Red Sox

Farrell on Masterson: 'Clearly, he's not right'


Farrell on Masterson: 'Clearly, he's not right'

OAKLAND -- In not so many words, John Farrell and Justin Masterson agreed that Masterson's outing wasn't acceptable Tuesday night.

Why that was -- and what to do about it -- was, however, a point of contention.

After Masterson endured his second straight poor start, shelled for six runs on six hits in just 2 1/3 innings in a 9-2 thumping by the Oakland A's, Farrell hinted that there were physical issues behind the performance.

"Clearly, he's not right,'' said Farrell. "Whether that's physical, whether that's delivery-wise, ball not coming out of his hand as he's shown for the better part of this year...So we've got to gather some information overnight, we've got to check on him when he comes in in the morning, get a full work-up and just get a better assessment of where things are.''

Farrell said if a physical issue exists, "it's not anything glaring, or an area of the body that can be identified to say, 'This is the primary reason.' To what extent he feels anything that might subconsciously be in there, to not allow him the freedom to cut the ball loose - that's what we're trying to get to the bottom of.''

Masterson put himself behind 1-0 after three batters and 3-0 after five.

He gave up another run in the second, and after allowing a solo homer and a walk to two of the three hitters he faced in the third, his night was done.

It was the fourth time this season that a Red Sox starter failed to get through the third inning and the 12th time that a Sox starter gave up at least five runs.

Masterson struggled all of 2014 with a variety of injuries, led by an oblique strain that later resulted in another physical issues and prevented him from repeating his delivery.

Asked what concerned him most from Masterson over the last two outings, Farrell said: "Consistency to the action of the pitches. The sink isn't as abrupt as (the pitches) enter the hitting zone, so the action to his pitches is a little bit longer and obviously easier for hitters to adjust to.''

But when Masterson was asked if there was anything physically wrong with him, he responded: "Other than not making good pitches? No. I never had a chance to feel comfortable. I didn't feel comfortable in the pre-game bullpen, as far as just being able to get a good release point. Once the game came, I tried to take a ball in, leave it over the middle, homer. Try to take it over, leave it over the middle. Everything just ran back to the middle and that's not really what we're trying to do.''

In summing up his outing, which saw him get tagged for four hard-hit extra-base hits to the 14 hitters he faced, Masterson said: "I wasn't able to stand on anything today. This one, it didn't come out as well as I was hoping. We knew this was going to be a year of hitting our spots and that didn't take place.''

Equally concerning was the diminished velocity. Last Wednesday, when he walked six in just 4 1/3 innings, he at least regularly hit 89 mph with his fastball. Tuesday night, he was often 85-86 mph.

"Today (the velocity) was really disappointing,'' conceded Masterson. "I was laboring a little too much to get 86s and 87s out there. Today - and it all goes back to the idea that I wasn't comfortable with my mechanics. I just wasn't behind the ball.''

Farrell wouldn't entertain questions about removing Masterson from the rotation, though he wouldn't guarantee that the righthander would take his next turn.

"It's probably best that we get a chance to get as much information as we can,'' he said. "We're not at a point where we're going to make that statement tonight. But again, we're taking a look at everything we can.''

Masterson, meanwhile, insisted "as we discuss right now, I'm more than capable (of making his next start, scheduled for Sunday in Seattle... I really think it's not anything too extreme at this point. I think it will be a good time to work and assess and really go out and have some fun in 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.