Red Sox

Terry Francona shows love for David Ortiz, discusses their unique bond

Terry Francona shows love for David Ortiz, discusses their unique bond

Terry Francona and David Ortiz spent eight seasons together and won two World Series with the Boston Red Sox. They go way back.

So when Francona, now manager of the Cleveland Indians, learned his former player had been shot in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, he understandably was concerned.

But Francona said Tuesday his concerns were somewhat allayed when he learned Ortiz had been transported to Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday for further treatment.

"I know he’s in great hands," Francona told reporters Tuesday. "I actually spoke to the doctor today and he couldn’t be in a better place or with better people."

Francona would know. The 60-year-old manager, who has dealt with an irregular heartbeat and other health problems over the years, said he spoke to the same doctor who treated him several years ago.

"That was sort of our inside joke," Francona said. "(The doctor) said he's medevaced two people: me and David."

Ortiz underwent a second surgery late Monday night and showed signs of progress Tuesday as he recovers from a gunshot wound he suffered in what's being called an attempted murder.

The former Red Sox slugger has received an outpouring of support during his recovery, and Francona was happy to pile on.

"He’s a very special person, not to just to me, to a lot of people," Francona said of Ortiz. " ... Extremely endearing. He could light up a room or put a room at ease with his smile."

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Daniel Bard's remarkable comeback story, summed up in one incredible number

USA TODAY Sports photo

Daniel Bard's remarkable comeback story, summed up in one incredible number

Daniel Bard's comeback story for the ages took another improbable step on Tuesday night when he recorded his first save since 2011.

Summoned with two outs in the ninth and runners on the corners of a wild game vs. the Diamondbacks, Bard nailed down Colorado's 12th win by striking out Stephen Vogt looking with a backdoor slider that painted the black.

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The Rockies needed it, too, because Arizona had clawed back from an 8-2 deficit with five runs in the ninth before Bard replaced Jairo Diaz to record the biggest out of the game.

It continued a comeback tale that's almost impossible to believe. Until making Colorado's opening day roster, Bard hadn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2013 with the Red Sox. He hadn't won a game since 2012, and he hadn't saved one since 2011.

He spent the intervening years trying to solve a case of the yips that had transformed him from fireballing future closer to broken and retired. He underwent surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, pitched in Puerto Rico, attempted comebacks with the Rangers, Mets and Cardinals that saw him walk 46 batters in just 13 minor-league innings, and finally left the game to become a player mentor with the Diamondbacks in 2018 and 2019.

He never gave up on his dream of returning to baseball, however, and the Rockies gave him a shot this spring.

Now 35 years old, he has rewarded them with a 3.00 ERA in eight appearances. And here's his most astonishing statistic: in nine innings pitched, he has recorded 12 strikeouts and ZERO walks. From 46 walks against Single- and Double-A hitters to none in the big leagues. He's one of only three pitchers with at least nine innings pitched and no walks.

Baseball's best story of 2020 just keeps getting better.

Michael Chavis cares — Can we say the same about the rest of the Red Sox?

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Michael Chavis cares — Can we say the same about the rest of the Red Sox?

If there's one thing missing on the Red Sox right now, it's accountability.

J.D. Martinez complained so much about the lack of in-game video that manager Ron Roenicke basically issued him a cease-and-desist. Rafael Devers showed up to camp in subpar shape and is already injured. Andrew Benintendi is such a mess, his two hits on Tuesday raised his average above .100 for the first time since July.

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The Red Sox looked listless in an 8-2 loss to the Rays that tumbled them further into last place. The bullpen imploded after another solid start from Martin Perez, allowing six runs in the seventh and walking four. The offense stranded six men, grounded into two double plays, and had a runner erased on the bases.

"It's a crazy game," Perez said. "Just turn the page and come back tomorrow."

The problem, of course, is that Red Sox are very quickly running out of tomorrows. Sunday's walkoff win over the Blue Jays gave them their first momentum of this truncated season, with three wins in four games, and then they battled to the last out in an 8-7 loss to the Rays on Monday.

Tuesday's defeat was a special kind of awful, though, dropping them to 6-11, good for dead last in the American League, five games behind the Yankees and 3.5 behind the Rays.

One player seems to understand what's happening, however, and the Red Sox should follow his lead. Infielder Michael Chavis, in the midst of a hot streak after an awful start, was one of the few standouts in defeat. He went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI while playing second base, but all he wanted to talk about when it was over was a play he didn't make.

The Rays had already scored twice when Yandy Diaz grounded one up the middle with runners on the corners. Chavis's momentum carried him well past the bag as he turned and made the ill-advised decision to try to nail Mike Zunino at the plate with a jump throw instead of taking the safe out at first.

His throw sailed up the line and never had a chance, anyway. As soon as Chavis let it go, he grabbed his head in his hands. The Rays scored three more runs to open an insurmountable 8-1 lead.

On his Zoom call with the media, Chavis fell on his sword to an absurd degree.

"I thought about the play before it was happening," he said. "I decided if it was hit to my right or left, and it was hit decently hard on the barrel, I knew (Zunino's) not the quickest guy.

"I knew if I could get there quick enough and made a good throw, I could have had him. The ball bounced a little bit higher than I planned on or thought it would. When I had to jump for it, it just took my momentum and then I had to do a jump throw, which is where it got messed up. I should have decided to go to first base at that point. That's on me. Pretty much lost the game for us, honestly. That's pretty tough."

Wait a minute, lost the game? An 8-1 game? Even if Chavis makes that play, the Rays lead 5-1. The Red Sox weren't coming back from any deficit.

"It kind of just took the wind out of us," Chavis insisted. "I felt like it was kind of a kick in the nuts, honestly, plain and simple. I felt like we were battling, we were having good at-bats. I felt like the vibe in the dugout, in the clubhouse and everything was really good. After that, I just, it sucks. You could see, I felt like the air was kind of taken out of us. Something like that, they put up six in that inning. Whether I make that play, I get the out at first, whether those become unearned runs or earned runs, that's on me.

"At the end of the day, I've got to at least get an out," Chavis added. "I messed that up."

What stands out about Chavis's admission is how unexpected it was, because we haven't heard a lot of it from the Red Sox this year. Instead, we've heard about no video, and late arrival times, and terrible pitching forcing the offense to score too much. Those complaints fit the general malaise swallowing the club like the great molasses flood.

So when Chavis took ownership of a mental mistake — one day after appearing genuinely thrilled for teammate Jonathan Arauz recording his first hit — it was jarring. Accountability shouldn't be a pleasant surprise, and yet here we are.