Aceves healthy, open to any role for the Red Sox


Aceves healthy, open to any role for the Red Sox

By MaureenMullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. Alfredo Aceves isnt interested in talking about why the Yankees chose not to bring him back this season. Thats in the past, he says. But credit a strained lower back, which kept him on the disabled list from May 12 on last season, and an offseason bicycle accident for helping to get him to the Red Sox.

The Yankees were concerned he wouldnt be healthy. After making his first Opening Day roster in 2010, he threw 12 innings over 10 appearances with a 3.00 ERA and one save before hitting the DL. Aceves, who turned 29 in December, attempted a rehab assignment with Triple-A ScrantonWilkes-Barre and Double-A Trenton starting Aug. 10, making seven appearances, five starts, before being shut down Aug. 30 for the rest of the season.

Aceves says his back is fine. And his left non-throwing collarbone, broken in the late November bike accident, is good, too.

For that, he credits Juan, un buen Samaritano, in San Luis, Sonora, Mexico, his hometown.

Biking is not easy and Im not a professional biker, he said. I was training a couple of days and then the sixth day, I went off the road. It was so small, so narrow, and it was downhill on the sides. There was earth and pavement. I hit the pavement. With the speed I was pedaling, I went off the road. I had my feet on the pedals because I was clicked in with the special shoes and I couldnt get them off, and my hands were gripping the handlebars. But I just hit the pavement, with the weight and the speed and gravity. I was by myself, four kilometers about 2.4 miles from the town, because it was a road out of town, a little circuit.

Aceves didnt realize immediately the bone was broken.

No, I felt it in my shoulder and my elbow, he said. But it wasnt there. I was just feeling it there. And I lifted my arm up above my head, and then to the sides, and then down, and I thought everything was good. But then I touched it and I could feel the bone sticking up through my clothes. But, it wasnt through my skin.

So I got back to the road, I walked about 60 steps, and start to thumb, and someone stopped after a few cars. Juan, he drove me to the hospital. I put my bike in his truck.

I said, Hey, man, thank you. I have to go to the hospital, to the emergency.

Aceves had surgery in New York in November to repair the break, and the shoulder feels fine now, he said, stronger. His back feels good, too. He doesnt think about it.

While he would prefer to start, he knows what his role would be with the Red Sox.

Long reliever and some starts, he said. I want to start, but I have a possibility to win a World Series this year. We got left fielder Carl Crawford, a very talented guy, humble guy, very good person. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, nice friend, and he inspires me.

Asked how hed pitch each of the Sox newcomers, Aceves laughed.

Gonzalez, he hit me for a homer in the Mexican Pacific League, with Mazatlan, Los Venados, 'the Deers' in English, the Deers of Mazatlan, he said. And ours was the Tomato Pickers of Culiacan. I pitched against him, I struck him out once, I think. I think he hit the home run first and then I struck him out. And Crawford he got me one time, but not a homer.

Actually, hes gotten the best of Crawford in the major leagues, facing him three times and striking him out each time.

Aceves is impressed with the potential of the Sox pen.

Woo, its a tough bullpen, he said. I like it. We could shut down teams. And we have different types of pitchers. I just want to help the team.

I can throw whatever. I have the preference to start, but I can pitch whatever.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"


Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"


Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:


* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.


* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.


1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.