Boston Red Sox

Lucchino predicts sellout streak will 'rest in peace'

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Lucchino predicts sellout streak will 'rest in peace'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Earlier this week, principal owner John Henry addressed the media and gave his thoughts on the Red Sox' recent past, present and future.

On a rainy Thursday afternoon, it was president and CEO Larry Lucchino's turn to address a wide range of topics, at times defensive, and other times defiant.

Among the highlights:

On the future of free agent-to-be Jacoby Ellsbury: "Would we like to have him here? Yes. Do I think there will some negotiations that will take place during the course of the year or perhaps sooner? Possibly. I wouldn't rule anything out. But we'd very much like to have him here and like to have him be part of a core Red Sox team. But I don't think it's appropriate to have too much of a discussion about the negotiation process right now and in this forum.

On the club getting away from its core philosophy: "I think there was a kind of deviation from that somewhere along the way."

On new manager John Farrell: "He commands respect. He also has a skill set that's particularly important to this team -- his pitching expertise. He's an honest guy. I think he'll be an outstanding Red Sox manager."

On the persistent sale rumors: "We tried to say to those who asked that it was a false rumor. We didn't know where it came from. But if it's repeated a couple of times, it tends to gain a little credence. It's never been a consideration. I've never been in a meeting where anyone discussed with John or Tom the idea of us selling this team. (Owning the Sox) is a labor of love."

On ownership's commitment to the team: "We've spent our money. We're concerned about generating revenue, make no mistake about that, and we're not apologetic or embarrassed about that. But the revenue goes into the ballclub. It goes into the payroll, it goes into the amateur signing bonuses, it goes into the machinery of the club. It doesn't go out to private bank accounts . . . You can look at the payrolls, the increase in signing bonuses, the increase in foreign player signings, you can look at the size of the Baseball Operations staff when we needed them. We generate money because we need to to have the kind of winning baseball team that we want to have."

On defying expectations and exceeding what some expect for the club in 2013: "I actually like being the underdog. The fact that the media and the sports pundits picks us in the lower reaches of the American League East is in some ways challenging and comforting. Because it wasn't that long ago that some people in this room talked about (the Sox being) the greatest team of all time, a hundred victory season and all of that. They were wrong then, as many of them are wrong now. We're going to be a competitive team."

On the sellout streak at Fenway: "It's going to rest in peace sometime in April, I suspect. But that's not such a terrible thing. It's an extraordinary accomplishment . . . I would point you to one fact: Over the last 11 years, we have sold 99.6 percent of the available seating capacity over the last 11 years . . . That, by itself, putting aside definitions, semantics -- that by itself is extraordinary."

On ticket sales: "Ticket sales are more challenging this year than they have been since the very first year we were here. There may be a reduction on ticket revenue. I don't think that's going to affect us. If we have the successful team that I think we'll have, I do think people will jump back into the ballpark, albeit at a later time than they have historically. I don't want to predict too much of a downturn yet, but I do know it's a possibility."

On competing for high-end free agents: "We certainly can shop there and we'll always shop there. The question is how active will we be in that market? We'll look for deals that make sense. And we'll make exceptions, too. But one of the lessons we learned from recent years is that we'd rather pay a little bit more on a short-term deal than a multi-year contract that goes out five, six, seven, eight years. We appreciate the flexibility and we think it's better for the inevitable kind of reloading that eventually a club has to do periodically."

On off-season regrets: "I was always a big Cody Ross fan. At one point, we were joking at a meeting that I should wear a Cody Ross jersey to the next meeting because I was so eager to see us reach out to him. I have great fondness for him and a lot of respect for him and I do wish him great success."

Jackie Bradley Jr. to get MRI after hurting thumb on slide

Jackie Bradley Jr. to get MRI after hurting thumb on slide

CLEVELAND — Jackie Bradley Jr. will head back to Boston on Wednesday morning for an MRI after he hurt his left thumb sliding into home plate in Tuesday’s 9-1 win over the Indians. X-Rays taken after Bradley was removed from the game at Progressive Field were negative.

Bradley was racing home in the seventh inning and went into a feet-first slide angled to the outside of the plate when he hit his hand awkwardly on the ground. Catcher Yan Gomes didn’t get the tag down in time.

“I’m not worried about it, no,” said Bradley, who will return to Cleveland later Wednesday, but is not expected to play right away. “Right now, it feels alright. I guess, as good it can be kind of after the injury. But, I feel like I’ll be alright.”

Bradley, who earlier in the game hit his 14th home run of the season, decided to change his slide at the last minute.

“As I was coming around third, a few steps before home plate I wanted to slide headfirst because I could control it,” Bradley said. “I wasn’t going to slide anywhere near him. I was going to slide headfirst and just have my hand just kind of reach around. But as I was approaching I kind of could see him gather it. He started coming to kind of block off the plate, so I kind of had to redirect my slide. 

“I actually slid feet first, but I also slid to the outside part of the plate, tried to avoid the tag and then slapped my hand at the back of the plate. And as I slapped the back of the plate, his glove kind of got me in the forearm, and my thumb got caught with the ground and kind of bent in all directions I guess.”

Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t pleased with the lane Gomes allowed Bradley.

But it’s hard to see what Gomes did wrong, by the rules, which state “it shall not be considered a violation of [the rule] if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw.”

Gomes didn’t end up fully blocking the base line and he made what looked like a normal effort to get the ball where it was thrown. 

The initial safe call was challenged by the Indians and was upheld. Farrell was going to ask the umpires to look at a different aspect had the call been overturned

“He’s got to give a lane, didn’t feel like there was a lane being given at all,” Farrell said. “He had to reach back and unfortunately it puts him in a position where the thumb is exposed.”

Can't rush Carson

Carson Smith isn’t going to be rushed back because of Matt Barnes’ trip to the disabled list. Smith may pitch with just one day of rest in between Triple-A Pawtucket rehab outings this week, but he’s not in a position to race back after so much time missed.

Mookie Betts on his friend Isaiah Thomas: 'He lays it out on the line every day'

Mookie Betts on his friend Isaiah Thomas: 'He lays it out on the line every day'

CLEVELAND — Mookie Betts was taken aback like everyone else when he saw the Celtics landed Kyrie Irving.

“Before the game, we were playing video games, kind of saw it go across the screen,” Betts said. “It was kind of shocking. I didn't think it was going to happen.”

The trade takes one of Betts’ friends out of Boston. He’s gotten to know Isiah Thomas a little bit. They had not spoken as of Tuesday night, but Betts said he expects to see at least a couple of Thomas' games this season.

“Everybody talks about his size and that type of thing, just his heart,” Betts said. “That's the main thing you see, the things that he went through this year as far as his family, he lost a tooth and all of those type of things. He lays it out on the line every day he goes, and he wants to be the best player in the gym and he shows it. That's what you'll miss as far as a big star leaving.”

They’re not best friends, but had gotten to know each other a little.

“When I talked to him, I got a chance to pick his brain and use it for myself,” Betts said.

As for how Irving will do in his new digs?

“I think he'll be fine, especially with Brad Stevens,” Betts said.

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