Clean shaven Pedroia heats up

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Clean shaven Pedroia heats up

BOSTON In Fridays loss to the Braves, Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4, grounding out to end the eighth representing the tying run. In 15 games since rejoining the lineup on June 5 after missing six games with a slight tear in the adductor muscle of his right thumb, Pedroia had gone 9-for-62 (.145), dropping his average from .295 to .260 in that time.

After Fridays game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine offered a prediction.

Hell get hot, Valentine said. Hotter than a firecracker.

But Valentine didnt say how quickly that would happen.

Pedroia went 3-for-4, with a double, a run scored, two RBI, and a walk in Saturdays 8-4 win over the Braves, raising his average to .267.

Friday night he said he felt really good and I thought some of his at-bats were a little different than they had been , Valentine said. And tonight his groundballs had the power to get through the infield and the double in left-center field, a walk. He had good at-bats tonight. Hes feeling good.

But, Valentine said, Pedroia has not yet reached firecracker status.

No, but he might be soon, the manager said.

Pedroia has been unfazed by his recent struggles.

Hits are coming, he said. Every year I go through a time tough time, like everybody else does, but when it rains it pours. You can go from cold to real hot.

I felt good the last few days and Ive swung the bat good but I just didnt get any hits. Thats the tough part to deal with mentally when you have good at-bats, quality at-bats and you dont get any hits. Youve just got to know that theyre coming and they will.

Pedroia said he hasnt let his recent lack of productivity bother him.

Im always in a good frame of mind, he said. I just try to know in the end Ill be right there where I normally am. You guys saw it the year before, the year before that, and the year before that. Everyone goes through tough times and its how you bounce out of it and once you find your swing you just take off.

Pedroia was clean shaven for the game for the first time in a while. It has nothing to do with baseball superstition, though, he said.

Im trying to spice up my love life with my wife, so I shaved my beard.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”