McAdam: Sox looking for arms in depleted market

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McAdam: Sox looking for arms in depleted market

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
It says everything about the quality of available starting pitchers on the trade market that the two names most closely linked to the Red Sox in the last few days are Rich Harden and Erik Bedard.

As the Red Sox hunt for other options while their own Clay Buchholz (lower back) continues his rehab, they're left contemplating two starters who have had difficulty staying healthy.

The left-handed Bedard (knee) is coming off the disabled list Friday for a start against Tampa Bay which will be monitored by the Red Sox and other pitching-starved clubs. Of course, injuries are nothing new for Bedard, who hasn't pitched more than 90 innings in a single season since 2007 and has totalted just 45 starts over the last 3 12 seasons.

It's much the same with Harden, who has topped the 100-inning plateau only twice since 2005.

Both pitchers may be worth it for the short-term. The Red Sox aren't interested in either as long-term solutions, but rather, the final two months of the season and into the post-season.

The asking price on Bedard, however, is said to be prohibitive. One team calling on Bedard said Tuesday night that the Mariners were asking a "ton'' in return, which signals just how thin the pitching market is, or, at the very least, the Mariners' over-inflated sense of Bedard's worth.

Buchholz's mound session Monday was encouraging, and Wednesday's follow-up will be critical. If Buchholz can continue to make progress without feeling restricted, the Sox can reasonably expect to have him back in the rotation by the end of August.

If his comeback effort were to be slowed, however, the Red Sox desperation for pitching help might be intensified.

Andrew Miller's rough outing Tuesday (seven runs on nine hits in just 3 23 innings) was evidence that the lefty remains a work in progress.

Without Buchholz in the picture, the Sox would need to start both John Lackey and either Miller or Tim Wakefield in an ALCS, when four starters are required.

But upgrades, as they are finding, are not easy to come by. The Sox continue to check in with the Colorado Rockies on Ubaldo Jimenez, but they're behind the Yankees and at least one other National League suitor (Cincinnati?) for the righthander.

The Yankees could package catcher Jesus Montero and at least one other high-end prospect for Jimenez, while the Red Sox inventory of top-level prospects has been thinned by the Adrian Gonzalez deal last December.

(The Yankees' starting rotation need, it should be noted, is greater than that of the Red Sox).

Moreover, the Red Sox continue to ask -- as executives with other teams have wondered -- why Jimenez is on the market at all. At just 27, Jimenez is signed through the end of 2012 with two affordable team options (5.75 million in 2013 and 8 million in 2014), making his availability something of a red flag.

Said one executive recently: "If (the Rockies) are shopping him, that tells me he's either hurt or they think he'll get hurt.''

A Rockies scout was at Fenway Tuesday, indicating that the Red Sox are least somewhat involved on Jimenez. (The Red Sox have a passing interest in Colorado outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, but he would fetch only an average prospect, and not someone off Boston's 25-man roster.)

Meanwhile, the continued standout play of Josh Reddick (1.022 OPS) means the Red Sox' search for an outfielder has been placed on the back burner.

While the likes of Spilborghs and Reed Johnson are still somewhat in play, one baseball source said deals for secondary outfielders are likely to intensify only after trades involving Carlos Beltran and B.J. Upton are made.

The Sox have not inquired on Upton, knowing full well that the Rays won't deal him within the division, especially since he has a contract through the end of next season.

Texas, Atlanta and San Francisco are the teams most involved on Beltran, with the Red Sox lurking in the background -- interested, but only to a point, given the asking price.

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

White Sox suspend Chris Sale over uniform flap

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White Sox suspend Chris Sale over uniform flap

CHICAGO - The Chicago White Sox were set to wear throwback uniforms. Chris Sale had other ideas.

The White Sox suspended their ace five days without pay for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

The team announced the punishment on Sunday after Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 - the cost of the destroyed jerseys - according to a person familiar with the penalty. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

"Obviously we're all extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this issue at this time both from the standpoint of the club as well as Chris' perspective," general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's unfortunate that it has become this level of an issue and potential distraction taking away from what we're trying to accomplish on the field."

Sale was not expected at the ballpark on Sunday. He is eligible to return Thursday against the crosstown Cubs at Wrigley Field, though Hahn would not say if the left-hander would start that game.

The Major League Baseball Players Association declined comment, spokesman Greg Bouris said. Sale could ask the union to file a grievance.

FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.

Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.

The incident comes with the White Sox in a tailspin after a 23-10 start and Sale's name circulating in trade rumors.

"The actions or behaviors of the last 24 hours does not change in any aspect, any respect, our belief that Chris Sale can help this club win a championship and win multiple championships," Hahn said. "It does not move the needle one iota in terms of his value to this club, his value to any other club that may be interested in his services or the likelihood of him being moved or kept whatsoever. None of that stuff is impacted at all by these events."

The incident does raise some questions in general about throwback uniforms, how players feel about them and whether they should be forced to wear jerseys that aren't comfortable - particularly starting pitchers.

"If I'm playing with Chris Sale I want him to pitch," Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "If he wants to play with no shirt, we play with no shirt. I just want him to pitch."

New York Yankees pitcher Chasen Shreve said: "Pitchers like their stuff. Me, it doesn't bother me, but for him, obviously it does. It's crazy. I don't think I'm that bad."

White Sox pitcher James Shields wouldn't comment on whether players should be made to wear throwback jerseys. But he did say: "I don't really mind the throwbacks. I haven't had any issues with that."

Manager Robin Ventura said players occasionally wearing uniforms they don't like comes with the job.

"But you wear it," he said. "If you want to rip it after, you can rip it up after. I've seen guys rip it up after."

Hahn said throwback uniforms the White Sox wore last season were a bit baggy so the team took measurements in spring training so they would fit the players better. He also mentioned the money the uniforms generate.

"Part of the element of being in position to win a championship is the revenue side of the operation and respect for their reasonable requests to increase revenue," Hahn said.

This wasn't the first flare-up involving the 27-year-old Sale, who is known for his competitive streak and strict training regimen.

He was openly critical of team executive Ken Williams during spring training when he said Drake LaRoche, the son of teammate Adam LaRoche, would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung the LaRoches' jerseys in his locker.

He was also suspended five games by Major League Baseball last season for his role in a brawl at Kansas City that started with a flare-up between teammate Adam Eaton and the Royals' Yordano Ventura. Sale went to the Royals clubhouse after he got tossed and was seen pounding on the door.

Hahn said the punishment was unrelated to previous incidents. He also said the two had a "very candid" meeting in his office with Sale after the pitcher had some exchanges with staff members in the clubhouse and that both "expressed remorse." They spoke again on Sunday.

"At that point last night Chris stood by his actions," Hahn said. "Part of what makes Chris great, part of what makes him elite, is his passion and commitment. We've seen that sometimes spill out from between the white lines. Yesterday was one of those instances and it unfortunately led to events that required discipline."