Gonzalez takes 80 swings, faces live pitching

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Gonzalez takes 80 swings, faces live pitching

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Adrian Gonzalez continues to progress from the offseason surgery done on his right shoulder. On Friday afternoon, he took 80 total swings, five more than planned, including 10 off live pitching.

"If at any point I feel anything, I'm going to stop," he said. "But the fact that I didn't feel anything and head athletic trainer Mike Reinold was okay with me taking five more, that's a good sign."

Gonzalez had the surgery to clean up his right labrum in October after originally injuring it diving for a foul ball in May in Houston. He initially thought he would not be able to swing a bat for four to five months, which would have taken him to either the beginning of the spring training schedule or Opening Day.

He still has no timetable as to when he'll play in his first exhibition game.

"Like I've been saying all along, just take it one day at a time," he said. "See how it responds. See how it feels today, tomorrow, and make a decision from there as to how many swings I'm going to take. I was supposed to take a total of 75 or so today. I ended up taking 80. So I felt good out there. So we'll see how it responds tomorrow."

Gonzalez said he does not have a number in mind for his next milestone, but would like to repeat at 80 swings before advancing.

"I think I have to," he said. "I think . . . from the medical standpoint, I have to. Not that I want to or don't want to, just from a medical standpoint they want me to take this number or more. I don't know how much we'll build up to before I can play in a game. But they just want to see how it responds and build up 5 or 10 swings every day and see how it responds , see if it flairs up or if it doesn't.

"The main thing about the rehab is seeing how you come in the next day. It's not how you feel today, but it's how you're going to feel tomorrow that you're really worried about. Because they don't want me to go out there and play and come in the next day and be, like, I can't raise my arm."

Manager Terry Francona had said he was pleased with Gonzalez's progress, believing his new first baseman was ahead of schedule. Gonzalez, though, has a different perspective.

"Well, maybe that's what they thought, but, for me, I don't like to set deadlines," he said. "I don't like to . . . say, 'On this day, I have to get to here,' because then you're not going off of what I feel and I got to go off of what I feel . . . I don't want to push myself more than I have to. If I don't, maybe I can get somewhere earlier than I need to . . .

"But I'm not going to say I need to do this on a certain day."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

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Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

The Red Sox made another pitcher-for-infielder roster swap today, sending William Cuevas back to Pawtucket and bringing up Mike Miller as his replacement.

The Sox had summoned Cuevas from the PawSox over the weekend when they ran through their bullpen in Friday night's come-from-behind victory over Texas and he pitched twice against the Rangers, holding them to two hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and Sunday. Deven Marrero had been shipped out when Cuevas arrived, leaving the Sox with only one backup infielder (Marco Hernandez).

Now they have two again, with Miller making his first trip to the major leagues. He's been primarily a second baseman for Pawtucket, though he's also seen action at short and third. Miller -- the team's ninth-round selection in the 2012 draft -- had a combined .251 average in 46 games for the PawSox and six games for Double-A Portland.

However, his stay with the Red Sox will likely be as short as Cuevas'. Brock Holt may soon be ready for reactivation, after having missed more than a month because of a concussion, and he could take Miller's roster spot when he returns.

Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

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Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.