Sox prospect Ranaudo eager to put 2012 behind him

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Sox prospect Ranaudo eager to put 2012 behind him

There wasnt much about the 2012 season that went the way Anthony Ranaudo would have hoped. The right-hander slipped on the mound during a spring training game, straining a groin, and delaying the start of his season. When he finally did get started, with Double-A Portland on May 15, he lasted just nine starts, spanning 37 23 innings before a shoulder injury shut him down for the season with a record of 1-3 and an ERA of 6.69. In his last start, July 3 against Trenton, he gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk in three innings.

Ranaudo, the Sox third pick in the first round pick (39th overall) out of Louisiana State in 2010, made his professional debut in 2011, after signing late in 2010 for a 2.55 million bonus. In 35 career starts, the right-hander has posted a combined record of 10-9 with a 4.59 ERA.  Hed prefer just to chalk up last season as a learning experience.

It was very frustrating, Ranaudo said Thursday by phone from Puerto Rico.  I had a groin injury right before we broke in spring training. So that was frustrating in itself and when I came back I did not have very good results. Had really a bad experience in Portland. I guess you could say I learned a lot. And then my shoulder injury happened. So it was very frustrating.

But I think this past year is probably as bad as it probably could get. So hopefully Ill be able to build off this and use it as a learning experience and put it behind me and be able to move on from here.

Ranaudo has been in Puerto Rico for about three weeks, getting ready for the start of the Puerto Rico League. He is scheduled to pitch the season opener Thursday for Criollos de Caguas.

This is my first time in Puerto Rico, first time playing any winter ball, said Ranaudo, whos been brushing up his high school Spanish. So I think it will be a good experience. Im pretty excited.

Initially, Ranaudo was going to shut down for the offseason. But, after pitching in Instructional League, his shoulder responded so well, the Sox decided to find a winter ball opportunity for him. And, hes looking at this as a chance to close out 2012 on a positive note.

My shoulders feeling great, he said. We decided Id play some winter ball and Puerto Rico seemed like a good fit.  It would give me some time to get ready with the season starting a little later than most winter leagues. So it was a good fit and Im feeling great now and I get to start Opening Day here in Puerto Rico. So itll be a pretty good experience for me.

Ranaudo isnt sure how many innings or starts the Sox have mapped out for him. But, hed like to stay with the league through the end of the season, on Dec. 30.

Im just trying to go out there and get as many starts and as many innings as I can, he said.  And hopefully we can win some games out here because I heard its a pretty competitive league and the team that Im on is pretty successful every year. So hopefully itll be a lot of fun and Ill be out here for as long as I can.

I think its going to depend on how my outings go and things like that. Im assuming Ill be here from four to six more weeks.

Hes also hoping the experience in Puerto Rico will help jumpstart a strong 2013, one that will be much better than his past season.

I want to come in to spring training a lot stronger and stay healthy, he said of his hopes for next season. Thats obviously the main thing. And just to keep getting better each and every time I go out and pitch. Keep learning hitters, keep getting experience, gaining knowledge, and be more consistent with all my stuff on a regular basis. Hopefully from there everything will take over and Ill be able to keep getting better and be able to compete and play on the major league team and hopefully win some games up on the major league level.

After Puerto Rico, he will return to his home in Louisiana, where the New Jersey native now lives, and then back to his home state to visit his family. After that, he said hell rest up, work on his strength and conditioning program and get ready to report to Fort Myers around the beginning of February. Getting a fresh season started and putting this past one in the books is exactly what Ranaudo needs.

Despite Crowder's ties to Falcons, Celtics pulling for Patriots in Super Bowl

Despite Crowder's ties to Falcons, Celtics pulling for Patriots in Super Bowl

WALTHAM --  Go up and down the Boston Celtics roster and you won’t have any trouble finding players who will be cheering on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
 
But there are some Celtics who understandably have mixed feelings about the game.
 
Among them is Jae Crowder, who grew up in Villa Rica, Ga. which is about 32 miles outside of Atlanta.
 
“I’ve been cheering for the Falcons all my life,” Crowder said. “I’m here in Boston; I’ve been a Patriots fan.”
 
And within that fandom, Crowder has developed a friendship with New England players, among them being Patriots running back LaGarrette Blount.
 
Not soon after the Patriots punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, Crowder got a text message from Blount.
 
“He knows,” Crowder said of Blount. “Yeah, he knows I’m in between.”
 
Isaiah Thomas, whose hometown Seattle Seahawks were beaten by the Falcons, said Crowder didn’t become a Falcons fan until they made the playoffs.
 
“Bandwagon? But I just took his money though,” quipped Crowder, referring to the Falcons beating the Seahawks in an earlier round of the playoffs. “We did them Seahawks real dirty; bandwagon.”
 
He’s not the only Celtics player with ties to Atlanta.
 
Boston rookie Jaylen Brown grew up just a few minutes outside of Atlanta in Marietta, Ga.
 
Thomas said Brown is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
 
“I don’t know how that is,” Thomas said. “Don’t let him tell you he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan. Jae just started reppin’ them when they made the playoffs. They can do what they want; they might as well root for the Patriots.”
 
For Thomas, cheering for the Patriots is more than just supporting his fellow professional athletes. As he tries to continue growing as a player and a leader for the Celtics, the Patriots and the way they do things in many ways has been a blueprint of sorts for Thomas.
 
“They’re the team you want to be,” Thomas said. “Every year they give themselves a chance. From top to bottom, they’re 100 percent professional. They think championship every year. That’s how you should be. We want to model that. Hopefully the can go out and win it, and we can try to piggy-pack on what they did.”
 
Another Celtic with Atlanta ties is Al Horford, who made it clear which team had his support.
 
“Going to school in Florida, being in the south for so many years, college football is kind of my thing,” said Horford, who revealed that he never attended a Falcons during his nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. “I would watch them on TV and stuff like that. I know it’s exciting for them. It’s a big deal to be in the Super Bowl. But I’m here in New England now so I’ll be cheering for the Patriots.”

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl. 

This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games. 

Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.