Red Sox

Ex-Red Sox pitcher Sammy Stewart dies at age 63

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Ex-Red Sox pitcher Sammy Stewart dies at age 63

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -- Former major-league pitcher Sammy Stewart, who helped the Red Sox win the 1986 American League penant before falling into a life of crack cocaine addiction and arrests, has died. He was 63.

The Henderson County Sheriff's Office said Stewart was found dead Friday at a residence. No cause for his death had been determined as of Sunday.

Known as the "Throwin' Swannanoan" for his hometown in North Carolina, Stewart broke in with the Orioles in 1978 became an instant hit in Baltimore. The right-hander with a big fastball set a record by striking out seven straight batters in his major-league debut, against the White Sox at Baltimore's old Memorial Stadium.

With flowing hair and a bushy mustache, a country twang and a penchant for telling funny stories, Stewart was widely popular with his Baltimore teammates.

"We had some incredible days with this guy," former catcher Rick Dempsey said alongside Stewart during an Orioles telecast in 2016.

Stewart enjoyed plenty of successful days on the field, too, especially in the postseason.

Stewart had a 0.00 ERA in four World Series games, spanning 7 2/3 innings. He threw three times in the 1983 championship victory over Philadelphia.

In a picture that captured his personality, Stewart was shown holding an umbrella as a teammate poured champagne after the Orioles clinched the 1983 AL East title with a win at Milwaukee.

"I never did get down," Stewart said during that TV interview with Dempsey.

Stewart went 59-48 with 45 saves and a 3.59 ERA in 10 seasons - the first eight with Baltimore, then one each with Boston and Cleveland. He pitched in 359 games, including 25 starts.

Stewart threw 956 2/3 innings, striking out 586 and walking 502.

His career ended in 1987 and off the field, his life spiraled out of control. Many who knew him said Stewart declined after the death of his son at 11 to cystic fibrosis.

Stewart was arrested dozens of times as he dealt with addiction to crack cocaine. He pawned his championship ring, was homeless and spent more than six years in prison before being released in 2013.

Stewart stayed in touch with teammates and did autograph shows with them after getting out of prison. He had worked as an instructor at a baseball and softball center in North Carolina in the past year.

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How would Manny Machado feel playing for Yankees or Red Sox?

How would Manny Machado feel playing for Yankees or Red Sox?

WASHINGTON D.C. — It's an annual rite for any All-Star player who may be traded: on the media day ahead of the Midsummer Classic, face a bombardment of questions about that possibility, or in the case of Manny Machado, virtual inevitability. Destinations, desires and so forth.

In the case of Machado, the topics are so compelling because he’s a potential $300 million talent who could swing a pennant race. No one else so impactful is expected to be moved this year’s trade deadline.

Machado actually had a brief lull in that line of questioning Monday with reporters huddled around his table. Quickly, he was asked how the silence felt.

“Amazing,” he said.

He had just finished explaining how much of his life is up in the air.

“You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Machado said. “There’s a lot of things — this game’s already hard enough as it is. To go out there and not know where you’re going to be tomorrow, it’s kind of tough.”

The chances of the Red Sox acquiring Machado are very slim, if not nonexistent. 

Reports make a National League landing seem more likely for Machado: the Phillies, Dodgers or Brewers.

But the bottom line is Machado would not fill Boston’s largest need. Relief help has been an area of interest for a while. Now, with Eduardo Rodriguez out until perhaps September, rotation help may be on the menu as well. Even if the Sox did for some reason crave another position player, Machado’s cost in prospects would probably be too high for the Sox’ thin farm system.

But we can play fantasy baseball for a moment. J.D. Martinez, sitting at his own table on Monday, played along.

 What would Machado bring, were he to land on the Red Sox?

“I mean any time you get a bat and a player like that in a lineup, I mean — it can’t hurt,” Martinez said, laughing.

Martinez was asked for a sales pitch.

“Come and hit balls off the Monster like he does against us all the time,” Martinez said.

On the chance Machado does end up in the AL East though — the Yankees certainly have the prospect wherewithal, if they so chose — Machado acknowledged that a transition to a rival would be weird.

“Weird? Who knows? Probably so, yeah,” Machado said. “But, you know, everyone knows that it’s just part of the business, part of everything. You just never know where things are going to happen.”

Machado and the Red Sox haven’t always been the best of friends. Asked if he was cool with the Sox after what transpired in 2017, Machado indicated the only time he harbors ill will towards them is on the field.

“Cool with them? Once I step on that field. I’m trying to beat ‘em,” Machado said. “I’m trying to beat ‘em. I’m just trying to go out there and play baseball.”

If Machado has a preference to be in a big market, he did not let on Monday.

“They’re a winning team,” Machado said when asked about the Brewers. “They want to win, they’re serious. They have a good group over there. They made a lot of pushes his offseason and they’re going to continue to do whatever they can to try to get a ring.”

“I mean I’m here to play baseball, I’m not here to sightsee. I’m here to play baseball, do my job and go home and sleep and get ready for tomorrow.”

He’ll do a form of sightseeing in D.C., though. Machado is batting behind Aaron Judge in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

“I’m little like a mini-me going in there after that,” Machado said. “That guy’s a beast. But it’s going to be nice to actually see him from the other side. Be right behind him, see his swing. I know he has a great swing, see him from shortstop and this base.”

Machado made waves in New York because he “liked” a photoshopped image of himself in a Yankees uniform that was posted on Instagram. He told reporters Monday that was a mistake.

But has he thought about playing for the Yanks?

“You know honestly, I really don’t, to be honest,” Machado said. “I think about putting this uniform every day. I can’t think of anything else.

"Once I put on this jersey, I’m an Oriole man."

Not for long, likely.

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J.D. Martinez open to restructuring contract with Red Sox

J.D. Martinez open to restructuring contract with Red Sox

J.D. Martinez seems to like life as a member of the Red Sox.

After wrapping up an incredible first half to his inagural season in Boston, hitting .328 with 29 home runs and 82 RBI's, Martinez said he is open to restructuring his contract he signed in February. 

Martinez signed a five-year $110 million deal with Boston this past winter, including player opt-outs after the second and third years of the contract. 

Eliminating the opt-outs would secure the slugger for the entirety of his contract, something the Red Sox might want to consider given his production so far. 

Conversations on that front won't happen until after the season, so the league-best Red Sox can focus on winning another World Series with one of the hottest bats in baseball in their lineup. 

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