Red Sox 'have a little bit of anxiety' with players in World Baseball Classic

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Red Sox 'have a little bit of anxiety' with players in World Baseball Classic

PROVIDENCE Provisional rosters for each country in the World Baseball Classic were announced on Thursday. Four Red Sox players are on rosters including right fielder Shane Victorino for the United States, right-hander Alfredo Aceves (Mexico), highly regarded prospect Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands, by way of Aruba), and right-hander Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico).Final rosters are due Feb. 20, with pool play beginning March for the 28 teams in the tournament.Having players out of camp for an extended period, not under the eyes of their organizations, is not easy for teams.Its case by case, but the guys right now that are candidates to play were OK with, Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. And those are guys that weve talked to and talked about and are comfortable with their participation.Still, theres a degree of anxiety involved.I guess whenever you have less control over a player you have a little bit of anxiety, Cherington said. But, look, theyre going to be playing games one way or another. Theyre either going to be playing game in Fort Myers or in the WBC. I guess perhaps the intensity level is a little bit different but you take it case by case.If you have real concerns about a guy, sometimes its taken out because of an injury, sometimes you can have a conversation with a player and it makes sense to sit it out and the player decides himself, which weve had this year, and other times its not really much riskier and were comfortable with it. So I think its case by case but I think the organizations and each federation they really do a very good job. And each time its gotten better at including safeguards for players and managing workload and timing it at the right time of spring training so guys are kind of naturally ready anyway so its a pretty well-oiled event at this point and certainly one we support.It can be particularly nettlesome for a new manager, such as John Farrell, who is still trying to get to know his players, especially those new to the organization who werent with the team while Farrell was pitching coach from 2007-10.Well theres a couple of things that quickly come to mind, Farrell said. In this first spring training for us, for the new staff, with a number of new players, the time that we spend together will be critical for us as personally feel how we identify each other is going to be key. But were not going to stand in the way, nor can we stand in the way of the WBC and representing countries that our players are from. So what that final roster looks like, who we might miss, probably reserve judgment till we see the total number of players that might be out of camp.Several players will be leaving Fort Myers with questions. Aceves is expected to be in the Sox bullpen this season, but will be stretched out in case he is pressed into duty as a starter. How he will be used on Mexicos staff is uncertain.I dont know, Cherington said. Its safer to assume he is going to be a starter just from an innings standpoint so wed probablyunless were told hes nottry to get him stretched out and get his pitch count up before he reports.Theres probably two approaches, Farrell said, of what he would like Aceves to work on during the WBC. One, if youre a reliever, youre probably a little bit more accepting rather than that gradual build-up over time that a starter needs to go through. Our intent in spring training was to stretch Alfredo out. He and Franklin Morales will join five other guys as starting pitchers to get a number of guys with multiple innings under their belt. Well take the necessary steps to, if in fact, he does go and do what we can with the time allowed.Bogaerts, the Sox much-heralded shortstop prospect, will be on a Netherlands team that includes two other prized shortstop prospects, the Rangers Jurickson Profar and Braves' Andrelton Simmons
I dont know, Cherington replied when asked where Bogaerts would play. Im sure well have a conversation. I wouldnt expect him to put on catchers gear or anything like that. Im sure theyll find a spot on the field where he can be safe.I think wed probably mostly be concerned with safety and putting him in a spot where he can be comfortable. Im sure they want his bat in the lineup.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.

First impressions: Owens improves, Scott scuffles

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First impressions: Owens improves, Scott scuffles

NEW YORK -- First impression from Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

* Henry Owens looked improved over earlier starts.

The lefty took the place of Drew Pomeranz Thursday night and pitched into the fifth inning, allowing two runs on four hits.

Talent evaluators believe that Owens has the stuff necessary to be a back-end starter in the big leagues if -- and that's a big qualifier -- he can command his pitches.

Alas, that's often been an issue for Owens, who averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings last season in Boston and, in four starts earlier this season, a bloated 9.3 walks per nine innings.

On Thursday night, Owens showed far better control, issuing just two walks. Further, he managed to pitch ahead in the count, giving him an advantage against the New York lineup. And mixing his changeup and fastball, he fanned six.

* Robby Scott had a bad night at a bad time.

Scott's in the mix to make the Red Sox post-season roster as a lefty specialist, competing against the likes of Fernando Abad.

He had been effective in most of his previous outings, with no runs allowed in six appearances with five strikeouts and a walk.

But brought in to face Brian McCann with runners on first and second and one out in the sixth, he yielded a single to center.

After getting Aaron Hicks on a flyout, he walked rookie Tyler Austin to force in a run, then heaved a wild pitch that scored another run before retiring Brett Gardner on a flyout.

Keeping in mind that Scott wouldn't be asked to face that many righthanders were he to make the post-season roster, Thursday's outing wasn't helpful in making his case.

* Yoan Moncada is gone for now.

The Red Sox announced that the rookie third baseman had traveled to Fort Myers to prepare for his upcoming assignment in the Arizona Fall League next month.

Expectations were high for Moncada when he joined the Red Sox on Labor Day weekend in Oakland and when he collected multiple hits in each of his first two starts, it appeared as though he would get most of the playing time at third for the remainder of the season.

But not long after, Moncada began chasing breaking balls out of the strike zone and looking very much overmatched at the plate. HE struck out in nine consecutive at-bats.

That doesn't mean that Moncada won't someday -- likely in the not-too-distant future -- be a very good major league player. But it is a reminder of how big a jump it is to go from Double A.

And, it served to point out how remarkable Andrew Benintendi has been in making that same jump.