McAdam: Ross signing gives Sox options

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McAdam: Ross signing gives Sox options

Since the end of the season, the Red Sox have publicly identified first base, outfield and pitching as their primary positional needs.

But Saturday, in their first personnel move of the off-season, the Red Sox added to a position they weren't necessarily in the market for: catching.

The Sox signed David Ross to a two-year, 6.2 million deal, according to a source. FoxSports.com was the first to report the signing.

Ross, 35, is a veteran of 11 major league seasons, having spent the last four years with the Atlanta Braves. In 2012, he hit .256 with nine homers and 23 RBI, serving as the backup to All-Star Brian McCann. With McCann battling shoulder issues in the second half of the season, Ross was the Braves' starting catcher in the National League wild card game.

This marks Ross's second stay with the Red Sox. A late-season acquisition in 2008, he played in eight games that year before signing with Atlanta in the off-season.

On the surface, the move appears curious, since the Red Sox have two catchers under control: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway.

But adding Ross gives the Red Sox a number of options:

It frees them to trade Saltalamacchia at a time when the catching market is thin.

As many as a half-dozen teams -- including Texas, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Washington, Tampa Bay and the New York Mets -- are in the market for a starting catcher, or catching help.

The Mets, in particular, would seem to be a good matchup for the Sox. They need a catcher and have a number of players in whom the Sox are interested including first baseman Ike David, outfielderfirst baseman Lucas Duda and infielderoutfielder Daniel Murphy.

The Sox would love to pursue lefty Jon Niese, but the Mets' asking price would include far more than Satlalamacchia, and more than the Sox would want to sacrifice.

It allows the Sox to platoon Saltalamacchia and Ross, with Lavarnway optioned to Pawtucket for more development time.

Like Kelly Shoppach, Ross would seem a good fit for Fenway, with good pull power to take avantage of the ballparks' dimensions.

Curiously, Ross has actually performed slightly better against righties (.771 career OPS) than he has against lefties (.764). Last season, the difference was even more pronounced: .818 against righties and .712 against lefties.

It leaves open the possibility that the Sox could shift Saltalamacchia to first base while using a catching tandem of Ross and Lavarnway.

According to a baseball source, however, that scenario is the least likely of the three.

The Sox were also attracted to the veteran's makeup and leadership skills. Ross also comes with a reputation for being one of best receivers in "framing'' pitches to help his pitchers expand the strike zone.

Ross also control the running game exceptionally well, having thrown out 39 percent of baserunners over his career. Last year, he gunned down 15-of-34 would-be base stealers for a 44 percent success rate. As recently as 2009, he threw out 48 percent of all baserunners attempting to run on him.

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-3 loss to the Rangers:

 

QUOTES

* “On a night when he didn’t have the consistency to the knuckleball that we’ve seen from many of his starts, he went to his fastball a little bit more. [Against] a good fastball hitting team . . . He’s typically made good adjustments staying over the rubber to get his release point out front -- that wasn’t the case [tonight].” John Farrell said about Steven Wright struggling with his knuckleball in his 4.2 inning outing.

* “The ball was spinning a lot out of my hand. It was a little bit hard to grip the ball because the humidity. But it was the opposite -- it was real sticky. That’s the first time I’ve had that ever. But I still felt like I should have figured that out. It was one of those things where I think I started trying to hard . . . I was trying to the throw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn’t working.” Steven Wright said about struggling to find his knuckleball in the 10-3 loss.

* “It’s hard for me because you want to go out there and try and go as deep as you can to try to help the bullpen, but, you know, today was tough, a tough day for me.” Wright said on his disappointment with only going 4.2 innings.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Hanley Ramirez laced his fourth homerun in his last 11 games. In his nine career games at Texas, Ramirez has six homeruns.

* David Ortiz went hitless for the first time since June 12th. Boston’s designated hitter also hasn’t hit a home run since June 17th -- his third longest homerless spell of 2016.

* Xander Bogaerts scored his 57th run of the season, putting him one run behind Ian Kinsler -- the fourth highest total in the majors.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk -- scoring the team high three runs.

 

2) Ian Desmond

Desmond laced his 13th homer of the season in his second at-bat of the game, sparking Texas’ offense with its first run of the game.

 

3) Elvis Andrus

Andrus ended Steven Wright’s day quickly with a three-run triple in the fifth inning, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.

First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

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First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to stay on a roll, as will the Red Sox, as they continue their three-game series tonight (9:20) against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Wright (8-4, American League-leading 2.01 ERA) faces Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), in his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox rallied to win the series opener 8-7 with a four-run ninth inning.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C
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Steven Wright RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
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A.J. Griffin RHP