Pedroia speaks up for Tito, teammates

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Pedroia speaks up for Tito, teammates

Dustin Pedroia heard the news -- all the way from Mexico.

Vacationing at the time the Boston Globe's expose on the Red Sox and their collapse hit the newsstands, Pedroia was a little peeved at some of the things reported, and called WEEI's The Big Show to discuss the matter.

So what did he think about all the talk that by September, players were mentally (and in some cases physically) checked out?

"Were all baseball players," Pedroia said. "I showed up to work every day ready to beat the other team. So did everyone else. Were a family. We had the best record in baseball up until September whatever, and then we ran out of gas. That doesnt have anything to do with manager Terry Francona or general manager Theo Epstein or any players or what went on in the clubhouse. The leadership was there. We had guys that cared. We didnt play well in the end. Thats it."

Not only did they play well, but many would argue that Francona didn't manage well. He no longer was a voice the Sox paid attention to in the locker room, and because of it, the inmates ran the asylum.

"To be honest with you, I played for Francona for five years and hes never had to motivate me," Pedroia said. "When you play in an environment like Boston a manager should not have to motivate you. You should be self-motivated. Your team should be motivated to accomplish their goals and, to be honest with you guys, we were. We just, at the end, we didnt play well and thats it.

"Everyone in that clubhouse wanted to win a World Series. Everyone can say, 'Oh, some guys quit, some guys did whatever'. In my opinion, thats a bunch of B.S. We all wanted to win. We just didnt perform well."

Pedroia wasn't about to point fingers at any of his teammates, and instead had the back of one in particular, Jason Varitek, whose captain qualities have recently been put under fire. Pedroia denied the reports that Varitek was a bad leader, saying how he was active in the locker room.

Perhaps the biggest issue with Pedroia though, was the way Francona was treated on his way out of town. The two have always been close, and the parting of ways undoubtedly hits Pedroia hard -- not to mention the way it was handled.

"This guy is my family," Pedroia said of Francona. "For him to have to deal with this, hes the best manager in the history of the Red Sox organization. He won two World Series, look at the run that hes had there, its pretty remarkable. Thats the part that hurts and whoever the person it is thats saying this, I think they need to take a step back and kind of look in the mirror and understand what theyre saying about a guy."

Currently without a general manager or a manager, the Red Sox have a lot of questions heading into the offseason. But that doesn't change the way Pedroia feels about the Sox, or sway him into considering other teams.

"Its going to be a little bit different," he said. "Theo obviously drafted me and Titos the only manager Ive played for so its going to be a little bit different, but an organization thats given me an opportunity to play professional baseball, from my heart I want to play there my whole career. Whatever changes that go on, Im sure . . . they know how I feel. I want to be there my whole career. I want to go through the winning and even I want to go through the September collapses together. Were in this together. Youve got to think that way in Boston."

Amidst all the negativity surrounding the Red Sox locker room, none of it has been about Pedroia. Quite the contrary, actually. Everyone knows that Pedroia's a talker, but that voice may get even louder within the confines of the locker room.

"Well come back motivated," he said, "I promise you guys."

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.