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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Red Sox spring training progress report: Updates and observations - Sports - The Boston Globe

Spring training tidbits from Red Sox spring training.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2014 at 09:46 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4670130)
The Craig Breslow thing is suspicious. He says he’s healthy and John Farrell says the same. But several weeks into camp, he’s just now throwing a bullpen? That doesn’t make much sense.
Breslow seemed less effective in the ALCS and flat-out ineffective in the World Series. I know the Red Sox were making a point to start the returning pitchers out a little slow this year because of the full month of offseason they lost to their playoff run, and Breslow probably needed an even slower start given his performance heading into the offseason.

Pitcher Henry Owens is very talented and it’s never smart to evaluate a player in spring training. But he hasn’t knocked anybody’s socks off in camp. Anthony Ranaudo, for instance, is trying to show people what he can do. Owens seems almost disinterested.
Henry Owens is not making the MLB roster this spring. The entire major league pitching staff could be on a vanished plane in the Pacific, and he's not going to make the MLB roster. Ranaudo was drafted a year earlier, is one level higher in the minors, and is on the 40-man roster. There is a realistic chance that if a couple pitchers go down with injuries or something like that they will call up Ranaudo to make a spot start, or maybe even a handful if all goes well.

I would be surprised if, when Owens was extended the NRI, the team didn't tell him specifically what they expected out of him this spring. I'd also be surprised if they didn't explicitly tell him he - the only starting pitcher in the org from AA with an NRI - has no chance to make the roster this spring.

Henry Owens isn't your puppet.

Ryan Kalish has a chance to make the Cubs. Good for him after two injury filled years.
Agreed.

Red Sox players say Stephen Drew now regrets not taking the qualifying offer when he had the chance.
Well, yeah.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Red Sox medical staff seems to have regained the trust of the players after all the changes Ben Cherington made. After several years of poor internal communication (and external communication for that matter), medical issues are under control again.
While claims that the Red Sox medical staff is in the best shape of its life should be met with as much skepticism as the same claim on any other set of people in spring training, this is the best news of the spring to me. The Red Sox medical staff for years had warranted an invitation to a dinner for schmucks on the basis of their special talents. If they have even improved to merely sub-par, that would be great.

I do wonder if the improvement in trust of the players has come from losing the players who trusted them the least, and who had suffered the most at their hands. (Thinking particularly Ellsbury and Youkilis.)
   2. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4670211)


It’s a long season, but public perception is not reality with A.J. Pierzynski. He has blended in well and shown no signs of wanting to be anything but a good teammate. Guy can hit, too. His power is going to play at Fenway.


Pierzynski makes me very bummed when I read about the Sox. I don't like him, and I do not want to have to root for him. And hopefully the outfield jam ends when Gomes is released.
   3. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4670285)
Red Sox players say Stephen Drew now regrets not taking the qualifying offer when he had the chance.


Why? Is there any doubt he still won't do far better that 1year $14m?
   4. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4670300)
I do wonder if the improvement in trust of the players has come from losing the players who trusted them the least, and who had suffered the most at their hands. (Thinking particularly Ellsbury and Youkilis.)


That could be part of it, although the relative health of the Red Sox was a big part of their success last year. No position players really went down for any length of time, and Buchholz was the only starter who got hurt.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4670308)
Why? Is there any doubt he still won't do far better that 1year $14m?


I doubt he'll do better than that. Apparently Drew does to, and you'd think he'd be in a position to know.
   6. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4670333)
Pierzynski makes me very bummed when I read about the Sox. I don't like him, and I do not want to have to root for him. And hopefully the outfield jam ends when Gomes is released.

If it's any consolation, apparently he is like a wrestling heel. He's a "jerk" because he thinks it's funny/entertaining, and only towards the opposition. If you're playing against him, you won't like him very much but I haven't heard of any clubhouse/teammate issues about him.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4670342)
Why? Is there any doubt he still won't do far better that 1year $14m?


Yes, very much so.
   8. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4670343)

If it's any consolation, apparently he is like a wrestling heel. He's a "jerk" because he thinks it's funny/entertaining, and only towards the opposition. If you're playing against him, you won't like him very much but I haven't heard of any clubhouse/teammate issues about him.


I have heard all of that too, very similar to John Lackey actually. And I have grudgingly come to root for the mouth-breathing ogre, but damnit, is there some rule that the Sox need to add one of these players every year? Is AJ Jerkoff really much of an upgrade over Salty-Monkey-Face?
   9. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4670365)
It's "Saltalamonkeyface", but I appreciate the acknowledgement.
   10. Danny Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4670371)
If it's any consolation, apparently he is like a wrestling heel. He's a "jerk" because he thinks it's funny/entertaining, and only towards the opposition. If you're playing against him, you won't like him very much but I haven't heard of any clubhouse/teammate issues about him.

