Gonzalez hoping to play 162 for Sox

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Gonzalez hoping to play 162 for Sox

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A day after making his Grapefruit League debut, Adrian Gonzalez took batting practice in Fort Myers and reported that his surgically repaired right shoulder felt "great.''

While his teammates traveled to Bradenton to face the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Sox gave Gonzalez a day out of the lineup to recover from his first game action.

"Batting practice today felt better today than it did Saturday and the day before, which is good,'' said Gonzalez. "Today was more of a strength day. I got some weights in. It felt good after everything we did.''

Asked if he felt any anxiety about how the shoulder would respond Sunday after his first game action of the spring Saturday, Gonzalez said: "The only anxiety I had was making sure I got here on time with the daylight saving time change.''

Gonzalez is scheduled to play again Monday night against the Yankees and said he hoped to get three at-bats after getting two at-bats Saturday.

"I'll have to talk Terry Francona into it,'' said Gonzalez. "We'll see how that goes. If you see a brawl in the dugout, you'll know what it's about.''

With the first test passed, Gonzalez's spring is more about "the everyday grind of it. Right now, I'm still on the 'day-in, day-off' mentality. It's when you start getting into the four, five, six days in a row, which I don't think will happen until the season. The fatigue kicks in at that point.''

The first baseman said the shoulder is strong, but there's some fatigue in the joint from time to time.

"I'm still not fully recovered,'' he said. "I'm good enough to play and all that, but as far as being 100 percent, it's not there yet . . . It's not about strength. It's about endurance or stamina. I get to a certain point where I take too many swings or swing real hard numerous amount of times, I feel the fatigue.

"It's not about strength. It's not about those kinds of things. Say I have to take an extra 20 swings in the cage to get my swing right -- right now, I wouldn't be able to do that because that would just wear it down. So right now, everything's real controlled.

"You only take this many swing here, this many swings there, this many swings before the game, then when the game starts, you take x amount of swings and that's it. It's not, 'Hey, I need to take an extra 30 swings to be ready.' If I go into the cage to get my swing right and 20 swings in, it doesn't feel good, oh well. You take that into the game. I don't have the ability to take another 20.''

It's unlikely that Gonzalez will play on consecutive days until late next week. Gonzalez, who has averaged more than 160 games over his last four seasons, said his goal is to play all 162 games.

"I'm a first baseman,'' said Gonzalez, smiling. "How much energy do you really put out there? I don't steal bases. I don't run fast. I play first base. As long as my legs can take it, I'm good and thank God, up until now, my legs have been good enough to take it.''

Gonzalez prefers to play as much as possible and said he's never asked a manager for a day off.

"I've gotten into an argument when he's tried to give me a day off,''said Gonzalez. "The times they've given me a day off, I'm really annoying in the dugout. So the next time, they're like, 'Let's just throw him in there so he's not annoying me.' ''

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

Drellich: Bogaerts should start season in second half of lineup

Drellich: Bogaerts should start season in second half of lineup

The Red Sox need to let their lineup sort itself out a bit, and really, need to see how one core player in particular fares: Xander Bogaerts. 
 
Until then, Red Sox manager John Farrell should try to alternate right- and left-handed hitters as much as possible against right-handed pitching
 
If Thursday’s Grapefruit League lineup indeed winds up as a preview for the regular season, Farrell’s on the right track.
 
1. Dustin Pedroia 2B
2. Andrew Benintendi LF
3. Mookie Betts RF
4. Hanley Ramirez DH
5. Mitch Moreland 1B
6. Xander Bogaerts SS
7. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
8. Pablo Sandoval 3B
9. Blake Swihart C
 
Sandy Leon or Christian Vazquez should be at catcher normally, rather than Swihart. (If Leon shows he can in fact hit again, the Sox could also decide to put Jackie Bradley Jr. in the nine-hole.)
 
"Maybe a first look at our lineup," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida. "I'm not saying this is Opening Day, but this is potential for one on Opening Day. And just to get everybody back in the rhythm. We've kind of fragmented because of the WBC and because of travel and bouncing around the state. To get our camp finally together, I think we're all looking forward to these last remaining games."
 
Betts is the best all-around producer the Red Sox have. He should be in the three-hole, despite chatter than Andrew Benintendi might be a fit.
 
But Bogaerts’ success will determine a lot of the flexibility available to Farrell. (Yes, everybody has to be healthy for the above statement to be true. And remember, lineups are important, but probably not as important as we’ve all been raised to believe). 

If Bogaerts plays like he did in the first half, when he batted .329 en route to an All-Star appearance, he could easily slide into the three-hole, and push Betts into the second or fourth spot. Or even leadoff.
 
If Bogaerts is the .253 hitter he was after the All-Star break, well, the second half of the lineup is where he belongs. 
 
Bogaerts is, ultimately, better than he showed as both he and the season wore down. But let him establish himself in a groove before you start loading up the top of the lineup with right-handed hitters, thereby giving opposing managers a clear path for righty relievers.
 
(The Red Sox could pinch hit Chris Young at any time, but you’re usually not taking out one of your best players just for a platoon advantage.)
 
And from another perspective, you almost need Bogaerts in the second half of the lineup. Because what else is there?
 
Say the Sox load all four right-handed hitters at the top.
 
1. Pedroia
2. Bogaerts
3. Betts
4. Ramirez 
 
That’s awesome. Then what? Benintendi and cross your fingers? Benintendi seems as sure a thing as any sophomore — well, technically a rookie — can be. But still.
 
This is where Moreland and Sandoval represent other X-factors. All spring, there’s been talk of how Fenway Park and a use-all-fields approach will benefit Moreland. That may be so — but to what extent? How much better can he reasonably be? The Sox are internally encouraged.
 
As it stands now, however, there’s no obvious choice to protect Ramirez, considering Moreland is coming off a season where he had a .293 on-base percentage against righties.
 
And with Sandoval, whether he’s anything more than a wet napkin vs. left-handed pitching is to be seen. There’s reason to believe he can handle right-handed pitchers at least adequately, so he'll get the start — but he could be the first guy pinch hit for nightly.
 

According to Fortune, Theo's the greatest . . . in the world, not just baseball

According to Fortune, Theo's the greatest . . . in the world, not just baseball

Apparently, the Red Sox couldn’t hold onto the best leader in the world. And the best leader in the world has no idea how to housebreak his puppy.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was given the top spot on a list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders," published by Fortune on Thursday morning.

The potential for silly takeaways from Epstein’s placement on the list -- and his response to it in a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney -- are amusing, if not astounding.

Wait, Epstein doesn’t think baseball is the most important thing in the world?

"Um, I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house," Epstein told Olney. "That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball -- a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are."

Zobrist, of course, had the go-ahead hit in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians.

As Fortune described it, the list of leaders is meant to include those “transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same” across business, government, philanthropy and the arts.

Epstein certainly did help transform the baseball world.

“In the fall of 2016, as partisan distrust and division reached abysmal depths, fascination with the Chicago Cubs became that all-too-rare phenomenon that united America,” his blurb on the list begins.

That’s fair. But, if you scroll down the list: Pope Francis is No. 3. Angela Merkel is No. 10 and LeBron James is No. 11.