Red Sox

Notes: Scutaro misses the suicide squeeze sign

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Notes: Scutaro misses the suicide squeeze sign

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON -- Locked in a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 12th inning Monday night, the Red Sox thought they saw an opening.

Louis Coleman, the fifth Kansas City Royals pitcher of the game, had thrown wildly to first on a pickoff try, enabling Josh Reddick to go all the way to third.

With Marco Scutaro at the plate, the Red Sox put on the suicide squeeze play.

Heavy on the suicide.

"After action like that,'' recounted Terry Francona, "we thought it was a good opportunity."

Problem was, while Reddick got the sign, Scutaro did not. Two innings later, when the Royals scored twice in the top of the 14th, the Red Sox had themselves a frustrating 3-1 loss.

"We got half of it right,'' said Francona ruefully. "We didn't get the whole thing right."

Scutaro took full responsibility for the play.

"I didn't see the sign . . . it was my fault," said the infielder. "I just missed the sign. I can't really say nothing else. It's my fault."

Reddick had broken for the plate with the pitch from Coleman. Scutaro had to twist a bit to get out of the way of an inside pitch.

Asked what he was thinking as he spied Reddick barreling toward the plate, Scutaro said: "Messed it up. I didn't see him right away because he was kind of hidden. But after the pitch inside, I took a look and was like, 'Oh . . . missed a sign.'

"We had an opportunity to win this game and we didn't do the little things. Beside bad baserunning, we didn't bring the guy home from third base. We just threw this one away pretty much."

Scutaro half-expected that the bunt play might be put on.

"I was kind of watching (for) the sign," he said. "But I didn't see the squeeze. To be honest, I was watching (third base coach Tim Bogar), but I didn't see the squeeze. I was kind of focused on getting a good pitch to hit to drive the guy in.

"Like I said, it's my fault. I should have been more aware of the sign. It feels bad, man. It feels like all your teammates, your manager, all the fans just want to kill you. It's a bad feeling."

"Sometimes, it's how the game goes," said Reddick, who had three hits, including two doubles. "Stuff happens and you try to get out of it . . . I was just trying to get back to third base and keep us in the game. That's all you can really do in that situation."

Kevin Youkilis left Monday nights loss to the Royals with tightness in his right hamstring after catching his heel awkwardly while running out a ground ball in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Sox third baseman stuck around for a couple more innings, but was eventually replaced by Yamaico Navarro. Sox manager Terry Francona said that Youkilis would likely be out of the lineup for Tuesday night against Kansas City, but that the prognosis was pretty good for a player thats been physically beaten up this season.

After the exam we feel really fortunate," Francona said. "His heel hit the bag and kind of gave way a little bit, and he felt it in his hamstring. Well try to stay away from him tomorrow and hopefully he wont need anything more than that.

Who knows? But the exam was really good, good range of motion and no strength deficits. Hes just beaten up in a lot of different areas.

If Youkilis cant answer the bell expect Navarro to get another start at the hot corner on Tuesday night.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia twice gunned down Melky Cabrera attempting to steal second base in Monday nights loss, and it counted as the fourth time the Sox catcher has nailed two base runners attempting to steal in the same game. Saltalamacchias strong throwing arm has made a huge difference in Boston neutralizing the running games of opposing teams this season.

Carl Crawford had a night to forget about with an 0-for-6 performance at the plate that included four strikeouts (tying a career high set on July 23, 2004 against the Blue Jays) and an inability to get the runner home from third base in a couple of big at bats late in the game.

It was real frustrating. It was a close game, said Crawford. We had opportunities to win it and we didnt. It was really frustrating.

The loss snapped a nine-game Fenway winning streak for the Sox dating back to July 5, the longest home winning streak since a 10-game winning stretch that ended in September of 2009.

Randy Williams notched his first decision as a member of the Red Sox as he took the loss after allowing three hits and a walk in two innings of work in the 13th and 14th innings.

With his second-inning single, Dustin Pedroia, who went 1-for-6, extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games. He has reached base safely in 34 games since June 15.

With a scoreless eighth inning, Daniel Bard extended his scoreless-innings streak to 25 over his last 24 outings.

J.D. Drew will be placed on the DL Tuesday with a left shoulder impingement. He has not played since July 19, going 1-for-3 in Baltimore, is batting .219 with four home runs and 21 RBI this season.

He was MRIed on Saturday, Francona said. We didnt DL him right away because we didn't have a move we wanted to make and he could have pinch-run, something like that. Hopefully a couple of weeks down will really do him some good. Hell get some strength back in that shoulder and maybe well have a better chance of seeing the J.D. we were hoping for.

According to webmd.com: Impingement syndrome is a common condition affecting the shoulder and is often seen in aging adults. This condition is closely related to shoulder bursitis and rotator cuff tendinitis. These conditions may occur alone or in combination.

The typical symptoms of impingement syndrome include difficulty reaching up behind the back, pain with overhead use of the arm and weakness of shoulder muscles.

The Red Sox have changed their original roster plans, with Jon Lester being activated from the disabled list for Mondays start against the Royals. Initially, right-hander Kyle Weiland was going to be kept with the major league team, with J.D. Drew going on the disabled list on Monday. Instead, Weiland will be optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket with Drew Sutton getting called up. Drew will go on the DL on Tuesday.

Primarily an infielder, Sutton has also played the outfield, with eight minor league games in right, 34 in left, and seven major league games in left and one in right. He has appeared in two games in left for the Sox this season.

