Red Sox

No, Dustin Pedroia won't be like Tom Brady and play until he's 41

No, Dustin Pedroia won't be like Tom Brady and play until he's 41

Dustin Pedroia has no plans to step away from baseball until his body forces him to.

But he's also realistic: He's not reaching Tom Brady status anytime soon.

At Pedroia's introductory press conference Friday at Boston Red Sox spring training, WBZ's Dan Roche mentioned how the 41-year-old Brady has enjoyed having his family experience the latter part of his playing career and asked Pedroia if he's similarly motivated to keep playing.

Pedroia's response:

"Yeah. I mean, I'm not playing until I'm 41. Damn."

That settles that.

The Red Sox's longest-tenured player turns 36 in August, so he'd need to play five more seasons to make it to 41. That seems highly unlikely after a 2017 knee surgery that sidelined Pedroia for all but three games in 2018.

"Do I get my knee 100 percent?" Pedroia said. "Well, (expletive), it ain't even my knee. It's somebody else's, bro. My right knee is 100 percent."

The new reality for Pedroia is that his body likely can't withstand a full 162-game season. In fact, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said recently he's hoping for 125 games out of his second baseman this year.

That's not exactly the workload of Brady, who's still winning Super Bowls at his advanced age. But right now, a target number of games is the last thing on Pedroia's mind.

"I've been around long enough to know, especially around here, you can't look that far ahead," he said. "I remember they were saying that in 2016, too, and I got 11 straight hits and played for like 40 straight games. You never know.

"I could wake up tomorrow and not be able to play anymore. But I'm confident where I am now. I'm excited. We have a good plan in place."

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Projecting Red Sox's bullpen roles with relief pitchers finalized

Projecting Red Sox's bullpen roles with relief pitchers finalized

The Boston Red Sox's bullpen undoubtedly is the club's biggest question mark entering the 2019 season.

But at least we know who's part of the unit.

The Red Sox made five roster cuts Saturday, in the process finalizing the eight relief pitchers they'll carry into Opening Day. Here's the list in alphabetical order:

RHP Matt Barnes
RHP Ryan Brasier
RHP Colten Brewer
RHP Heath Hembree
LHP Brian Johnson
RHP Tyler Thornburg
RHP Hector Velázquez
RHP Brandon Workman

While it's not a particularly inspiring group on paper -- only Brasier had an ERA under 3.00 last season -- and it doesn't include All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, manager Alex Cora doesn't seem concerned.

"People outside our world think we're short on pitching. We're not. We're fine," Cora said Saturday, via The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

But who will pitch in which roles with Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly both gone? Cora continues to play coy, so here's our best guess for each role:

Closer: Matt Barnes

Barnes hasn't always been effective, but he's put in the time, throwing at least 60 innings in each of the past three seasons for Boston. The 28-year-old has made steady improvements each year, too, dropping his ERA to a career-low 3.65 in 2018 with a 3.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His leash will be short, but Barnes at least should get first crack at the closer job in 2019.

Setup man: Ryan Brasier

You could make a case for Brasier as the closer after his stellar 2018 campaign (six earned runs allowed over 33.2 innings). But he still has fewer than 50 career innings under his belt, and an infected pinky toe halted his progress in spring training. The 31-year-old thrived in the seventh and eighth innings last year, so why not keep him there?

Bridge/situational relievers: Tyler Thornburg, Colten Brewer, Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman

The Red Sox have been waiting three years for Thornburg. If he somehow stays on the field and returns to his 2016 form (2.15 ERA over 67 innings with the Brewers), he could get bumped up to the setup man role. For now, we expect Thornburg, Brewer, Hembree and Workman to operate primarily in the sixth and seventh innings based on matchups to bridge the gap to Brasier and Barnes.

Long relievers: Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez

Johnson is the only current left-hander in the 'pen, so he could be used situationally, too. Both he and Velazquez have starting experience, though, and should get the call if a starter gets into trouble early.

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Sam Kennedy hints Red Sox could host MLB All-Star Game within 5 years

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USA TODAY Sports

Sam Kennedy hints Red Sox could host MLB All-Star Game within 5 years

It's been 20 years since the MLB All-Star Game came to Fenway Park. According to Sam Kennedy, that drought may not reach 25.

The Red Sox president and CEO said Saturday he hopes the Midsummer Classic will come back to Boston within the next half-decade.

"I would hope that Fenway would have the opportunity to host an All-Star game in the next 3-5 years," Kennedy wrote in an email to MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo.

Kennedy apparently said the same thing at an event in Boston that same day.

The city of Boston has hosted four MLB All-Star Games -- three at Fenway Park and one at Braves Field -- the most recent a memorable 1999 Midsummer Classic that featured Red Sox legend Ted Williams being honored on the field and ace Pedro Martinez striking out five of the six batters he faced over two innings.

 

Fenway is MLB's oldest and arguably most iconic ballpark, so it would make sense for the All-Star Game to return there after 20-plus years. After this year, Fenway will join a list of six active MLB stadiums that haven't hosted an All-Star Game in two decades: Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium (1980), Oakland Coliseum (1987), Chicago's Wrigley Field (1990), Toronto's Rogers Centre (1991), Baltimore's Camden Yards (1993) and Colorado's Coors Field (1998).

Cleveland is hosting this year and Dodger Stadium will host the 2020 game, but the Midsummer Classic is up for grabs starting in 2021.

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