Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Ortiz suffers rare missed opportunity


Red Sox notes: Ortiz suffers rare missed opportunity

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen

PITTSBURGH With David Ortiz out of the starting lineup, the situation was tailor-made for him. With the Red Sox trailing the Pirates by two runs in the eighth inning, the tying runs on second and third and two outs, Ortiz emerged from the dugout to hit in the pitchers spot in the lineup.

"We wanted David to hit with the game on line, said manager Terry Francona. I wish he were hitting when we were up by three, but we had the guy up we wanted and he took a good swing. They got their shift on and he got a good ball to hit and they had their guy standing there. He had a good at-bat and a tough at-bat because it was raining.

It was not necessarily the position Ortiz wanted to be in, much preferring to be in the lineup for the whole game.

Im part of the lineup every day, Ortiz said. So we got to deal with that when we come to the National League.

Ortiz was facing Pirates right-hander Jose Veras. He had just 2 previous at-bats against Veras in his career, going 0-for-1 with an intentional walk. This time, though, Veras elected to pitch to Ortiz. With the count 1-2 (with two called strikes), Ortiz fouled off three straight curveballs. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, a 94-mph two-seamer, Ortiz grounded out to shortstop Ronny Cedeno, ending the Sox last best chance to score.

You want to be in the game but you got to do whatever, Ortiz said. The result wasnt what you wanted but the fight was there.

I feel good at the plate but its a situation we got to face and deal with.

The Sox will have to deal with the situation for the next eight games.

The Sox had nine hits in the game, but left 11 runners on base, and were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"I think it happens, Francona said. I don't think we can go all year as much as we'd like to. We were so good for so long now you have to minimize . . . you want the long streaks to be long and the bad streaks to be short.

Darnell McDonald and Mike Cameron went a combined 1-for-7, leaving six runners on base, including four runners in scoring position. Combined against left-handed pitchers they are 12-for-88 (.136).

"I don't know. I think we always look at the series and try to do what we think is right, Francona said. Things change. Guys get hot. Guys got cold. I'm not sure it makes sense to think two weeks down the road."

Right-hander Josh Beckett, sidelined for the last few days with a stomach ailment, is better and could have pitched Saturday against the Pirates. Beckett skipped his last start and was scheduled to pitch Saturday. But, Francona decided it would be more prudent to push Beckett back, letting him start Tuesday in Philadelphia.

He could have pitched tomorrow, Francona said. I dont think that would be in his best interest.

But, we want out best pitcher to pitch as much as he can.

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who went on the 15-day disabled list on June 19 with a strained lower back, played catch in the outfield before batting practice today. It was the first time hes thrown since June 18, two days after his last start.

I finally got to play catch today, he said. Ill take it slow and take baby steps till we get to the point of a five-day routine. We wanted to start doing some stuff here in Pittsburgh and bring it to Philly and then Houston and throw some bullpens in between and then go from there.

Buchholz said he will probably have a bullpen session Wednesday in Philadelphia, which would allow him to start a normal five-day routine with the goal of pitching the first day he is eligible to come off the DL July 4 against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Buchholz, who cant pinpoint one particular incident or pitch that caused his back ailment, is satisfied with the progress his back has made.

It feels good, he said. Probably a little weak more than anything, just because I havent been doing a whole lot with it as far as strength. But Ive just been trying to treat it and get it out.

There had been some pain in his back, which has subsided.

It was in that game June 16 in Tampa Bay, he said. It felt like a pulled muscle, something that grabbed every time that I released a pitch. It wasnt comfortable. It was the best thing to take a little time and try to get it under wraps and not have to worry about it the rest of the year.

Jed Lowrie, on the DL with a left shoulder strain, is back with the team after visiting Dr. Lewis Yocum. Lowrie has a bruise which is affecting the nerves around his shoulder. Francona said there really isnt a timetable right now because with nerve involvement its difficult to determine a schedule, but structurally Lowrie is in good shape.

The Sox announced Friday that their rained-out game against the Orioles on May 17 will be made up on Monday, Sept. 19 at Fenway Park at 1:05 p.m. as the first game of a day-night, separate admission doubleheader. The regularly scheduled Sept. 19 game will be played as planned at 7:10 p.m.

