First Pitch: The latest Sox newsrumorsspeculation


First Pitch: The latest Sox newsrumorsspeculation

By ArtMartone

Welcome toFirst Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. And most of it now concerns -- you guessed it -- Theo Epstein and Terry Francona.

SILENCE ISN'T GOLDEN: As bad as Red Sox ownership botched the P.R. aspects of the Terry Francona firing -- and don't let anyone kid you, that's what it was -- they're doing just as poorly with the Theo Epstein situation. Sean McAdam says the issue won't die because the Red Sox won't address it, and it will be impossible for the team to move forward until Esptein's future is decided, one way or the other.

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Doesn't sound like Bill Chuck would shed any tears if Theo headed off to Chicago. (

IN THE CROSSHAIRS: All week, Comcast SportsNet is running "Crosshairs Of Sox Collapse," with McAdam and Jessica Moran analyzing the people who may or may not be responsible for the just-concluded September to Misremember. First up: Epstein himself.

IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY REAL NEWS . . . we present the latest rumorsspeculationmusings on the Red Sox situation:

Ken Rosenthal of agrees with McAdam.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston quotes a "major league source close to Epstein" as saying the chances of Epstein staying with the Sox are "50-50".

But Jon Heyman of says not only isn't Theo going anywhere, but a "likely scenario" is John Henry "adding a couple years to Epstein's contract . . . and perhaps even giving him an upgraded job title".

Buster Olney of says Bobby Valentine "has support in at least one important cortner of the Boston front office" ( -- that's known as the Henry Corner, incidentally -- and will probably be interviewed for the manager's job.

Olney also reports Francona wants to manage next year. (ESPN) At the moment, the only job open -- other than Boston's, of course -- is the White Sox'.

And one more from Olney: Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin will be one of several candidates interviewed by the Sox. (ESPN)

But Alex Speier of reports that, according to a source, the Sox haven't yet set a list of candidates.

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe says if Epstein follows the same search criteria he used in 2003, one candidate fits the bill: Dodgers bench coach and former Royals manager Trey Hillman. provides an analytical list of potential managers, including one current (DeMarlo Hale) and one former (Dave Sveum) Red Sox coach. Hard to believe any of these guys who end up replacing Terry Francona, but you never know.

THE RIGHT MOVE: Michael Felger thinks Francona deserved to go. (

YEAH, BUT I'LL MISS HIM: Adrian Gonzalez says Francona "is a great person and fun to be around" and his departure "caught me by surprise". (Boston Herald)

WHAT?? Kevin Youkilis has no idea why people think he has a problem with Jacoby Ellsbury. (

TROUBLE BREWING: A beer vendor who's been working at Yankee Stadium for 35 years was suspended for "harassing" Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves (New York Post) . . . even though it was all in fun and, truth be told, it sounds like the vendor was the harassee and not the harrassor.

AND FINALLY . . . The nauseating, choreographed pregame rituals at Yankee Stadium are all "a part of reminding you that we're the Yankees," according to Mark Teixeira (Wall Street Journal), but I guess the Tigers missed the memo. (Newark Star-Ledger)

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.

Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.  

The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

The full lineups: 

Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C

Yovanni Gallardo RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP


Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’

BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox. 

Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.

“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”

Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.

“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”

The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.

“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”

Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.

“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press.