Red Sox

Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

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Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

Count me among the millions who wanted to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the All Star Game.

And why not? On a team full of superstars who can't keep it together, Saltalamacchia's one of the few guys to actually exceed expectations this year. He doesn't have an ego or an attitude, or carry himself like a martyr for getting paid millions to play baseball. Instead, he's just a plain, old likable athlete. He works hard. He's easy to root for. He just so happens to have hit more home runs (15) than any catcher in baseball.

And for all those reasons, we wanted Salty to get the call.

Of course, he didn't.

Whether or not he eventually finds his way to Kansas City remains to be seen. These days, you know at least a handful of All-Stars will drop out of the game, and this year, Salty will be on the short list of replacements. But even if he gets the late invite, it's not the same. It's like getting a call from a couple three weeks before they get married: "Hey, I know this is last second, but do you want to come to our wedding?" You appreciate the offer, and you probably end up going, but you know that you were on the B-List; that they only invited you after a bunch of other people turned them down first.

Anyway, despite the desire to see Saltalamacchia in the All-Star game, and the disappointment in the fact that he didn't make it, it's hard to get too riled up about the snubbage.

First of all, because Salty's hitting .254 with a .302 OBP this season. I don't care where the competition is, or what kind of feel good story you might be, if those are your numbers, there's a serious argument to be made against your All Star status.

Second, because even though he's done an admirable job taking over for Jason Varitek, the Sox rotation as a whole hasn't been that good. I'm not saying that's the catcher's fault, I'm just saying that his presence behind the plate doesn't really support the case.

Third . . . no, I'm going to stop there. I don't want to sit here and pick apart all the reasons Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't an All-Star.

Because the real story is that we're even having the conversation to begin with.

That whether or not he ultimately spends July 10 sweating his brains off in Kansas City, for the first three months of the season, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been one of the best catchers in the American League, and one of the biggest surprises in Boston.

Count me among the millions who never saw that coming.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com.

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

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Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

E-Rod may be sidelined six months because of surgery; Ramirez has minor procedure

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E-Rod may be sidelined six months because of surgery; Ramirez has minor procedure

BOSTON — Maybe now there's more reason to think Hanley Ramirez can have a rebound season in 2018. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, meanwhile, will be recovering from knee surgery and is expected to miss the start of the season.

Ramirez and Rodriguez both went to the operating table Tuesday. Ramirez, the designated hitter and first baseman who turns 34 in December, had left shoulder surgery — an announcement he made on Twitter with a picture of himself at the hospital. 

Ramirez's surgery is considered relatively minor.

Rodriguez's right knee ligament reconstruction surgery, however, has a recovery time of six months, which means that's roughly when the Sox expect him back in the majors. But the timetable is imprecise, and either way, the Sox' starting pitching depth may have to be addressed in the offseason. 

Rodriguez, who turns 25 in April, has had been bothered by the right knee for most of the past two seasons. He missed about six weeks this season after dislocating his knee and missed the start of the 2016 season after injuring the knee in spring training.  Rodriguez was 6-7 with a 4.19 ERA last season and is 19-20, 4.23 in 25 career appearances, 24 starts in three seasons for Boston. 

Here's what the Red Sox said in a release about the two surgeries:

HANLEY RAMIREZ AND EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ UNDERGO SUCCESSFUL SURGERIES

BOSTON, MA – First baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez and left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez underwent successful surgeries today.

Ramirez underwent a left shoulder arthroscopy and debridement. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola, FL. Ramirez is expected to be ready for the 2018 season.

Rodriguez underwent a right knee patellofemoral ligament reconstruction. The procedure was also performed by Dr. Andrews at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola. Rodriguez is expected to return to pitching in approximately six months.

 

Ramirez was bothered by both shoulders in 2017, limiting his performance at the plate and also his time at first base. He had a .750 OPS in the regular season after posting an .866 figure a year earlier. He was productive in the Sox' Division Series loss to the Astros, going 8-for-14.