Red Sox

Notes: Reddick (hand), Lowrie (shoulder) out

191542.jpg

Notes: Reddick (hand), Lowrie (shoulder) out

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- A day after setting career high in hits, times on base, and runs scored, Josh Reddick is out of the starting lineup for the finale of the series against the Rangers at Fenway Park. Reddick, who was was hit on the hand in his final plate appearance last night, had an ice pack on his hand this morning.

Redds pretty sore, manager Terry Francona said. Structurally hes fine. He just got a pretty good bruise. I think what well do is well certainly stay away from him today, let him concentrate on the ice and whatever they want to do in there as opposed to trying to pick up a bat and come back a day too early. The hope would be that we could get him some treatment today, calm that thing down and maybe have him available tomorrow.

Jed Lowrie is also out of the starting lineup. He left Saturdays game with tightness in his left shoulder.

Jeds doing OK, Francona said. Hes actually doing pretty well. I think . . . it was certainly more precautionary. We just wanted to nip something before it got worse and I think we did that. Because of our situations at times weve played guys . . . Kevin Youkilis wasnt available and was on the DL so sometimes you just dont want to go too far with guys.

Red Sox pitchers entered the game leading the majors with 72 hit batters. John Lackey, who leads all pitchers in that category, extended his lead to 18 hit batters when he hit Josh Hamilton with two outs in the first inning Sunday.

Its probably an indication of a couple of things," Francona said. One is you need to pitch in aggressively or these big, strong guys are going to kill you. And then there are probably times when weve had guys that havent commanded. Like Kyle Weilands game his major league debut when he hit two batters. Theres days like that too where you get a young kid that whacks somebody because hes probably nervous. But I do know we feel the need to pitch in and pitch in aggressively or you get beat up too much.

Alfredo Aceves is also among the leaders, entering Sundays game with 11 hit batters 90 13 innings (compared to Lackeys 136 13).

Ryan Lavarnway will join the Red Sox in Toronto Monday. Triple-A Pawtucket claimed the International League North title Saturday and will wrap up the regular season Monday. Playoffs begin Wednesday. While the big league team is aware of Pawtuckets status, the fortune of the big league team trumps that.

I think we have to be realistic, Francona said. What we do here is more important. Its not taking away from what theyre doing. I just think there's a way to do it where we dont have to have mass call-ups where it really doesnt help us. We can let them finish their season out and if we need somebody we can always go get them. It just seems like it makes sense. We could call up seven guys and have them sit here or you could let them play there and get regular innings and regular at-bats. Then if we need them well call them up.

"Plus the fact that since thats the case, these guys have worked hard. They should get to enjoy the playoff experience. Again, we wouldnt sacrifice a game here for that but wed like to see them play and have a chance to win.

And, having the playoff experience is a vital part of player development.

I think its good, Francona said. I think its real good actually. The young kids that come up together they have that feeling of . . . I dont know if its family, but that togetherness that you only have with guys you come up through the minor leagues with. So I think thats true. In player development you never sacrifice the development for winning but when theyre able to win, I think its really good for them.

Francona was asked about some of the newer metrics designed to measure defensive ability and efficiency. Hes not a big fan.

To be honest with you, these ratings, and theres a few different ones, he said. Some confuse me. I know theyre trying to be able to evaluate defense without just looking with the naked eye. Even the UZR rating, you look at some of these ratings, its a little suspect so I dont know. I dont think its a problem when you see your guys every day. We know what they can do and what they can't do. I think what it helps is when you see a guy three or four times a year.

With or without the metrics, hes satisfied with his teams defense.

I think out outfield has been pretty athletic, which is good, he said. Jacoby being healthy and feeling good about himself has been huge. Carl in left field, hes good and whoever weve had in right, whether its J.D. or Reddick or Mac has been pretty solid. Gonzies a really good first baseman. Pedeys as good as you're ever going to find. Scoot is a guy who, when hes out there, makes the average play, which is what you need. And Youk going to third has been huge for us because he can go to third. And the fact that hes been a first baseman and has the ability to go to third is huge. Our catchers have done terrific. Take away the first two weeks of the season, Saltys been one of the better throwers.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

pat-neshek-mike-minor-112217.jpg

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

BOSTON — There is a world outside of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton, at this point, simply doesn’t appear likely to end up in Boston. That should feel obvious to those following along, and so should this: it can change. 

But there are other pursuits. Besides their search for a bat or two, the Red Sox have been actively pursuing left-handed relief options. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is a fast mover, but this year’s market has not been.

MORE RED SOX:

Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad are both free agents, leaving Robby Scott as the lone incumbent southpaw from last season's primary group. Brian Johnson is bound for the pen, with Roenis Elias as a depth option too.  Still, even if Johnson’s transition pans out, the Sox still have an opening for a late-inning reliever with the departure of free agent Addison Reed. 

Reed is a righty, but between Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel, the Sox have more right-handed choices than left. Coming back from surgery, Tyler Thornburg, should be in the mix eventually too, but it's difficult to expect too much from him.

What the Red Sox should do: sign one of each for the bullpen, one righty, and one lefty. And then trade a righty or two. Turn some of that mishmash into an addition elsewhere. Be creative. 

Because inevitably, come midseason, the Sox will want to add another bullpen arm if they sign just one now. Why wait until you have to give up prospect capital when you can just add the piece you want now?

Go get a near-sure thing such as Pat Neshek, a veteran who walks no one and still strikeouts a bunch. At 37 with an outgoing personality, Neshek also brings leadership to a team that is looking for some. He walked just six guys in 62 innings last season. Entering his 12th season in the majors, he’s looking for his first ring.

All these top of the market relievers may be handsomely paid. But relievers are still something of a bargain compared to position players and starting pitchers. One of the key words for this winter should be creativity. If there’s value to be had in the reliever market, capitalize on it. 

Comeback kid Mike Minor, Jake McGee and Tony Watson headline the crop of free agent lefties available. Brad Hand of the Padres could also be had by trade but his market isn’t moving too quickly (and he won’t come cheaply).

Minor, 29, who posted a 2.55 ERA in 2017 after health issues kept him out of the majors in 2015-16, is expected to be paid handsomely. He is also open to the idea of potentially starting if a team is interested in him doing so. The Royals reportedly could give him that shot.

McGee’s American League East experience could be appealing.

He's 31 and had a 3.61 ERA with the Rockies in 2017 and has a 3.15 ERA lifetime. He’s not quite the strikeout pitcher he was earlier in his career — he had an 11.6 K/9 in 2015 — but a 9.1 K/9 is still very strong, particularly when coupled with just 0.6 homers allowed per nine.

For what it’s worth: McGee has also dominated the Red Sox, who have a .125 average, .190 on-base percentage and .192 slugging against him in 117 regular-season plate appearances. 

McGee throws a mid-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. He can operate up in the zone, and he actually has been even more effective against righties than lefties in his career, including in 2017. McGee’s been a closer, too, with 44 career saves.

The Sox had the second-best bullpen in the majors by ERA in 2017, at 3.07. Yet, come the postseason, there wasn’t a sense of great confidence or even a clear shape to the pecking order behind one of the absolute best relievers in the game, Kimbrel. 

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

cincinnati-reds-joe-morgan-hall-of-fame.jpg

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