Gonzalez 'feels good' after first swings of spring


Gonzalez 'feels good' after first swings of spring

By Sean McAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It may have been only 20-25 swings off a tee, taken in the early morning, in the solitude of the batting cages.

But it was a nice return to baseball activity for Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez swung for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder last October, putting him on the road back to recovery a little earlier than expected.

Originally, Gonzalez was to go visit Dr. David Altchek this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. But Altchek was delayed in arriving and the Sox instead decided to have their own medical director, Dr. Tom Gill, speak with Altchek by phone Sunday. As Gill described what he found in his routine physical last Friday, Altchek gave Gonzalez clearance to begin swinging off a tee.

"I felt good,'' said Gonzalez. "They said four months after surgery to start swinging and today is four months plus a day, so I'm on schedule. I didn't hold back. I took good, healthy swings and I felt fine.

"You're waiting to see if you feel something different and I didn't, so that's a good sign . . . The only thing I had any concerns with were the first couple of swings, see how it responded. Once the first two swings felt great, it was just like taking 18 more swings.''

Gonzalez will also swing off a tee Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a day off from swinging Thursday. At that point, he'll be revaluated and perhaps starting taking regular batting practice.

"I've been ready to swing,'' said Gonzalez. "It was just a matter of getting the clearance. First, it was today that I was going to see the doctor, then it was pushed back to a couple of days later and Altchek still hadn't reported to New York Mets' camp. We didn't know exactly what day it was going to be, so we just kind of turned it around and had Dr. Gill give him a call.

"Dr. Gill checked me during the physicals and on his take, I was good, so we just went ahead with it . . . We'll just take it a day at a time.''

Gonzalez reiterated that he feels he'll be ready for the April 1 regular season opener.

"Even if I had started swinging March 1, I was on pace to start April 1,'' said Gonzalez. "Shoulder's healthy, so it's just like normal.''

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

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake