Red Sox notebook: Team not leaning toward dealing Ellsbury


Red Sox notebook: Team not leaning toward dealing Ellsbury

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- If they so chose, the Red Sox could have one of the most in-demand players on the winter trade market by shopping outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
For now, they seem disinclined to deal him, in part because his value is down after a season in which he missed most of the first half with a shoulder separation, then posted a disappointing second-half when he did play.
Ellsbury is eligible for free agency after 2013, but it seems highly unlikely that a contract extension will get worked out. Instead, the Sox think the best thing to do is hold onto Ellsbury and hope to be the beneficiary of another standout season -- like the one he had in 2011 -- as he nears free agency.
The outfielder made just over 8 million last year and will undoubtedly get a bump in pay through the arbitration process.
"We're going to obviously have a discussion about his contract upcoming,'' said agent Scott Boras. "We have to negotiate for the coming year. I think that's going to be up to the Red Sox and Ben (Cherington), when they let me know what they want to do and I haven't had that discussion.''
One more piece of the coaching staff puzzle was pieced together with the announcement that Gary Tuck will return for his seventh year as bullpen coachcatching instructor.
Tuck had an option to return and decided to exercise it.
Tuck clashed with Bobby Valentine last year, but has a good relationship with new manager John Farrell. Farrell, in fact, attempted to hire Tuck as his bench coach when he went to Toronto two years ago.
"I think John felt that having at least one person back from the 2012 staff was important,'' said Cherington. "Aside from his skill as a catching instructor and being a smart baseball guy, he's got a lot of insight into our players from (2012) and no one else on the staff is going to have that.''
Meanwhile, not long after it was reported by ESPNBoston that the Sox would interview Tino Martinez for the position of hitting coach, Martinez accepted the same position with the Miami Marlins.
"We're going to start interviews this weekend,'' said Cherington. "Those will unfold over the course of early next week. I assume there'll be a handful of candidates.''
A number of potential free agent targets could be taken off the table Friday, the deadline for free agents to accept or decline the qualifying offers from their 2012 teams.
If a player accepts, he immediately becomes signed by his former team.
"We'll keep an eye on those,'' said Cherington. "I don't think there will be too many surprises with the decisions. But we'll keep an eye on them and react accordingly.''
Among the players in whom the Sox have interested who were given qualifying offers: New York's Nick Swisher; Washington's Adam LaRoche and New York's Huroki Kuroda.
Swisher and LaRoche are almost certain to decline. Kuroda could possibly accept, since he enjoyed pitching in New York, is willing to take a one-year deal and would see a raise from 10 million last year to the standard 13.3 million qualifying offer figure. The Sox plan another overhaul of the medical staff, although it's likely to be more of a re-organization than anything else.
The team has already confirmed that rehab coordinator Mike Reinold will not return for 2013.
"What we're trying to do is finish off a restructuring that began last winter,'' said Cherington, "and get to a system that captures appropriately the different specialties within the medical realm -- certainly physician, trainer, therapist, strength coach. There are different modalities there involved in building a system that balances those effectively and doing it in a way that players have people who fully have their best interest in mind and are at the top of their profession.''

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win


Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.