Surprise: Sox tied for A.L. lead in sacrifice bunts


Surprise: Sox tied for A.L. lead in sacrifice bunts

BOSTON -- As an organization, the Red Sox typically don't endorse thesacrifice bunt, believing that it's not a sound utilization of an out.

But more than one-third of the way through the season, theSox are tied with the Angels for the most sacrifice bunts in theAmerican League.

Bobby Valentine used it Wednesday night when the Sox hadrunners at first and second and no out with Darnell McDonald,trailing Baltmore 2-1.

McDonald executed the bunt and moved both baserunners intoscoring position, but the Sox couldn't get a hit to score either.

Valentine was asked what factors he takes into considerationbefore putting a bunt play on.

"The personnel (factors into the decision),'' he said. "(Havingthe) bottom of the order (due up) will dicate . . . guys who can bunt. . .The guys who are on base to advance quick enough if there's a bunt. . .if the other team's bullpen has been used a lot the day before...There's a lots of things that go into it. . .It would be Tom-fooleryto think of it as just one thing.

"I don't particularly like to bunt, but I think it's a very usefulweapon at times. It keeps you out of double plays, for sure. I don'tlike to give away outs. I don't think it's a great idea. It's greatwhen you're staying away from two outs.''

Valentine said, despite the number of sacrifice bunts with whichthe Sox have been credited, Wednesday's bunt with McDonald "may havebeen the only sacrifice that was asked for (from the dugout). Everybody'sbeen told, 'If there's a bunting a sacrifice situation, bunt forit.' That's all we do.''

Almost as an afterthought, Valentine appeared to call out MarlonByrd, who struck out for the second out.

"If that fastball that was down the middle was thrown to thenext hitter (Byrd) was swung at,'' mused Valentine, "I bet you we wouldall be saying, 'God, it would have been great to win that game, 3-2.But it was taken instead.''

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.