Butterfield hopes Red Sox run with spring training lessons

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Butterfield hopes Red Sox run with spring training lessons

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield had a group of veteran players kneeling on the grass in foul territory near third base. Butterfield was hihgly animated in his delivery to the group. Manager John Farrell has said baserunning will be a priority this spring training, a message Butterfield was trying to impart.

I try to, he said. I even explained to the players, hopefully you dont get sick of me but spring training is a time when you prepare for the season, who youre going to be, create an identity. So, yeah, the baserunning is a lot of effort, its a lot of intelligence, and its a lot of attentiveness. Sometimes thats a tough sell with players because thats not what makes them money. Hitting balls in the seats, hitting the ball, catching it, striking people out, thats what makes these guys money. And more power to them. But this is a phase of the game where you dont really go to the bargaining table with it. Its for us.

The Red Sox as a team stole 97 bases, getting caught 31 times for a 76 percent success rate. Not bad, though they had more stolen bases than just four other American League teams and were 20th overall.

But its not just about stealing bases.

Its important for us as coaches and John wants us to try to sell the importance because we want to be a real good baserunning team, Butterfield said. And we try to impart to them that during the course of the season were not always going to be swinging the bats. This guy may be struggling or were facing an outstanding pitching staff where now how are you going to win games if youre not swinging like youre capable of?

"Well, you got to catch the ball consistently, you got to pitch, and if we have that extra vehicle of being able to manufacture something with our legs, well be a better club for it. We try to grind the importance of baserunning to help us win games. Theyre going to get sick of hearing me within the next 10 days but Im going to keep going.

Its an aspect of the game that can be undervalued. Butterfield knows if he can get certain people to buy into the philosophy, it can be an easier sell overall.

Without a doubt, he said. And I think that everybody in baseball has the intentions of doing everything right, running the bases right, going hard 90 feet, always going into second base and sliding, threatening the next base. But somewhere along the lines when one of your veteran players, one of your core guys, whether hes hurt or hes mad and doesnt give that good effort, then all of a sudden, the next guy follows suit.

Theres certain people on your club that the young and guys and veteran guys look up to follow, I feel like on this club -- I even mentioned to the guys yesterday -- Im feeling real good about the possibilities of us being an outstanding baserunning club not because of our speed. But because of the veteran leadership that we have, I feel like we have guys who can carry the torch, guys are going to look to, whether theyre young guys or veteran guys, theyre going to look and they say, 'Jeez, I better fall in line because this is the way this guy does it, this is the way they want them to do it, so Im going to follow suit.' So I feel good about that.

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.