Red Sox to use off-day to mull roster decisions

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Red Sox to use off-day to mull roster decisions

TORONTO Mondays scheduled off-day for the Red Sox could likely turn into a very busy day for the teams decision makers.

Among the items that will need to be discussed:

What is the next step for Dustin Pedroia?
What, if anything, should be done after Daniel Bards disastrous outing Sunday against the Blue Jays?
What to do about Kevin Youkilis?
What to do with the impending returns of several outfielders?

"There's not a lot of hypothetical talk," said manager Bobby Valentine before Sundays series finale in Toronto. "But, there's talk about where we are, what we have at this present time. I guess well see. General manager Ben Cherington is having a lot of thoughts about the roster because the roster is pretty complicated. It's going to continue to be challenging."

Valentine said over the weekend a decision of whether or not to place Pedroia, who has missed the last six games with a torn abductor muscle in his right thumb, on the DL or to continue to wait it out had not been made. Valentine said there would likely be meetings about Pedroia on Monday. Pedroia, who is expected to get treatment and probably do some hitting on Monday, said as he left the visitors clubhouse after Sundays game he expected to play Tuesday. Whether that was more than wishful thinking is unknown.

After Bards outing against the Jays on Sunday, Valentine was asked if he would consider skipping Bards next turn, letting the right-hander get things figured out.

Ill think about it a while, Valentine said. I have some time. Regretful its going to have to take up an off-day. I dont know.

If Bard is skipped, who would take his spot in the rotation?

Daisuke Matsuzaka, on his second 30-day rehab assignment, has pitched well but whether he is ready for a return to face major league hitters is uncertain. He has until June 24 on his current assignment, and is scheduled to make his next start on Tuesday.

Aaron Cook, on the DL since May 6 with a left knee laceration, is not ready. Would the Sox consider having Vicente Padilla make a start? Or would they call up a pitcher from Pawtucket for one start? Bards next day to pitch would be Saturday.

There were several teams in Toronto for the three-game series with interest in Youkilis, including the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers. If the Sox opt not to trade Youkilis, they could move him to first base, have Adrian Gonzalez stay in right, and let Will Middlebrooks take over third base regularly.

But, the Sox have several outfielders getting ready to return from the disabled list.

Darnell McDonald, on the disabled list since May 12 with a right oblique strain, is getting close to a return. He has been on a 20-day rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket since May 25. Serving as the designated hitter and leading off Sunday, he went 1-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts. On Saturday, he played both ends of a doubleheader batting second, playing left field in the first game, and serving as the DH batting first in the second McDonald went a combined 3-for-8 with two runs scored, two doubles, an RBI, and two strikeouts. In all, he has played seven games with the PawSox, going 5-for-26 (.192), with four doubles, two runs scored, two RBI, and eight strikeouts. He has until June 13 on his rehab assignment but the Sox may opt to bring him back sooner.

Cody Ross has been on the DL since May 19 with a fracture in the navicular bone of his left foot. He was eligible to be activated Sunday but was not ready. However Ross, who was examined by the medical staff before the team left for the three-game series in Toronto on Friday, said he expects to be free on Monday of the hard plastic boot he has been wearing. Ross also said he would resume baseball activities on Tuesday and begin a rehab assignment at some point.

When either of the outfielders returns, corresponding roster moves will have to be made. That could likely affect the futures of Marlon Byrd, Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, and possibly where Adrian Gonzalez will be playing.

In 32 games with the Sox, Byrd is hitting .271, with one home run, and seven RBI. However, in his last seven games, with four starts, he is hitting just .231 (3-for-13) with one RBI, one walk, and four strikeouts.

Nava, meanwhile, has been one of the Red Sox' most productive bats. Although his six-game hitting streak ended on Sunday, in 24 games since being called up May 10, he has reached base safely in 22, batting .303. He also has three outfield assists, tied with Ross for the team lead, while starting every game in left field since his call-up. As a switch-hitter he offers some versatility, although his left-right splits are stark, batting .380, with a .600 slugging percentage, and .515 on-base percentage from left side, .174.391.310 from the right.

However, rather than sending out an outfielder, the Sox could opt to return Middlebrooks to Pawtucket, with Youkilis and Gonzalez staying at their customary positions of third and first, respectively. Valentine has said he doesnt like to see young prospects sitting on the bench. If Middlebrooks playing time is going to be more limited, it may be decided a return to Triple-A would be in his best interest.

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

David Price may have allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night during his second rehab start in Triple-A, but the Red Sox apparently liked what they saw.

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Manager John Farrell announced moments ago that Price will rejoin the Red Sox Monday and start that day's game in Chicago against the White Sox. Farrell said the Sox were more concerned with how Price felt physically after his rehab start, not the results, and they're satisfied he's ready to return.

More to come . . .