Gonzalez takes batting practice for the first time

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Gonzalez takes batting practice for the first time

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. With Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz among the onlookers, Adrian Gonzalez took batting practice on the field Sunday morning for the first time as he continues to progress from offseason shoulder surgery.

Hitting against Triple-A Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler, Gonzalez took about 35 swings on the field at City of Palms Park while the Red Sox traveled to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets.

It was fine, Gonzalez said. Ive been feeling good the whole time, and its good to get out there.

Batting coach Dave Magadan was pleased with what he saw.

He looked great, Magadan said. He looked like he was in midseason form. The ball was coming off his bat with authority, and he was able to drive balls out to left field, pulled some balls, drove them out to right field. He was fantastic.

Getting out of the batting cage and onto the field is just one more step in Gonzalezs progression from October surgery to clean up the labrum in his right non-throwing shoulder, after originally injuring it diving for a foul ball in May in Houston.

I know hes been kind of chomping at the bit, Magadan said. You get tired of just hitting in the cage all the time. So Im sure it was nice for him to be able to get out there and see the flight of the ball and get a feel for how hes driving the ball.

Hitting on the field allows Gonzalez to assess the progression of his swing.

The pitchers throwing the same way in the cage as he is here, so the only thing that you want to see from a hitters perspective is you want to see the trajectory of the ball," he said. "And we get to see the full length of the trajectory and all that. You get to see if you got good backspin on the ball or not and those kind of things. In the cage the ball hits the net before you tend to realize that. So, it feels good."

Gonzalez hit a few balls out. But hes not concerned with that right now.

I dont really care about that, he said. Im just trying to put a good swing on the ball, feel like Im on top of the ball and through it. For me its more important how the ball goes to left-center, if Im getting that good backspin, or if Im cutting my swing off a little bit, those kinds of things.

Now Gonzalez just needs to build up his tolerance and load on each swing, Magadan said, continuing to work in the cage and on the field, increasing the velocity of the pitches hes seeing.

Hes done everything he had to do, Magadan said. Now its just tolerance. Hell continue his progression, maybe take more swings in the cage, soft toss or tee. He didnt do that much today, and then make it comparable to what hes taking in batting practice. When he feels like getting ready, its up to him.

Were trying increase the load of each swing. Before it was a little more controlled off the tee and soft toss. Now he ups it to batting practice. From there, he can get it with some velocity coming at him. Id like to see him hit in the cage off a machine with something really throwing hard where hes got to react more. But, once hes done that it's just up to him when he feels like hes ready.

In his first season with the Red Sox, Gonzalez has yet to appear in a Red Sox game and has no timetable to do so yet. He will not hit tomorrow, resuming his swings on Tuesday.

I have to see how I respond tomorrow, he said. From the medical perspective hitting on the field is a little more intense. Youre putting more stress on the shoulder. So thats the reason for taking tomorrow off, to see how it responds, and get back to it on Tuesday.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph -- heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two). But he wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

Price's five-inning, three-run performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. The lefty exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, though he lost the chance at his first 2017 victory when Chicago scored twice off Matt Barnes in the seventh and pulled out a 5-4 victory.

All three runs off Price scored on a Melky Cabrera homer in the third inning, which put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day, but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started a inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand. After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and Co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.