Red Sox

Unfazed Gonzalez goes about business after trade to L.A.

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Unfazed Gonzalez goes about business after trade to L.A.

DENVER -- Adrian Gonzalez isn't unaccustomed to being traded.

Drafted by the Florida Marlins, he's since been dealt to Texas, San Diego and Boston before being traded again Saturday in one of the biggest trades in baseball history.

He's played on the East Coast twice, in the South and twice on the West Coast. He's been in the National League and American League.

So while the nine-player blockbuster that also featured an exchange of more than a quarter of a billion dollars rocked the baseball world, Gonzalez remained calm and serene.

Been there, done that.

So while once and present teammate Nick Punto described the last few days of a "whirlwindchaos," Gonzalez mostly shrugged it off.

"No, it's sunk in, absolutely," said the former Red Sox first baseman in the visitor's clubhouse at Coors Field, where the Dodgers opened a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies. "I've been saying that I'm really happy and excited to be here. It's a great fit personally. The Dodger fans were awesome (in his two-game debut last weekend). The Hispanic population, the way they've rallied around me...

"I'm still, like, 'Is this really happening?' But it's sunk in as far being in a pennant race. I'm just trying to go out there and win every day."

When it was suggested that given the amount of money his new team took on from on from his former team, the expectations would be greater in L.A., Gonzalez dismissed the notion as though purposefully fouling off a pitch he wasn't particularly fond of.

"My only expectations," said Gonzalez evenly, "is to go out there and prepare, do my work, be ready to play and give it all I have. I can't control the outcomes. I can't control if I hit a line drive at somebody or the pitcher makes a good pitch.

"But if I'm prepared, the results should be there."

He answered every question posed to him Monday in much the same way: No, it wouldn't be a big adjustment. Yes, he was happy to be on a winner. No, he didn't want to leave Boston. Yes, Los Angeles should be just fine.

This shouldn't come as a big surprise. Gonzalez doesn't rattle. David Ortiz noted more than once that it was impossible to determine after a game whether Gonzalez had gone 4-for-4 or 0-for-4.

There was no panic, sometimes precious little emotion.

These answers came a day after Gonzalez suggested that he didn't have the type of fiery personality that Boston wants in its stars. He noted that it wasn't his style to toss his helmet in anger, as Kevin Youkilis might have done, or unleash a string of expletives, as Dustin Pedroia has been known to do.

That, Gonzalez said, was not his style. That, he hinted, was why he was never accepted in Boston, and probably never would be.

But he made clear that while he wasn't necessarily what Boston wanted, he never had a problem playing there.

"I thought it was a great fit," said Gonzalez. "Everything that happened, it wasn't a personal thing. It was more of a September thing."

Here, too, Gonzalez couldn't understand why fans and media couldn't forget about September of 2011, when the Sox stumbled to a 7-20 finish and blew a 9 12 game lead, costing themselves a playoff spot in the final inning of the final game.

For Sox fans, it was devastating. For Gonzalez, it was disappointing. Disappointing, but also, over with.

"People are always going to be mad when they have expectations of the team winning," shrugged Gonzalez. "The reasons people were giving for losing, us, as players, were going, 'Where's this coming from?'"

The "reasons" Gonzalez referred to, of course, are code for the chicken-and-beer scandal which rocked the organization to its core last fall. But here again, Gonzalez doesn't see what the big deal was.

One or two more wins, Gonzalez believes, would have changed everything.

"Nobody would have been writing about all this other stuff," he said. "People would have been writing about the wild card, the playoff series. And if we ended up winning a couple of series, everybody would have said, 'How awesome. These guys really get along -- they drink beer during the game.'"

To many, the 2011 Red Sox were unfocused and undisciplined. To Gonzalez and many of the players, it was because they didn't pitch or hit well enough.

But while Gonzalez tried to move on, the environment didn't allow it. If the Sox had begun the 2012 season, say, 19-14 instead of 14-19, the past would have been the past.

It wasn't however. In the minds of the players, last September got draped across them like an albatross, something they couldn't shake.

"The way everybody responded to the team (this year) was because of (last September)," he said.

So given that, change -- in the form of Saturday's trade -- would be welcomed, right?

"It didn't need to change," he said. "But the fact that it came about and I'm here, it's the perfect fit for me."

Pressed, he acknowledged that he far prefers playing in the National League.

"Oh, absolutely," he said. "The National League, it's more baseball - more bunting, more moving guys over, understanding who's in the lineup when the nine hole comes up, pitching around guys . . . In the American League, it's just up there and bash."

Asked what he'll remember most about his time in Boston, Gonzalez doesn't hesitate: "Great fans. Great game atmosphere. That's the thing that was really amazing to be part of -- the great fan base."

The Dodgers have great fans, too. Different city, different league, but still baseball for Adrian Gonzalez.

Life goes on.

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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