Gonzalez to OF giving Francona 'anxiety'

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Gonzalez to OF giving Francona 'anxiety'

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; BOSTON -- The Red Sox begin a nine-game interleague road trip onFriday in Pittsburgh, and manager Terry Francona said the notion of playing Adrian Gonzalez in right field -- which the Sox may do in a few games, in order to get David Ortiz' bat in the lineup in the DH-less N.L. parks -- is giving him 'anxiety'.

Gonzalez has been taking some balls out in the outfield,said Francona. Hes very willing to do it."

Francona doesn't sound as willing, but he also sounds as if he knows he doesn't have a choice.

"If you do that, my concerns are acouple things.

"One, I dont want David to go 11 days without playing.Thats not good for us, or for him.

"Two, if you put Gonzalez in right -- because thats the oneplace he says he can play -- then youre potentially either taking J.D. Drewout of the lineup or moving him to left, and weve got guys all over the place.

And then the other thing is, if something ever happened toGonzalez, Id catch a lot of expletive, and I dont want to do that.

"Sowell see. I actually had some anxiety over this one. I want to do whatsright, and Ive got to try and figure out in my own head, what is right.

Perhaps this recent anxiety is why Francona thinks thedesignated hitter should be in both leagues.

I think just from watching games, I think . . . it createsjobs for players, which I think is good, said Francona, who managed without the DH during his time in Philadelphia in the late 1990s. I think the game isactually more fun. So many times, pitchers go up there, and thats when peoplego get their popcorn.

I understand theres some so-called strategy there, but Ithink having a DH, I actually think its better. The games more fun.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

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Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

David Ortiz offers thoughtful answers and insight in this interview with Sean McAdam touching on his beginning with the Red Sox, the Boston Marathon bombings, showing up on a PED list, his impact in the dugout, and more.

You can also see pieces of the interview on CSN Friday at 6:30pm on a special Arbella Early Edition with Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni.

RELATED Special Video Series - "Big Papi - An Oral History" from CSN

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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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.