Kalish shakes off nerves in return to Fenway outfield

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Kalish shakes off nerves in return to Fenway outfield

BOSTON Ryan Kalish acknowledged after Tuesdays 7-5 win over the Marlins at Fenway Park he felt some nerves during the game. Understandable, considering Kalish was making his first appearance at Fenway since Oct. 3, 2010. He appeared in just 24 minor league games last season, sidelined by injuries. And after off-season surgeries on his neck and shoulder he was delayed this season.

The nerves, while there, werent apparent immediately.Kalish, playing center field, got the first play of the game, fielding a Jose Reyes fly ball with a sliding catch for the first out.

I had a good read and I came in I was kind of thinking about that I would have had to dive head first, which would have been me first time, Kalish said. But it just was one of those sliding catches that a lot of good outfielders can make.

But the nerves became more apparent as the game went on. It wasnt the easiest reintroduction to Fenway for Kalish.

He was 3-for-4 in catches, manager Bobby Valentine said. Thats not bad. He got better as the game went on. Actually the first-inning catch was terrific, the first hitter of the game, and then I think there was another step to be taken on the one high fly ball and he said the ball that went in and out of his glove thatll never happen again. But the next two plays were terrific going to his right and his left.

In the fifth inning, he misplayed Logan Morrisons fly ball to the base of the wall in center for a two-run double. Later he dropped Jose Reyes fly for a three-base error to open the eighth. At the plate, he struck out with a runner on third.

Just missed it, Kalish said. Obviously I can smile about it now but at the time I wasnt. I just dropped it. Theres no excuse for that and it wont happen again.

It would have been understandable if Kalish had been leery of the wall on Morrisons fly, given his time away and his injuries. But Kalish said that wasn't the case.

It wasnt really in my head, especially with that play. It was just one of those things that you just drop a ball. I really cant remember ever dropping a ball like that in my life and its just really funny that it happened in the big leagues.

We talked about it. With two outs I probably should have tried to go to the wall first. With two outs I could have played it different. But I havent been in this park in a while. Im going to make an adjustment.

Kalish got words of encouragement from Cody Ross and Kevin Youkilis, which helped to dampen the sting of the miscues.

Ross said that he had done it himself, Kalish said. Hes done it before in his career and even Youk sat me down after that inning and that was huge, too. I was like thats the most embarrassing thing Ive ever done. He was like if thats the most embarrassing thing you do in the big leagues, then youre going to be alright. So for now, Ill keep it there.

But there were bright spots, too.

After making the error in the seventh, he also got the final out of the inning, stranding Reyes on third. He got the final out of the eighth, too.

It was fun, man, regardless of what I did out there, he said. I didnt really play my best game. I had a lot of fun. We got a win, too, so thats huge.

I think if I didnt have nerves theres something wrong. So Im just going to keep getting my confidence back and continue to work hard.

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].”