Red Sox

Notes: Pimentel tosses two scoreless innings

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Notes: Pimentel tosses two scoreless innings

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In the seven-inning afternoon game against Boston College, Stolmy Pimentel tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts on 13 pitches.

In addition to the three-run homer from Youkilis, the Sox got a run-scoring single from Ryan Kalish and sacrifice flies from Lars Anderson and Alex Hassan.

The game also featured an annual rite of spring: a plate appearance by staff member Ino Guerrero. Guerrero made a pinch-hit appearance in the sixth and drew a walk.

During Guerrero's at-bat, every player and coach in the home dugout was on the first step, watching intently.

"He's the first player now to get into a game in nine decades,'' cracked Francona. "We wanted him to swing, believe me. There was a lot of money riding on the fact that he was not going to get a hit.''

Dennys Reyes, who signed a deal with the Red Sox earlier this month, finally arrived in camp, delayed somewhat by visa issues in his native Mexico.

"He's had two or three long days trying to travel and obstacles in getting here,'' said Francona. "We'll just try and gauge where he is. He looks good. He tested his shoulder and that came out fine. We haven't even watched him throw yet. We'll see. Obviously, the sooner the better. But we don't want to do it too soon, because that doesn't help anybody. As soon as he gets ready, and not before, we'll throw him right into the mix.''

Said Reyes: "I've been pitching for a long time and I know what to do. I'm going to do my best every time out.''

Reyes said the battle for the final two spots in the bullpen will result in "a great competition. There's nothing you can do. I know most of the guys competing and I respect them. It's not going to be our decision; it's going to be the (team's) decision and you just have to do the best you can.''

Reyes has been in a spring training competition a few times before and the toughest part of the process is the mental aspect.

"Thinking about what if you're not (chosen for the roster),'' said Reyes, "that's the hardest part.''

Though he was held up in arriving in camp, Reyes has already thrown three bullpens and three simulated games in his native Mexico.''

A mechanical flaw resulted in Reyes being ineffective against lefties last year, but he thinks he corrected it at the end of last season.

"Throughout his career,'' said Francona, "he's gotten lefties out. That's what the hopes are.''

Felix Doubront, who was shut down last week with tenderness in his left elbow, said he felt "the normal tightness'' he usually feels at the start of spring training.

Doubront had an MRI, which showed no structural damage to the elbow.

"I feel it every year when I start throwing,'' he said. "When I threw my first live BP, there was something there. It wasn't right. I talked to the trainers. It's a little frustrating, but it could have been worse. It's nothing to worry about it. It's just minor.''

The Red Sox beat Northeastern in the nightcap, 13-2, after beating Boston College in the first game, 6-0. Northeastern had more errors, seven, than the Red Sox had hits, six. Milton, Mass., Rich Hill earned the win, going one inning giving up a run on hit with one strikeout.

Mike Cameron, who was limited to 48 games last season with a lower abdominal strain, served as the designated hitter against Northeastern, going 0-for-2. It was his first game activity since July 30, with season-ending surgery on Aug. 27.

It was good, Cameron said. You just never know how the game is going to transpire. It was good. I got a chance to get out there and get in the box. The jitters kind of went away. I dont know if it was the guy who was throwing or what, but I felt kind of comfortable out there. Well continue the work in progress.

Manager Terry Francona said the original plan had been for the infield to play in the first game of the doubleheader against Boston College, and the outfield play against Northeastern. But that was scuttled when left fielder Carl Crawford was excused from camp to return to his Houston home for personal reasons. Still, Francona was happy to see Ellsbury and Cameron return to the lineup healthy.

It was nice to see them both in action, he said.

Northeasterns Ryan Maguire, of Arlington, Mass., opened the game with a first-pitch home run off Kyle Weiland. In 128 13 innings over 25 starts for Double-A Portland last season, Weiland allowed just 13 home runs.

Flashy shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias with 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI.

He took a nice swing, Francona said. The big thing for Jose will be not his swing. I think hes got a pretty swing. Its just swinging at strikes, trying to work counts, and learning that aspect of it because he can hit. He can get the barrel on the ball.

Peter Hissey and Che-Hsuan Lin also had two RBI each.

Adrian Gonzalez took 25 swings off the tee, then hit 25 flips early Saturday morning. "He had a real good morning. Everything went really well. He was really pleased with us . . . Among the players scheduled to play against Minnesota in the Grapefruit League opener tonight: Jarrod Saltalmacchia; Jed Lowrie; David Ortiz; Kevin Youkilis; Mike Cameron; Darnell McDonald; Jose Iglesias; and Ryan Kalish . . . Infielder Hector Luna scratched from the second game with a tight groin, which he has battled all spring...Francona said Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek would alternate the catching duties over the first four Grapefruit League games. Four Red Sox pitchers threw an inning each in a simulated game on the back field: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Alfredo Aceves and Bobby Jenks. After Brent Dlugach drilled a pitch from Jenks off the wall, he got the next pitch in his backside . . . Francona explaining his decision to announce that Marco Scutaro would be his starting shortstop at the start of the season: "If I was a player and went through what Scutaro did (playing hurt last year) and then had to come to camp and base my playing time on 40 at-bats, I wouldn't want to play for a guy like me. I don't think that makes a lot of sense.''

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

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.