Red Sox

Eduardo Rodriguez puts positive spin on Alex Cora's criticism

Eduardo Rodriguez puts positive spin on Alex Cora's criticism

It appears Eduardo Rodriguez doesn't mind a little tough love from his manager.

After the Boston Red Sox pitcher labored through an inefficient spring training outing Monday against the New York Mets, Alex Cora called him out, insisting it's time for Rodriguez to "step up."

“For him to go deeper into games, he needs to attack guys,” Cora said at the time. “His stuff is good, he got some swings and misses. But those are the things that we need to get better and he knows it.”

It's not the first time Cora has challenged Rodriguez publicly. On Tuesday, though, the 25-year-old said he's glad his manager holds him accountable.

"I like that he’s honest all the time,” Rodriguez told reporters in Fort Myers, via MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo. “Even if he tells (the media) or tells me, I like that because that puts me on pace to work more for making everybody happy.

"Everybody understands the point where I have to go. I like that because I know he worries about me. When he says things like that, it’s because he worries about me."

Cora worries about Rodriguez because he has such a high ceiling; the fifth-year veteran looked great earlier in spring training and is coming off the best season of his career in which he posted a 13-5 record and 3.82 ERA.

But Rodriguez's Achilles' heel is his ability to pitch deep into games: He pitched six full innings or more in just nine of his 23 starts in 2018 and never pitched more than 6 2/3 innings in an outing.

Rodriguez is well aware of this shortcoming, though, and will work to take Cora's message to heart.

"We just need to improve that and attack the hitter because that’s the point (of being) a starter,” Rodriguez added.

" ... Last year, I was throwing too many 5 ⅔ (inning outings) so I’m on his page, too. I want to go out there and throw seven innings almost every time I go out there.”

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Dustin Pedroia retiring? Not so fast, say Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia retiring? Not so fast, say Red Sox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When last we heard from Dustin Pedroia, the former MVP sounded like someone who recognized his career was winding to an end.

Persistent knee issues had limited him to just nine total games in 2018 and 2019, and when he shut it down this past Memorial Day, it seemed unlikely we'd see him in a Red Sox uniform again for anything more than a sendoff.

"I haven't sat down and thought about retirement," Pedroia said. "I just know that right now I need a break from the everyday stresses and dealing with what I'm dealing with. . . . I think time will give me the right answer of if I can do this."

While it still seems unlikely that Pedroia returns, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O'Halloran refused to rule it out at Monday's GM meetings, even noting that Pedroia has been encouraged.

"Every indication I've gotten is that he's feeling good and intending on playing," Bloom said.

The Red Sox brass hopes to meet with Pedroia, an Arizona resident, this week. O'Halloran noted that the passage of time has altered Pedroia's perspective.

"I think perhaps how he feels about things has changed since it was pretty raw at that point (in May), the time you're talking about," O'Halloran said. "He's been working out and doing well by his own account and we're going to talk to him and learn more. I don't think that anything specifically changed. I think it's more that time has passed and he's been feeling better."

That said, can the Red Sox count on Pedroia to play a role in 2019? While it would be wise to progress on the assumption that he won't play -- former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski left himself in a hole last year by proclaiming he believed Pedroia could appear in 125 games -- they're certainly not sweating that keeping him active means eating a roster spot.

"I would never think of it as a problem to have Dustin Pedroia on our 40-man roster and be concerned about planning around him, no," he said. "So it's good to have him on our roster and hopefully he continues to progress and is in the mix."

Pedroia still has two years and $25 million remaining on the eight-year, $110 million extension he signed in 2013.

TOMASE: Looking at Chaim Bloom's exhausting to-do list at GM meetings>>>

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Question of why Chris Sale still hasn't seen Dr. Andrews for followup is finally asnswered

Question of why Chris Sale still hasn't seen Dr. Andrews for followup is finally asnswered

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- We finally have an explanation for why Chris Sale has missed his six-week checkup with Dr. James Andrews by six weeks and counting -- the Red Sox were hoping he'd be available for the playoffs.

Sale visited the famed orthopedist in August after being placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation. Andrews treated Sale with a plasma-rich platelet injection and shut him down, scheduling a followup that would've coincided with the end of the regular season.

There's a reason for that. The Red Sox were holding out hope that Sale could pitch in October, should Boston reach the playoffs. Once the Red Sox fell hopelessly out of contention -- which was pretty much immediately -- they slowed Sale's timetable.

They now sound cautiously optimistic that the ace left-hander is progressing normally as he rehabs at the team's spring training facilities in Fort Myers, where he also makes his offseason home. There's finally an explanation for why a six-week checkup still hasn't happened 12 weeks later.

"What changed is we fell out of the playoff race," said GM Brian O'Halloran. "We decided to slow it down. It was our decision, it was nothing to do with how things were going. The rehab has gone very well and Chris is right where we want him to be, pending that appointment with Dr. Andrews. When we gave a six-week range, that sort of lined up with the end of the season, and we were holding out hope at that point that we still had a chance to be a postseason team. Very quickly after that, that changed, that didn't happen.

"The six weeks was kind of the early range that we were given by our medical department on what was appropriate on a return to play. Once the postseason was no longer a factor, we decided to take the outer end of the range just because it made the most sense to slow it down and give the most time possible to heal and go from there."

So how is Sale doing? While he's still not throwing -- that won't begin until Andrews re-examines him, O'Halloran said, a visit that hasn't been scheduled yet -- he's progressing.

Sale's agent, B.B. Abbott, told the Boston Globe that Sale has seen multiple doctors this fall, and while they're encouraged by his progress, they still don't know what caused the elbow to flare up. It could've been the shoulder injury that slowed him in 2018, the aftereffects of pitching into late October, or something else entirely.

"I think that certainly some of the lingering stuff from the year before, what he went through, the length of the season, the shoulder, things of that nature might have changed something in him mechanically," Abbott told the Globe. "I don't think they've put their finger on anything specifically, but I do think this full rest, this full time to let the PRP do what it did, and the orthopedic surgeons we spoke to and that the team spoke to, seeing the images, I think was very, very promising."

TOMASE: Looking at Chaim Bloom's exhausting to-do list at GM meetings>>>

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