Valencia excited to make first start for Red Sox

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Valencia excited to make first start for Red Sox

CLEVELAND An interesting week for Red Sox third baseman Danny Valencia ends with him in the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

It started last Sunday when the Sox acquired Valencia in an August waiver trade with the Minnesota Twins, and continued when the corner infielder joined the Pawtucket Red Sox to play against Minnesotas Triple-A club in Rochester for a pair of games. When Will Middlebrooks went down with the fractured right wrist, Ben Cheringtons prudent depth acquisition was called up to the big club. On Sunday, he is batting eighth between Mike Aviles and Kelly Shoppach.

To say its been a dizzying flurry of moves for Valencia this week would be an understatement.

Its been crazy. I went back to playing against my old team in Triple-A and now Im here. But Im ready to go and excited to play, Valencia said. I feel bad for Middlebrooks, but I just want to be able to start, come off the bench or do whatever is going to help this team win.

Valencia hopped in for a few innings as a defensive replacement in Saturday nights loss to the Tribe, and was asked whether he was happy to get his feet wet.

I got them soaked out there, said a smiling Valencia. It was nice. You just want to get the early jitters out. I dont really know anybody here, so it was good to get out there and stretch my legs a little bit.

The Twins third baseman fell out of favor in Minnesota this season while struggling with a .198.212.310 line in 34 games following a horrendous April performance. That led to his trade away from the Twins, and Valencia is hoping it leads to a fresh beginning in Boston during their time of need.

He went 3-for-7 with a pair of doubles in his two games against Triple-A Rochester, and said hes now beyond his early season struggles.

Its nice to be able to start over and have a clean slate. Its great to come and try to help a team thats right in the middle of a playoff push, said Valencia. It feels good. It was definitely a rough April for me. They had guys come in and do a great job and there was no room for me anymore.

But Im over here now and its worked out for me. So thats nice.

Valencia will try to continue the nice story of his time with Boston in his starting debut against the Tribe on Sunday afternoon.

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.

Scott's taste of big-league life with Red Sox has him hungering for more

Scott's taste of big-league life with Red Sox has him hungering for more

CHESNUT HILL -- The Red Sox Rookie Development Program is designed to help young players prepare for what playing at the major-league level is like,. That can be valuable for a prospect like Rafael Devers, who hasn’t even made it to Double-A.

But of the eight-man cast at the workout this year, there’s one guy who actually has major-league experience.

Robby Scott joined the Red Sox as a September call-up last season and turned some heads, holding opponents scoreless over six innings of work.

Now the lefty is back working with younger guys to prepare himself for spring training -- something he’s itching to get started.

“It’s one thing that we always talk about,” the left-handed reliever told CSNNE.com “It’s a tough road to get there, but it’s an even tougher and harder road to stay there. And having that taste in September last year was incredible to be a part of it.”

That taste Scott had last fall has only made the desire to rejoin Boston greater.

“Yeah, because now you know what it’s like,” Scott said CSNNE.com. “You see it and you’re there and you’re a part of it. And it’s like, ‘Man, I wanna be there.’ You’re a little bit more hungry.”

And his hunger to pitch with the Red Sox only becomes greater at an event like this where he’s the only one with MLB time.

“They ask on a consistent basis,” Scott started, “ ‘What’s it like?’ ‘What was it like getting there the first day?’ ‘How did the guys react?’ ‘What was it like dealing with the media?’

“That’s what this program is here for, just to kind of gives these guys a little taste of what it is like and get familiar with the circumstances.

While the experience and constant discussion invites players to try to do more in the offseason or change their routine, the 27-year-old has stayed the course, trusting what’s gotten him there.

“The offseason training stays the same, nothing really changes on that side of things,” Scott said. “Nothing changes. Go about my business the way I have the last six, seven years.”