Red Sox notes: Pedroia back in MVP form

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Red Sox notes: Pedroia back in MVP form

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Returning from the season-opening six-game road trip, Dustin Pedroia was hitting just .227 (5-for-22) with no walks, five strikeouts, and no extra-base hits. In two games against the Yankees he is 6-for-9 with three doubles, a home run, three runs scored, and five RBI in the series, raising his average 128 points to .355.

On Saturday he went 3-for-4, with three doubles, a run scored, two RBI and a walk.

Manager Terry Francona figured it would just be a matter of time before Pedroia got hot.

Well, I dont think theres ever day where I feel like hes not going to get hot, Francona said. Today was impressive. The out he made a flyball to end the sixth, he hit hard to center field. I think I feel like that every day.

"I was expecting it," said Adrian Gonzalez of Pedroias outburst. "He's an MVP. He's as good as they come."

It was the ninth time in his career Pedroia has three or more hits in consecutive games. The last time was July 8 and 9, 2009, against Oakland and Kansas City. His three doubles Saturday tie his career high, with April 22, 2008, against the Angels.

Left-hander Felix Doubront, activated from the disabled list Friday (elbow tightness), made his season debut, going 1 13 innings, giving up two runs on three hits with one strikeout. He also gave up a two-run home run to Curtis Granderson in the fifth.

He let Granderson get his arms extended, Francona said. I thought the ball came out of his hand pretty well. I think, again, I think this kids future is bright as can be. There may be a little bit of rust there. I just think we still really like this kid. Were going to keep an eye on him and not try to abuse him we dont want to abuse anybody. But were going to try to use him appropriately. But as he settles in hell really help us like he did last year.

Doubront did not pitch in a game in spring training because of his elbow.

Jed Lowrie started at shortstop and went 3-for-4. It was just his second start of the season. In just 11 at-bats, he has four hits, for a .364 average.

Youve got to take a lot of swings and stay sharp, he said. Even sitting on the bench I take swings off a tee. Try to stay sharp so when Im out there Ill be as ready as can be.

J.D. Drew has a five-game hitting streak, going 6-for-16 in that stretch. He is hitting .316.

Kevin Youkilis snapped an 0-for-17 slide with a fifth-inning single. He is hitting .125, but has reached base in six of eight games this season.

Carl Crawford went 1-for-5, getting his first hit at his new home park.

Red Sox pitchers have allowed a combined 19 home runs in eight games this season.

UConn mens basketball coach Jim Calhoun threw out the first pitch before Saturdays game, with Francona doing the catching.

"To come back home is really nice, and to come back home under these circumstances is even nicer," said Calhoun, who grew up in Braintree and coached for Braintree High and Dedham High before moving on to the college ranks. "I can't believe the number of people I saw. Just coming down from the stands and just flowing, people I haven't seen in 30 or 40 years."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Red Sox circle wagon around Dustin Pedroia's words in weird fashion

Red Sox circle wagon around Dustin Pedroia's words in weird fashion

A rained-out Tuesday was pretty action packed, and a little head-scratching.

The Red Sox circled the wagons well, arriving at a unified message about the Dustin Pedroia and Manny Machado situation: this is behind us, and we’re all good. But it was a weird string of events that brought the Sox to that bottom line.

Happy Hanley Ramirez decided he was going to be Matt Barnes’ public relations representative, running bubbly interference when reporters approached Barnes in the clubhouse.

Ramirez then said there was no team meeting to discuss the fallout from that pitch Barnes threw too close to Machado’s head.

Interesting.

At first, Sox manager John Farrell said nothing about the fallout. He then later referred to a hypothetical meeting that took place.

But it wasn't hypothetical. Diplomatic Dustin acknowledged the discussion that touched on his words to Machado: “It’s not me, it’s them.”

Defiant David Price, meanwhile, was off tweeting something passive aggressive about another matter entirely.

But whether or not you believe the Sox, Tuesday’s rain-out scene was simply weird. A strange mishmash of approaches and attitudes.

We’ll take it chronologically, and begin our day with a tweet from Price.

1. Perhaps someone’s story or commentary recently irked Price. Or maybe he was just in a bad mood. 

Why else would Price announce that he's holding his media session about Monday’s bullpen session on Twitter, and that he won't answer no questions?

Raul Martinez of NBC Boston said on Twitter: “Went to his ice cream (charity) event yesterday, said we're going to ask about health & got up & left.”

Maybe that’s it.

So you’ve got the rehabbing $30 million pitcher off in one corner doing his thing, still having trouble with the attention he's receiving.

2. Around lunchtime, Farrell made his first remarks of the day, in a weekly spot on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. He was asked a couple questions about the Pedroia-Machado-Barnes brouhaha, and wanted nothing of it. 

