Loney excited to be in Boston after Dodgers trade

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Loney excited to be in Boston after Dodgers trade

BOSTON James Loney made his Red Sox debut Sunday, playing first base, batting fifth against the Royals.

Loney, who was acquired in the nine-player deal with the Dodgers on Saturday, took a red-eye flight to Boston, arriving in the home clubhouse Sunday morning.

Ive been up a lot, he said of the last few days. I had a late flight last night. Im excited though to be here.

On Friday there was a lot going on, taken out of the lineup. So I knew something was probably going, and then I figured something would probably happen by the morning, which it did.

Im excited. This has always been one of my favorite parks. I got to come here in 2010 to play. It was fun. Just everything about the atmosphere here, the fans are great here, you got a lot of support, its a good atmosphere.

In three games at Fenway in 2010, Loney went 1-for-11, with a walk, two strikeouts, and two RBI, for an .091 average, his lowest mark at any park other than Oakland Coliseum. He was a first-round (19th overall) pick of the Dodgers in 2002 and had spent his entire career with them until Saturday.

Yeah, thats all Ive known but Im also looking forward to this change, said Loney, who turned 28 in May. I think Itll be great for me and my career and Im looking forward to playing and winning in this city.

Ive played for a few years only with the Dodgers, last five or six years. So Im kind of in the middle of my career and just bringing that experience and just I think just going out there and playing hard, showing that.

Hes familiar with several of his new teammates, including Dustin Pedroia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia from playing with them in the Arizona Fall League, and Vicente Padilla, Scott Podsednik, and Cody Ross from their times with the Dodgers. Loney, who can be a free agent after the season, is aware the Sox have had a difficult season, just as hes aware Boston can be a difficult place to play.

Ive heard that, he said. You hear that. I think a lot of big market, big city teams is like that. So you dont think about that when youre out there. You just go have fun.

A career .284 hitter, with a .341 on-base percentage and .344 slugging percentage, those numbers are down this season -- .254.302.344.

No particular reason, he said of the decline this season. Sometimes I think early on in a season you might try too hard and your timing gets a little off. But thats probably what I could say to that.

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.