Notes: Being skipped over angered Lackey


Notes: Being skipped over angered Lackey

By SeanMcAdam

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's been two weeks since John Lackey's start was sacrificed after a rainout in order to get the Red Sox rotation back in order.

Apparently, however, Lackey hasn't forgotten what he interpreted as a slight.

Tuesday night in Oakland, he noted after his start that he "wasn't happy'' with being skipped.

Sunday, after his second strong outing (eight shutout innings in a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Lackey ratcheted up his displeasure.

"I was pissed off,'' he said looking back on being skipped.

When asked if the move had served to motivate him in his last starts (14 innings pitched, one run allowed), an agitated Lackey responded: "What do you think? What's it look like?''

Terry Francona insists the Sox weren't intending to send a message to Lackey.

"We didn't skip him because he was pitching bad,'' he said. ''We skipped him so we didn't screw up the staff. And I think he was mad. I think all competitors get like that. He wanted to come out and show what kind of pitcher he is.''

If this is what it takes to get Lackey back on track, maybe the Red Sox should have tried it earlier.

On Sunday, he consistently got ahead of hitters, threw his breaking ball for strikes on the few occasions when he fell behind, and generally cruised through the Angels lineup.

From the second through the sixth, he allowed just one base hit past the infield.

"I think he's more comfortable hitting his spots,'' volunteered catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He's not missing over the middle. He's missing more off the plate. He's got to make that first pitch count. You can't just throw it over the middle. And he didn't do that.''

Lackey is now 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against his former team.

''I think the familiarity helps a little bit, for sure,'' said Lackey. "They know what I like to do and I guess I kind of know what they might be expecting. It's a cat-and-mouse thing that's going to be ongoing.''

Carl Crawford is hitting just .171, but over the last few games, there have been encouraging signs.

For a change, Crawford isn't looking overmatched.

"He looked in between on every single swing,'' said a scout who watched him earlier this season. "Too slow on fastballs and too quick on the breaking stuff.''

That's no longer the case. He homered -- his first as a member of the Sox -- in the sixth and added a single in the eighth. Sunday represented his second straight multihit game.

"I feel good,'' said Crawford. "I hit the ball hard. When you leave the yard, it feels good. You just want to get a big hit. I've been feeling a little better. I'm not out of the woods yet; I'm still in grind mode. But the good thing is, things are starting to feel a little bit better.''

When Francona decided to sit Jed Lowrie, the Red Sox' hottest hitter, it seemed like a curious move.

But Marco Scutaro, who played shortstop over Lowrie, made his manager look smart with a walk, two hits and two runs scored.

"It's good,'' said Scutaro of his afternoon. "I'm just battling myself right now. I keep working and try to do my job when I'm in the lineup. I've got to keep fighting, but there's a long way to go.

"It's hard enough to keep your hitting stroke going even when you play every day. When I was playing every day at the start of the season, my timing was all messed up. But I just have to keep working on my hitting and be ready for everything.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at 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