Red Sox

Tales from the Red Sox clubhouse: Learning to live life without Papi

Tales from the Red Sox clubhouse: Learning to live life without Papi

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Tales from the Red Sox clubhouse . . . 

Life without Papi: The most noticeable thing about Red Sox spring training is what’s missing -- the enormous, ubiquitous impossible-to-ignore presence of David Ortiz.  Ortiz is retired -- or so he says -- and, for now, is nowhere to be found in Fort Myers.

“Obviously I’m going to miss him, we’re all going to miss him,” said Dustin Pedroia.  “I’m sure if I need some advice I’ve still got his number; he’s not going anywhere.  He’ll always be on our side and a big part of what we do.”

“I’ve never really played without him,” said Mookie Betts. “I think it’s going to take us all as a unit to pick up.  I think that the only way . . . there’s no real way to replace him, but to just kind of keep where he left off.  The experience that none of us young guys have and just laughing and joking and what not and that leadership.  We’ve got some young guys that can do some similar things but nobody’s David Ortiz.

Not David Ortiz: Not that anyone needed to be told, but Mitch Moreland -- acquired as a free agent this offseason -- is not David Ortiz.  Just ask him.
                                         
“I’m not replacing Ortiz,” Moreland chuckled when asked about the pressure of replacing Ortiz. “I’m going to come in here and play first and try to work hard.”

Moreland has been told by manager John Farrell that he will play first base most days against righties and may get a start against the occasional lefty.

Sale of the century: It goes without saying, but everybody we talked to was pretty pumped about the offseason acquisition of left-handed ace Chris Sale.

“Gotta be happy, when you add someone like that," said Betts. "The best of the best [and] now he’s on your team. You kind of, mark a 'W' there [when he pitches].”

“He can overpower you with stuff, velocity, and obviously he can change speeds and locations, which as a hitter, it’s tough," said Pedroia. "And if he’s doing that consistently it’s pretty tough to hit.  He can dominate you and frustrate you pretty good."

“Oh wow.  I’m glad he’s on our side,” said Jackie Bradley Jr. “It’s tough. Herky-jerky.  Be a different story if he threw a lot softer.  It’s hard to pick up.  Throws upper 90s and has a slider that starts out in the batter’s box behind you, so . . . good luck.”

He’s the ace? But who is the Ace?  Two years ago the Red Sox famously entered spring training with no clear top dog in the rotation.  This year there’s plenty to choose from.  

So who gets the ball on Opening Day?  The clubhouse favorite would seem to be Sale but David Price (also in the mix?) has different thoughts on the matter.

“I’m a believer it’s something that’s earned, “said Price.  “If I had a vote I’d vote for Rick [Porcello, last year's Cy Young Award winner]. He earned it. That’s the way every team I’ve been on it kind of works.”

Room for improvement? Betts had about as good an all-around statistical season as one could have -- .318 average, 31 home runs, 113 RBI, 42 doubles, 5 triples, 26 stolen bases, .363 on-base percentage, .534 slugging percentage. What, if anything, can he do to improve upon 2016?

“I don’t want to top it," he said. "I just want to do something close to what I did last year and I think that will be a pretty good year.”

Amen to that.

Ex-Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright to undergo Tommy John surgery

Ex-Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright to undergo Tommy John surgery

Steven Wright's Red Sox career came to an end on Friday, and it'll be a while before the knuckleballer makes his return to the mound.

Shortly after being released by Boston, Wright revealed to WEEI's Rob Bradford he will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday to repair the torn UCL in his right elbow.

"I'm fully committed to rehab and making a comeback," Wright told Bradford. "I feel better than I have ever and want to get back to a position I haven't been in since 2016, which is healthy. My sole focus is to get healthy and stay focused."

Wright made only six appearances for the Red Sox in 2019 as he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in January and served an 80-game suspension. The 35-year-old also served a 15-game suspension in 2018 for violating the league's domestic violence policy.

Wright posted a 24-16 record with a 3.86 ERA in 81 total appearances during his tenure in Boston.

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Watch David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez reminisce on 2004 ALCS

Watch David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez reminisce on 2004 ALCS

Fifteen years ago, the Boston Red Sox pulled off the impossible vs. the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez took a trip down memory lane to relive the unforgettable moments in a nostalgia-filled video for FOX Sports. The two legends relive everything from A-Rod slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove to Curt Schilling's bloody sock.

A-Rod shared the video and wrote about his painful memories from the series on Twitter. Watch and read below:

Credit to Rodriguez for being a good sport (imagine reading that sentence 15 years ago?...)

The Yankees could find themselves ousted from another ALCS on Friday night when they take on the Astros in a do-or-die Game 5. They would have to win three straight games, including two on the road, to advance to the World Series.

The last team to do that? You guessed it. The '04 Red Sox.

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