Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Unfamiliarity hurts Lester

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Red Sox notes: Unfamiliarity hurts Lester

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON - Jon Lester faced an unfamiliar team, and in turn, saw uncharacteristic results.

Entering Saturdays game against the Milwaukee Brewers, a 4-2 loss for the Red Sox, Lester had pitched against four of their batters. Ironically, they were not the ones to do damage.

Lester gave up three homeruns (including back-to-back shots) in the first three innings to Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and George Kottaras, none of whom he had faced before. He had only given up a total of eight homeruns in his previous 13 starts since also surrendering three on Opening Day against the Texas Rangers.

Its sometimes throwing against teams you dont really know, especially early on when youre trying to feel them out, figure out what their game plan is against you and obviously they were very aggressive, he said. We made the adjustment later and started to get some outs."

Lester settled in after the third, pitching five scoreless innings and finishing the night with eight strikeouts.

Even though he has given up 14 homeruns this season, matching his entire season total last year, Terry Francona was still pleased with how he settled into the game.

His stuff is every bit the same as its always been, said Francona. And again, he ends up going eight innings, gives up four. We scored two and were saying he really battled back and did a great job.

Carl Crawford was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring he suffered running to first base on Friday. While he looks forward to returning, he knows he has to be patient with this injury. It is only his second stint on the DL his entire career and Crawford doesnt want to spend any more time there than he has to.

Hamstring injury, you dont want to mess around with that, he said. You see a lot of guys try to come back too early and then they mess it up and end up being out even longer. We just want to make sure when I come back, I stay there.

If his recovery goes as planned, Crawford would be able to play on the road the Astros, a series the Houston-native has been looking forward to playing in.

Definitely wouldnt want to miss that series, he said. Were cutting it close, thats for sure. Hopefully things will get better soon.

Adrian Gonzalez was assessed an error for dropping a foul ball during Rickie Weeks first-inning at bat, which resulted in a homerun. I just dropped it, Gonzalez said. It was a ball that I should have had and I dropped it. The ball came back a little more than I anticipated and I didnt feel a lot of wind. The ball just came back a little more than I thought and made me kind of have to drop the glove a little bit for the catch and I just dropped it. Its one of those things I wish I had it back.

David Ortiz has extended his home hitting streak to 12 games, dating back to May 19. This is his longest hitting streak at Fenway Park since he spanned a career-high 15 games in 2007.

Brewers leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks became a statistical oddity in the first inning when Adrian Gonzalez dropped his foul pop and Weeks hit the next pitch for a home run, thus becoming an unearned run as the lead-off hitter of a game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Weeks is the first batter since the Expos' Warren Cromartie on July 4, 1979, to lead off a game with dropped foul then hitting a home run. Cromartie did so off the Cubs' Bill Caudill after third baseman Steve Ontiveros dropped Cromarties foul fly.

Saturdays paid attendance of 38,175 was Fenway Parks largest of the season.

The Red Sox will pay tribute to the Boston Bruins for winning the Stanley Cup prior to Sundays game. Bruins coach Claude Julien acknowledged Francona, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers at the start of the Bruins Stanley Cup parade and celebration Saturday morning.

Thank goodness I called him, Francona joked, or Id be left out.

Bobby Jenks, on the DL with back tightness since June 8, made 45 throws Saturday on flat ground.

Dr. Lewis Yocum is expected to examine the MRI of Jed Lowries left shoulder early in the week. Lowrie was placed on the DL Friday with a left shoulder strain.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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

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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"...to 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 TheAthletic.com 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

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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.