Red Sox

Steven Wright 'nervous' about return, wants to 'earn back' trust, respect

Steven Wright 'nervous' about return, wants to 'earn back' trust, respect

The Boston Red Sox are on the verge of getting back one of their key pitchers back to boost their rotation.

Steven Wright, a soon-to-be 35-year-old knuckleballer, was suspended for the first 80 games of the 2019 MLB season after violating the league's PED policy. With the Red Sox now 78 games into their season, Wright will be eligible to return to the squad following their Monday-night contest against the White Sox.

Before that, Wright took some time to comment on his return to the team and what his relationship with them will be like moving forward.

"It's always going to be a work in progress," to WEEI's Rob Bradford on the Bradfo Sho. "The respect is going to have to be earned back. The trust is going to have to be earned back."

And ahead of his return, Wright admitted that he was a little nervous.

"At the end of the day I'm nervous," Wright said to Bradford. "I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. I wouldn't say I'm scared but there are a lot of nerves because there is a lot more that comes into this than, 'I'm going back to the big leagues to pitch.' It's not that simple. It's not like I'm getting called up. I'm going back into a situation that I ruined for myself and so I have to go and try and make it better. The only way I can do that is go up there, do my best, hopefully, be successful and hopefully over time things can get back to as close to normal as they possibly can."

Wright clearly feels some guilt about the suspension, but it seems that he will be bringing the right attitude to the team. And while he may be a bit nervous about returning, he should have a chance to earn a role with the team quickly if he pitches well. 

So far this season, the Red Sox bullpen has had their share of issues and their fifth starters have struggled as well. Wright is an ideal spot starter and change-of-pace guy in the bullpen thanks to his excellent knuckleball. Dave Dombrowski has referenced him as a potential big addition that could help solidify the team's bullpen and, in particular, improve their long-relief options.

Last season, Wright had one of his best major league seasons to date, going 3-1 in 20 games (four starts) with a 2.68 ERA. During his rehab action in Pawtucket as he works back from the suspension, he has a 1.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings pitched, so it appears that he is still throwing the ball well. If that continues, Wright could turn out to be a difference maker for the Sox' bullpen.

That said, Wright's return shouldn't preclude the Red Sox from looking at other ways to bolster their pitching staff. Wright's suspension will make him ineligible for the postseason. So, even if he does become a reliable weapon for the Sox, the team can only count on him for the rest of the regular season.

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Ian Kinsler 'doesn’t see any form of punishment' coming for Red Sox 'flawless' sign-stealing system

Ian Kinsler 'doesn’t see any form of punishment' coming for Red Sox 'flawless' sign-stealing system

The Boston Red Sox are still anxiously awaiting the results of an MLB investigation into sign-stealing in 2018, part of a scandal that has marred the team and all of baseball the past two months.

The allegations against the Red Sox led to the departure of manager Alex Cora. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros have been hit with some harsh penalties for a sign-stealing scandal of their own. They fired their manager, A.J. Hinch, after he was suspended for a year by MLB. Cora was a part of Hinch's staff in 2017 as bench coach when the scheme to use real-time video to steal opponents' signals began.

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MLB's delays in the Red Sox investigation have led some to speculate that the probe may not find much. And in a recent interview on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas, former Red Sox second baseman Ian Kinsler said that MLB wouldn't find "anything close to what's going on [in Houston]."

"I don’t know what [MLB] is going to find, but in my opinion, it’s not anything close to what’s going on [in Houston], Kinsler said, as transcribed by MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo. “The Red Sox were just a very tight-knit group. When I was injected into that team in the middle of the season, it was a lot like the Rangers clubs I was on, where it was just a very tight-knit group and their system was flawless. They just had a very good system of relaying from second base to home plate. That was it. Honestly. We’ll see what happens with the commissioner’s report.”

This is the most detailed that any Red Sox player has been about the allegations to date, and with good reason. Kinsler is retired, so he doesn't stand to lose anything by talking now.

While Kinsler's depiction of the Red Sox sign-stealing is far from damning, he did acknowledge that while watching his previous at-bat on tape, he would check out the signs to see if he could de-code them.

“If there’s a video and you’re going to check out your at-bat and while you’re checking out your at-bat, there’s a runner on second base also, and you look through your at-bat to see your personal flaws and what you’re trying to fix for the next time… I’m going to go back again and check out the signs and see if I can crack them,” Kinsler said. “If I can, I can. If I can’t, I can’t.”

That's somewhat of a gray area, as all MLB teams have access to video in-game. So, it will certainly be interesting to see what the MLB rules on this aspect of the allegations and what they may do to curb in-game video going forward.

Still, as Kinsler said, he doesn't think that the Red Sox are going to get anything more than "a small punishment," as the league won't find anything "substantial".

“I’m interested to see what happens with this whole report because I truly believe they’re not going to find anything that’s substantial,” he said. “They might throw a small punishment out there because they did a report. I don’t know. I don’t know where they stand on this whole thing. We saw where they stood on the Astros thing. I just really don’t see any form of punishment coming to the Red Sox. It was a very good team.”

Brock Holt: 'I never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform'

Brock Holt: 'I never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform'

Brock Holt has left the Boston Red Sox, but it certainly doesn't seem like he wanted to.

The super-utility player became a free agent and the Red Sox opted not to re-sign him as they looked to cut costs ahead of the 2020 season. So, Holt, who turns 32 in June, lingered for a while on the free-agent market after seven seasons with the Red Sox before ultimately agreeing to a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

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And in an interview after arriving at the Brewers camp in Arizona, Holt spoke about wanting to remain in Boston and never expecting to go anywhere else in his career.

"I was with Boston for so long and I honestly never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform," Holt said in a video captured by Scott Grodsky. "I loved it there. I loved playing at Fenway, I loved the fans, I loved the city. I was a huge part of the community so it was tough for me to come to the fact that I wasn't going back.

"But like I said, everything happens for a reason. I'm excited to be here."

Holt's former Red Sox teammate Travis Shaw, who played for the Brewers from 2017 to 2019 before signing this offseason with the Toronto Blue Jays, helped convince Holt to join the Brewers.

“[Holt] actually reached out to me about a week or two ago saying that the Brewers had some interest and that they were starting to talk,” Shaw told The Wisconsin Sports Zone radio station. “He was just asking about how the organization was and I gave him nothing but positive things.

“Brock is one of my favorite teammates that I’ve ever played with," Shaw said. "He keeps it loose in the clubhouse. Obviously he is a great player, he can play all over the diamond, but just his presence in the clubhouse and in the dugout, he keeps things loose and he keeps things fun.”

Holt was a fan favorite and a great force in the Red Sox locker room and community. He will certainly be missed by the team, and it is fair to wonder why Sox management decided not to at least try to match the one-year deal Holt got from Milwaukee. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Holt made $3.575 million with the Red Sox last season.

After all, they opened up some room under the luxury tax by trading Mookie Betts and David Price. So, why not use some of that to re-sign Holt?

Holt will now suit up for the Brewers and as he communicated to reporters, he is very much looking forward to playing at Fenway June 5-7 when the Brewers visit for an interleague series.

And he's sure to get a warm welcome when he returns.