BC coach York humbled by milestone win

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BC coach York humbled by milestone win

True to his genuine, humble character, Boston College hockey coach Jerry York got a little embarrassed when the postgame questioning turned to the record.

York won the 924th game of his collegiate coaching career on Saturday night as his Boston College Eagles dispatched arch-rival Boston University in a 5-2 game at Kelley Rink. The victory was as significant as any in the storied BCBU rivalry, but it also pushed York into a tie with former Michigan State coach Ron Mason for the all-time NCAA coaching wins record.

York was clearly touched by the Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! chants once the game had ended, and the warm congratulatory handshake from friendrival Jack Parker after the record was securely tied. But the Eagles coach was hoping to simply break down the big Hockey East win and keep his eye trained on the task ahead.

He deserves all of the accolades. Its hard for people to believe this because hes been so successful and because hes won so many games, but I still dont think he gets the credit he deserves, said BU coach Jack Parker, who has nearly 900 coaching wins himself. Hes a coach that has run great programs in three different places, and hes done an unbelievable job taking BC to places theyve never been before.

Theyve had two other coaches that have had over 500 wins, so that means theres been a lot of great hockey played here for a long, long time. Hes the best theyve ever had here and I dont think Jerry gets the credit he deserves. Theyve had good coaches. They get good players. Well, a lot of teams get good players. But this team at BC is well-coached in every phase of the game.

It would be criminal to underrate a hockey coach that's made a career out of doing it "the right way." So it's time to give a coaching legend his due -- one thats become synonymous with Boston College and the local hockey scene since taking over the programs reigns in 1994. Its about the four national championships since 2001 and Yorks automatic inclusion into a rare club known as the greatest coaches in the history of college hockey even before Saturday night's historic triumph was secured.

His current players understood that and were trying to get York the record-tying AND record-breaking win this weekend, but instead settled for netting the record-tying 924th victory Saturday night on home ice.

Its an honor to be able to be a part of this experience and to be able to play for Coach York at Boston College, said Boston College junior center Bill Arnold, who potted a pair of goals in the 924th win for York. He wont talk about it, but hes obviously changed everybody on the teams lives. So to be able to give something back to him and get this all-time record for him is something that we wanted to do.

Theres no such thing as selfishness or a me-first attitude here at BC. Its everything for the people and the university.

Even more impressive than the record is the graceful, gentlemanly way that York achieved it. The dean of Boston College hockey has never needed to stoop to self-promotion or making empty promises to players hes hoping to recruit. Instead York has set a standard for elite college hockey players on and off the ice, and consistently produces intelligent, worldly leaders in the hockey world that can also play the game at the highest level.

Hes also had some pretty good guys lace em up to get to 924 wins, of course. The steady stream of excellent talent dates back to Dave Taylors time in Clarkson and defenseman Rob Blake with Bowling Green. That was before his time at the Heights when he had Brian Gionta leading a new wave of undersized, super-skilled forwards that have ushered in a generation of dominance for the Eagles.

It always impressed this hockey writer that an accomplished college hockey coach like University of Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves would send both of his hockey-playing sons -- Ben and Patrick -- to the Heights to play for York. That says more than words ever could about York's integrity and his ability to help shape hockey-playing boys into responsible, team-oriented men.

But thats exactly what happens when you teach the game of hockey with love for the sport and respect for your opponents. Perhaps there have been times when others have underestimated York because of his friendly, folksy manner or because of the talented players consistently shuffling in and out of Chestnut Hill.

But, as Parker has said about his oldest friend and rival, anybody can get a few good players as recruits. Its York that knows how to shape teams once he has all the players in place, and gets the absolute most production out of the oodles of talent on his Boston College roster. He's come a long way from the young man that started off as a young, hungry coach at Clarkson University.

I try to block everything out because its so important to stay in the moment. But sometimes when I get a chance to reflect I started pretty slow at Clarkson, and I wasnt sure if Id even be able to stay in this profession, said York. Then Dave Taylor came to Clarkson and really helped change things around for me. I really think about the players when I think of 924 wins..

Rob Blake joined us at Bowling Green and then Brian Gionta here at Boston College with some really top end guys like Nathan Gerbe afterward. It always goes back to the players, and really good players that want to be a part of a team.

Even just in the last 10 years the list of BC players that have gone on to NHL careers is healthy: The Gionta brothers, Gerbe, Brian Boyle, Mike Mottau, Cory Schneider, Rob Scuderi, Andrew Alberts, Peter Harrold and Patrick Eaves among others.

