Notes: Aceves to replace Buchholz vs. Yankees

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Notes: Aceves to replace Buchholz vs. Yankees

By Sean McAdam and JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Alfredo Aceves, who has pitched well this spring, will face his former teammates Monday night. Aceves will start against the New York Yankees, taking the place of Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz faced the Yanks 10 days ago in Tampa, but the Sox don't want one of their starters facing a division rival twice in spring training.

That gives Aceves a chance to impress. For now, the thinking is to have Aceves start the season in the Pawtucket rotation, offering some depth in case a Red Sox starter is either hurt or ineffective. But Aceves could also open with a spot in the Boston bullpen.

Buchholz is scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday afternoon, tossing 55-60 pitches, covering four or five innings.

"I think it's going to be good,'' said Buchholz. "There are things I can work on without having to feel like I have to do something in a real game. Obviously, there are things you have to work on every time out. But I think it's going to be a better atmosphere for me, to do it there, rather than try to do it in a game. It will be sort of an off-day kind of thing to get where I need to be.''

Buchholz plans to work on his curveball command, which has been off somewhat this spring.

"I've been trying to throw it more for strikes rather than using it as a finish pitch,'' he said. "The feel, spin . . . everything's good. It's more of a release point for me. It's more about command and Monday will be a good day to work on that.''

Felix Doubront, who was shut down earlier in camp with soreness in his left elbow, tossed his second bullpen session of the spring Sunday, though he was limited to mostly fastballs.

"Nothing in terms of pain today when I was throwing,'' reported Doubront. "Let's see tomorrow how I'm feeling.''

Doubront mixed in 5-to-10 changeups at the end of his session, but the real test for the elbow will come when he begins throwing breaking pitches.

"I have to make sure nothing's bothering me when I throw fastballs and changeups first,'' he said. "Maybe the next bullpen I'll try curveballs. That's the test.''

Doubront will have at least two more bullpen sessions before graduating to live batting practice. He estimated that he's probably two weeks from getting into a game.

"I could get ready to pitch in relief pretty fast,'' he said. "But as a starter, I'm going to have to take my time. I'm not ready to start and throw five innings. I'm behind, but I'm better than I was a couple of weeks ago.'' Lars Anderson still knows he has plenty to prove to himself both on and off the field, but getting a taste of the Major Leagues in a callup last September certainly helped in plenty of areas.Anderson isnt the Golden Boy prospect he might have been a couple of seasons ago as he worked his way up the Boston organizational ladder, and he certainly wouldnt appear to be the future at first base for the Sox after the arrival of Adrian Gonzalez last winter.But Anderson still has talent, value and oodles of power as he showed off on Sunday afternoon in Bradenton with a pair of hits including a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to right field on an 0-and-2 pitch.The two hits and two runs lifted his spring average up to .182, and the fact that Anderson is now showing some spring pop in front of the big league coaching staff is something that Terry Francona noted.Ive seen him hit a couple of home runs now. Ive seen him hit the ball to left-center on a single and then he turns on a ball and hits a home run, said Francona. Thats what he has to do. Hes going to play first base, so youve got to hear some noise. Hes starting to show that.When he first came to spring training three years ago he was a little ill at ease. Hes kind of growing into it. Hes smart enough to know that even though Gonzalez is here -- if he does what hes supposed to do you dont see too many guys that belong in the big leagues that arent there. Things have a way of working out, and he knows he needs to just go out and play.Anderson hit .200 with 4 RBI in 43 plate appearances for the injury-plagued Sox last season, but hes well aware that he still has plenty to learn at the age of 23. The slugger worked hard on his defense in the offseason, and knows that major-league power can be one of the last things to come along in a hitter's development.Its like any spring Ive ever had. One day youre feeling good, the next day you have no idea, and then youre feeling better again the day after that, said Anderson. Springs are always a roller coaster for me. Theres still a newness to it every year, and where youre at individually that particular year.I would say generally, yes being with the Sox last September helped, because you know the routine, the times and you know the ballparks and staff a little bit. But Ive changed so much in a year that its always a different vibe. I think I see the world a little differently with some different ambitions and goals. Im learning a little bit every day. When asked about Adrian Gonzalez proclaiming on Sunday morning at City of Palms Park that he wanted to play all 162 games for the Red Sox this season, Francona didnt seem to have all that much of a protest.I would have no problem with that, said a smiling Francona with a chuckle.

Francona indicated that he thought Gonzalez and Carl Crawford would both be in the lineup Monday against the New York Yankees at City of Palms Park, but that some of the starters would only play a few innings against the Bronx Bombers. If a player is headed to Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday afternoon, they wont be in the lineup for very long.Well have a lot of guys playing tomorrow, and theyll just be playing short if theyre in the lineup vs. the Tigers, said Francona. Daisuke Matsuzakas baseball career has been one big adjustment since coming to the Red Sox prior to the 2007 seasons, and that continues with new Boston pitching coach Curt Young. The Sox are convincing Matsuzaka to break up the days when he throws long toss and goes for his side session in an effort to get him into more of a regular routine the rest of the pitching staff observes.Young and Matsuzaka had been talking about throwing his side a day later. With what Matsuzaka has been doing over the course of his career, in Japan, they had the extra day, said Francona. So hed have long toss and then side. Here hes been doing it on the same day. Hes always done it. He was adamant that he would do it. Curts trying to get him where he doesnt do it on the same day. We asked him, Hey, just try it. Thats what were attempting to do. Francona said that he should have a Red Sox Opening Day starter to announce by the end of this week. Jon Lester is the leading candidate.
Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

A farewell to the many prospects Dave Dombrowski traded Tuesday

A farewell to the many prospects Dave Dombrowski traded Tuesday

A baseball lesson: There’s trading a top prospect because you know he’s not as good as everyone thinks (a la the Atlanta Braves back in the day with Andy Marte) and then there’s straight-up dumping out the treasure chest because you’re Dave GD Dombrowski and you’ll be damned if “promise” is going to get in the way of you making a zillion trades… a la Dave Dombrowski.  

