Boston Red Sox

Punto uses lessons from one-time prospect father

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Punto uses lessons from one-time prospect father

Nick Punto was 12 years old when his father sat him down for a talk. There was a lot Lou Punto needed to share with his son, and regardless of how young Nick was at the time, he wanted him to hear it then.

It was definitely traumatizing in a good way to hear these things about your father, Nick recalled with a smile.

Like many kids in southern California, Nick played Little League baseball and had developed a love for the game. Lou saw his sons passion and decided to share his past to help shape Nicks future.

Lou also loved baseball. Growing up in New York, he became a standout infielder and was a draft-and-follow with the Boston Red Sox in the 1960s. Lou chose to attend college, where he became involved in the rock and roll scene.

The prospect from the Bronx took on a new role as the lead singer in a rock band, embracing the music scene and lifestyle. He also stopped pursuing baseball.

The story of his fathers baseball career that never was struck a chord with Nick.

He was very influential for me because of what he went through and maybe the talent that he had and just didnt really maximize because of basically the 60s, he said. He passed that down for me and really created a good focus for me by seeing his mistakes. He kind of laid all that out on the table for me, it wasnt a secret. He told me all of his mistakes. I pretty much went on the straight path and was successful.

Nick embraced baseball and basketball in high school, using sports as an outlet during his parents divorce and the ups and downs of teenage years. He remembered his fathers story as he got drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and worked to make his major league debut in 2001.

Nick, 34, is playing his first season for the same organization that expressed interest in his father over 50 years ago.

I think I was always trying to make him proud, he said. Thats pressure that I put upon myself, not anything that he did. Its just the competitiveness in me would want to make my father proud just because of how much I love and respect him.

Lou is still very involved in his career, watching games and offering his son advice and support. Nick points out that while his father never reached the majors, he knows his child better than any scout.

He knows a lot about baseball but this level is a little too advanced for him. But he definitely knows his son, he said. He knows when he sees me out there whats wrong emotionally. Not physical things like, 'This is what you should be doing,' hitting or fielding ground balls. Its more of like a confidence thing.

Nick is now the father of a two-and-a-half-year-old son. He plans to share his own stories as his son grows up. Thanks to his fathers life lessons, they will not include the same mistakes he was told.

The conversation was definitely advanced for a 12-year-old, he remembers. It was something more that you would tell an 18-year-old. It just happened to fall on the right ears.

Pomeranz, Price, Pedroia make health progress

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Pomeranz, Price, Pedroia make health progress

CLEVELAND — There was positive news for a trio of injured Red Sox players on Monday, including Wednesday’s scheduled starter, Drew Pomeranz. 

The lefty threw a side session at Progressive Field before the Red Sox began a four-game series with the Indians and came out of it feeling well. He’s on track to make his next start after his last one was cut short because of lower back spasms.

Back in Boston, meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia and David Price both took steps forward. Price threw from flat ground out to about 60 feet, manager John Farrell said, while Pedroia did agility drills.

“He went through some functional work, some change of direction, some lateral work,” Farrell said of Pedroia. “He did run on the altered-G treadmill which reduces some of the normal body weight. So it was a productive day for him.”

Mitch Moreland was initially in Monday’s lineup but was scratched for Brock Holt. Moreland went through concussion testing and passed after an awkward play at first base in the eighth inning yesterday, when Brock Holt made an excellent diving play in the hole. Holt threw on to Moreland at first base and Moreland stretched awkwardly into the base line of an oncoming Brett Gardner. 

“He was a little bit out of position there on the collision with Gardner,” Farrell said. “He took a forearm to the back, to the neck, the back of the head. He went through the whole concussion protocol. He passed that. He’s sore. Was able to get on a treadmill and run for 10-12 minutes. He passed all those tests but felt like with the recommendations from our medical staff we would give him a day to get over it. 

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MLB umpires end protest, will meet with Manfred

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MLB umpires end protest, will meet with Manfred

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball umpires have ended their protest of what they called "abusive player behavior" after Commissioner Rob Manfred offered to meet with their union's governing board.

Most umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday's games after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez. Kinsler said Tuesday that Hernandez was a bad umpire and "just needs to go away."

The World Umpires Association announced Sunday in a series of tweets that Manfred had proposed a meeting to discuss its concerns.

"To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wrist bands pending the requested meeting," the organization posted on Twitter.

Kinsler was ejected by Hernandez last Monday in Texas after being called out on strikes. The next day, Kinsler sharply criticized Hernandez, saying the umpire was "messing" with games "blatantly."

"No, I'm surprised at how bad an umpire he is. ... I don't know how, for as many years he's been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line," Kinsler said.

Kinsler was fined, but the umpires' union felt he should have been suspended.

"The Office of the Commissioner's lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It's `open season' on umpires, and that's bad for the game," the WUA said in a release on Saturday.