Red Sox

Notes: Youkilis knocked out after HBP


Notes: Youkilis knocked out after HBP

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Kevin Youkilis left Monday's game against the Blue Jays after being hit in the upper left part of his back by a Brandon Morrow pitch in the fourth inning.

We got him out for precautionary reasons, Francona said. He got a headache and well reevaluate. Looked like he was hit in the upper lat, fortunately."

It was the ninth time Youkilis has been hit by a pitch this season.

Since being named to his first All-Star team on Sunday, Jacoby Ellsbury has gone 6-for-9, with a run scored, two RBI, a triple, and two stolen bases, raising his average to .310. His performance in these two games, though, should come as no surprise.

After appearing in just 18 games last season, Ellsburys performance this season has been what the Sox hoped they would be getting from Ellsbury as a lead-off hitter when they drafted him in the first round out of Oregon State in 2005.

He leads the American League with 26 stolen bases and is among the league leaders in average, runs scored (58), hits (104), doubles (23), and is tied for the longest hitting streak, at 19 games.

Against the Blue Jays Monday afternoon at Fenway Park, Ellsbury went 4-for-5, matching a career single-game high in hits for the fifth time, second this season , with a run scored, a triple, two RBI, and a stolen base.

His fifth-inning triple, his first since Sept. 23, 2009, drove in the Sox first two runs of the game.

Once it bounced I knew I had a good shot at a triple, Ellsbury said. Especially, us being down in the situation like that, you got to know you have a triple and theres not really going to be a play. So, I knew once it hit the ground I had a triple all the way.

In his last 35 games since May 25, he is batting .340, 50-for-147, with nine doubles, a triple, and five home runs.

His leadoff single to center was the 500th hit of his career. It came in his 432nd game. Since 1920, Ted Williams (in his 385th game on Aug. 7, 1941) and Dom DiMaggio (i428, May 18, 1946) are the only other Sox outfielders to reach 500 hits in fewer games.

I feel good at the plate, Ellsbury said. I try to come in each and every day and just be as consistent as possible, and Ive been doing that thus far and hopefully continue to do that.

With the triple, a stolen base, and some nice plays in the field, Ellsburys speed was on display in the game.

I try to be a complete player, he said. I try to do it on the defensive side, on the bases, and when Im at the plate. Use it to my advantage. Today I had the opportunity to display it in a bunch of different ways.

Jarrod Saltalamacchias eighth-inning, two-run triple off the top of the scoreboard in left-center was his second triple of the season, a career single-season high. With the temperature at 84 degrees at first pitch, and rising, Saltalamacchia needed a saline IV after the game.

It was just hot, he said. It was a hot day. We traveled from Houston Sunday night. Just a hot day, a couple long innings. Just wanted to make sure I wasnt dehydrated. So got an IV. Normal stuff.

Legging out a triple, especially late in the game, wasnt the easiest task.

It was tough, but it was adrenaline pumping, he said. I hit the ball good. Knew it was going to get off the Wall and then once it got past the outfielders, I went into third.

Dan Wheeler came in to relieve John Lackey, who lasted just 2 13 innings. Wheeler went 2 23 innings, retiring all eight batters he faced. It was his longest outing since going three innings on Sept. 27, 2006, while with the Astros in Pittsburgh. It was his longest perfect outing since going three perfect innings June 18, 2003, while with the Mets in Florida. It matches the longest perfect outing by a Sox reliever this season, with Alfredo Aceves 2 23 innings on April 11 against the Rays.

David Ortizs eighth-inning ground-rule double to left field snapped an 0-for-23 stretch, (the longest hitless streak of his career, according to Elias Sports Bureau) going back to a third inning double on June 20 against the Padres at Fenway.

The Sox loss, which snapped a four-game win streak, was their third straight on Independence Day.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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


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


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.