LucchinoEpstein relationship may have prompted Theo's move


LucchinoEpstein relationship may have prompted Theo's move

BOSTON -- While deeply troubled by the team's September collapse, departed Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein had been contemplating -- some say desiring -- a move out of Boston for more than a year, according to sources close to the situation.

Source: Theo should have acted sooner during September collapse

People with knowledge of the situation say Epstein's often-tempestuous relationship with team president and CEO Larry Lucchino became contentious again in the last 12-14 months. While there was no single confrontation or "discussion" that pushed Epstein away from the Sox, they talked of a continuous series of give-and-takes that created more complications between the two.

"When Larry's in the picture, he is unyielding, pushing, prodding, and asking questions," said a source. "Theo's his own man, but that can wear on you over time."

Epstein reportedly took some of the interaction with Lucchino personally.

"While someone said in 'The Godfather' that business isn't personal," said an insider, "here, it just can't be that way." There was a feeling among some in the front office that Epstein needed to find a way to view these "slights" as being strictly business-related and not personal, and he was sometimes able to do so. But there were periods in the last year, said the source, that were "trying".

Epstein had always said being Red Sox general manager wouldn't be a lifetime position, and events of the last year made him even more receptive when the Cubs job opened.

Sources say Chicago had identified Epstein as the possible head of its Baseball Operations department long before August, which is when Cubs owner Tom Ricketts declared the search as being underway. Those who are knowledgeable about the search, and of Epstein's restlessness, pegged the two as ideal fits and said - in essence - it was, in the words of one, "love at first sight".

"How could he say no to this opportunity in Chicago?" said a Red Sox insider. "I know people think the 'honorable' thing would be to right the wrongs here in Boston, but we're on good ground. Better than good ground, despite the media's and talk show crackpots' assertions otherwise.

"This is a chance that anyone in Theo's position dreams of. It's the logical next step."

And one member of the Red Sox organization doesn't think events of the last two months -- on and off the field -- should tarnish Epstein's Boston legacy.

"Let's not forget he has two World Series on his resume," he said. "Let's hope the people within these walls remember that, as well."

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10


Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.


Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.


Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.


Ortiz, Red Sox express shock, sadness over Fernandez's death


Ortiz, Red Sox express shock, sadness over Fernandez's death

Like the rest of the baseball world, the Red Sox expressed shock and sadness over the tragic death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident in Miami. 

David Ortiz tweeted his thoughts before the game Sunday in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays.

There was a moment of silence for Fernandez - who attended high school in the Tampa area after defecting from Cuba at 15 - before the game at Tropicana Field, and before all major league games on Sunday. 

There was to be on-field ceremony for Ortiz before his last game at the Trop, part of his retirement farewell tour, but it was canceled at Ortiz's request. A video tribute to Ortiz was shown during the game and the Rays gave Ortiz his retirement gifts privately.

Ortiz wiped away tears during the moment of silence. He wrote Fernandez's intitals and his uniform number 16 on his cap.

Fernandez had joked about how he wanted to give up a home run to Ortiz when he faced him as an N.L. pitcher in the All-Star Game this past July. 

"I told him yesterday that I am going to throw him three fastballs down the middle. I want to watch him hit a home run," Fernandez had said. 

Ortiz ended up walking against Fernandez, prompting this response from Big Papi:

First baseman Hanley Ramirez, who played for the Marlins, as well as other Red Sox players, also tweeted their reactions after hearing the news of Fernandez's death Sunday morning.