Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski cautiously optimistic on Dustin Pedroia, hopeful he’ll be ‘the main guy’ at second base

Dave Dombrowski cautiously optimistic on Dustin Pedroia, hopeful he’ll be ‘the main guy’ at second base

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With so much focus on the Red Sox bullpen situation as spring training gets underway, it’s easy to forget about the question mark that lies at second base.

Besides last year, second base hasn’t been a position where the Red Sox are used to having question marks. Dustin Pedroia’s presence usually would be the last thing to worry about heading into a new season. But with the 13-year veteran playing in only three games in 2018 due to a nagging knee injury, his health will be closely monitored in the days leading up to Opening Day and for many days after.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski provided an update on Pedroia, who he says is expected to report to camp within the next day or two.

“[Pedroia] says he feels good,” Dombrowski said Wednesday at JetBlue Park. “My answer really hasn’t changed throughout the wintertime. He feels good, our medical reports on him are good. Until he gets here day in and day out will we get the chance to see — I don’t think that it’s one day, it’s probably a matter of the build-up, of the pounding on a daily basis and how he handles it.”


As for Pedroia’s workload for the regular season, Dombrowski seems cautiously optimistic. The plan is for Pedroia to be the primary second baseman, with a number of other players stepping in to take the load off his shoulders (and his knee).

“We’re still not looking at a 150-game player,” Dombrowski said. “We’re hopeful that he’s a 125-game player at this point. We do feel we have some people who are solid and can fill in. To fill in if [Pedroia] plays 120, guys like [Brock] Holt, a guy like [Eduardo] Nuñez coming over there. Even some depth with Tzu-Wei Lin in our organization we like a great deal. They are also capable of playing more games, that combination. But we’re hopeful that Pedey will be the guy. The main guy.”

Such optimism could indicate Pedroia’s road to recovery is going as smoothly as the team could have hoped for. Of course, when dealing with a player like Pedroia who’s undoubtedly anxious to return to action, there comes a risk of rushing into things which could be counterproductive from a recovery standpoint.

Dombrowski was asked about saving Pedroia from himself. In other words, making sure he doesn’t try to go full speed ahead when he really should be easing back into the grind.

“Well, we discuss it all the time so sure, we have to watch him,” Dombrowski said. “I think, I can’t tell you because I haven’t been around him day in and day out in the winter time, but Pedey’s always driven, he always wants to get out there, but we have already had conversations that we can’t let him push beyond what he’s supposed to do from a medical perspective day in and day out, so we’ll have a program for him. It’ll be very important that he follows it. We’ll talk to him on a daily basis from a medical perspective.”

“He’s had a lot of surgeries, he’s worked really hard,” Dombrowski continued. “I do think that the reality — I think the good communication with people on a consistent basis, Alex [Cora] with him is really good. Alex and he have a great relationship together. They’ve been together for years. So I do think it’s better, but I can’t tell you 100 percent. We just have to be careful in that regard.”

When it comes to Pedroia staying patient as he aims to retain his role as the starting Red Sox second baseman, Chris Sale believes that’s an area Pedroia could use some improvement.

“Ah, man, I think he’s still working on patience,” Sale joked on Wednesday. “He’s one of those guys you can never rule out. I dare you to rule him out, actually. Because he’s out to prove a point this year, and that’s a scary thought.”

Sale is right. Ruling out a former MVP — especially one with Pedroia’s determination — would be foolish. But if everything is to go according to plan with Pedroia and the second base position in 2019, patience will be a virtue.

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman holds high opinion of Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman holds high opinion of Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom

If you're an MLB general manager looking for an endorsement, there are few that you'd rather get it from than long-time New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

Cashman, who has been the Yankees' GM since 1998, is one of the longest-tenured GM's in baseball. Only Oakland Athletics Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane, hired in 1997, has been around longer than him. And during Cashman's tenure, the Yankees have won four World Series titles and have made the playoffs 18 times.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have won also four World Series titles during that span, but they've gone through six different GMs/heads of baseball operations. Their latest hire was made this offseason when they lured Chaim Bloom away from the Tampa Bay Rays. And the man running the Yankees is a fan of Bloom's and thinks that he will run the Red Sox well.

"I think Chaim Bloom is going to be a fantastic general manager," Cashman said, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. "From my interactions with him, he’s got intellect. He’s got personality. He’s got empathy. I just feel like all of those attributes are going to serve him extremely well as he navigates running a big-market operation, one of the best franchises in the industry."

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That's some seriously high praise considering how well Cashman has guided the Yankees over the course of the past 22 years. Perhaps Bloom, 37, will have a chance to turn into a long-term staple of the Red Sox front office if he can live up to that potential.

So far, Bloom's tenure in Boston has been a rocky one. He had to deal with the fallout from Alex Cora's involvement in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal and also made the decision to trade Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Feb. 10.

The latter move may ultimately work out, especially considering that the team may not have been able to deal Betts amid the coronavirus pandemic with all MLB actions now frozen. But it was still a tough pill for some Sox fans to swallow considering Betts' talent compared to the lack of talent the team brought in during free agency.

At the end of the day though, it's still far too early to judge Bloom's moves. And he did get a solid haul in the revised edition of the Betts deal. If Cashman has confidence in him, that should be a good sign for the Red Sox and perhaps Bloom will bring stability to the team's front office for the first time in quite a while.

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers admits he still experiences anxiety before games

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers admits he still experiences anxiety before games

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers doesn't always have the easiest time preparing for games. 

After a breakout season in 2019 (.311, 32 homers, 115 RBI, .916 OPS), the 23-year-old has turned into one of Boston's best at the plate, but that doesn't mean he doesn't experience anxiety. 

The Boston Herald's Jason Mastrodonato sat down with Devers for an interview before the MLB postponed its season due to the coronavirus, and Devers indicated that he still feels a rush before games begin.

“The hardest thing I still go through is every game I still get this anxiousness of the game starting," Devers said, according to Mastrodonato. "It’s this happiness of being out there and being on the field and playing and getting over that anxiety. I’m just over-emotional about the opportunity and being out there playing.

“Because it’s not like a nervous thing, it’s more of an excited thing. That first inning is a big rush. But after that first inning settles, I get an at-bat and it’s like, alright, the game kind of settles. It’s just me being overly emotional about how happy I am.”

“It’s something I’ve been working on since I’ve been here. I’ve been working with previous people in the organization that led me to some of my breathing techniques that I do now. But it’s all about controlling myself. I know it. It’s still there and I’m still working on it. But I have gotten much better at it.”

Of course, you can tell that Devers can't wait to take the field -- he lights up like a kid on Christmas -- but you'd never know truly how emotional he gets. 

In three seasons with the Red Sox, Devers has hit .282 with 211 RBI, 63 home runs and a 5.8 WAR. Based on his 2019 stats, those pregame jitters must've been a little easier to deal with last season. 

Whatever's in store for the Red Sox in 2020, and whenever the baseball season begins, we should expect some big things from Devers in his fourth season.