Red Sox

J.D. Martinez makes Red Sox spring training debut

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J.D. Martinez makes Red Sox spring training debut

Star slugger J.D. Martinez went 0 for 2 in his spring training debut for the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, just three weeks before opening day.

"He's not behind at all," new manager Alex Cora said.

Although Martinez will be Boston's primary designated hitter, he also is expected to get time in the field. With the Red Sox playing split-squad games, he played left field and batted cleanup.

Facing Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi, Martinez twice flied out.

"Seeing the ball, just going up there and trying to slow the ball down as best as I can, and swing at strikes," Martinez said. "Really, that's all I was really worried about, just get a pitch over the plate and put a good swing on it."

"It felt good. It was fun. You don't realize how much you miss something until you can't do it and you haven't been able to do it for a while. So it was fun to get out there," he said.

The AL East champion Red Sox announced Feb. 26 they had signed Martinez to a $110 million, five-year deal. The 30-year-old hit a combined .303 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs last season in just 119 games with Detroit and Arizona.

In his first game for Boston, Martinez hit behind Hanley Ramirez, who was serving as the DH. It's a combination the Red Sox hope will add punch to a lineup that finished last in the American League with 168 home runs last season.

"He was designated for assignment four years ago (by the Astros, at the end of spring training in 2014), and now he's going to hit in the middle of the lineup for the Boston Red Sox, with a team that has a chance to win the World Series," Cora said.

"There's no coincidence that he's been successful the last few years because he found it and he keeps working on it," he said.

Martinez said he typically likes to get 60 to 80 at-bats in the spring, including Grapefruit League and minor league games, to prepare for the season.

Despite the delayed start to Martinez's spring, Cora said he believes the big hitter is right on pace for the season opener March 29 at Tampa Bay.

"It's a spring training game, so he needs his reps," Cora said. "But to see him out there, actually to see him around, spend time with him, it's a lot different than the last week."

"We've been on the road so much since he signed we haven't been able to connect. So to have him in the lineup, have him in the dugout, that's good, not only for me but for everybody," he said.

Martinez knows there are big hopes for him, but he's not letting that affect him.

"I feel like you guys have the expectations, the fans and the media," he said. "Really, I'm just going to go out there and play my game and do what I've been doing for the last four or five years."

"As far as the pressure and stuff goes, I'm just going to try to go out there and play my game. Obviously, ignore it, stuff like that. Obviously, playing in Boston, it's a big market, so there's going to be a lot more, but I think it'll be a good test of handling it," he said.


John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

File Photo

John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

John Farrell can add another job to his resume.

The former Boston Red Sox manager has joined the crew for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," according to The Boston Globe. His debut will be on Wednesday for a season-preview show.

The Red Sox fired Farrell on Oct. 11, 2017 despite a second-straight A.L. East crown. Alex Cora will begin his first season in Farrell's old role during the 2018 season.

Farrell added the broadcast work after the Cincinnati Reds hired him as a scout and adviser with a focus on pitching. He interviewed this offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals managing jobs, but both teams passed on him.


Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

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Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

In this corner, the challenger out of Scranton, Pa., Joltin' Joe Biden...In the other corner, straight out of Queens, the President of the United States, Dandy Donald J. Trump!

The venue: LeLacheur Park, Lowell, Mass., home of the Red Sox Class-A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's The Slasher at LeLacheur!

After the former Vice-President told a crowd at the University of Miami earlier this week of the current President, "If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him, President Trump fired back on Twitter Thursday morning. 

The Spinners, the Sox' short-season New York-Penn League affiliate, have offered to host a boxing match between the Republican President and Democratic former Vice President on Aug. 17 by the flagpole at LeLacheur. Former light-welterweight champ and Lowell native Micky Ward has agreed to referee.

No word yet if Trump, who'll be 72 by then, or Biden, 75, have accepted the invitation.

The Spinners' press release announcing the invitation says that if the two do accept, "the boxing match will take place regardless of the weather, no matter how stormy it may get."