Cano tops Gonzalez in Home Run Derby

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Cano tops Gonzalez in Home Run Derby

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHOENIX -- Just like seemingly everything else in Major League Baseball, the Home Run Derby Monday night came down to a battle between the Red Sox and Yankees.

With the American League already assured of a one-sided victory, the final round came down to Adrian Gonzalez vs. Robinson Cano.

After Gonzalez belted 11 homers in his turn to set a record for most homers in the final round, Cano topped him, hitting 12 and winning the title.

David Ortiz's American Leaguers finished with 76 homers to just 19 for Prince Fielder's National League squad.

"That was a lot of fun, said an exhausted Gonzalez. "Cano did an unbelievable job. He deserved to win -- he hit homers a lot farther than I did. I just got them over the fence and it was fun to make it to the finals.

Gonzalez said he didn't feel this represented another chapter of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry.

"No, it didn't, said Gonzalez. "It was National League vs. American League and we put a pretty good whipping on them.

Gonzalez confessed he was "beat. You get to that 15-swing range and you're just focused on what pitches to swing at and all that goes out that door.

The Red Sox first baseman helped set the tone with nine homers in the first round.

"You really don't have an approach, said Gonzalez. "You just try to hit home runs. You try to get a good pitch to hit.

That was my only thing going in because in St. Louis (in 2009), I was really antsy and I didn't take a lot of pitches. I didn't focus enough on getting a good pitch.

Until about 20 minutes before the event, Gonzalez didn't have anybody picked out to throw to him in the Derby. He had hoped to have his older brother David pitch to him, but his brother couldn't make it. He then tried his former high school coach, who also was unavailable.

Looking for volunteers, Gonzalez found Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta, who is serving as a coach for the American League All-Star team.

"He quickly found where I liked the ball, said Gonzalez, "and he did a great job of just grooving it in there. There wasn't any choice. I was asking around and he said, 'All right, I'll do it.'

Ortiz, who selected the squad, joked that he proved he could be a manager.

"Tito, look out, man, said Ortiz. "Im coming to get your job. I made the right choice. It was an unbelievable show between Robinson and my teammate, Gonzo. What Cano did out there was unbelievable.

Ortiz admitted that he thought about the Red Sox-Yankee showdown in the final round.

"I thought about that for a minute, said Ortiz. "But in the end, you really want either one especially from your team to win. But the most important thing was to put on a good show for the fans.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

BOSTON -- Until next Wednesday, major league teams can add to their rosters and have the new additions still be eligible for postseason play.

But don't expect the Red Sox to do any serious upgrading.

The bullpen could sorely use some reinforcements, but the difficulty of obtaining help at this time of year -- when players changing teams must first clear waivers -- is problematic.

Asked recently the odds of the Sox making a deal to bolster the team's relief group, an industry source reponded: "Pretty slim.''

The source went on to say that any relievers of value have been routinely "blocked'' -- i.e., claimed by a team before being pulled back by the original club.

The few relievers who have successfully cleared waivers -- including Oakland's Ryan Madson and Chicago's David Robertson -- are those with multiyear commitments that extend beyond this season.

And just because the likes of Madson and Robertson have cleared waivers doesn't guarantee they're necessarily available. At this time of the year, teams routinely send their players through waivers to provide them with flexibilty and to determine the level of interest for deals in the off-season.

In the case of Robertson, the Red Sox would be taking on $25 million in future salary for 2017 and 2018 for a pitcher who would not be serving as their closer. The Sox control Craig Kimbrel for two more seasons, with a guaranteed contract for 2017 and a team option for 2018.

One major-league executive noted that teams are often reluctant to take on a reliever with a multiyear contract, since the existence of a future commitment could restrict a team in terms of usage.

Better to have a player on an expiring deal, the executive suggested, with no worries about future obligations.

It's still possible that the Sox could acquire Jonathan Papelbon, whose case has gone cold in the past week. Only 10 days ago, reports had Papelbon ready to sign within 24 hours with one of the handful of clubs expressing an interest in him.

But since then, Papelbon hasn't been heard from. One source indicated that Papelbon's interest in signing elsewhere may be impacted by a family situation.

Whatever the reason, the longer Papelbon goes without signing somewhere, the tougher it is to imagine him having much impact. 

Papelbon last pitched for the Washington Nationals on Aug. 6, three weeks ago. He would need some time on a minor-league assignment in order to be major league-ready for the final month.

And while Papelbon would enjoy returning to the familiarity of Boston, he's not close to the same pitcher that he was when he left after 2011. Indeed, Papelbon isn't even the same pitcher he was in his final two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Red Sox, reduced to matching up night after night in the eighth inning, would still welcome him back. But there are other options to upgrade a porous bullpen, options that would seem to make the odds of a Papebon-Red Sox reunion negligible.