Notes: Bedard keeps his cool on mound


Notes: Bedard keeps his cool on mound

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

MINNEAPOLIS -- Erik Bedard's second start for the Red Sox was more impressive than his first, but it didn't begin that way.

Bedard, who allowed two runs on just three hits while striking out six in five innings, had a rough first inning, walking four -- including one with the bases loaded.

"Just lack of control in the first," shrugged Bedard, who dismissed any suggestion that he was the victim of a tiny strike zone by home plate umpire Tim McClelland. "I tried to battle and limit the damage . . . It could have been (a lot) worse. You have to bear down in those situations. If you let it get it out of hand, the score could have been 6-0."

"He didn't give up a big hit there (in the first)," said catcher Jason Varitek. "He continued to throw good pitches and not give in. Tim always has a smaller strike zone and he stays with it. We just couldn't get one of those borderline ones to go our way early."

Bedard threw 37 pitches in the first -- thanks to the walks -- which limited how deep into the game he could go.

From the second through the fifth, Bedard didn't walk a single batter and allowed just two hits -- both singles.

"I kept battling -- throwing strikes and keep the ball down and keep them off them balance," he said.

Bedard will get an extra day before pitching again and predicted, now that he got up to 90 pitches, the next outing will be treated without any limitations.

"Physically, I feel fine," said Bedard, who missed a month with a knee injury before coming to the Red Sox at the trade deadline.

Monday night, David Ortiz's two-run homer helped the Red Sox stage a comeback and earn a win over the Twins.

Tuesday night, he delivered the game-winner in the seventh with a swinging bunt that traveled about 30 feet.

With the bases loaded and Phil Dumatrait on the mound, Ortiz swung and barely topped a ball to the right of the pitcher's mound.

When Dumatrait stumbled trying to field it, Ortiz reached safely and Dustin Pedroia scored what proved to be the winning run.

"I was live-stepping," cracked Ortiz of motoring down the line.

Asked what was more satisfying: a 438-foot bomb or an infield chopper, Ortiz said: "It all depends on the situation. To win a game, I'll take both of them. I'm glad it was a (hit)."

It took a few days, but the RBI which David Ortiz lost due to an official scorer's call last week was given to him Tuesday, thanks to a ruling by Major League Baseball.

Official scorer Chaz Scoggins of the Lowell Sun ruled last Wednesday that Ortiz wouldn't be awarded a second RBI because of an error made by Cleveland outfielder Austin Kearns.

MLB has a committee to review controversial calls upon appeal and Tuesday, it ruled in Ortiz's favor.

Ortiz had complained bitterly over the scoring change, and burst into a Terry Francona pre-game press conference the following day to complain.

An ESPNDeportes story over the weekend, meanwhile, suggested Ortiz was upset that the Red Sox had not approached him about a contract extension.

"We love David around here," said Dustin Pedroia. "He's been so great for so long for this organization. He's got so many big hits. I can't imagine him playing for somebody else."

"We love David, we want David here. Everyone wants David here. He wants to be here. So, the business side of baseball, it works itself out. The kind of year he's having definitely puts pressure on the organization to sign him back.

Even seven hits in his previous two games couldn't keep Marco Scutaro in the Red Sox lineup Monday night. Francona gave him the night off, with Jed Lowrie getting the start at short.

"He's scuffled against (Twins starter Francisco Liriano) a little bit," said Francona of Scutaro, noting the batter's 1-for-9 history. "I want to give guys a break. I wanted to play Lowrie (against Liriano), then we'll give Jed a day (off Wednesday).

"We're just trying to look ahead and make sure it fits. I think you have a responsibility to do the right thing for your team. I think it's common sense."

Reliever Bobby Jenks was released from a Boston hospital Monday. The Red Sox hope that Jenks feels well enough to go to Fenway Wednesday and began some throwing.

Outfielder J.D. Drew took some swings off some flips from hitting coach Dave Magadan both Monday and Tuesday. He'll hit in the cage either Wednesday or Friday in Seattle. Drew has been on the DL for the past three weeks with an impingement of his left shoulder.

Somewhat unnoticed Monday night was the fact that closer Jonathan Papelbon became the first to record at least 25 saves in each of his six full seasons.

Papelbon has successfully converted his last 20 save opportunities, dating back to May 13.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

IRVING, Texas -- Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides.

"It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text message.

In announcing the agreement, Major League Baseball and the players' association said they will make specific terms available when drafting is complete.

"Happy it's done, and baseball is back on," Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said.

As part of the deal, the experiment of having the All-Star Game determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series will end after 14 years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.

Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.

Another important change: The minimum time for a stint on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.

The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.

Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above.

Union head Tony Clark, presiding over a negotiation for the first time, said in a statement the deal "will benefit all involved in the game and leaves the game better for those who follow."

Key changes involve the qualifying offers clubs can make to their former players after they become free agents - the figure was $17.2 million this year. If a player turns down the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team forfeits an amateur draft pick, which usually had been in the first round under the old deal.

Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.

A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.

Among other details:

-For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.

-While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.

-There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

-Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.

-The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.

-The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.

-The drop-off in slot values in the first round of the amateur draft will be lessened.

-Oakland's revenue-sharing funds will be cut to 75 percent next year, 50 percent in 2018, 25 percent in 2019 and then phased out.

-As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.

Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before the old contract expired, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011.

Talks took place at a hotel outside Dallas where the players' association held its annual executive board meeting.

Clark, the first former player to serve as executive director of the union, and others set up in a meeting room within earshot of a children's choir practicing Christmas carols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years. The 2002 agreement was reached after players authorized a strike and about 3 1/2 hours before the first game that would have been impacted by a walkout.

The peace in baseball is in contrast to the recent labor histories of other major sports. The NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, the NBA lost 240 games to a lockout that same year and the NHL lost 510 games to a lockout in 2012-13.