Since the start of the 2016 season, Dombrowski has traded four of his top 10 prospects by Baseball America’s rankings, and three of his top five. The group is led by Yoan Moncada, who was considered the team’s best prospect before he was shipped to Chicago in Tuesday’s blockbuster trade for Chris Sale. 

All in all, the Sox sent out six prospects in two trades Tuesday, and they’ll join the likes of Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot and others with whom Dombrowski has willingly parted since taking over as Boston’s president of baseball operations. 

Here’s a look at the players the Sox gave up Tuesday: 

YOAN MONCADA, 2B 
Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 1
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 1

Moncada’s eight games in the Major Leagues to this point haven’t been impressive, but using that as rationale (as some may have when the Sox traded a young Hanley Ramirez in the Josh Beckett trade) is likely wishful thinking. 

The Cuban infielder was ranked the No. 1 prospect in baseball by Baseball America last season. The outlet projects him as a five-tool player whose potential to hit for average and power will outweigh strikeout concerns. 

From August: 

Built like a running back at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Moncada is an explosive athlete with true five-tool potential. A switch-hitter, Moncada has electric bat speed, which combined with his strength allows him to smash hard line drives all over the field. He has at least plus raw power, with that power starting to translate more in games thanks to mechanical adjustments he’s worked on this season.  

MICHAEL KOPECH, RHP
Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 5
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 5

A first-round pick of the Sox in the 2014 draft, Kopech has yet to reach Double A, but, per two radar guns, has reached 105 miles an hour with his fastball. If that number is accurate, it ranks just one tenth of a mile-per-hour behind Arolis Chapman’s 2010 fastball for the fastest pitch recorded. 

Regardless of the pitch’s exact speed, it does damage. Pitching in High-A Salem last season, Kopech struck out a whopping 82 batters in 52 innings. 

LUIS ALEXANDER BASABE, OF 
Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 9 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 8

The switch-hitting outfielder spent most of last season in Single-A Greenville, hitting .258/.325/.447 in 105 games with 12 homers and 52 RBI. The Venezuela native is considered a decent fielder with a very good arm. 

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same first and last name as twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dombrowski also traded him over the last year when he shipped the second baseman to Arizona in the Brad Ziegler trade. 

MAURICIO DUBON, SS/2B
(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 17

Maybe the kind of guy you want to keep on the same day you trade Yoan Moncada. 

Dubon is considered a very solid infield prospect, so much so that The Boston Globe noted Tuesday that “teams were absolutely drooling over Dubon’s defense and his offensive potential.” He finished the season at Double-A Portland, hitting .339/.371/.538 with six homers, six triples and 40 RBI. 

VICTOR DIAZ, RHP
(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
 MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 28

The hard-throwing righty reportedly hit triple digits with his fastball this season and, like Kopech, used his fastball to his advantage. He struck out 63 batters in 60.1 innings for Single-A Greenville

JOSH PENNINGTON, RHP 
(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: N/A

This is an interesting one. He was drafted as a project in the 2014 draft after learning that he would need Tommy John Surgery. He was starting to make good on his potential this past season, posting a 2.86 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 56.2 innings for Short-Season A Lowell. 

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Dave Dombrowski has jumped in. All in. With both feet.

MORE ON THE TRADE

For an executive with a reputation for making bold moves, Dombrowski may have made his boldest one yet Tueday by shipping arguably the organization's best position player prospect (Yoan Moncada) and its best pitching prospect (Michael Kopech), along with two others, to the Chicago White Sox for lefty ace Chris Sale.

Adding Sale to a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price gives the Red Sox the American League's best rotation and makes the Sox the team to beat in the A.L.

Hired 17 months ago with a mandate to make the Red Sox winners again after three last-place finishes in the span of four seasons, Dombrowski has acted aggressively and decisively.

Since then, he's obtained Price, Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Thornburg and Sale. That translates into three lefty starters and three back-end power arms in the bullpen.

Of course, all those moves have come at a significant cost. Dombrowski has gone through the Red Sox' minor-league system and shredded it, sacrificing Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and now, Moncada and Kopech.

The pitching, in particular, has been stripped bare, with Espinoza and Kopech representing the two best arms in the system. And in Moncada, the Sox gave up on arguably the single most talented propsect in the entire sport.

At a time when teams protect their best young players as though their existence depends on them, Dombrowski has demonstrated a willingess to move them for a chance to win now.

In exchange, the Sox have now built a super rotation, with three front-line starters, augmented by two other lefties (Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez) along with Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz.

It's a virtual certainty that the Sox will move one of those arms now, in a market where there's virtually no quality free-agent starters available.

Buchholz, who stands to earn $13.5 million in 2017, would give them payroll relief, while Rodriguez, because of his youth and upside, might give the team its biggest return.

Dombrowski's moves create a window for the Red Sox. Sale's deal runs through 2019, while Price has an opt-out in his deal after 2018.

That creates some urgency for the Red Sox to capitalize on the strength of their rotation and a nucleus of young position players -- Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi -- and win multiple titles in the next few seasons.

Anything less will be considered a failure.

It's championship-or-bust time at Fenway.