Artie T.: "I'll be Forever Grateful

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Artie T.: "I'll be Forever Grateful

Market Basket's newly reinstated CEO Arthur T. Demoulas told workers at a Chelsea, Massachusetts, supermarket that he is "forever grateful" Monday, days after he returned to helm the grocery chain following months of worker protests and boycotts triggered by his June ouster.

The man better known to supporters as Artie T. gave workers in Chelsea a lift as they restocked the store. He said the priority now, days after his $1.5 billion deal to buy the company, is to restore stores to customers' expectations, after months hampered by walkouts and empty shelves.

Demoulas reiterated his gratitude to the workers whose pressure helped return him to the helm, and said he is able to connect with his staff of 25,000 through hands-on experience and working together.

"We try to be good to one another and help each other out," Demoulas told workers. "We certainly saw that in the past six or seven weeks.

"I'll be forever grateful," he added.

Demoulas said his first order of business would be to say "thank you, millions of times over."

The turmoil that has roiled Market Basket all summer culminated late last week in Demoulas' deal to buy a majority stake in the company and in his return as CEO, to roars of support from the workers whose intense pressure, protests and walkouts had helped ensure it.

"I love you all," the told them Friday, just after the board controlled by a rival cousin accepted his $1.5 billion bid for a majority stake Thursday night.

Arthur T. had been ousted as CEO back in June by allies of his rival cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, sparking the two-month dispute, in which employee protests and customer boycotts left many stores and shelves empty.

When news broke that he had regained control of the company, hundreds of supporters gathered Friday at company headquarters in Tewksbury, where he spoke to them.

"I've always believed that we are born into this world at a certain time and a certain place to be with certain people for a reason and a purpose," he told the crowd there. "Everyone has a destiny, and because of you, I stand here with a renewed vigor and a sense of purpose."

The restoration of some Market Basket stores could take several weeks, Arthur T. told reporters Friday, but employees have been working around the clock since his reinstatement to restock empty shelves and reestablish ties with vendors.

Customers were found last week ready to shop once again.

“People are bringing in champagne bottles. Customers are bringing in balloons and donuts and food. It’s great. It's a great feeling,” Tewksbury store manager Mike Riley said.

"It's just a good feeling," said customer Cindy Stamp, whose son works in a Market Basket warehouse. "It's about food, but it's really not. It's about what he does for all our children and people that need jobs. I mean, that to me is the biggest. My son makes a living. Do you believe that? A living off of working in a warehouse. Who can say that?"

Photo Credit: NECN

Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

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Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

BOSTON - Maybe it wasn't a warning shot, but more of an idle observation. Maybe it wasn't a challenge at all.

But what John Farrell had to say Sunday afternoon about Clay Buchholz was, if nothing else, noteworthy.

In assessing his team's play in the just-completed first month of the season, Farrell noted that the starting rotation, after a particularly rough beginning, had stabilized of late.

With one exception, that is.

"We've got to get Clay going, particularly," Farrell said. "He's an important part of our rotation, an important part of this team. We've got to get him on track." Buchholz is winless in his five starts, with an 0-3 mark and an inflated ERA of 6.51. He's given up a minimum of five earned runs in each start and has yet to pitch through the seventh inning.

Farrell noted that the issue has been less about quality of stuff and more about his aggressiveness - or lack thereof.

"There are times,'' Farrell said, "when we've seen Clay execute pitches with, I think, a greater conviction to the pitch. There are other times where maybe he's pitched away from contact a little bit too much and not attacked the strike zone. To me, there comes an attitude on the mound that's got to be prevailing."

The Sox aren't far from welcoming back to starters. Eduardo Rodriguez, who tweaked his knee in early March, is set to make his second rehab start for Pawtucket Tuesday and could conceivably return five days after that. At most, Rodriguez will be ready with one more additional outing.

Next up is Joe Kelly, who is on the DL with a shoulder impingement. Kelly has thrown some bullpen sessions and could begin a rehab assignment later in the week.

That will lead to the Sox making some tough decisions in the coming weeks. It had been widely assumed that knuckleballer Steven Wright would be he most vulnerable starter, but Wright is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA in four outings.

Asked to assess where the Sox within the context of the division, Farrell said: "We're probably searching to shore up areas that are in need, and that first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster now. Not that we're going to make wholesale changes. Like I said, we've got to get Clay going. That's a big improvement that we could make."

 

AL East picture through April: Red Sox better than expected

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AL East picture through April: Red Sox better than expected

BOSTON -- With the first month of the season at coming to a close, Boston finds itself half a game behind Baltimore for first place and 2.5 games ahead of the third place Rays.

With the question marks surrounding the pitching staff behind David Price entering the season, among other issues, the Red Sox are in a much better position than initially expected.

John Farrell credits much of the early success to his potent offense.

“[We] finished better than we started I think the biggest thing is that guys in our lineup have developed that trust in one another,” he said. “There [are] some elements to our offense that’ve been very encouraging. The all-field approach and the way we’ve run the bases [have] been very consistent.”

It’s undeniable that the newfound consistency to the pitching staff has been a huge help -- although Farrell did note Clay Buchholz needs to get the ball rolling.

“The last two turns through the rotation has been more consistent. We’ve been able to give our guys in the bullpen a little bit more regular rest,” Farrell said. “I like the fact that we’ve added to the depth of power arms in our bullpen. We still have room for improvement we know that.

Entering the final game of the opening series against New York, the Red Sox and the Orioles are the only AL East teams with winning records against their inter-division rivals.

Even though they’ve performed better than anticipated, a case can be made that the Red Sox should sit in first place.

Tampa Bay shut them out in the opener, and won the final game of the series that was powered by a rare David Price implosion.

Toronto won the final two games of the second season series by the skin of its teeth, narrowly avoiding Red Sox comebacks in the ninth inning of each game.

Baltimore won the first game of its opening series in Boston thanks to a ninth inning home run.

New York has one game left before both teams leave town and, weather permitting, Boston has a chance to start May off properly -- by disposing of the only team in the AL East stuck with single digit wins.

With the ups and downs for the five AL East teams, Farrell doesn’t expect there will be disparity in the division.

“Every team has got their strengths,” he said. “We don’t expect this to be a huge separation among any of the five teams here. We’re all probably searching to sure up areas that we’re in need of. That first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster right now. Not that we’re going to make wholesale changes.”