Cherington on the draft: 'We're not going to go after need'

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Cherington on the draft: 'We're not going to go after need'

BOSTON -- The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is next week, and prior to Thursday's game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park, general manager Ben Cherington met with the media to discuss his strategy for what will be his first draft as Red Sox GM.
But according to him, at least, his team hasn't yet discussed a specific strategy. As of Thursday, they were still just putting the players in order.
One thing is for sure. They aren't going to draft based on need.
"We're not going to go after need," said Cherington on Thursday. "We'll target the best player available at each pick. We're looking for the best full return from this draft class."
When asked if there would ever be a situation in which the Red Sox would make a pick based on need, Cherington said that it's unlikely, but don't rule anything out.
"Generally, we have not done that," said Cherington. "Baseball, as everyone here knows, it's a different beast than some other sports, because there's so much that can happen. So much happens between the time you draft a guy -- even the guys you think are closest to the big leagues, a highly-advanced college player. There's still a transition, there's still a development path that needs to be taken.
"And so much can change, not just from the player, but with our needs," added Cherington. "Our needs could look different six weeks from now, never mind three years from now. So, it's a dangerous game, I think, if you get into drafting for needs. We're just going to focus on trying to find the best possible impact and do as well as we can with each pick."
Cherington recalled the first amateur player he ever saw as an area scout. It was Josh Hamilton.
"I thought, wow, this is pretty easy, that guy looks good," he recalled. "And then the next few games, it was a little harder to pick them out."
Now, without Theo Epstein, Cherington is in charge. But with the familiar and experienced staff he looks around and sees in the Red Sox draft room, he believes the decision-making process will be very similar to how it has been in the past.
"There's a lot of things that feel very similar," said Cherington. "I'm in the room with a bunch of people that I've been in the room with for several years. We're using a lot of the same philosophies and the same standards to set the board up. We're talking about the same things that we care about. Ultimately, we have the same goal."

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

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Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"I felt a little cramp. I'm fine. I appreciate John and everybody looking out (for me). We obviously don't want anything to happen like last year, but I'm good.'' - Dustin Pedroia, who left the game in the fifth after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring.

"It's nice to be able to get deep into the game. That's my goal every time. My goal is nine innings, so if I don't get nine innings, I'm a little disappointed because I want to be able to go out there and pitch as many innings as I can.'' - Steven Wright.

"I think my release point was just a little off. That definitely makes it hard, especially when it's moving, because it's not a consistent release point.'' - Wright on the early-inning unpredictability of his signature pitch.

"Even when I was catching, I pride myself on running. I want to be an athlete back there. I want to run the bases, steal bases, things most catchers aren't known to do.'' - Blake Swihart, who hit two triples.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

* David Ortiz tied Paul Molitor for 12th on the all-time doubles list with 605.

* Ortiz has driven in multiple runs in three straight games

* Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average of .340 in interleague play, the highest ever for someone with 500 or more at-bats.

* Travis Shaw drove in three runs and now has 68 RBI in his first 111 games since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1974-75.

* Blake Swihart became the third Red Sox hitter this season to post two triples in the same game.

* The Red Sox clinched their fifth straight home series win.

* The Sox are 21-8 since April 24 and are 13-2 in their last 15 home games.

 

STARS

1) Steven Wright

Backed by some rare run support, Wright evened his record at 4-4 with seven-plus innings and his eighth quality start this season.

2) Travis Shaw

Shaw produced two hits and knocked in three runs, making him the fourth Red Sox player this season to reach 30 RBI.

3) Blake Swihart

Swihart got to flash both his power and his speed by hitting two triples to the triangle, motoring around the bases.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.