Pregame notes: Dice-K, Hill likely headed for surgery

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Pregame notes: Dice-K, Hill likely headed for surgery

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Both right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka and lefty Rich Hill will likely need Tommy John surgery on their injured elbows.

We visited with Dice-K yesterday at length, said manager Terry Francona. "We had good talks. He had a lot of good questions, which really had a mature outlook on things, which is good. Tonight during the game Sox medical director Dr. Tom Gill and Dr. Lewis Yocum will get together and talk more. Im sure Dice-K will be on that and probably trainer Mike Reinold, whoever needs to be.

Its looking more and more like he needs to have the surgery. What were concerned about is whats best for Dice-K. I think originally when anything like this happens and you get a pitcher of that age throwing the pitches he has, non-surgical is always hopefully the way to go. Now if he needs surgery we support that. Now we got to figure out who, when, why, how. All that. And thats what were in the midst of doing and that should happen hopefully tonight.

Hill, who left Wednesdays game after facing one batter, walking off the mound clutching his left elbow, also appears headed for surgery.

He has a damaged ligament, Francona said. I think probably surgery is inevitable there. Saying that, were in the midst of figuring out whats in his best interest. If somebodys going in my elbow, anywhere, you got to have a lot of confidence and thats his call. So we just want to make sure that he does where his confidence does the most and we support it. Hes a great kid. Lives in Southie, worked so hard during the winter. He wanted an opportunity. And he was making the most of it. So it hurts when he gets hurt. Well figure out a way to win. I just think we feel more for him right now.

Hill had not given up a run in 15 appearances, spanning 12 innings, since making his first appearance with the Sox last September.

The frustrating part is that you find a niche for yourself in the bullpen, he said. To have something happen thats something thats tough to swallow. But at the same time, if it is a surgical procedure that needs to happen, the success rate is there and you rehab and Ive been through it once. So youve got to come back and be strong again and come back from another surgery.

Hill had shoulder surgery in in 2009 while with the Orioles. He expects to get a second opinion early next week. Of the possibility of having Tommy John surgery he said: I think that would probably be highly recommended, yeah. Thats probably something that it looks like when you have the ligament torn three-quarters of the way to pitch at this level again is going to be something were leaning towardshighly.

Hill has been placed on the 15-day DL while Matsuzaka was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to make room on the roster for left-hander Tommy Hottovy.

Hottovy, who turns 30 in July, is in his first big league call-up after being drafted by the Sox in the fourth round in 2004 out of Wichita State. Tommy John surgery in 2008 delayed his career, spending parts of the last six seasons in Double-A Portland.

Hes a guy thats come through the organization kind of step by step, Francona said. He would come over in spring training and pitch games for us, especially on the road. Everybody liked his professionalism. And he really kind of seemed to figure it out this year. Hes been a strike-throwing machine. Hes been getting lefties out. And I think this is a situation where we need to listen to the player development people, as we do. They thought this was the right guy. So well put him out there with a little bit of excitement and hope that continues here.

Its been a long road for Hottovy.

I was 26 in Double A when I hurt my arm, he said. I was going to turn 27 during surgery. I called my wife Andrea and I was like, Is this something we really want to do? because I wasnt going to be alone on the whole thing. I wanted her to have a big factor in what we wanted to do. She was like, You owe it to yourself to see where you can go healthy. And so from that moment on there was no looking back. It was: Keep battling and hope you're at the right place at the right time and pitching well.

Andrea is unable to be at Fenway for Hottovys call-up. She is 34 weeks pregnant and unable to travel.

His scouting report on himself:

I am a sidearm left-handed pitcher. Im going to throw a lot of sinkers from the sidearm and good sweeping breaking ball and changeup, nothing too crazy, just nice and simplified delivery and looking forward to showing it to everybody.

With John Lackey starting Sunday against the As and an off-day Monday before a three-game series in New York, Francona is unsure when Tim Wakefield or Alfredo Aceves will start next. It could be the first or second game in Toronto, on June 10 or 11.

Lacks going to pitch either the first or second game, Francona said. Hes going to get an extra day somewhere and the next time he wouldnt. So, I think we wait till Sunday and see how he comes through that before we make a decision.

Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Josh Beckett are schedule to start the three games in Yankee Stadium.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.