McAdam at the World Series: Renteria steps up again

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McAdam at the World Series: Renteria steps up again

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

SAN FRANCISCO - If you're a Red Sox fan, you remember him booting away seemingly routine grounders, blaming his alarmingly high error total on the Fenway grounds crew and making Tony La Russa look positively prophetic about his unsuitability for Boston.

The Edgar Renteria Era -- or was it the Error -- was, as they say, nasty, brutish and short: One brutal and brutally expensive season.

The Sox had cast aside Orlando Cabrera after a three-month rental and cast their lot -- to say nothing of 40 million over four years -- with Renteria. It proved to be a colossal misstep, but say this for the Sox: They didn't hold their breath and hope it would get better. They cut their losses in a hurry, paying the Atlanta Braves to kindly take their mistake-prone shortstop off their hands.

When the Sox won another World Series two years later, they were still paying off Renteria. He never seemed comfortable in Boston, and Boston, in turn, never felt comfortable with Renteria.

If you could cut out Renteria's one-year nightmare in Boston, however, he's been a pretty good player for a pretty long time. And when he gets to the World Series, as he's done three different times with three different teams, he has a habit of making his presence felt. Scan the highlights of the last 13 years of the Fall Classic and, inevitably, there's Renteria popping up again and again, in big moments, like some sort of October Forrest Gump.

There he is in 1997, singling off Charlie Nagy in the 11th inning of Game Seven, making unlikely champions of the Florida Marlins. There he is, seven years later, in the uniform of the St. Louis Cardinals eerily making the final out against the team he would join a month later, hitting a harmless tapper back to Keith Foulke in Game Four.

And Thursday night, there he was starring for the San Francisco Giants, homering in the bottom of the fifth to snap a scoreless tie and giving the Giants the only run they would need to win Game Two. It helped that when the Giants tacked on seven more runs in the eighth to make it a comfortable 9-0 shutout, Rentiera was part of that, too, delivering a two-run single.

The 2010 season was far from a career highlight. He made three trips to the disabled list for an assortment of injuries, and once, went to the minor leagues to play himself back to good health.

He lost his starting shortstop job to Juan Uribe, only to regain it when the Giants began to worry that third baseman Pablo Sandoval had become a liability. Uribe was then shifted to third and Renteria was re-inserted at short.

His timing is, once again, spectacular. He may not challenge Reggie Jackson for the title of Mr. October, but he does have an uncanny knack of rising to the occasion.

"You know, I couldn't be happier for Edgar,'' said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. "It's been a tough year for him. The ups and downs, the injuries . . . He'd come back from one and re-injure something else. But he's a leader in that clubhouse. Everybody looks up to him. He's been through this and he's excited about how he feels right now. He's excited about being back in the World Series.''

Renteria is only 34, but he has already played 15 seasons and with his body slowly breaking down and his contract up, retirement could be beckoning.

"He knows that he's almost at the end of his career,'' said Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens. "He wanted to be into the playoffs because he doesn't know how much longer he's going to play. But there's no better time than now. He's playing great defense and got a couple of big hits.''

According to Meulens, Renteria is a personal favorite of team owner Bill Neukom, who makes it a point to often visit with Renteria and offer encouragement.

"He tells him, 'You're not done with us . . . you're going to help us more,' '' recounted Meulens.

And so it is. The theory around the Giants is that the three DL stints are now a blessing in disguise, enabling Renteria to tap into a reservoir of energy at a time when it's needed most.

"I think the rest probably has benefitted him,'' said Bochy. "He's playing like he did 10 years ago.''

Which, if you're a Giants fan, is much better than playing like he did, say, five years ago.

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

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.

Rosenthal: 'Some' Sox players question Farrell's leadership, game management

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Rosenthal: 'Some' Sox players question Farrell's leadership, game management

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal ignited a local firestorm when he made a seemingly off-hand comment a few days ago that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Red Sox fired John Farrell this year. (He quickly added he also "wouldn't be surprised" if Farrell stayed on and led the team to the A.L. East title this year, but that got scant mention.)

Today, however, Rosenthal expounded on Farrell and the Sox in a lengthy column on foxsports.com. While acknowledging the team's injuries and beyond-the-manager's-control inconsistencies (in the starting rotation and with the offense), he also ominously added, "The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell . . . "

Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, some more than others.

And then he mentioned two leadership problems:

The first occurred during the Red Sox’s prolonged dispute with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head, shouted across the field to Machado, 'it wasn’t me,' then told reporters that it was 'definitely a mishandled situation,' without mentioning Barnes or Farrell by name . . . 

The second incident occurred last Saturday, when Farrell engaged in a heated exchange with left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the dugout . . . [Pomeranz's] willingness to publicly challenge Farrell, in an exchange captured by television cameras, offered another indication that the manager and some of his players are not always on the same page.

Hmm.

Farrell addressed the "hot seat" issue Tuesday in an interview with MLB Network Radio.

Rosenthal's piece comes at a time when some of Farrell's harshest local critics are more or less giving him a pass, instead blaming Dave Dombrowski's flawed roster construction for the Sox' early season struggles , , , 

But there has been speculation hereabouts on whether or not Farrell has control of the clubhouse . . . 

Now that Rosenthal has weighed in, that sort of talk should increase.

In the end, Rosenthal makes no prediction on Farrell's future other than to conclude "If Dombrowski senses a change is necessary, he’ll make a change." 

But one prediction that can be made: The should-Farrell-be-fired? debate, which raged at unrealistic levels last year when the Red Sox won the division, isn't going to end anytime soon.