Valentine on Ross: 'What's there not to love?'


Valentine on Ross: 'What's there not to love?'

BOSTON -- Cody Ross is getting used to the postgame podium.
It's a place you only go if you're the manager, that night's starting pitcher, or the unquestionable hero.
Ross' two home runs and six RBIs in Wednesday's night's 10-1 win got him a podium appearance, a floor above the Red Sox clubhouse. And his ninth-inning, three-run walk-off home run in Thursday night's 3-1 win over Chicago put him there again, for the second straight night.
"I want to be the guy up every time in that situation," said Ross afterwards. "I always have, my whole life. I just like that pressure, and I like just being there in the moment."
Hitting in the number five spot in Boston's lineup, Ross stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with Dustin Pedroia on second base and Nick Punto on first, one out, and the Red Sox trailing 1-0.
Ross ripped a 1-1 inside fastball down the left-field line and into the monster seats, forcing the rest of the team to greet him at home plate.
"In that situation, with a runner on second, I'm just trying to get a pitch I can handle and get good wood on it, and just try to create something," said Ross. "Fortunately, he threw me a fastball in, and it was really in. And I just kind of dropped the head on the ball, and kept it fair somehow.
"I look up and Punto's staring right at me with this evil look on his face," Ross added on the celebration at home plate. "And he grabs my jersey and just starts yanking on it. He became famous in St. Louis for that. They call him the shredder. So, we got to meet the shredder tonight."
And at first, Ross wasn't sure it was going out.
"As soon as it left my bat, I got this really exciting feeling," said Ross. "And then I had flashbacks of Wednesday night, when I hit the same ball that hit the wall. And I was thinking, 'OK, even if it hits the wall, Punto's fast enough to score from first, and we'll still win 2-1.' So, that was all going through my mind."
Ross finished the game 2-for-4 and it marked his third-career walk-off home run, proving again, that he likes to have the pressure on him.
"He loves that situation," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine afterwards. "He loves to be in the big spotlight, and you know, he went deep, three runs, we win. That's as much fun as the guys have had in a long time. It's a good feeling.
"I love his smile, I love his swing, I love his energy," Valentine later added. "What's there not to love? Especially tonight."

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake