Beltran, Cuddyer possible Red Sox RF targets

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Beltran, Cuddyer possible Red Sox RF targets

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHOENIX -- An obvious need for the Red Sox at the trade deadline would be a right-handed-hitting outfielder to provide more production at the position.

J.D. Drew, nominally the regular right fielder, has given the Sox only 10 extra-base hits in the first half of the season with no evidence that his production will improve dramatically in the final 2 12 months of the season.

As such, the Sox could use an upgrade, preferably from the right side. Of the five outfielders on the roster, only Darnell McDonald is right-handed and he's had 10 hits all year.

Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer -- both here as All-Star selections -- are free agents at the end of the season, currently playing for teams in danger of drifting out of contention, as such, potential targets for the Red Sox.

Beltran's Mets are 11 games behind first-place Philadelphia and 7 12 games behind wild-card leading Atlanta.

It's a given that Beltran won't return to the Mets, so it makes sense that he would be shopped by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

His first hope is to remain with the Mets.

"I like where I am," said Beltran. "We're having fun and we just hope to continue to improve."

Beltran has a no-trade agreement which allows him to block potential deals.

"Having a no-trade clause gives me a little bit of control," he said. "Now, basically, I would choose. This is my 12th year in the big leagues, and at this point, all I want is to win and be able to be in the playoffs.

"You work hard in the off-season and spring training to be in situations like those. Hopefully, as a team, we can improve and when David Wright gets back and Johan Santana gets back and when Jose Reyes gets back, we're going to be better than we are right now."

But if the Mets decided to move him if they fall further back, the Red Sox would be a destination which would appeal to him.

"That's a no-brainer,'' Beltran told reporters. "They're in first place."

Beltran is being paid 18 million in the final year of his deal with the Mets, meaning a team trading for him would, in theory, be on the hook for 6 million over the final two months.

Even for a brief rental, that's a steep price tag.

Further complicating matters is that Beltran has another clause in his contract which prohibits him from being offered salary arbitration after the season.

That means that if the Red Sox dealt for him before the end of the month, they would not have the right to offer his arbitration at the end of the year and gain a first-round compensation pick in next June's draft.

Cuddyer's case is a little more straightforward, and the Twin comes with lesser salary obligations. Cuddyer is making 10.5 million this year, which means he would have about 3.5 million remaining for the final two months.

He does not have a no-trade clause.

The Twins sit in fourth place in the A.L. Central, 6 12 games behind, and are 12 12 games back in the wild-card race, meaning Cuddyer has begun to think about the chances of being traded by the end of the month.

"I think it's a real possibility," he said, "and I think it was even more of a possibility about a month ago when we weren't playing very well. Now, we're playing well and we've got ourselves in a position where we can go on a run and we can possibly get into the playoffs.

"But if these next two weeks don't go well, who knows what's going to happen?"

Cuddyer has the additional appeal of being able to play both first base and third base in addition to the outfield.

"Right now, I'm with the Twins and we're playing well," he said. "I don't think a trade is going to come in play, but if it were, whatever team makes a trade for you, you go out there and do the best you can for them.

"I want to win with the Twins. I have no other team in the back of my head that I want I want to play for until that day comes. If it does come, I go out there and fight for that team as well."

Cuddyer is familiar with the Red Sox, if only because the Sox and Twins share Fort Myers as a spring training home and meet a half dozen times each March.

"Spending time in Fort Myers for the last decade or so with those guys," he said, "you have relationships and see them here and there. As far as good friends, David Ortiz is probably the closest to me because he was with us for a few years.

"Obviously, you want to go to a team that's in it and has a chance to win, If that were to happen, Boston is a team that is obviously 100 percent a World Series contender."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

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Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.

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More AP baseball coverage:https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson almost called it a career at age 25 -- just one year before he went on to throw a complete game shutout at Fenway Park.

He finished Saturday's 6-0 win over the Mariners with eight strikeouts and five hits allowed. To get on the mound at Fenway, he had to overcome a serious bout with anxiety and depression. Things came to a head roughly a year ago.

"At that point in time, I was ready to hang 'em up," Johnson told Mike Giardi and Rob Bradford on WEEI radio Sunday. "I wasn't happy, wasn't sleeping through the night, woke up in cold sweats. I just wasn't happy."

But when things got most challenging, Johnson asked for help, which made all the difference, he explained. He broke down on the phone with his father, and discussed all of the issues he'd been struggling with. Then he spoke on the phone with Red Sox mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez, who helped him game plan to fight against his anxiety and depression. Baseball was one of Johnson's problems, and he was considering cutting it out of his life.

"Yes, there were thoughts in my head where I was like, 'What else would I do with my life?'" Johnson said. "I don't think it was baseball. I mean, yes, I would be lying if I didn't say it was that. I think it was a lot of things. Where I was at in my life, I was only a baseball player, and people only saw me as a baseball player. I was just letting everything build up. I think it stemmed all from when I hurt my elbow. I didn't have any feeling in my hand."

He began to worry about whether the feeling in his hand would disappear during his starts. He'd knock his funny bone and the feeling would be gone. That was only one manifestation of his anxieties.

"I just felt like there microscope on me 24/7," he said, "and that's kind of what let's your mind play tricks on you.'

He added: "If I didn't say anything, I don't think there's any chance I'd be here playing baseball. And it is taboo. I always thought -- the reason it took me so long was because, if I say something, they're never going to trust me again. 'How is he able to perform if he's having anxiety and depression problems.' . . . And lo and behold, I think I have more trust now that I said something."

Johnson just kept getting back on the field by throwing one inning at a time until he started having fun again. Fast forward to Sunday, Johnson has two starts for the Sox for a 2.57 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings. He has also posted a 2.82 ERA in seven starts and 44.2 innings pitched in the minors.

But some unfortunate news followed his moment of triumph against the Mariners on Saturday. Johnson is heading back down to Pawtucket. The Sox optioned him with David Price rejoining the rotation.

"I would have loved to stay," Johnson said. "But I'm happy to do what they want me to . . . It stinks I'm getting sent down and optioned. But like I told John (Farrell) and like I told Dave (Dombrowski), 'I'm just going to keep working hard. Whenever you guys need me, I'm ready.'

Johnson said he wasn't riding a high of confidence after his excellent outing. He's keeping a level-head, and approaching the game the same way he did before his complete game. But he did admit he had a particularly special moment Saturday. After the game, his dad congratulated Johnson with a hug on the field at Fenway.

Johnson said: "That was the moment I was probably most grateful for everything."