Notes: Cherington discusses Red Sox roster moves

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Notes: Cherington discusses Red Sox roster moves

BOSTON -- Shortstop is a position of depth for the Red Sox, with veterans Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie under the club's control and prospect Jose Iglesias waiting at Triple A.

Still, the Red Sox liked Marco Scutato enough to exercise the team's option for 6 million last weekend.

"He finished the year as the starter," said GM Ben Cherington, "so I would see him going into spring training as the starter."

Scutaro's contract included a 4 million player option which he could have exercised had they passed on the team option. But the Sox decided not to chance losing him.

"We see him as an above-average major league shortstop," said Cherington. "He certainly performed that way this year. We felt like a one-year deal at 6 million was very fair value for him.

"He was a guy who we knew was going to be coveted this off-season if he became a free agent. We knew allowing him to get into free agency, there was a risk that he could get a better deal than that. We wanted to keep him."

Scutaro hit .299 with seven homers and 54 RBI in 113 games with a .354 on-base percentage. In contrast to many of his teammates, he also finished the season strong with a .387 batting average in September and an OPS of 1.019.

The Sox can presumably now deal either Aviles or Lowrie and still have adequate depth at the position.

On Monday, the team declined the options on two veteran relievers-- Scott Atchison and Dan Wheeler -- though it's possible that both could return to the team in 2012.

The team had an option for Atchison for next season that would have paid him 200,000 over the the minimum major league salary, but elected not to pick it up. The team controls him, however, and could tender him a contract at a lesser number before the deadline date in December.

"It was just a matter of whether we locked in that rate or not," explained Cherington.

The option for Wheeler was more expensive at 3 milion and, according to Cherington, "we just didn't feel like we could commit to that money at this point in the off-season. We have a lot of respect for Dan and he's a pro. He pitched really well after coming off the DL (in May). We'll keep the door open and continue dialogue with him. We just weren't ready to commit to that salary this early on."

Wheeler finished the year at 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA in 47 games. He got off to a miserable start, but after returning from a calf injury, was far more effective, with a 2.54 ERA May 21 on.

Cherington and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein continue to negotiate compensation for Epstein leaving the Red Sox to become president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, with seemingly little progress made.

The two clubs have until Tuesday to arrive at an agreement before commissioner Bud Selig steps in as a third-party arbiter.

"We're still talking," said Cherington. "It's a difficult deal to work out. It's hard to quantify the value of Theo Epstein. I have an idea of it and Theo doesn't think he's worth as much as I do. We haven't been to bridge that gap yet."

Cherington said having Selig intervene "was always a possibility . . . I think both sides are comfortable with that outcome if it happens that way."

There have been no discussions about how the process would work if Selig must rule on compensation, but Cherington's belief is that each team would present its side to the commissioner and a ruling would follow.

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

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Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

Quotes, notes, and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Yankees.

QUOTES:

* "He gathered himself and got a little rhythm as the night went along.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That's a rarity for Betances to leave his breaking ball up like he did. Once David saw it up, he attacked.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz's game-winning homer.

* "There's no sign of him slowing down. Tonight is a prime example of it. Key moment, big hit when we need it. There's a long resume there and it's continuing to build.'' - Farrell on Ortiz's ability to deliver in the clutch.

* "There were some mechanical adjustments that I made. I came out a little erratic, trying to do too much, maybe focusing too much. But as game went on, I kind of got into a rhythm.'' - Owens on his start.

* "I saw him throw a lot of breaking pitches to Mookie. The one they hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He's the kind of pitcher that, if you go up there looking for everything he's got, you're done.'' - Ortiz on his game-winning homer off Dellin Betances.

NOTES:

* Over his career, David Ortiz has hit 29 go-ahead homers from the eighth inning on.

* Ortiz has eight homers in his last 24 games against the Yankees.

* The win was the first this season for the Red Sox in a game in which they were tied or trailing after seven innings.

* The Red Sox have won five of their last six and seven of their last 10.

* The Yankees have been limited to three runs or fewer in their last six games.

* In 21 games, the Yankees have faced 10 lefty starters; in 22 games, the Red Sox have faced two.

* Masahiro Tanaka has issued just one walk in his last three starts.

STARS:

1) David Ortiz

With one swing of the bat, Ortiz untied a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a game-winning two-run homer.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley's penchant for delivering a big hit continued as he rapped a two-run double to left in the seventh to erase a 2-0 Yankee lead.

3) Masahiro Tanaka

He shut the Red Sox for six innings before allowing three hits and two runs in the seventh.

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over New York Yankees...

* David Ortiz still has a flair for the dramatic.

Matched against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Ortiz cracked a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ortiz now has 18 RBI in 23 games -- he didn't start in four of those games - and at 40, remains the one hitter opposing teams want to face with the game on the line.

Before the homer, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, with four strikeouts.

* All things considered, Henry Owens did OK.

Owens didn't fool anybody. He couldn't command his fastball, and when the Yankees did hit it, they hit it pretty hard. He walked three and hit another. But Owens managed to limit the damage in a big way, allowing just two hits in six innings despite 10 baserunners.

Occasionally, he would get bailed out by his changeup, which seems to be the lone pitch he has that is better than average by major league standards.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit when it counts.

Bradley got the Red Sox offense going with a two-run, two-out double off Masahiro Tanaka, when the Sox were down to their final seven outs.

In the last week along, Bradley hit an extra-inning homer; a solo homer that represented the only run of the game; a ninth-inning triple; and Friday's big two-base hit.

That he has 10 RBI from the bottom of the order suggests he can provide some sock from that spot.

* Matt Barnes continues to make strides.

Since allowing a homer to Kevin Kiermaier on the last homestand, Barnes has allowed just one run in his last four appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average (5-for-24).

* The Yankees bullpen gets all the attention, but in relief of Owens, Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel faced nine hitters and retired them all.