, the team purchased the contract of journeyman lefty Randy Williams. Williams had not been on the 40-man roster, so the Sox designated lefty Tommy Hottovy to make room for his addition.

"I'm excited and a little bit surprised," said Williams. "I was hoping I would get a chance."

Williams has spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues with Seattle, San Diego, Colorado, and the Chicago White Sox, totaling 90 games.

"He's been dominating left-hand hitters," Francona said. "His velocity has been tremendous and it gives us that second lefty where we can match up. His true calling is matching up against lefties and we've wanted to get a look at him anyway. He's that guy who you send to Triple A and say, 'Do your job and you never know.' And here it is."

In 19 games with the Pawsox this season, Williams was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and six saves, having struck out 26 in 21 innings of work. He gives Francona a second lefty in the bullpen
to team with Franklin Morales.

Jenks had been on the DL from June 8 to June 28 with the same back stiffness. Earlier in the season, he was placed on the DL with a right biceps strain.

Signed to a two-year, 12 million deal in the off-season, Jenks hasn't been healthy or productive long enough to contribute.

"Not yet," acknowledged Francona. "That's an important part of our bullpen, that compliment to Daniel Bard, or in the seventh inning, or however you want to put it. Fortunately, Matt Albers has been tremendous and Alfredo Aceves, too. But that other arm is a huge arm...We haven't had him out there healthy. We miss that."

Jenks has appeared in just 19 games, going 2-2 with a 6.32 ERA. Opposing batters have hit .328 against him and his WHIP is an unsightly 2.23.

Jenks is scheduled to return to Boston Saturday night and will be examined by the team's medical staff Sunday.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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


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


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.