Drew turns negative day into positive finish

191542.jpg

Drew turns negative day into positive finish

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; You could look at the positives. Or, you could look at thenegatives.

Prior to his seventh at-bat of the night in the bottom ofthe 14th, youd be hard-pressed to find anyone pointing out that J.D. Drewdrove in a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Thats because he struck out four times before hisgame-winning heroics in his seventh at-bat.

But his walkoff, RBI single in the 14th inning that willmake everyone in the Red Sox clubhouse forget about those four strikeouts.

That was a good swing, said Red Sox manager Terry Franconaafter Bostons 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. I think he wasready to go home. We all were.

The Red Sox blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth, as JonathanPapelon in a non-save situation allowed four runs (three earned) on threehits and a walk in just one-third of an inning.

After the Athletics took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 11th,the Red Sox kept the game alive, thanks to a pair of two-out doubles fromJarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury.

It got all the way to the 14th, when Carl Crawford doubledto left field with two outs. The Athletics then decided to intentionally walkJed Lowrie to get to the struggling Drew.

And he didnt disappoint, lining an 0-and-1 fastball toright-center to drive in Crawford easily from second base forhis fifth-career walkoff hit, and his first since April 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Just a fastball down the middle, said Drew after the game.Got the barrel to it, hit it short right-center field, which was a perfectspot for it.

When I hit it, I knew there was no doubt, so its a greatdeal, especially after an afternoon like that.

Drew admitted after the game that hes been searching alittle bit with regards to his production at the plate. That searching seemedto continue after four strikeouts through his first six at-bats on Saturday.

But he stayed short with his swing in his final appearanceat the plate, and it paid off. Now, Drew hopes its something to build on.

You dont want to strike out four times in a game, saidDrew. But Ive had my scuffles, and tried to just battle through them. Eventhough I stuck out four times in those at-bats, I felt like I had some reallyquality swings in those at-bats. In those situations right there, with men onfirst and second, you have an opportunity to try to shorten up just a littlebit, but continue being aggressive in the zone. And it worked out.

Well, the musics playing after a Red Sox home win, so theres something to be saidfor persistence, said Francona. I dont know if its exactly like we drew itup, but were playing at home, and as weve said a lot on the road, when youget in games like that, theyre easy to lose when youre on the road.

I know the ninth inning wasnt the way we drew it up, but Inever felt like we were going to lose. Maybe thats because we have goodplayers . . . But I think we all felt like we were going to win. Its a goodfeeling.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t scream “fake news" on Tuesday,  but he might as well have.

The only problem is he seems to be forgetting his own words, and his reliever’s.

Righty Tyler Thornburg is starting his Red Sox career on the disabled list because of a shoulder impingement. 

Another Dave Dombrowski pitching acquisition, another trip to the disabled list. Ho hum.

But the reason Thornburg is hurt, Farrell said, has nothing to do with the Red Sox’ shoulder program -- the same program Farrell referenced when talking about Thornburg earlier this month.

“There’s been a lot written targeting our shoulder program here,” Farrell told reporters on Tuesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms are now the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

Let’s go back to March 10, when Farrell was asked in his usual pregame session with reporters about Thornburg’s status.

"He is throwing long-toss out to 120 feet today," Farrell said that day. “He’s also been going through a strength and conditioning phase, arm-wise. What we encounter with guys coming from other organizations, and whether it's Rick [Porcello], David [Price], guys that come in, and they go through our shoulder maintenance program, there's a period of adaptation they go through, and Tyler’s going through that right now. We're also going to get him on the mound and get some fundamental work with his delivery and just timing, and that's soon to come in the coming days. Right now it's long toss out to 120 feet.”

So Farrell volunteered, after Thornburg was taken out of game action, that the shoulder program appeared involved. 

Maybe that turned out not to be the case. But Farrell's the one who put this idea out there.

On March 11, Farrell was asked to elaborate about other pitchers who needed adjusting to how the Red Sox do their shoulder program.

“Rick Porcello is an example of that. Joe Kelly,” Farrell said. “And that's not to say that our program is the end-all, be-all, or the model for which everyone should be compared. That's just to say that what we do here might be a little more in-depth based on a conversation with the pitchers, that what they've experienced and what we ask them to do here. And large in part, it's with manual resistance movements on the training table. These are things that are not maybe administered elsewhere, so the body goes through some adaptation to get to that point. 

“So, in other words, a pitcher that might come in here previously, he pitched, he’s got recovery time and he goes and pitches again. There's a lot of work and exercise in between the outings that they may feel a little fatigued early on. But once they get those patterns, and that consistent work, the body adapts to it and their recovery times become much shorter. And it's one of the reasons we've had so much success keeping pitchers healthy and on the field.”

Except that Kelly has had a shoulder impingement in his time with the Red Sox, last April, and so too now does Thornburg.

In quotes that appeared in a March 12 story, Thornburg himself told the Herald’s Michael Silverman that he didn’t understand the Red Sox throwing program.

Thornburg said that after the December trade, he was sent a list of exercises from the training staff. The message he did not receive was that all of the exercises were to be performed daily.

“I kind of figured that this is a list of the exercises they incorporated, I didn’t think this is what they do all in one day,” said Thornburg. “I thought, ‘here’s a list of exercises, learn them, pick five or six of them,’ because that was pretty much what we did in Milwaukee.”

But according to Farrell, Thornburg’s current state has nothing to do with the program -- the same one Farrell himself cited when directly asked about Thornburg before.

Maybe the program was the wrong thing to point to originally. But Farrell did point to it.

"This is all still in line with the shoulder fatigue, the shoudler impingement and the subsequent inflammation that he's dealing with. That’s the best I can tell you at this point," Farrell said Tuesday. "Anytime a player, and we've had a number of players come in, when you come into a new organization, there's a period where guys adapt. Could it have been different from what he's done in the past? Sure. But to say it's the root cause, that’s a little false. That’s a lot false, and very short-sighted."

Hey, he started it.

Thornburg is not to throw for a week before a re-evaluation.