Red Sox

Sabathia calls Red Sox 'weak' for bunting on him; Yanks win, 6-2

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Sabathia calls Red Sox 'weak' for bunting on him; Yanks win, 6-2

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia has dominated the Red Sox all season. Now, he's calling them "weak" for bunting against him.

Sabathia shut down Boston for the fourth time this year and the New York Yankees got homers from Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird on the way to a 6-2 victory Thursday night in the opener of a pivotal four-game series.

In the first inning, speedy Eduardo Nunez tried to bunt for a hit. He reached safely on a throwing error by Sabathia, who has been pitching with a balky knee the past few years.

"Just kind of weak to me. It is what it is. It shows what they got over there," Sabathia said. "It just gets you fired up. It makes you want to beat them. Obviously, I want to win every time I go out there, but even more so after that."

Sabathia walked his next two batters. After getting consecutive strikeouts to escape a bases-loaded jam , he shouted in the direction of Boston's dugout.

He said the Red Sox show him "too much respect."

"Swing the bat," the veteran pitcher said.

Nunez said he apologized to Sabathia during the game -- but made no apologies afterward for bunting.

"It's my game. I cannot change my game," Nunez said. "We know he has a bad knee. That's not my problem.

"If I have to bunt four times in a row, I'll do it. I don't care if he's mad or not," he added. "Play in, or field the bunt. I don't care."

Bird drove in three runs and Sanchez had two RBI as the second-place Yankees shaved Boston's lead in the AL East to 4 1/2 games. This weekend set in the Bronx marks the final meeting of the season between the longtime rivals -- and perhaps New York's last chance to make a serious run at its first division title in five years.

New York maintained a tenuous hold on the league's top wild card.

Sabathia (11-5) has won all four outings against the Red Sox this season while compiling a 1.04 ERA in 26 innings. The 37-year-old lefty, making his 250th start for the Yankees, permitted one run and four hits in six innings despite walking five Boston batters for the second time this year - equaling a season high.

Using a sharp slider, Sabathia struck out six. With timely help from his defense , he improved to 8-0 in 10 starts this year following a Yankees loss.

"I don't think it's a coincidence. I think it's who he is. It's what's made him so great for so long," New York manager Joe Girardi said.

David Robertson worked two hitless innings and Dellin Betances walked home a run in the ninth before retiring Mookie Betts and pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland with the bases loaded to end a game that lasted 3 hours, 44 minutes.

Sabathia has won five straight starts against Boston dating to last September.

"Guys that have notoriously been good against left-hand pitching have been in a dry run," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Whether it's CC or other left-handers, we're still searching."

At the plate, the Yankees finally solved lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5). They tied it 1-all on Sanchez's 28th homer in the third and went ahead when Nunez, the second baseman, misplayed Sanchez's popup into an RBI single in the fifth.

"Just happens sometimes," Nunez said. "I should have caught the ball."

Chase Headley doubled to start the sixth and Bird hit his second homer in two days . Didi Gregorius added an RBI single, and Bird had a run-scoring single in the seventh.

Rodriguez was charged with five runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings.

RIGHT AT HOME

United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, born in the Bronx, was among the crowd of 43,309. Of course, she sat in The Judge's Chambers , the rooting section out in right field for slumping Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, dropped to sixth in the lineup. Justice Sotomayor high-fived fans on both sides of her when Sanchez homered.

LOW-COST INSURANCE

With suspensions looming for Sanchez and fellow catcher Austin Romine, the Yankees acquired minor league backstop Erik Kratz from the Cleveland Indians for $1. The 37-year-old Kratz is a .200 career hitter with 24 homers in 225 major league games over seven seasons with five teams. Sanchez was suspended four games and Romine two for their actions in a fight-filled game Aug. 24 at Detroit. Both appealed, keeping them eligible to play until the process is completed. ... New York recalled RHP Giovanny Gallegos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) is expected to come off the disabled list when rosters expand Friday. He will be monitored as he progresses to playing nine innings on consecutive days, Farrell said. ... RHP Matt Barnes (lower back strain) also is on target to be reinstated from the DL on Friday. ... CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (sprained left thumb) is likely to return from the DL when eligible on Saturday, Farrell said. ... LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) felt good following a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and threw again from a shorter distance. He is scheduled to get back on the mound Friday, increase his number of pitches and hopefully mix in some changeups. "An encouraging day today," Farrell said. ... Brock Holt was getting X-rays on his left foot after he was hit by a pitch in the ninth. ... LHP Robbie Ross Jr. had back surgery Wednesday and is expected to be ready for next season.

Yankees: DH Matt Holliday (back) could come off the DL this weekend. ... OF Clint Frazier (strained left oblique) is "definitely getting closer" to a return from the disabled list, Girardi said. New York anticipates him trying to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week.

