Red Sox still figuring out what they have in pen


Red Sox still figuring out what they have in pen

BOSTON With three perfect innings from relievers Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla, and Alfredo Aceves the Red Sox bullpen has a sterling 1.66 ERA in 11 games in May, allowing 10 earned runs over 54 13 innings. That three of those runs and one inning belong to outfielder Darnell McDonald makes those numbers even more impressive a 1.18 ERA.

In all, it has been a dramatic turnaround for the bullpen collectively, and for some relievers, individually from the first month of season.

Still, manager Bobby Valentine said after Saturdays win over the Indians, You still wonder when you go to the bullpen.

That was not a knock on the pens performance. Its just part of the learning process for all involved.

You got guys who arent battle tested so we got to figure out what they can do and how they can do it, Valentine said. Could Andrew Miller pitch three days in a row? We found out yes. That was the first time weve seen that. What kind of bounce-back capabilities Rich Hill has after the injury Tommy John surgery in June. Were going to figure that out. And other little things like that. Thats what a seasons for.

I think were starting to figure things out.

Theres no set point in a season when that happens, Valentine said. Its all part of the season-long progression and evolution. The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals are his poster children for that kind of progression.

I think it happens with most seasons, he said. And again, maybe its been different around here because everythings been so set for so many years. Most teams in most seasons continue to build their team as the season goes on. They continue to get together, they continue to tweak things, change things, make things better to get to the finish line.

I mentioned it before but I think the classic case in point maybe was St. Louis last year. They won the world championship and this time were in totally disarray. They were just about releasing their closer, I think, about this time, maybe it was little before now. Things happen that way.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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Red Sox did their homework researching Sale's character on and off the field

Red Sox did their homework researching Sale's character on and off the field

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- In today's game, teams are sure to do their homework when bringing in a star player. For either a big free agent or trade acquisition, clubs want to know everything they can about the individual.

New starter Chris Sale passes that test for the Red Sox.

"There's always an on-field (personality) and away from the game (to consider),'' said Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president of baseball operations. "On the field, he's as competitive as can be. He's got an edge to him - a good edge. His teammates love him.

"Off the field, I've heard a lot of pleasant things about him. I've heard tremendous things from him as an individual. A couple of our guys in the organization know him very well and say real good things about him.''

Sale was involved in two clubhouse incidents last season - one in which he angrily confronted White Sox president Kenny Williams about his decision to limit the amount of time Adam LaRoche's son could spend with the team, and another in which he cut up a throw-back uniform with scissors.

"I think you do your checking to see what causes some things,'' said Dombrowski. "But after I checked things, (I'm) not really (concerned).''

Another benefit to having Sale is that he could potentially take some pressure of David Price, who struggled at times in his first season in Boston and perhaps tried too hard to validate his $217 million contract.

"I think it's always good for a club if they have a number of guys, top of the rotation guys, to take the pressure off everybody else,'' Dombrowski said. "Because you know that everyone has a bad outing here and there, and somebody else picks you up in that case. I think that's helpful. If we didn't have (another No. 1 starter), I'd still have confidence in (Price).''

It's possible that the Red Sox could go into next season with as many as four lefthanders in their rotation -- Sale, Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz.

"It's unusual to have four lefthanders, potentially, in the rotation,'' acknowledged Dombrowski. "A lot of times, you're looking for one. But if it was four lefties, that would be fine. I think it's more important that they get people out. I'd be comfortable with that.

"I've really never been in that spot before, which doesn't make me feel uncomfortable. I don't have a driving force to make any trades because four guys are lefties. I think they're good lefties.''