Farrell told hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin that he did not mean to be short. Except he did. His answer may as well have been, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

3. Move forward a couple hours. The Yankees-Sox game gets rained out and the Sox clubhouse opens for 30 minutes. Reporters approach Barnes, who’s appealing his four-game suspension for throwing at Machado.

But Barnes had to take care of something first before talking to reporters. Ramirez, who wasn't far from Barnes’ locker when reporters approached, tried to be some sort of shield. A goofy shield.

Remember that Ramirez has spiritually taken over for David Ortiz, or just really wants to. And Ramirez, clearly in a good mood, wanted the media to talk to him instead of Barnes.

(Ramirez, of course, doesn’t control who talks when. The media talked to both players.)

“No more talking about what happened in Baltimore,” Ramirez said at the end of his chat. “It’s over. … Let’s go Sox nation!”

Ramirez was being playful. But let’s go Sox nation? What? Who says that? 

4. Pedroia could have dodged the media for the 30 allotted minutes in the clubhouse, but he seemed to know there was an issue to quell.

“We all talked about that. We’re going to keep that in house,” Pedroia said, not nearly as jovial as Ramirez. “We feel good about each other. We all have each others’ backs. Everybody knows how everybody feels about each other. We’re pretty excited about the group we have."

Pedroia said he clarified what he meant by that “it’s not me, it’s them” comment — privately.

“I think guys that should know, know how we feel about each other and things like that,” Pedroia said. “It’s unfortunate that the outside has an opinion, but they’re going to have an opinion about everything. We all know how we feel. We’re moving on. We’re getting ready for this series, then the Cubs, then the Orioles. We’ve got a tough stretch. We’re focusing on baseball and turning the page.”

Pedroia was more testy when responding to a reporter’s question about his own words than he was a question about Orioles closer Zach Britton’s allegation that Pedroia can’t control his clubhouse.

Britton was way off-base when he suggested to BaltimoreBaseball.com that Pedroia didn’t have control of his group because Barnes threw at Machado. As though Pedroia was supposed to throw himself in front of the pitch.

But Pedroia, now 33, didn’t show off his fiery side.

He still can get riled up, but you have to wonder if his new position as the de facto team leader and his age have mellowed him. In the absence of Ortiz, is Pedroia now a diplomat?

“Everybody has their opinion. I don’t know Zach,” Pedroia said. “I haven’t played with him. I’m sure if I had played with him, his opinion of what he said would be different. I just know him as one of the best closers in the game. That’s it. His comments were said after an emotional game. Obviously he was upset at the situation. I don’t think negatively of him. I try to look at both sides before I jump to conclusions on anything.”

How pragmatic.

5. Then it was Barnes’ turn.

The Sox reliever who could have been offended by Pedroia said nothing at all, which was really his only choice. But Barnes wasn’t exactly loose, free and easy while giving non-answers. This was a tense situation, and Barnes didn’t disguise that. You can understand why.

6. Seemingly in a better mood a few hours after his satellite radio talk, Farrell had a little more to say about the the whole thing when he met with reporters at Fenway Park.

“I didn't feel any rift that was in the clubhouse because of what transpired,” Farrell said. “Any conversation that might have been needed was had and we're on to this series upcoming. What's done is done. 

“The one thing that I will say is, whether we are challenged by performance, injuries, things that take place between the lines, (I feel) very confident and strong that this is a team that's got one another's back and we handle it as a team.”

Maybe the Sox just need to work on their public relations a little bit, unify their approach. They all seem to know the bottom line.

Pedroia: Red Sox ‘all have each other’s backs’

Pedroia: Red Sox ‘all have each other’s backs’

Dustin Pedroia said he and his teammates have talked about his comments in the wake of teammate Matt Barnes throwing near Manny Machado’s head Sunday in Baltimore and that the Red Sox “all have each other’s backs.”

When asked to clarify what he meant when he said from the bench to Machado after the pitch, “it’s not me, it’s them,” Pedroia said the people who need to know what he meant by it.

Barnes is appealing the four-game suspension he was handed by MLB for the pitch to the Orioles’ Machado on Sunday, which was in retaliation for Machado’s hard slide that injured Pedroia on Friday night. 

TV cameras showed Pedroia yelling to Machado, “it’s not me, it’s them,” which some interpreted as Pedroia not backing Barnes or his teammates.

"We all talked about that and we're going to keep that in-house," Pedroia said after the Red Sox' series opener with the Yankees was postponed at Fenway Park Monday.  "We feel good about each other. We all have each other's backs. Everybody knows how everybody feels about each other. We're pretty excited about the group we have."

Barnes said there was nothing Pedroia had to clarify called him a great teammate.

Hanley Ramirez offered to speak instead of Barnes and said of what happened in Baltimore, “It’s over.” 

"No more talking about what happened in Baltimore,” Ramirez said. “It’s over. … Let’s go Sox nation."

Manager John Farrell said Pedroia, who missed the Saturday and Sunday games in Baltimore, would have been back in the lineup Monday night if the game had been played.