Red Sox

Notes on Opening Day: Attention on Ortiz; Fenway changes


Notes on Opening Day: Attention on Ortiz; Fenway changes

BOSTON - Four notes to come out of Opening Day in Boston before the Red Sox and Orioles begin things on an overcast and windy Monday afternoon.

1. It will be interesting to watch how David Ortiz deals with the increased media presence around him this season, his last in the majors.

Ortiz had a camera crew following him around the clubhouse at points on Monday morning, as well as what appears to be a bit of an increased national media presence.

For what it's worth, nobody -- including Ortiz -- seems bothered by the added attention. And as John Farrell notes, attention is nothing new to Ortiz.

"I think anytime that we deal with David there's always a buzz around David," Farrell said. "And he hasn't changed his routine and I think guys just kind of take what we're going to experience in stride. And I would hope that we wouldn't be distracted by any celebration or recognition for David.

Ortiz certainly hasn't skipped a beat so far. He's batting .294 with two home runs and five RBI.

"I think his only emotion that we've seen is a laugh, a congratulatory high five when someone else does something else," said Farrell. "Nothing has changed as far as David's approach to the game or certainly the way he's swinging the bat. No evidence of him slowing down. I'm sure there will be a special moment today to recognize him but we're seeing a guy getting off to a very good start."

2. Friendly Fenway might become more friendly to Red Sox infielders.

No, the Green Monster hasn't gone anywhere. But bring your eyes in to the infield and you may notice some changes.

The Red Sox ripped out the old infield and put a brand new one in over the offseason. The biggest difference is that there's more grass and less dirt.

"With so many events last year we were in position to put down a new infield," Farrell said. "At the time there was some discussion that went on internally on if there we adjustments we would like to make. Typically this has been an infield where there's so much expanse of dirt or exposed dirt. We looked around Major League Baseball, saw some different styles, and just wanted to put a little more grass in for continuity of a ground ball."

Farrell said that the team talked with Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts, picking their brains about the type of changes they'd like to see.

3. Sitting between the dugouts? No need to pay attention anymore.

It's no surprise to see Fenway Park add netting from one dugout to the next along the backstops after the incident that happened last season when a fan was seriously injured due to a broken bat that struck her in the head.

Major League Baseball recommended that all MLB teams add netting, and the Red Sox did just that. The netting goes up as it always has behind the backstop, but it does not go up and over the seats as it does behind the backstop.

"I recognize that our fans want to be uninterrupted in the action but our priority and I think Major League Baseball's priority is fan safety," Farrell said. "So we're seeing it in every ballpark with the netting that's there. I think like many changes that you see around the league, we're going to get accustomed to the difference in the netting there. But we saw a pretty scary thing here and I don't think any of us want to see any of that again. So we feel like this will remedy some of those potential issues."

4. One other thing the Red Sox added this year: televisions in each dugout that show the respective team's bullpen.

"Both sides have it. Just to be able to see more clearly who's getting loose rather than call upstairs or try to figure out who in fact is the next guy getting ready," Farrell said.

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third. 

Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.

In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three. 

Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies. 



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.