There was this:
One of those now-it-can-be-told stories the White Sox, A.J. Pierzynski's new employer, surely haven't heard: During a Giants exhibition game last spring, Pierzynski took a shot to his, shall we say, private parts. Trainer Stan Conte rushed to the scene, placed his hands on Pierzynski's shoulders in a reassuring way, and asked how it felt. "Like this," said Pierzynski, viciously delivering a knee to Conte's groin. It was a real test of professionalism for the enraged Conte, who vowed to ignore Pierzynski for the rest of the season until Conte realized how that would look. The incident went unreported because all of the beat writers happened to be doing in-game interviews in the clubhouse, but it was corroborated by a half-dozen eyewitnesses who could hardly believe their eyes. Said one source, as reliable as they come: "There is absolutely no doubt that it happened."

And, more directly:
"He's the cancer in here," one Giant, who requested anonymity, told the Oakland Tribune. "The pitchers aren't happy with him. If they can trade him, that would be fine with me. We all know Yorvie [Yorvit Torrealba] can catch this staff."

Pierzynski denies he wants out of San Francisco, and said he has worked hard to develop a good relationship with Giant pitchers.

His teammates seem to disagree.

The latest incident reportedly occurred before Wednesday's game against the Braves, when two players confirmed to the newspaper that Pierzynski ignored starting pitcher Brett Tomko's request to go over opposing hitters. Instead, the players said, Pierzynski resumed playing cards for another 20 minutes.

"I've never in all my years seen a catcher who didn't watch video before games," one pitcher told the newspaper. "He doesn't watch hitters -- other than the Twins games when they're on TV."

Also, according to two Giants players, the Padres' Phil Nevin said Pierzynski was criticizing Giants pitchers while Nevin was at the plate. "That did it for me," one Giants pitcher told the paper. "If a pitching staff doesn't have the respect of their catcher, that's it. That's what it's all about.
   11. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4670392)
Jacoby Ellsbury will steal a lot of bases for the Yankees. But he won’t against the Red Sox once Christian Vazquez becomes their catcher. A scout said the other day that Vazquez will be the American League version of Yadier Molina in terms of stopping a running game. Will that be later this season or not until 2015?


Pierzynski will be here for the one year, no qualifying offer after the season, see you later. He and David Ross are both free agents at the end of the year, and the Sox will be looking for a way to split time between Vazquez and a veteran catcher in 2015 (perhaps even Ross again?). The problem with Saltalamacchia was not that they didn't like him - it's that he wanted multiple years, and between Vazquez and Blake Swihart, they don't need a veteran catcher making money for multiple years.

I think it is easier to deal with AJ's crap if you know you only have him for a season...
   12. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4670401)

The latest incident reportedly occurred before Wednesday's game against the Braves, when two players confirmed to the newspaper that Pierzynski ignored starting pitcher Brett Tomko's request to go over opposing hitters. Instead, the players said, Pierzynski resumed playing cards for another 20 minutes.


It's funny that Tomko had his best year with AJ behind the plate. I don't attribute that to AJ, but it is funny.
   13. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4670413)
Wow. Thanks Danny. The Stan Conte thing is...I mean wow.
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4670421)
The quote I like to refer to when the subject is A.J. From his skipper Ozzie Guillen:

If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.

That being said, I've grown to LOVE A.J. He had a weekly spot on a sports radio show in Chicago and was one of the most engaging and humorous athletes I've ever heard. And yes, the Conte thing excepted, I'm pretty sure most of his heel behavior is intentional to get under his opponents' skin.

The baseball world is much richer with A.J. in it.

   15. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 12, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4670601)
The Craig Breslow thing is suspicious. He says he’s healthy and John Farrell says the same. But several weeks into camp, he’s just now throwing a bullpen? That doesn’t make much sense.


Well actually it doesn't make any sense at all. Throwing a bullpen would be hard. Is it full of players at the time?

Maybe Breslow and Badenhop hadn't finished their discussions regarding quantum physics or the intricacies of Kantian philosophy and spring training just got put back by a week or two.
   16. dr. scott Posted: March 12, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4670607)
The wife's former roommate ended up out at a bar with some of the Sox in 2006. AJ and Guillen were among them. She thought AJ was insufferable and annoying, and at one point to shut him up asked him "So who does your hi-lights?".

She knew nothing about baseball, but described the scene and I said, "was his name A.J. Pierzynsky", to which she replied "Oh my god, how did you know?"

I also remember all the things I read about AJ with the Giants, and then when he left all I heard was what a great teammate he was... I guess it just depends on the clubhouse.

One of the worst trades in Giants history. uhhg.

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