Cherington weighs options on international prospects

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Cherington weighs options on international prospects

MILWAUKEE -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is heading to the Dominican Republic Friday to discuss some changes to the team's international department and also to watch highly-regarded Cuban prospect, Yoenis Cespedes, a five-tool right-handed hitting outfielder.

Cespedes, who has defected from Cuba and has already worked out for other clubs, is 26 years old. Reports have him seeking a similar deal as the one given to fellow countryman Aroldis Chapman (30 million) two years ago.

"He's certainly an intriguing talent," said Cherington. "He's a guy who's performed in Cuba. He's a right-handed hitting outfielder with tools and power and he's been impressive in some workouts. But we need to get to know him a lot better. We'll know him better after this weekend than we do now."

The Sox are in the market for a right-handed bat in right field, but Cherington was unsure if Cespedes would be ready to play in the big leagues in 2012.

"I couldn't say yes or no," he said. "I don't think we know him well enough yet. It's hard to translate performance in Cuba to the big leagues. We can try to do it, but it's hard. Even the highest profile Cuban free agents have needed some assimilation and transition to baseball in the States.

"There does tend to be a bit of a transition. Very few guys have stepped into the big leagues and been successful right away. Guys have stepped into the big leagues, but not necessarily been successful right away."

Cherington seemed less willing to confirm that the Sox will be players for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Darvish is expected to be posted by his Japanese team later this month and will the most sought-after Japanese pitcher since Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with the Red Sox in December of 2006.

Matsuzaka, who will miss most of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer, won 33 games in his first two seasons. But he's been both unproductive and dogged by injuries over the last three seasons, making the 103 million commitment (split almost evenly between the posting fee and a six-year contract) a poor investment.

"The timing is different for Matsuzaka and Darvish," said Cherington, "in the sense that we've got a lot invested already in our starting rotation whereas in the winter of 2006, we didn't . . . so there was a little bit more of an opening to get in aggressively on Daisuke. That may not be present this winter. We'll do our due diligence and be prepared, but, if we're not as aggressive it's not because we're scared of the waters and more because this offseason, with the needs we have and the resources we have, we may need to focus elsewhere."

Indeed, the Sox have 148 million committed to five starters -- Matsuzaka, John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

First impressions from Red Sox 10-9 loss to Blue Jays: Big trouble for bullpen

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First impressions from Red Sox 10-9 loss to Blue Jays: Big trouble for bullpen

BOSTON -- First impressions of the Red Sox' 10-9 loss to Toronto:
 
Rick Porcello was back in top form.

Despite the matchup at the Rogers Center being less than favorable for Porcello, and the righty not at his best of late, he held a streaking, dangerous offense at bay for 6 2/3 innings (four runs, seven hits) before the bullpen coughed up two leads. 

While Porcello hasn’t performed poorly of late, there’s no question he hasn’t been at his best -- so it’s good to see him have a consistent feel for his pitches.

The bullpen might be in trouble Sunday.

With Junichi Tazawa struggling, Craig Kimbrel throwing a season high 39 pitches and Matt Barnes pitching in both games this series, the bullpen won’t be at it’s best for the final game in Toronto. So, if there were ever a time for David Price to throw like a true ace, Sunday would be it.

Tommy Layne proves again that he’s not trustworthy.

With a four-run lead, and only needing to get two batters out, Layne couldn't get an out in the eighth, allowing two runs on two hits and starting something not even Kimbrel (who gave up leads in the eighth and ninth after being called on for a five-out save) could stop. The lefty specialist may have entered the game with an ERA below 3.00, but his results are inconsistent.
 
Umpire Mike DiMuro’s injury changed the tone of the game.

The home plate umpire took a hard foul ball off the center of the mask, delaying the game for several minutes and forcing Brian Gorman to call the game behind the plate.

And with that came an inconsistent strike zone. Both sides were frustrated by his inconsistency with his zone. Porcello had two pitches stopped due to late timeout calls. Marcus Stroman was almost allowed to quick pitch Hanley Ramirez twice in the same at-bat.

The crew got it right removing DiMuro from the game, but Gorman was bad in relief.
 
David Ortiz getting doubled up in the fourth inning can’t happen.

Darwin Barney showed some range, getting to Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s soft line drive up the middle, flipping the ball to second quickly after to get Ortiz. This comes a night after Hanley Ramirez got double up off a screaming line drive.

There’s a difference between the two though. Ramirez had no time to react. Ortiz had all the time in the world. Even though Papi’s speed hasn’t become enhanced in his old age -- unlike his power -- that was a rally-killing play he could’ve prevented.
 
Don’t sleep on Dustin Pedroia.

Between Ortiz’s farewell tour and the youth rising, Dustin Pedroia continues to perform well under the radar.

He went 2-for-4, lacing two doubles off Toronto’s ace, Marcus Stroman. Pedroia is hitting .309. He’s not the only player being overlooked, but he’s definitely received the least amount of attention in Boston’s power-packed lineup.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

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Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.