Red Sox

How two words from Alex Cora helped Michael Chavis end homer-less streak, Adrian Beltre-style

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USA TODAY Sports

How two words from Alex Cora helped Michael Chavis end homer-less streak, Adrian Beltre-style

BOSTON -- Michael Chavis's first home run in over three weeks looked like a tribute to a Hall of Fame-bound slugger who spent one season in Boston and eight in Texas, but as Chavis explained, falling to one knee like Adrian Beltre actually showed he's rediscovering his swing.

Chavis's solo homer to left in the fourth inning of Thursday's come-from-behind 7-6 victory over the Rangers ended a homerless drought at 20 games and 79 plate appearances. His 11th long ball of the season came on a slider from Adrian Sampson that Chavis corkscrewed 352 feet to left at a towering 43 degree launch angle.

He swung so hard, he ended up genuflecting as the ball left his bat.

"That's something that honestly was a good sign," Chavis said. "Whenever I finish on a knee on an off-speed pitch or a pitch that's down, that tells me I'm using my legs better, that I'm using them correctly and staying behind the ball and not trying to go out and get it, so that was honestly a real good sign. I think I even did it on a pitch later in the game as well. Beyond the result, me doing that in that at-bat and getting my swing off, that was a huge sign for me."

The previous three weeks have not been kind. Since hitting a game-winning home run in the 13th inning at Toronto on May 22, Chavis had batted just .197 with five RBIs in 20 games, striking out 35 times and walking only six.

With teams attacking the top of the strike zone at high velocity and then inducing him to chase sliders off the plate, Chavis faced the first extended struggle of his very young career. But manager Alex Cora brought him back with a piece of simple advice.

"It hasn't been very fun, if I'm being honest," Chavis said. "One of the things that helped me get past it -- it's one game where I'm feeling better, so I'm not saying I'm completely back or anything -- but AC actually just reminded me, 'Have fun.' I took a step back like, 'I haven't had fun in a while, if we're being honest.' It weirdly just put me in a better place mentally, helped me relax."

And so when Chavis connected in the fourth inning, he could breathe a sigh of relief. It made sense that he left the park just as he learned to stop swinging for the fences.

"It definitely did feel good to finally connect for a home run, but what's funny about that is the biggest thing I've been working on is trying not to do that," he said "I've been getting so big and trying to do much and the whole mental aspect of it was out of control, so I've just been trying to stay as simplified and controlled as possible. That was not at all what I was actually trying to do, but obviously the way my swing works, I connected well, and so it went."

Chavis has found other ways to contribute during his slump, particularly defensively, where he has exhibited excellent range at first base and made multiple diving stops.

"That's one of the things I've thought this whole process," he said. "I was like, 'If I ain't going to hit, I might as well try to save a run here or there.' That was something keeping me grounded."

Cora's advice didn't hurt, either. Maybe there will even be some more Adrian Beltre in his future.

"I had fun tonight, and I'm just going to keep it going," Chavis said. "I feel like it has put me in a better place mentally. A lot of the stuff that was going on was all mental, trying to do too much, trying to create results and chasing numbers, instead of just having fun. I think I'm in a better spot now."

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David Price's history with Dennis Eckersley and Boston media, in his own words

David Price's history with Dennis Eckersley and Boston media, in his own words

Good luck summing up David Price in one word.

The 33-year-old left-hander has been the Boston Red Sox's best pitcher this season, carrying an otherwise awful rotation with a 7-2 record and 3.16 ERA entering Friday's start against the Baltimore Orioles.

But he's also been one of their biggest distractions, most recently re-hashing a 2017 beef with NESN broadcaster Dennis Eckersley and doubling down Wednesday in a fiery media session.

Indeed, there's always been two sides to Price since he signed a seven-year, $217 million contract with Boston in late 2015 and decided not to opt out following the 2018 season. 

With the veteran hurler again making headlines for his comments instead of his pitching, here's a timeline of his history with Eckersley and the Boston media ... in Price's own words.

December 5, 2015: A day after signing his massive deal with the Red Sox, Price is asked about his postseason struggles, which include just two wins in 14 appearances to that date.

"I think I was just saving all my postseason wins for the Red Sox. I know good things are going to happen for me in October; it just hasn't been the case thus far. ... That time is coming for me, and I hope it's in 2016."

October 11, 2016: Price addresses the media after the Red Sox are swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

"I need to get (the monkey) off my back. And until I do, it's going to be a topic of conversation and I'm fully aware of that. If you don't like it, pitch better. ... I want to make these fans love me and I've got six more years to do it. I'm excited about it.''

March 7, 2017: Entering his second season with Boston, a defiant Price suggests Red Sox fans just want to see results.

"The only thing I have to do is pitch good. People don't care about what I do or the type of person that I am. That doesn't matter."

June 7, 2017: Just over a week following his first start of the season after dealing with elbow issues, Price says he's done speaking to the media on days he doesn't pitch.

"I’m the same me. I don’t talk to the media every day like I did last year and I guess I get blown up for that. But I was honest with everything they asked me last year and I get blown up for that. So they did this to themselves. Talk to me on the day I pitch and that’s it. There are no more personal interviews."

