Bass overcomes dislocated finger to help C's to victory

939621.jpg

Bass overcomes dislocated finger to help C's to victory

CHICAGO Although he won't admit it, the best thing for Brandon Bass on Monday night might have been suffering a dislocated right ring finger.

It allowed him to focus his mind on something other than his play, which seemed to be just what both he and the Celtics needed in Monday's 101-95 win over Chicago.

Boston delivered what was as close as a team victory as they've had this season. But there was no mistaking the impact made by Bass, who finished with 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shots.

And those numbers don't even begin to account for what he provided the C's in terms of his defense.

He has had bigger games scoring the ball and rebounding-wise since he has been in Boston. But Monday's performance was about as a complete a game as the Celtics have had from him since he's been a member of the Green team.

And to think that it came on a night in which he had to overcome playing with a injury to one of his fingers on his shooting hand, too.

"It probably made me stop thinking about my game so much," Bass said. "Just thinking about going out there helping the team anyway."

Did he ever.

"That's the Brandon we need every night," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "I told him, 'it doesn't matter if his shot is going in or not. When you play with that intensity defensively, good things are always going to happen.'"

That's why Rivers was especially pleased that the play that pretty much sealed the Celtics victory was a dunk by Bass with 22.4 seconds to play which put the C's ahead 99-93.

"He was rewarded for his effort," Rivers said.

Bass has repeatedly said that expanding his game to be more than just a pick-and-pop scorer was a priority this summer.

"I just feel I have to, defensively," Bass said. "This team, before I got here, when you came to Boston you worried about them defensively. You worried about them offensively. I just wanted to do my part, and do it to the best of my ability."

His efforts, both in terms of his play and how he fought through the dislocation of his right ring finger to keep playing, did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

"That was just another test," said Boston's Jason Terry. "Throughout the course of a season and a game, there's going to be situations ... are you going to man up, and tough it up, and fight through it? And Brandon showed tonight that he is obviously one of the toughest players on this team."

Kevin Garnett also viewed Bass' play as being instrumental in the Celtics (4-3) moving past the .500 mark for the first time this season.

"B.B. played well tonight," Garnett said. "From an energy standpoint, I thought we followed his lead tonight. Not just that, but I thought his defense fueled his offense. I'm happy for him."

Dombrowski knows ‘winning the winter’ isn’t the ultimate goal

Dombrowski knows ‘winning the winter’ isn’t the ultimate goal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md -- In the span on less than 12 hours earlier this week, the Red Sox injected some impact players onto their roster, moves that cost them a large chunk of their farm system but made them the prohibitive favorites in the American League.
    
By adding All-Star starter Chris Sale, power set-up man Tyler Thornburg and first baseman Mitch Moreland (though the Sox have not confirmed the latter yet), the team was remade and became the talk of the Winter Meetings.
     
But Dave Dombrowski knows that "winning the winter'' can be a hollow achievement. It's what happens when the games start that will truly matter.
     
"We feel good,'' said Dombrowski as he got ready to depart. "We feel like we have a better ballclub. We feel like we've helped ourselves. Our guys have done a good job here all week long. So, we feel good about it.
     
"In the winter time, winning doesn't really mean anything. We've had that situation before. It really comes down to how well you play. That's why when people ask me to made predictions, I never make them. I think we have a club that can compete. I like our ballclub. But you really have to go about it on a day-in, day-out basis and take care of your business and I think our club will do that.''
     
The Red Sox, of course, won the A.L. East, but were summarily dismissed in the Division Series by the Cleveland Indians, who swept them in three straight.
     
The Sox were the best offensive club in the majors, but the retirement of David Ortiz takes a huge weapon out of their lineup. It's doubtful they'll score as many runs as they did a year ago.
     
Correspondingly, the Sox vastly improved their rotation with Sale, giving them three front-line starters and, in theory, a chance to go further into the postseason in 2017.
     
So deep are the Sox, in fact, that they now have seven established starters, a surplus that has them positioned to move one arm.
    
It may take some time for the market to develop, as clubs explore what's available from other teams and in free agency.
     
"I don't know what that will be,'' Dombrowski said. "We'll just kind of wait and see what takes place. I think a lot is dependent on other things that need to shake out. So our depth in starting pitching is somewhat new to people. They need time to analyze that. I had a couple clubs approach me about that [inside the Rule 5 draft] this morning. Again, we're not jumping. We'll just wait and see what happens.''
     
Dombrowski could choose to move either Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz, though it would seem dumping Buchholz's $13.5 million contract would be his preference.
     
That would enable Dombrowski to get closer to the $195 million luxury tax threshold, which he has said is a preference not a mandate.
     
"I have a preference [in choosing which starter to move],’’ he said with a smile. "I won't share that with you, but I have a preference.''

 

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- On Wednesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski was asked what else he might be searching for to complete his roster.
     
Dombrowski, noting that Travis Shaw had been dealt away in the trade that brought the Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg, said the Red Sox could use another utility infielder to compete with left-handed-hitting Marco Hernandez.
     
On Thursday morning, Dombrowski found a familiar body in the unlikeliest of places.
     
The Sox selected Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 draft. Rutledge, who was once obtained in exchange for outfielder Shane Victorino, spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox, posting a slash line of .276/.338/.358 with a homer and 13 RBI in 67 games.
     
He missed most of last season with a knee injury and was outrighted by the Sox last month, becoming a free agent. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, but was unprotected by the Rockies and made available in Thursday's draft.
     
"We always liked him,'' said Dombrowski. "He thought his opportunity to play at the big league level was better [in Colorado]. But it was a situation for us, we looked at our club and we thought we might need a right-handed [hitting] utility infielder. We looked over the list and we like what he can do for our ballclub. So he was on obvious choice for us.''
     
Rutledge will compete against Marco Hernandez to become another bench player to team with Brock Holt on the Red Sox  roster.
     
Deven Marrero is also a righthand-hitting infielder, but his strength is defense and he's yet to prove he can hit major league pitching.
     
"I'd rather have someone [competing] who can swing the bat a little bit more,'' said Dombrowski. "I think [Rutledge] lines up to be on our club. We'll see what happens in spring training, but we know him, we like him. There looks like there's a path for him.''
     
Drafting Rutledge cost the Red Sox just $50,000 and he must  remain on the team's 25-man roster all season or, be offered back to the Rockies and placed on waivers.
     
The Sox also lost two players in the Rule 5 major league draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose right-handed pitcher Justin Haley, while the Baltimore Orioles chose outfielder Aneury Tavarez.