Sources: Lester only told part of the story

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Sources: Lester only told part of the story

A friend of mine said this Red Sox saga would make one hell of a book . . . though not if you're a Sox fan.

The latest chapter unfolded Monday when Jon Lester told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that some of the assertions in last week's Globe story about the team culture -- which included starting pitchers drinking beer and eating fast-food chicken during games when they weren't pitching -- were true, but that it wasn't as bad as it sounded.

However, two sources I spoke to -- one inside the clubhouse and one in management -- said Lester's comments only told part of the story. Their feeling is that the behavior of Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and, on occasion, Clay Buchholz was irresponsible, occasionally reckless, and disrespectful to manager Terry Francona.

While trying to downplay the severity and scope of their actions, Lester admitted to the Globe that he should have spent more time in the dugout during games to show support. One of them agreed, though no one complained at the time, "Most guys didn't feel like they needed to say anything," he said. "They're veterans, big boys. No one should need to be babysat."

As to Lester's feelings that Francona no longer had authority over his team, neither source disputed that. They were, however, quick to note that the now-deposed skipper always treated his players as men and that, in the end, too many didn't return the favor.

While not naming names, this line from a player who asked to remain unnamed should tell the full story: "It was the guys who should know better, the guys who have been here and often benefited from Tito's softer hand. I mean, how many times did Tito defend you to the press or stick by you, and this is how you repay him? It's bull----."

But leadership was hard to come by in the Sox clubhouse, even from those paid -- to some degree -- to provide it.

That said, the general feeling remains that the foundation here is a talented one, capable of being a frontrunner for a playoff spot and a World Series title in 2012.

"No one tanked the season," said one. "We lost, okay? We didn't perform. We all need to take responsibility for that and make sure it doesn't happen again." With several moves this offseason, "I don't see why we can't do what we all believed we could do. Got it?"

Ortiz, Red Sox express shock, sadness over Fernandez's death

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Ortiz, Red Sox express shock, sadness over Fernandez's death

Like the rest of the baseball world, the Red Sox expressed shock and sadness over the tragic death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident in Miami. 

David Ortiz tweeted his thoughts before the game Sunday in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays.

There was a moment of silence for Fernandez - who attended high school in the Tampa area after defecting from Cuba at 15 - before the game at Tropicana Field, and before all major league games on Sunday. 

There was to be on-field ceremony for Ortiz before his last game at the Trop, part of his retirement farewell tour, but it was canceled at Ortiz's request. A video tribute to Ortiz was shown during the game and the Rays gave Ortiz his retirement gifts privately.

Ortiz wiped away tears during the moment of silence. He wrote Fernandez's intitals and his uniform number 16 on his cap.

Fernandez had joked about how he wanted to give up a home run to Ortiz when he faced him as an N.L. pitcher in the All-Star Game this past July. 

"I told him yesterday that I am going to throw him three fastballs down the middle. I want to watch him hit a home run," Fernandez had said. 

Ortiz ended up walking against Fernandez, prompting this response from Big Papi:

First baseman Hanley Ramirez, who played for the Marlins, as well as other Red Sox players, also tweeted their reactions after hearing the news of Fernandez's death Sunday morning. 

Sunday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: JBJ sits, Vazquez catches

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Sunday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: JBJ sits, Vazquez catches

Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the day off and Christian Vazquez get the start at catcher as the Red Sox look to extend their winning streak to 11 games today against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. 

Andrew Benintendi replaces Bradley in center, Chris Young is in left and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.84 ERA) is on the mound as the Red Sox close in on the A.L. East title. Their magic number to clinch the division is three with seven games left. 

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (9-6, 3.73) is on the mound for the Rays.

The lineups:  

RED SOX 
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Andrew Benintendi CF
Christian Vazquez C
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP 

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SS
Mikey Mahtook RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Curt Casali DH
Luke Maile C
Richie Shaffer 1B
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Jake Odorizzi RHP