July 2, 2017: The Price-Eckersley feud begins, as Price explains why he confronted Eckersley on the Red Sox team plane over a negative comment the NESN broadcaster made about Eduardo Rodriguez.

"I was just standing up for my teammates. Whatever crap I catch for that, I'm fine with it."

July 29, 2017: Price takes another shot at Eckersley, suggesting the Red Sox legend is ducking him.

“I mean, if you’re going to say what he says, you know, come around. Just show your face. And if guys have a problem with it, they’ll pull him aside. Be like, that ain’t how it’s done. This is not the first time this has happened here regarding Eck. It’s unfortunate that it happened and it did and we’re going to get through it."

September 29, 2017: Price assesses a difficult season that saw him appear in just 16 games due to injury.

"This has been the most trying year of my career."

May 28, 2018: In a bizarre media session, Price mocks his detractors who believe he can't pitch through pain.

"You know me. I'm the softest guy in this clubhouse. If it bothered me, I'd be out of the game. ... I'm soft, period. It's not a joke. I'm soft. ... No. I'm soft. It's cold. Can't pitch. My hands tingling. Can't do my job. That's it."

June 27, 2018: Sticking with the same theme, Price sarcastically suggests he'll miss a start due to Fortnite after reports that he may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome from playing too many video games.

"I don’t think I’ll be able to go, so I don’t think so. Yeah, Fortnite."

July 11, 2018: In another defiant interview, Price says he has no plans to opt out and has no issue with Boston.

"I've never said I've hated Boston or had a problem with the fans. That's a perception that's put on me through you [media] guys. That's what that is. ... So write what you want to write."

October 29, 2018: Price finally finds postseason redemption in helping the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series ... and promptly takes a victory lap.

"I hold all the cards now. And that feels so good. That feels so good. I can’t tell you how good it feels to hold that trump card. And you guys have had it for a long time. You’ve played that card extremely well. But you don’t have it anymore, none of you do, and that feels really good."

April 18, 2019: After the Red Sox scuffle out of the gate in 2019, Price surprisingly lays out a doomsday scenario for Boston if it doesn't turn things around.

"If we don’t start playing better, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, maybe myself, we could get traded. We’re, what, 30th in minor league systems? We’re dead last. ... It will be tough for a while here."

July 17, 2019: Price catches wind of a passing comment Eckersley made to The Boston Globe's Chad Finn about "never" wanting to see the Red Sox pitcher -- and fires back on Twitter.

"Because ECK needs attention!! Same as every broadcast...hahah 8 pitches are thrown and he’s sitting there talking about something he did 30 years ago (with zero mention of what’s going on)"

July 17, 2019: Price is asked why he resurfaced his 2017 incident with Eckersley and stands by his comments.

"The fact that it was two years ago, over two years ago now. The fact that he wanted to move on and since then he's went on the radio and talked about it, done it again. In 2017 I addressed it. I told you guys in front of the camera that I wished I'd have handled it differently. I did it again in 2018 in spring training on day 1, I said the same thing.

"We had a meeting set up in 2017, here at the field, got here early. Hour and a half, two hours after I get here, they come and tell me that he's not coming. We had a meeting, he backed out. I was going to tell him. I apologize, I didn't handle it the right way, and it continues to come up. There's no reason for it. Honestly, I just think it's trash."

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MLB rumors: Latest Madison Bumgarner trade buzz involving Red Sox, Yankees and more

MLB rumors: Latest Madison Bumgarner trade buzz involving Red Sox, Yankees and more

San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is one of the best starting pitchers who could be moved before the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline.

The veteran left-hander pitched what might have been his final game at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Thursday night, and he put on a show. Bumgarner threw a complete game, allowing five hits and one earned run with one walk and six strikeouts. The Giants won 3-2 in 16 innings.

Bumgarner has not enjoyed a particularly strong 2019 season, but he rarely pitches less than six innings, he has won three World Series with the Giants and thrives in high-pressure situations. He's the ideal trade deadline pick up for a championship contender in search of a pitching upgrade.

The 29-year-old also is in the final year of his contract, so he'd be a rental for any team acquiring him. His 2019 salary is $12 million.

Several teams, including the Boston Red Sox, have either sent scouts to watch games Bumgarner has started and/or are rumored to be interested in acquiring him. Here's the latest trade buzz involving Bumgarner as the deadline approaches.

Boston Red Sox:

Minnesota Twins:

Philadelphia Phillies:

"It is well known that the Phillies are in the market for starting pitching," Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia wrote Thursday. "They have spoken to the Texas Rangers about Mike Minor, the Detroit Tigers about Matthew Boyd and the San Francisco Giants about Madison Bumgarner. They have also investigated the possibility of trading for Zack Greinke, Arizona’s high-priced right-hander."

New York Yankees:

"As previously reported, the Yankees (rightly, in our humble opinion) consider Bumgarner in a class below deadline targets Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman and Zack Wheeler (if healthy)," Andy Martino of SNY wrote Friday. "But they're not totally out on him, in part because he might come at a lower price."

Report: Red Sox keeping tabs on Jose Abreu>>>

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