Doubront feels 'pretty good' after return to mound

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Doubront feels 'pretty good' after return to mound

BOSTON Left-hander Felix Doubront returned from the disabled list to make his 23rd start of the season on Sunday. Although he was not involved in the decision, the Red Sox improved to 15-8 in his starts.

Doubront went five innings against the Royals, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. It was his ninth game with at least seven strikeouts this season. He is the only Sox left-hander other than Jon Lester to record seven or more strikeouts in at least nine games in a season since Bruce Hurst had nine such games in 1988.

But, Doubront also gave up a three-run home run to Lorenzo Cain with two outs in the fourth inning, briefly giving the Royals a lead.

After retiring the first two batters in the inning, Doubront allowed the next five to reach before ending the inning.

Felix started and he had the one tough inning, two outs nobody on, and made some pitches over the middle and threw an inside fastball for a three-run homer, said manager Bobby Valentine. Other than that he was pretty good.

Doubront had been on the DL since Aug. 10 (retroactive) with a right knee contusion. He acknowledged he might have been a little rusty.

A little bit, he said. Because I was trying to throw fastball, four-seamer down in the zone and sometimes I was opening my shoulder a little bit.

I feel pretty good. My arm, my knee feel great. Just missed a couple pitches that allowed those runs . . . Good day, though

Manager Bobby Valentine earned his fifth ejection of the season and 42nd of his major league career arguing with first base umpire Dan Bellino when Pedroia was called out. Replays appeared to show Pedroia was safe. It is not the first time Bellino has ejected a member of the Sox. In May, he ejected Mike Aviles for arguing a call third strike. And, in one of the stranger ejections in recent history, on Aug. 25, 2010, Bellino ejected Adrian Beltre for talking to Seattles Felix Hernandez between innings.

Valentine, when asked if he thought he would be managing the Sox in 2013:

Yeah.

Why?

I have a contract for next year, obviously.

With James Loney and Pedro Beato making the Red Sox debuts, the Sox have now used 52 players this season. Last year, they used 49 over the entire season.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season, and first save in the American League. He had 20 with the Astros in 2011.

The Sox lead the AL, going 25-16 against left-handed starters.

Scott Podsednik extended his hitting streak to six games, matching a season high. He has hit safely in 24 of 28 starts with the Sox, going 40-for-103 (.388).

Mike Aviles went 2-for-4 with a double, and has now hit in all nine career games against his former team, batting .310 (13-for-42) with three doubles and a home run.

Craig Breslow has allowed six of 13 inherited runners to score with the Sox.

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].”