Gonzalez gets six at-bats in minor league game


Gonzalez gets six at-bats in minor league game

By MaureenMullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. With general manager Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, third baseinfield coach Tim Bogar, and his agent John Boggs among the onlookers, Adrian Gonzalez got six at-bats in a game at the Red Sox player development complex Wednesday afternoon.

Batting third in each of the first six innings another sign of spring training in the Pawtucket Red Sox game against the Rays Triple-A Durham Bulls, Gonzalez went 3-for-6, all singles, with a run scored and an RBI, as he makes his way back from off-season surgery on his right shoulder to prepare for full-time play in the regular season. He saw a combined 24 pitches in his plate appearances. Gonzalez did not play in the field.

It went well, Gonzalez said after his outing, a large ice pack wrapped around his right shoulder. The shoulders been feeling really good. I know for head trainer Mike Reinold, the important issue was playing back-to-back games. For me it was more getting my timing down. The first couple of days I was just hitting, just looking for a fastball. And then the last couple of days Ive been trying to actually have at-bats. It hasnt gone too well. So, it was good to be able to go up there and try to have at-bats. And then kind of mix it up and be aggressive. It felt good.

Gonzalez faced Rays' minor league right-handers Richard De Los Santos and Jeremy Hall.

Held out of games until March 12 as the Sox monitored his shoulders progress, Gonzalez has gotten just 16 plate appearances in six Grapefruit League games. By comparison, minor-league infielder Nate Spears leads the team with 56 plate appearances in 21 Grapefruit League games. Gonzalez is hitting just .143, going 2-for-14 with two walks.

Ive been seeing the ball great as far as seeing it out of the hands, seeing ball-strike, Gonzalez said. But when it comes to actually seeing a pitch I want to swing at and swinging, it just wasnt clicking. I really dont care about results because results, it doesnt really matter in spring training. It's just being able to see a strike and take a good swing at a strike with the right timing. It hasnt been there quite. So today I felt a lot better out there.

Gonzalez expects to play in the Sox remaining Grapefruit League games, except Thursday in Jupiter against the Marlins and Sunday in Sarasota against the Orioles.

He has also resumed using his regular bat instead of the lighter one which he used for most of his spring training at-bats.

Im using the right one now, he said. Today I used the normal bat. Ive been trying it out an at-bat here and there. But today I actually took it out every at-bat because they were all righties. It felt fine.

Gonzalez had surgery in October, after originally injuring his shoulder in Houston in May diving for a foul ball.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”