Buchholz: Sox returning with 'chip on our shoulder'


Buchholz: Sox returning with 'chip on our shoulder'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz wasn't even part of the September collapse for the 2011 Red Sox, but he knows the fallout will continue for a while this season.

"It is what it is,'' said the Red Sox starter, who missed the final three months of the season because of a stress fracture in his lower back. "I think that stuff is over and done with, but I know we're going to have to answer some questions here early.''

Buchholz tried to speed up his recovery process but could only watch as the team imploded, compiling a 7-20 September and forfeiting what had been a healthy wild-card lead.

"For the most part, either we didn't hit or we didn't pitch,'' he said, "and if you don't do either one of those things in a single month, it's not going to turn out well. I think everybody knows that. I think a lot of guys have come here with a chip on their shoulder about it. We want to do well and we want to do it in October, too.''

When asked about some of the unsavory off-field details that were revealed after the season -- including some starting pitchers eating chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse during games -- Buchholz suggested that was overblown.

"I think that was last year -- a couple of bad decisions here and there,'' he said. ''I think if we would have made the playoffs, it wouldn't have been that big of a topic. I think it was blown out of proportion a little bit. I think it's in the past. Everybody has learned from it. I think everybody's mental state is going to be a lot better starting here in the spring.''

Buchholz was part of a group of players who had dinner with new manager Bobby Valentine over the winter and thinks Valentine's style may be the perfect tonic for the Sox.

"I think it's going to be in a good way,'' he said. "He seems like he likes to have control of everybody and I think that's something that we need. Then again, he's a relaxed person, too, so it's going to fit in well with this clubhouse.

"Everybody here is a grown man. Everybody can take care of themselves. But sometimes when you veer off the path that you need to take, you need someone there to tell you, 'Hey, this is where we need to go and I see you doing this.' In that aspect, it's going to be good for us."

Like some of his other teammates, Buchholz was surprised the story of clubhouse behavior gained as much traction as it did.

"It's happened more than that in previous years,'' noted Buchholz, "but we did well then and it wasn't spoken about. The main issue is we didn't make the playoffs and that was just something for people to talk about.

"I didn't let it bother me too much. When you're in an offseason and people are still wanting to talk about things that happened four months ago that don't have anything to do with what you're doing now -- I think that bothered a couple of people. But it comes with the territory. We're major-league baseball players playing for the Boston Red Sox. You're going to have to fess up to your mistakes and go from there.''

Some five days before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report, all but a handful are already on hand. That's a good sign, Buchholz said.

"It's definitely a good thing,'' he said of the early attendance. "I think that's what we're expected to do, so I think that's why everybody does it. I've been ready to get back on a mound since September. It's good to see everybody here, good to see all the new faces that come in the clubhouse.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year."

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy


Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
Danny Duffy LHP

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
David Price LHP

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority


Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.


Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension


Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

The Patriots have signed backup linebacker and special teamer Jonathan Freeny to a two-year contract extension through 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported.

Freeney, 27, was originally signed by the Patriots to a one-year free-agent deal in March 2015 after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. He then earned a one-year extension last September and played 13 games, seven starts, with 50 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. 

"Jonathan is a very dependable player," Bill Belichick said on a conference call Saturday. "He is able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside, outside, on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He has been a very valuable player for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size, a four-phase special teams player.

"He is one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training. He always does things right. He works hard, doesn't really say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think everybody in the organization looks up to him."