Before the roster change, Francona spoke about moving Weiland to the bullpen.

Thats something we have to figure out, Francona said. Since we dont have a day off, do we fit him in for a start? Because the one thing we dont want him to do is not pitch. Were playing short a position player. I dont think thatll be an issue. Guys can move around but if we ever get to the point where we need somebody we can do it. But well see how the Weiland situation goes.

Weiland, who is Notre Dame's all-time saves leader, with 25, has not worked out of the bullpen since 2008, his first professional season, when he made five relief appearances with Low-A Lowell. Francona believes his stuff will work well out of the bullpen.

Yeah, but I also see him as a guy who can start, Francona said. Hes got good stuff. I think with experienceI know he was a reliever in college . . . its just hard not to have guys start when they have good enough stuff and he certainly does. But I think all of us can certainly envision him helping us out in the bullpen, too. Well look at all our options. The one thing we dont want him to do is not pitch. Whether its here or Triple A he needs to pitch.

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

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Red Sox notebook: Velazquez, Elias getting shots at fifth spot

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Red Sox notebook: Velazquez, Elias getting shots at fifth spot

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The starting pitchers for the Red Sox in the first two games of the Grapefruit League season, Hector Velazquez and Roenis Elias, are likely going to get major league opportunities in 2018 — and one of them very well might get a look in the first week of the season.

The first four starters the Red Sox will carry are obvious, assuming health: Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello. Alex Cora on Saturday declined to name an Opening Day starter, but Sale is the obvious choice after finishing second in American League Cy Young voting to Corey Kluber. Cora said too that he likely would insert Porcello somewhere in the middle of the rotation, considering the other three aforementioned starters are lefties.

Where the Sox go beyond those four, though, could be to some relatively unknown quantities. 

Steven Wright is rehabbing from knee surgery and awaiting potential discipline from the league office following an offseason arrest on a domestic assault charge. Wright could well be suspended to begin the season, and may not be physically ready to start on the active roster anyway. Eduardo Rodriguez’s own knee surgery has him slated to come back perhaps in late April. 

That puts righty Velazquez and lefty Elias in prime position for at least temporary contributions. Both are on the 40-man roster and have big league time. In a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Ray on Saturday, Elias pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday, just as Velazquez did Friday against the Minnesota Twins.

In past seasons, the Red Sox would often have an off-day after their very first game of the regular season, thereby allowing for a fifth starter to be skipped if desired. That’s not the case for this year, with six straight games for the Sox — three vs. the Rays, three vs. the Marlins — before an off-day. Come April 2, then, the Sox will need a fifth starter. 

(Whether the Sox even use off-days this year to skip pitchers or just to rest their guys is to be seen. Sale, for example, historically has pitched often on extra rest, and the Sox want to keep him fresh.)

Lefty Brian Johnson could wind up a reliever, but he’s certainly capable of starting. Lefty Jalen Beeks, who is not on the 40-man roster but likely will be at some point this year, is depth as well, just like righty Chandler Shepherd.

***

• The Sox did say long ago they wanted to add lefty reliever this winter. Now they’ve done it. As depth, anyway. Tommy Layne, last with the Sox in 2016, is back — in minor league camp without an invite to major league spring training. He was a free agent who participated in the camp the Players Association set up for unsigned players in Florida. Don't be surprised if Layne sees some time in big league games anyway.

***

One area of the Red Sox spring complex has four practice fields aligned, with each field’s home plate positioned at nearly the same point, angled 90 degrees differently. In the past, the Sox more frequently used all four fields at once for the same set of drills. Now, they’ve cut back. The reason is so that coaches can see players better. This way, a coach could catch 50 percent of one pitcher’s live batting-practice and 50 percent of another. Attention is spread too thin if three or four fields are going simultaneously. That was Tony La Russa’s suggestion.

• Rafael Devers has shown some very quick feet in the early going, making a great diving stop to his right on Thursday. On Saturday, he made another smooth play but then threw away a throw to second base.

“Just get one out,” Cora said. “He was trying to get two which is great. This level you’ve got to turn double plays but there there’s certain plays you cant force.”

• Players union head Tony Clark visited camp on Saturday, part of his annual tour to meet different teams. Clark defended the collective bargaining agreement, which has been criticized because it helped create the environment that led to many unsigned free agents.

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Sox bringing Nunez along slowly at camp

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File photo

Sox bringing Nunez along slowly at camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Eduardo Nunez isn’t a starting pitcher, but the Red Sox are going to build him up slowly too.

The infielder (and assumed second baseman in place of the still-recovering Dustin Pedroia) hasn’t seen Grapefruit League action yet.

“Everything he did in the simulated game, he did a lot,” manager Alex Cora said Saturday after a 4-3 win over the Rays at JetBlue Park. “Stole bases..he had to dive [in the field]. I don’t want to push him. Today was a great day for him to just to, instead of being with the guys taking ground balls, we put him aside, just taking it easy, right at him, work on your footwork. Building up. So we’ve got to be fair with him too." 

Nunez, 30, a trade deadline acquisition last season from the San Francisco Giants, injured his knee and had to be carried off the field four pitches into the A.L. Division Series loss to the Houston Astros. 

“Over the course of the offseason it was more rehabbing for him and getting his strength back," Cora said. "We’ll take it easy with him. He’ll probably DH before he plays second or third or short or the outfield. But today I saw him taking ground balls before the live BP, and he did a good job moving his feet and working at third base too.”

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