Red Sox get it done on road trip

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Red Sox get it done on road trip

CHICAGO -- It wasn't a perfect road trip for the Red Sox, but it was close.

The Sox won their first six games on the trip, sweeping three from the Minnesota Twins and the first three from the Chicago White Sox before falling 4-1 Sunday in the final game of the trek.

A win Sunday would have given the team its best road trip since 1977, when the Sox were 9-0 on a West Coast trip. But 6-1 is nothing to toss back.

"The guys played their butts off," said manager Bobby Valentine. "This was a tough seven days. We battled the travel, battled the weather. They're a tough group."

When the Red Sox left Boston a week ago, they had lost five straight, topped by a debacle against the Yankees in which they failed to preserve a 9-0 lead.

But as it turned out, the time on the road was good for the Red Sox. They got out from underneath the scrutiny of playing at home and found themselves, gaining confidence with each successive win.

"It was a pretty good road trip as a team," said Josh Beckett, who took the only loss on the trip. "Anytime you can sweep one (series) and take three-out-of-four in another one . . . Four-game series are tough enough. Their pitchers get to see our hitters a lot more than our hitters get to see their pitchers."

"I'm really happy for the guys and the way we played this whole road trip after a tough homestand," said outfielder Cody Ross. "We played our hearts out. It would have been nice to sweep the whole road trip, but realistically, that's tough to do. But it gives us a lot of confidence to get back home and we're all excited to get back home."

The offense carried the way earlier in the trip as the Sox averaged eight runs per game in the sweep against the Twins before reaching double figures in runs scored in each of the first two games at U.S. Cellular Field.

In Chicago, the pitching staff took over, allowing a total of 10 runs in the four games.

"This week, it seemed like things were coming together nicely," said Valentine, "mainly because of the starting pitching, obviously. And the bullpen fell in nicely."

Indeed, the Sox got four quality starts in a row in the final four games of the trip from Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

Moreover, the bullpen, which seemed in tatters on the homestand, allowed just two earned runs over 17 innings of work on the trip.

"Those things ended up working themselves out in the bullpen," said Beckett. "Those guys are going to be fine."

"We knew it would just take a good winning streak to get right back where we need to be," said Ross. "It's starting to come together now. We've played 21 games now and we're starting to figure out our team and hopefully now we can just start rolling."

"We're feeling comfortable with things," concluded Valentine. "It's still a work in progress, I believe."

But light years better than it was only a week ago.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

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Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake