Notes: McDonald hopes homer gets him going


Notes: McDonald hopes homer gets him going

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Last year was magical for Darnell McDonald.

This year has been more like a nightmare.

McDonald hasn't gotten a lot of playing opportunities, and when he has, he hasn't done much with them. Coming into Saturday's game, he was hitting a paltry .115 with an equally low slugging percentage of .192.

One swing isn't going to turn his season around, but the three-run homer McDonald cranked in the Red Sox' four-run seventh may at least be a start.

"It felt real good,'' said McDonald after the Red Sox bashed Houston 10-4. "I know things are going to turn around for me. I've been working hard and I've been feeling good at the plate. I just haven't been getting results. It feels good to get rewarded with the home run.

"But the main thing is getting something positive going and keeping the same approach -- trying to go up there and give my team a quality at-bat. It's a long season and it's a humbling game. Hopefully, this will get me going.''

Before the game, Terry Francona said he thought about going with the much hotter Josh Reddick, but ultimately decided on McDonald because he hits righthanded -- the Astros started lefty J.A. Happ -- and because "I want to get Darnell hot. He spent all that time behind (Mike Cameron) and didn't get at-bats. Then he goes and gets his rehab at Triple A and swung the bat great. Then he came back here and looked like he was going to swing the bat great and kind of went the other way. I want to get him going a little bit... I really do want Mac to face some of these lefties because of what he can do and it gives us some balance on our bench."

Now that Mike Cameron has been designated for assignment, McDonald is currently the only righthanded-hitting outfielder the Sox have. Now would be a good time to make his claim for more playing time.

"That's the same swing Darnell had last year,'' said Francona.

McDonald has been taking extra hitting with hitting coach Dave Magadan and trying to improve his timing, especially on fastballs.

"I want to use today as something to build on,' said McDonald.

Andrew Miller's third start since being promoted was another good one: six innings, seven hits allowed, two runs against.

Miller had something of a rocky first inning with the Astros bashing out three hits right off the top, but he limited the damage to a single run and made adjustments.

"It was a tough first inning,'' said Francona. "It looked like he didn't have a ton of velocity and they hit some balls hard. But we got out of it with one and pitched.''

"The way things started,'' said Miller, "it was certainly nice to escape with limited damage and be able to get on a roll after that.''

In six innings, Miller got three double-play balls, including two to end innings.

"I kept the ball down and mixed it up,'' said Miller. "I think we got one on a changeup, some on the fastball. I think keeping the hitters off-balance is important and were were able to do that today.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."