Red Sox

Benintendi ALCS Game 4 catch is AP's play of the year

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Benintendi ALCS Game 4 catch is AP's play of the year

There may have been better catches, but it'd be hard to find a better and bigger one - given the stakes - than Andrew Benintendi's diving grab in Houston to end the Red Sox's 8-6 victory over the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. 

The catch of Alex Bregman's bases-loaded liner to left field gave the Sox a 3-1 series lead and is the Associated Press Play of the Year for 2018. 

Here's the AP description:

1. A dive into Red Sox lore

Andrew Benintendi may never make a better catch. The left fielder for the Boston Red Sox made a diving grab to end Game 4 of the AL Championship Series, a huge play on his team's run to the World Series title. Boston led 8-6 in Game 4, up 2-1 in the series, but the bases were loaded in Houston and the crowd at Minute Maid Park was roaring. Alex Bregman hit a liner that was sinking fast, and if it had gotten past Benintendi the Astros would have likely scored three runs to win. But Benintendi dove perfectly, snared the ball just above the grass and the rest is now Red Sox lore — as well as the play of the year.

The Sox, of course, would go on to win Game 5 to wrap up the series and head to the World Series, where they also won in five games over the L.A. Dodgers. That also included a spectacular Benintendi catch in Game 2.  

In fact, AP's Top 3 plays of 2018 had New England connections. But the other two were not so good for the locals.

No. 2 was actually two plays, both shots by Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale: The buzzer-beater that knocked UConn out of the NCAA women's basketball tournament in the national semifinals and her go-ahead hoop two nights later in the final against Mississippi State. 

No. 3 was also two plays, both in which the Patriots were victimized: The Eagles' "Philly Special" touchdown catch by quarterback Nick Foles in Super Bowl 52, and the Dolphins' "Miami Miracle" last-second lateral TD scored by Kenyan Drake that beat the Pats on Dec. 9. 

Ouch. Those still smart.

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Yes, these 10 Hall of Famers actually played for the Red Sox

Yes, these 10 Hall of Famers actually played for the Red Sox

The storied history of the Red Sox includes no shortage of all-time great Hall of Famers, from Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski to Pedro Martinez. When we hear their names, we immediately associate them with Boston.

But there's another group of Hall of Famers who don't scream Red Sox, but actually spent a portion of their careers here.

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The slick-fielding Luis Aparicio spent his final three seasons in Boston, memorably tripping around third in a crucial showdown with the Tigers for the 1972 pennant.

Frank Chance of Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance fame actually spent a year behind the bench, managing the Red Sox to an eighth-place finish in 1923.

Turn-of-the-century right-hander Jack Chesbro, a Massachusetts native, made the final appearance of his career with his hometown team in the 1909 season finale.

None of them make the following list, however, which is the 10 Hall of Famers we still can't believe suited up for the Red Sox, from a 300-game winner to a stolen base king to one of the greatest pure hitters of all time.

Click here for the gallery.

Rafael Devers rejoins Red Sox workouts after COVID-19 scare

Rafael Devers rejoins Red Sox workouts after COVID-19 scare

Rafael Devers didn't work out with his teammates at Fenway Park for the first week of summer camp because the Red Sox feared he had been exposed to COVID-19.

After three tests came up negative, however, Devers was cleared to return and joined his teammates at Fenway Park on Wednesday afternoon for live batting practice.

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He had been working out at Boston College with other possible positive cases, manager Ron Roenicke said, out of an abundance of caution.

"We had some guys that were possibly exposed to somebody with coronavirus," Roenicke said via Zoom on Wednesday. "This group has tested negative three times. We will continue to test them, just because we're being overly cautious. That's kind of why we've separated some of the guys from the later workouts."

Devers hopes to bat in Thursday's intrasquad scrimmage, Roenicke said, because he's anxious to lock in his timing at the plate against big league pitching. If all goes well, he'd likely play third base in Friday's scrimmage.

"He's concerned about seeing velocity," Roenicke said. "We were able to do that over there with him with the pitching machine in the cage. He'll do that again and see live BP today, which is helpful, and then if he's ready for a couple of at-bats, we'll have him in the intrasquad tomorrow."

Added Roenicke: "I know with him, he's a little concerned, because he's trying to catch up and make sure he's getting all the work in that he needs."

There's no overstating Devers' importance to the lineup after a breakout 2019 in which he hit .311 with 32 homers, 115 RBIs, and a league-leading 54 doubles and 359 total bases.

With Mookie Betts in Los Angeles, Devers is expected to be one of the driving forces in the lineup, alongside Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.