Notes: No Pedroia, no Ellsbury in lineup

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Notes: No Pedroia, no Ellsbury in lineup

NEW YORK -- In Game No. 159 of the season, with playoff seeds -- not their own, of course -- on the line, the Red Sox will field one of their weaker lineups of the season.

Both Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury are out of the lineup for the first game of the final series of the season.

Manager Bobby Valentine was strangely coy about Pedroia being out, saying only that the second baseman "is not available to play.''

Pressed for details, Valentine said: "God, Id hate to give away secrets like that. The enemy will then be apprised of the situation. Hes ailing today; hopefully hell be better tomorrow. But he hurt himself in the game yesterday.''

Pedroia wasn't so secretive. The second baseman said he jammed his left ring finger while trying to steal second base Sunday in Baltimore and was set to undergo x-rays on the finger early Monday evening.

It's unclear whether Pedroia will be able to rejoin the lineup for the final two games.

Valentine was also circumspect when it came to Ellsbury being out. The outfielder missed six games last week with what is believed to be a lat strain, though Ellsbury specficially instructed the team to not reveal the nature of the injury to the media.

Valentine noted that Ellsbury had been "hasnt played in a long time. Weve got the lefthander (C.C. Sabathia) out there, a big outfield. Hell play the next two days, hopefully, if hes feeling good.

Ryan Lavarnway was 2-for-4 with a double Sunday, but that was a rare good day at the plate for the young catcher who has struggled mightily -- at least offensively -- since being promoted last month from Pawtucket.

Heading into the final series of the year, Lavarnway was hiting just .170 with two homers and 12 RBI with a .272 OBP and a .260 slugging percentage.

"He's working every day,'' said Valentine. "I saw him in spring training and he hit OK, but others said that wasn't quite his swing so I've been waiting. I'm a little surprised he hasn't hit better.

"I want him to feel good somehow, as the season ends, about his approach at the plate. I haven't drawn the picture of what kind of hitter I think he can be. I think he's going to be a major league hitter and major league player.''

Defensively, Valentine said Lavarnway "needs work, but from what I gather, he's improved an awful lot.''

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”