Red Sox

Notes: Francona squashes Jenks-Guillen beef

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Notes: Francona squashes Jenks-Guillen beef

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before the Bobby Jenks-Ozzie Guillen flareup spun completely out of control, the Red Sox and White Sox brokered a verbal cease fire Sunday morning.

Terry Francona, who had been in communication with White Sox bench coach Joey Cora earlier in the week, spoke with Guillen about calling a truce between the Chicago manager and new Red Sox reliever.

Jenks appeared to re-ignite things last week when he told the Chicago Tribune that the relationship between White Sox GM Kenny Williams and Guillen was a "distraction'' to White Sox players. Guillen returned fire Saturday and warned that his son, Oney, had more damaging information to tweet about Jenks if the reliever persisted.

Francona called Jenks into his office and advised the pitcher to drop the war of words.

"That's over,'' said Francona said of the controversy. "I spoke to Bobby and I went back and forth with Ozzie (via text). I'm confident that will be over. I dont care if they like each other, but Bobbys a Red Sox and we have to move on. I think he understands that.

"We're just making sure it goes away. It doesn't need to happen. He played for the White Sox and now he plays for the Red Sox.''

Jenks added: "It is what it is. At this point, you know, Im tired of it. I just want to move on. Im a Red Sox now, and thats all Im going to worry about. From this point on, Ive got nothing else to say. Guillen's going to have his say. Whatever. I'm a Red Sox and that's all that matters.

The Sox were set to defend their four-year streak as winners of the Mayor's Cup, awarded each spring to the winner of the spring series between Fort Myers' two teams: the Red Sox and Twins.

Francona jokingly observed that Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire had moved up Sunday's starter Carl Pavano to open the series, then noted that the Sox were using two of their own five starters: Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.

Reminded that the Sox had won the last four Cups, Francona said: "It's hard not to be arrogant.''

Francona noted that the Sox will face the Twins three days in a row -- Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday afternoon. That represents three of the five games between the two this month.

"There's a lot of anxiety,'' said of the games at the start of the Grapefruit League schedule. "It's like facing the Yankees on Opening Day -- it's too much, too soon.''

Newcomer Dennys Reyes, who arrived in camp Saturday after a delay caused by visa issues, threw a 32-pitch side session, which impressed pitching coach Curt Young.

"Curt was ecstatic,'' said Francona. "Reyes will face hitters on the back field Tuesday. Young said he was really pleased with how game-ready Reyes looks. He had no qualms about letting him face hitters.''

In his 16-season career, Mike Cameron has stolen 296 bases. Limited to just 48 games last season with a lower abdominal strain, he went without a stolen base for the first time since 1996, when he appeared in just 11 games for the White Sox.

Sunday against the Twins, he wasted little time demonstrating that he is healthy.

In the second inning, his ground ball to Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka forced Kevin Youkilis at second base, with Cameron avoiding a double play. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the next batter, at the plate, Cameron stole second base.

I thought that was the exciting part of the night, Francona said. Cam runs down the line, his stride looks good, that was the most exciting thing of the night for me.

Hideki Okajima had a difficult outing, giving up three consecutive singles before a bases-clearing triple. He went one inning, giving up four runs on five hits with two strikeouts.

Oki had a couple grounders and then the flare into center, Francona said. And then he tried to sneak a fastball with the bases loaded and it clears the bases.

Every time it seemed like we got in trouble, balls were elevated in the middle of the plate, which is what happens.

Darnell McDonald, playing left field, nearly caught Jason Repkos second-inning triple, which scored Chris Parmelee with the first Twins run. McDonald crashed into the wall, the ball glancing off his glove.

Lars Anderson and Mark Wagner both hit solo home runs.

Brandon Duckworth gave up two runs on three hits in the eighth.

The Sox and Twins play again Monday, the second of their three straight games. The Twins now have a one-game lead in the five-game Mayors Cup series. Francona joked if they lose Monday, hell consider bringing Beckett back on Tuesday.

Dustin Pedroia, who made his exhibition debut Saturday, was not in the lineup last night, but said he felt "great . . . everything's fine,'' the day after his first spring appearance.

The Sox are likely to have their starting outfield -- left fielder Carl Crawford, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and right fielder J.D. Drew -- on the field Monday against Minnesota.

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

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp: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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