Francona: Sox haven't earned praise yet


Francona: Sox haven't earned praise yet

BOSTON -- Terry Francona is flattered that Brian Cashman thinks so highly of the Boston Red Sox. He would much rather people say kind words about his club than criticize it. To be honest, Francona thinks he has a pretty good club too.

The Yankees' GM had previously said that the Red Sox were the best team in baseball. He even dubbed them the team to beat.

The funny thing about compliments though, is that they count for nothing in terms of wins, runs, web gems or clutch performances. When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is what you do on the field.

So it's understandable that Francona kindly accepted, and then dismissed Cashman's compliments

"That's not gonna help us win a lot of games," Francona said with a friendly laugh. "I love Cashman but I don't think that statement will get us any extra runs or anything. When people say that, it means that our ownership and our front office had a really good winter.

"We haven't been good yet," Francona said, indicating that his team, while good on paper, hadn't even started their season let alone accomplished anything, and was therefore not worthy of such an annointing.

With pitchers and catchers set to report in just a few weeks, however, Francona's Sox are likely to be receiving plenty of praise, as well as expectations.

After an injury-plagued 2010 season, Theo Epstein is excited for a season in which all of his starters are healthy.

The Red Sox were the clear winners of this winter after trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing free-agent Carl Crawford. Both Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are ready to turn the page, however, and focus on the work that needs to be done in Fort Myers.

Epstein and Francona stressed that they see Felix Doubront as a starter who can also pitch out of the bullpen. With that being said, his role is still somewhat undefined and will most likely be sorted out in the spring when injuries and performance will dictate who pitches where.

The Red Sox are trying to impress upon Andrew Miller that making the opening day roster is not the finish line. They are more concerned with him generating some sort of consistency and from there, his role will take care of itself.

With the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox gave up some of their best prospects. Despite the price they paid, it's important to remember that this is part of the reason for having a minor league system. Players can be used as chips to bring in players to fill a need. For the most part, the Red Sox have players in line to replace the ones they traded away.

Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni think Adrian Gonzalez is on pace for a monster year and may be a legitimate MVP candidate.

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.


Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.


Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.


More AP baseball:

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