Gonzalez's life much different in Boston


Gonzalez's life much different in Boston

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BOSTON -- Some three months into his first regular season with the Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez has adjusted to life in Boston and in the American League.

"I would say the games are longer,'' he said, "and there's a lot more runs scored here at Fenway (comapred to cavernous Petco Park).''

Of course, Gonzalez has had something to do with the longer games and the additional runs. After Monday night's 3-for-5 performance in the Red Sox' 14-5 thrashing of his former team, the Padres, he leads the major leagues in batting average (.353), RBI (67), total bases (180), extra-base hits (43) and doubles (25).

Strategy is different between the leagues, with more "small ball'' and bunts utilized in the National League.

"The game itself is different between the leagues,'' he said. "In the National League, you've got the pitcher, the bunt situations . . . there's a lot of different aspects.''

Off the field, of course, there are huge differences.

"The atmposhere at Fenway, it's always a packed crowd,'' he said. "I think off the field, walking around town, it's pretty similar between San Diego and here. The fans are great in both places. The biggest difference is that here, it's sold-out every night and Red Sox Nation is a lot greater on the road as well.''

Gonzalez said he tries not to "focus on the stuff outside the lines. That's something that has definitely helped me. I've always said I just answer the questions that are asked and go about it. I don't look into other things.''

"I think he has enjoyed the intensity of playing here,'' said manager Terry Francona. "I think that's what we certainly hope when we get players. Quite honestly, that's not always the case. This is a little bit different place to play.''

In the field, Gonzalez finds some of his talents wasted since the A.L. has far fewer bunt situations. Gonzalez always took pride in being an "aggressive first baseman,'' who could field bunts and throw to cut down the lead runner. In the A.L., he gets few opportunties to do that.

At the plate, he's found Fenway to his liking -- his wall-ball, RBI double in the seventh Monday night, which increased Boston's lead at the time to 5-3, would have been a routine fly to left in Petco -- though he insists he hasn't varied his approach.

"This is a definitely a way better place to hit than Petco,'' he acknowledged. "That helps a lot with confidence when you go to the plate . . . But I don't focus on the stadium; I just focus on having a good at-bat. When I go up to the plate here, I'm not looking to hit The Wall. I just have my approach and that's something when I came into the league that I didn't have.

"But I learned over my five years in San Diego that you don't set your mentality to the stadium, you set it to the pitcher. Now that I'm here, I just stay with that.''

On Monday, Gonzalez had a chance to see some old friends with the Padres. He had lunch with a few ex-teammates -- Chase Headley, Will Venable and Nick Hundley -- and walked to the ballpark.

"Now,'' he said, "it's about playing the game.''

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