Crawford irked when hit by Anderson pitch


Crawford irked when hit by Anderson pitch

By MaureenMullen

BOSTON When Carl Crawford was hit by a Brett Anderson fastball, on the second pitch of his second at-bat, it raised a few eyebrows and a few hackles.

It was just the third time Crawford, whose open stance doesnt crowd the plate, had been hit by a pitch this season, and the 35th time in his career. The most hes been plunked in a season was eight times in 2009 while with the Rays.

But in his previous at-bat Sunday afternoon, with no outs, David Ortiz on second and Jed Lowrie on first in the second inning, Crawford turned on an Anderson slider and deposited it into the Red Sox bullpen for his fifth home run of the season, and first at Fenway. It also gave the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Adding to the reason for questions, right-hander John Lackey, coming off the disabled list to make his first start since May 11, hit the third batter he faced, left-handed hitter David DeJesus, on the foot with a cutter in the first inning.

I don't know if it was intentional, said Crawford, who Anderson hit on the back of the right hand. But I know we watch video and he doesn't throw inside to lefties much. So that's all I can say about that.

But he did have a few words for Anderson as he made his way to first base.

I'll just leave that on the field, Crawford said.

Anderson made no reply, Crawford said.

The thought did occur to Crawford, though, that it might have been than a pitch that got away from the Oakland left-hander.

Oh, it's the reaction when you get hit like that right after you hit a home run off a guy, he said. You know his tendencies and you know the guy doesn't usually do that that often. So obviously thoughts are going to creep in your head. 'Did he do it intentionally?' I don't know, but I just hope he don't do that again.

Initially and on replays, it appeared Crawford got hit in the back of the shoulder. But that was not the case.

Everybody thinks it hit me on the back, but it hit me right on the top of my right hand, right on the bone, he said. I'm going to get it iced and hope that it's not sore tomorrow or, definitely, the day after.

After Crawford was hit, giving each starting pitcher one hit batter, home plate umpire Larry Vanover issued warnings to both benches. Lackey, though hit two more batters right-handed hitters Kurt Suzuki on a 1-and-2 cutter in fourth and Conor Jackson on a first-pitch cutter, with both eventually coming around to score and no penalties were imposed.

Manager Terry Francona thought the umpires took the right approach.

I thought they did a pretty good job of recognizing that you got to pitch in, Francona said. One hit his shirt. It wasnt like, when you start throwing balls behind guys and stuff you put an umpire in an unenviable position. But those balls, they were just in.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Are Red Sox entering spring training with fewer questions than ever?

Are Red Sox entering spring training with fewer questions than ever?

BOSTON -- Every year it seems like there are major issues or question marks to start spring training where the answers are up in the air.

In 2015, the Red Sox lacked an ace, had Hanley Ramirez moving to left field and Pablo Sandoval coming to town.

In 2016, Ramirez was moving back to the infield, but at a new position, and his bat was in question. Sandoval was coming off a year where he couldn’t hit his weight (he hit .245 and he last weighed in at 255 pounds). How would the starting rotation look after David Price?

This year, there seem to be three questions, but in a way, they’ve already been answered.

How will the Red Sox make up for David Ortiz’s absence?

Well, for one, the Red Sox have three Cy Young-caliber starting pitchers (Price, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello) in their rotation.

And two, Hanley Ramirez is coming off a career year with his highest career output in RBI (111) and second-highest home run total (30). And while Mitch Moreland isn’t the greatest hitter, he’s good for 20 or more home runs. Plus, it seems he’s holding a spot for a certain Red Sox prospect who’s bouncing back well from an injury.


Will Sandoval earn the starting third base job back?

The weight loss is a good sign, not only for the physical reasons, but it shows he’s mentally committed to being better.

However, that doesn’t guarantee he gets his job back.

“I’m not going to say [third base] resolved itself,” John Farrell told, “but you know Panda’s done a very good job of committing to get himself in better shape and we’re looking forward to seeing that play to in spring training.”

Even if Panda can’t put it all together, Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner, both Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge would be competing for the job as well.

Holt as plan B -- in the infield? Who wouldn’t take that?

Who’s going to start at catcher?

Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart each have their pros an cons.

Leon did it all last year, but went from hitting .383 in his first 39 games to .242 in his last 39.

Vazquez has Ivan Rodriguez-esque abilities behind the plate, but couldn’t keep the staff under control last year and cannot hit.

Swihart, who turns 25 April 3, is the youngest of the three, has the most potential at the plate, but is far and away the worst of the three defensively at the most important defensive position -- excluding pitcher -- on the field.

They all have their drawbacks, but they’ve all shown at some point why they can be the Red Sox starting catcher in the present and future.

Everywhere else, the Red Sox seem to be in a comfortable position as pitchers and catchers reporting to camp draws ever nearer.

“I think the fact that we’ve got veteran players that have done a great job in staying healthy [and] young players that are getting more establishing in their return, we’re in a pretty good place in terms of the overall status of our position player group,” Farrell told

And it seems some players are confident in the team’s options as they ready for camp.

“We’re looking good in a lot of areas,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts told “Especially the pitching staff, [since] we just got Chris Sale one of the best in the game.”

“Pablo’s definitely going to bounce back, especially with the weight he’s lost."

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner


Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.