The Sox recalled right-hander Scott Atchison (for thethird time this season) from Pawtucket and demoted (for the secondtime) Michael Bowden to Triple-A.

Atchison, 35, has a 4.73earned-run average in seven appearances, all relief, with the Red Soxthis season. In Pawtucket, he is 2-1 with two saves and a 1.39 ERA.

Bowden,24, allowed one earned run over seven innings (1.29 ERA) in six gameswith the Red Sox. In 20 games for the PawSox, he is 2-2 with five savesand a 3.86 ERA.

Atchison flew to Pittsburgh Thursday night fromLouisville, where the PawSox were playing. The tornado that struckLouisville earlier this week was about 15 miles from the team hotel.

Former Sox pitcher Matt Clement, a resident of nearby Butler, Penn.,visited the Sox clubhouse with two of his four children before thegame. Clement is now coaching basketball at Butler High and helpingwith his two oldest kids Little League teams. One of his sons is playsfor the Red Sox.

Francona, who is also a native of thePittsburgh area, expected a sizable contingent (two busses) at the gamefrom New Brighton, Penn., his home town, including his father, Tito whoturned 77 in November and played 15 seasons for nine teams.

TheRed Sox thing has been really good for him, Francona said. He hasgotten so into it. He watches every game. I think its kept him young.He lives and dies with what we do. I think its a point in his lifewhen its really healthy for him. He loves it. Hell have a ball herethe next three days.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins


Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins

He was dubbed "Closer B" by Red Sox manager John Farrell when acquired at the trade deadline last summer, now Addison Reed is "Closer B Gone" the Twins.

The right-handed reliever, 29, has agreed to a two-year, $16.75 million free-agent deal with Minnesota, pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and reports. 

Reed began last season with the Mets and had 19 saves and a 2.57 ERA before being traded to the Red Sox, where he had a 3.33 ERA in 29 games (27 innings) without a save as a setup man for Craig Kimbrell.  

Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration


Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration

The Red Sox and star right fielder Mookie Betts intend to go to an arbitration hearing in February, and there were signs this was coming even a year ago.

Betts was the only arbitration-eligible player on the Red Sox who did not settle on a contract with the team on Friday, when a deadline arrived for all teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange 2018 salary figures. Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Drew Pomeranz were the biggest names to avoid hearings.

Betts filed for a $10.5 million salary and the Red Sox filed at $7.5 million.  Betts and the Red Sox agreed previously that if no figure could be settled on by the Friday deadline, they would proceed to a hearing, assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran said. 

A three-person panel of arbitrators therefore is set to determine what Betts makes in 2018: either the $7.5 million figure the Sox filed or the $10.5 million figure Betts' camp submitted. The arbitrators won't settle on a midpoint for the parties. 

O'Halloran noted to the Globe there are no hard feelings involved.

Nonetheless, such a large gap would seem to provide incentive to settle. The parties technically could still decide to do so, but that would take a change of course from the present plan. The idea was to settle any time before Friday, and they did not. 

Betts is asking for near-record money for a first-year arbitration eligible player. Kris Bryant set the record Friday with a $10.85 million settlement.

The hearings can be difficult for player-team relations because teams have to make the case in front of the player that he is worth less money than he wants.

Betts, 25, hit .264, with 24 homers, 102 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a .803 OPS in 2017, numbers that fell from his American League MVP runner-up performance in 2016, but were nonetheless very strong and coupled with first-rate defense.

This offseason is Betts' first of arbitration eligibility. In the first three years of service time in a players' career, there's no recourse if you don't like the salary a team is offering. Teams can pay players anything at league minimum or above. 

The only option a player has in those first three years is to make a stand on principle: you can force the team to technically "renew" your salary, which notes to everyone that you did not agree to the salary. Betts and his agents did that in 2017 when the Sox paid him $950,000, a very high amount relative to most contract renewals.

Some of the standard thinking behind forcing a team to renew a contract is that if an arbitration case comes up down the road — and one now looms for Betts — it's supposed to show the arbitrators that the player felt even in seasons past, he was underpaid.

Still, the Sox may have effectively combatted that perception by paying Betts almost $1 million on a renewal. Per USA Today, that $950,000 agreement in 2017 was "the second-highest one-year deal ever for a non-arbitration-eligible player with two-plus years of big league service." Mike Trout got $1 million in 2014.