Red Sox Notes: Crawford starting, Bailey continues rehab

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Red Sox Notes: Crawford starting, Bailey continues rehab

BOSTON Carl Crawford is in the starting lineup tonight, his fifth consecutive day after getting a day off Saturday against the Yankees in New York.Over the weekend it had been stated that Crawford would be on a four-day program, getting scheduled offdays. But the Red Sox later backed off that plan.Manager Bobby Valentine said he talked with Crawford Thursday afternoon, before the start of the four-game series against the Twins.He came in. I talked with him. Said he felt great, Valentine said. I said make sure you go in and talk to the training room, tell them how you feel. He went in, he was examined, he was massaged, he was conversed with. Trainer Rick Jameyson came into my office and gave me hes good to go.That initial program seemed to be exactly what he need to get him over some initial humps.-- Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch again Friday for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, the second appearance on his 30-day rehab assignment. He pitched one scoreless inning Wednesday, giving up one hit. Valentine said Bailey felt fine today after his outing.He felt really good, physically, Valentine said. It was the first time so there were a lot of checkpoints that he was going over. But he felt good.
-- Catcher Ryan Lavarnway is making his first start with the Sox since the final game last season, Sept. 28 in Baltimore. Valentine said he is not concerned with Lavarnways lack of familiarity with the major league pitching staff. Lavarnway will be behind the plate for left-hander Jon Lester Thursday night against the Twins.I think there's some comfort level with Lester, Valentine said. Hells bells, he was catching in Triple A and we were sending guys every-other day that he wasnt used to for two months and then guys were coming up from Double A. Theres probably some learning experience but I dont think its monumental.
-- Valentine responded to inquiries regarding his comments on a radio show yesterday morning on which he said ownership had talked to him about a comment he made earlier this year to Will Middlebrooks after the third baseman had a rough defensive inning. It happened two-and-a-half months ago or something. Its the most stupid thing that I ever said, on a radio program, Valentine said. But it was also ridiculous for someone to repeat it, I think. And thats the point I was trying to make.Its silly. Whatever. I dont even remember when it was. But if you need it, because if you dont talk about it, it becomes a bigger story because then the media can make it up.
He came into the dugout. He made a couple of errors, and I said, Nice inning, kid. I had thought I had established a relationship with him where I could say something like that and he would kind of smile or relax a little. Maybe he grimaced. I dont know. But someone overheard it and decided that it was a very dreadful thing for a manager to ever say to a young player and decided to repeat it a few times, this dreadful thing. And that person didn't go to the locker with me when I met with Will after the game to explain to him when I made three errors in a game, and I was 21 years old, and the fans wanted to boo me off the field, and how I got through it and other guys got through it and its a great learning experience. And I dont think that Will has been mortally wounded by the two-and-a-half month ago comment.Valentine said he did not know who it was who repeated his comment.Asked if he was bothered by the situation, Valentine replied:No, it was expected. Some guys dont get it.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.