UP NEXT

Boston RHP Doug Fister (3-7, 4.53 ERA) starts Friday night against RHP Sonny Gray (8-8, 3.26), who has permitted two earned runs or fewer in 11 straight starts - the longest such streak in the majors.

Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

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Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

Dustin Pedroia has been cleared to run following October surgery on his right knee.

“It’s been pretty much what they thought it would be,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “This is always the time they had told me. So you start running at this point, but that’s just running. So you’re not cutting, you’re not doing all things. We still have two and a half months until opening day. 

“I cant say he would never be ready, but we’re not pushing him for that. I think it’s more important he follows step by step. So you run, then cut, then you pick up the pace. But he’s made very positive strides. But that’s why he’s not going to be there this weekend, with the big crowds and all the treatment he has it’s probably not good for him in case someone would run into him accidentally. But he’s making good strides.”

Pedroia told WEEI this month that he’s eyeing Opening Day. Dombrowski said at Alex Cora’s introductory press conference in November that the Red Sox were targeting May. 

“We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say," Dombrowski said.

  • Dombrowski expects Mookie Betts and the Sox will wind up at a hearing, as assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran also said. The team made clear that if filing numbers were exchanged, a hearing would follow. That’s called a “file and go” approach, or “file and trial” or “file to go.” The Sox don’t employ the approach universally — they exchanged numbers with Drew Pomeranz before settling last year — but it is the approach they’re taking with Betts. A panel of arbitrators will decide if he makes $10.5 million, as Betts filed for, or $7.5 million, as the Red Sox filed for (barring an unexpected settlement before then).

 

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Return to health may mean a return to form for Bradley

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Return to health may mean a return to form for Bradley

BOSTON -- It’s well known that Xander Bogaerts was playing hurt for much of 2017. All players in a 162-game season work through multiple injuries, nicks, strains and sometimes worse.

But it has probably gone too far under the radar that Jackie Bradley Jr. was not physically himself last season.

MORE - Sox aren't avoiding Martinez because Harper, Machado loom

One of the reasons to believe Bradley can rebound in 2017 — and a reason to advocate keeping a cost-controlled player who is both comfortable in Boston and immensely talented — is renewed health.

Bradley suffered a right knee sprain in April that put him in a brace through May. He sprained his left thumb in August. A baseball source with direct knowledge of Bradley’s situation emphasized his injuries did affect him.

Bradley, like many players, on Thursday did not want to discuss the extent of his health.

“Y’all know I’m never gonna say anything about that. It’s just not who I am,” Bradley told NBC Sports Boston before accepting the Defensive Player of the Year award at the 79th annual Boston baseball writers awards dinner. “But as a player, you just have to deal. You’re injured. But I felt at the time that I could still help the team out. So I was in a brace. I think once I got it off, it actually was feeling pretty good."

It didn’t linger all year, Bradley said.

“It felt pretty good until the thumb happened,” Bradley said. “But it’s one of those things where nobody’s ever really 100 percent. You grind, and you make the best with what’s due.”

Bradley slashed .245/.323/.402 in 2017 with 17 home runs. That's down from a .267/.349/.486 line with 26 home runs in 2016.

One of the things Bradley wants to do more of in 2018 is steal bases. He stole eight last season after a career-high nine the year before. In the minors, he stole 24 bases in one season (2012, between High-A and Double-A).

“I’ve always wanted to run more and I’m glad he’s going to give me the opportunity to be able to do that more often,” Bradley said of new manager Alex Cora. “I’ve always felt like I can run. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger every year. I’ve been pretty successful on the base paths but I guess certain times situations did not dictate it in the past. The red light was something more of a thing they wanted to do with certain people at bat instead of taking the next base.”

Asked if he considered how his health would play into stealing, Bradley noted the reward available.

“I’ve never gotten hurt stealing,” Bradley said. “I’m not saying there’s not a possibility, obviously there’s a possibility. Guys who steal a ton of bags can attest to that. Jacoby [Ellsbury], Billy [Hamilton], stuff like that. There is risk/reward. But, I feel like the reward outweighs the risk in most cases. I just want to be in scoring position. That’s what I want to be in. I want to help.” Bradley acknowledged that he heard about the trade rumors this offseason.

"Yeah that’s one of those things where you do see it,” Bradley said. “You definitely have family members who are constantly talking to you about it. You know, ‘Well, what if this, what if that?’ 

“Well, what if this what if that? What will be, will be. That has always been my mindset. It’s something that I can’t really control. You know, so, I’m just not going to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m perfectly fine. I feel like I’m in a great situation. I feel like I have great teammates. I’m glad to be around them. And like I said, I understand if it did happen, then it’s something that I’ll have to live with.”

Bradley said he and his teammates have not discussed how long they will (or won’t) be together.

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