Some years are better than others, but there are a few things that always ring true about Yorks Eagles teams: they will almost always possess the puck and outshoot their opponent, they will always represent their coach in the most honorable way on the ice and theyll very rarely beat themselves with bad penalties or careless puck-handling.

Sounds like a pretty good formula for long term success, but then again thats exactly why York is moving into the top of the all-time coaching wins list.

And hes doing it all modesty aside, of course.

Price says he's 'back' after turning in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price says he's 'back' after turning in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph — heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two) in a no-decision as the White Sox won, 5-4. But Price wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

"It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Price said, accurately. “I felt good. Just command the baseball a little bit better with my fastball and I think things will take off for me."

The lefty’s five-inning performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. He exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, and all of the runs he allowed came on a home run from Melky Cabrera in the third inning. 

Price lost the chance at a win when Chicago scored twice off Matt Barnes in the seventh. He might have been a little ahead of himself after the game when he declared himself back, but, in a literal sense, Price indeed has returned.

“After the fifth, I still felt strong. I felt strong in the fifth,” Price said. “After that inning, I still felt really good. I didn’t feel like my stuff changed all that much throughout the game. I’m back.”

After the game, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell both came over to congratulate Price on his effort.

“It felt good, just to be out there with my teammates, my brothers,” Price said. “That’s why you play the game — to have that feeling. There’s nothing else that gives you that, golf or whatever else you do to compete. You can’t replicate the feeling you have out there in a big-league game so I felt good.”

Cabrera’s shot to left put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day — but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started an inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. 

But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand.

“Health-wise, my two rehab outings, the amount of pitches I threw in a short amount of time,  you can’t do that and then bounce back in the way that I did after both rehab games and not be healthy,” Price said. “There’s no doubt in my mind where I stand right now health-wise. It was good to go out there and feel as good as I did.”

After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

“I don't think I throw a single pitch at 99 percent. Everything's 100 percent,” Price said. “I haven't gotten to that point in my career yet where I taper off of certain pitches. My health is not in my mind. I feel healthy. Just go out there and get better.”

Price was even diving for foul balls.

“I think if my elbow was completely blown I'd still dive for that ball,” Price said of a play he couldn't come up with as he lunged near the third-base line. “That's a play I've been dreaming about for a long time now. Me and [Chris] Sale were talking about it probably two weeks ago. It's a play you want to be able to have an opportunity to make. I think it hit the tip of my glove and rolled all the way down my body.”

UPDATE: Pedroia coming back to Boston for MRI after hurting wrist

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UPDATE: Pedroia coming back to Boston for MRI after hurting wrist

CHICAGO — Sure, Dustin Pedroia could have gotten an MRI in Chicago. But the Red Sox don’t want any doubt.

With an injured left wrist, Pedroia is heading back to Boston for an 8:30 a.m. appointment Tuesday with Red Sox medical staff, setting up a hold-your-breath morning as the Sox wait to learn if Pedroia’s going to land on the disabled list. No roster move was made immediately after the Red Sox lost to the White Sox, 5-4.

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For now, the Red Sox say Pedroia has a wrist sprain. X-Rays taken in Chicago were negative but the wrist was swollen.

Pedroia was hurt in the top of the first inning Monday on a weird play, when he was trying to leg out an infield hit and wound up tumbling over White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who slid into the bag feet first. 

Pedroia was hurt bracing himself as he went over Abreu.

“He feels he knows those guys, they know him well,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said of the decision to send Pedroia back to Boston. “We felt it would be more comfortable for him to do that. He wanted to do that, too. He knows those guys well. We could have gotten an MRI here and had people read it, but he just knows the people there so well. We figured he wanted to do that, so we said, 'Sure, we'll fly you there and get the MRI done there.”

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

“He's been dealing with the situation from the winter time, but he's played well,” Dombrowski said. “He's played almost every day. He's had to deal with a lot of things, which is very unfortunate, but he battles through it.”

On the play he was hurt, Pedroia hit a chopper to the right side, where Abreu fielded it and hesitated before moving to the bag — likely determining whether he was going to try to flip it to the pitcher. He kept it himself and went in feet first, putting him essentially on the bag as Pedroia arrived. Moving at full speed, Pedroia tumbled over Abreu, leading Pedroia to brace himself with his wrist.

“A real freakish play,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “We’ll hopefully have some mid-morning information.”

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.

Pedroia’s power has been down all year, with just a pair of home runs, but he still entered Monday hitting .294.