Red Sox

Elias looks to make most of his shot at Red Sox rotation Friday

Elias looks to make most of his shot at Red Sox rotation Friday

BOSTON - When Roenis Elias failed to make the Opening Day roster at the start of the season, it came as a shock and disappointment.

After all, Elias had spent the better part of the past two seasons with the Seattle Mariners and expected to be part of the Red Sox' pitching staff after being dealt to Boston last December.
      
"At first, I was confused,'' acknowledged Elias of being sent to the minors at the start of the season. "It was something that I wasn't used to, which is why I got off to such a rough start. I lost my first three, but I felt good. It's been a long road. It's been a learning process, but I put in the work and now I 'm here.''
      
Elias will make his first start for the Red Sox Friday night in an audition for a more permanent spot in the five-man rotation. For the past 2 1/2  weeks, the Sox had gone with just four starters, thanks to a run of off-days that allowed them to do so.
      
Now, the Sox need five starters and Elias hopes he's part of the equation.
      
"It's an amazing opportunity that the Red Sox have given me,'' said Elias. "I plan on making the most of it and leave it up to the team to hopefully give me the position that is available.''
      
Manager John Farrell praised Elias for correcting some of the flaws that dogged him through the first six weeks or so.
      
"Overall, he's repeating his delivery much more consistently, particularly against right-handed hitters,'' Farrell said. "He's maintained a consistent arm slot. That's allowed him to attack both sides of the plate with consistency.''
      
"I've made the adjustments that I needed to make at Triple A,'' said Elias.

"Working with [Pawtucket pitching coach Bob Kipper] has helped me a lot and looking at footage and making those adjustments is what has helped me thus far.''

Kipper made some specific recommendations to Elias after a poor first month, and once the lefty adopted them, he began a stretch that saw him compile a 2.50 ERA over the past five starts.

"The problem that Kip outlined to me was that my timing was off,'' said Elias. "I was getting into my delivery too fast and that was leading to a lot of walks early in the game and that hurt me later on. I talked to him, he gave me his idea and I told him what I thought and from that point, we found a happy medium and it started working.''
      
The opposition will be familiar to Elias, who draws his former team, the Mariners, Friday night.
      
"It's going to be a good experience, an interesting one,'' said Elias with a smile. "I'm looking forward to seeing my old teammates, [especially] Robinson Cano. He was one of the best teammates I had when I was there and I'm looking forward to facing him.
      
"I learned a lot from him. He told me how I should pitch to certain guys and where I should locate. We talked a lot in my time with Seattle.''
 

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

Already coming off a season cut short by an elbow injury that shut him down last August, Chris Sale's spring training got off to a slow start as he recovered from a bout with pneumonia just as pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox camp in Fort Myers. 

He says he's progressing after the illness led to him dropping a few pounds from his already thin frame (6-foot-6, 180). He'll throw a side session Sunday and told reporters on Saturday that he thinks he'll be ready for Opening Day March 26.

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"I think I’m going to be ready for [the opener]. But like I said, those aren’t my calls to make. I go out there, do my job, tell them how I feel on a daily basis," Sale said. "Obviously as the workload picks up, we have to see how things work out. I’ve just got to be open and honest with them and then we map out a plan and see how it works out."

In a Friday interview on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show, Sale said having his season end early last summer and going through a rehab process to avoid Tommy John surgery has him raring to go into 2020 despite questions about his stamina.

"I feel like I'm better now than I was then because of going through that [injury and rehab]."

Sale hasn't reached 200 innings pitched since 2017. He went 6-11 in 25 starts (147.1 IP) in what he called "a nightmare season" in 2019 after his and all the starters' workloads were limited in spring training and he struggled with his velocity at times before the injury was diagnosed.

"I feel really good," he told WEEI. "I can sit here and tell you what I want to do, what I think I'm going to do, but I've just got to go do it. I live here in town and put in a lot of work. I was here four to five times a week. It's exciting. For me, this really started last September October when that rehab process began.

"I gotta get back to the basics. Not really worry about fading, the injuries. This is sports. Injuries can happen overnight...I'm not worried about what my track record is or what people are thinking of me."

Jerry Narron hired as Red Sox bench coach

Jerry Narron hired as Red Sox bench coach

Ron Roenicke officially has his bench coach for 2020.

The Boston Red Sox manager announced after Saturday's spring training win over the Tampa Bay Rays that Jerry Narron will take over the role.


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If Narron's name sounds familiar, that's likely because he served as Red Sox bench coach during the 2003 season when Grady Little was manager.

The 64-year-old went on to assume the same role with the Cincinnati Reds in 2004–05, then served as the Reds' interim manager from June 2005 to July 2007.

Since then, Narron has had multiple jobs including stints as bench coach of the Milwaukee Brewers (2011-15) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2017-19). He was Roenicke's bench coach in Milwaukee.

Boston's bench coach position opened up once Roenicke was promoted to interim manager earlier this month. Roenicke replaced Alex Cora, who parted ways with the Red Sox after his name was mentioned in MLB's report on the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation.