Notes: Francona still struggling with Gonzalez decision


Notes: Francona still struggling with Gonzalez decision

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH With right-hander Jeff Karstens (4-4, 2.54 ERA) starting for the Pirates tonight, the decision to play J.D. Drew in right field and Josh Reddick in left was a fairly easy one for Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The choice between David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez continues to be a difficult one, though. Francona said at the beginning of the week he has the option of moving Gonzalez to right field and playing Ortiz at first base in order to get two of his most productive bats in the lineup. But, he has been hesitant to make that move.

"I'm concerned that if something happened to somebody, you can't go back and undo it, Francona said. In theory, it sounds great. I'm excited by having David and Gonzie both in the lineup. But if he went out there and did something, I can't call time out and undo it. It's a little bit of an anxiety."

Francona said he would discuss the situation with general manager Theo Epstein and his coaches. Until he is comfortable making the move, he would prefer to leave things as they are.

"Everybody would love to see the at-bats in the lineup, he said We're all together on that. But there are some ramifications and we're all in it together. I told Theo: Until I'm sure, I'm not doing it. I think he's completely on board with that."

Francona acknowledged the defense would suffer by moving Gonzalez to right field and putting Ortiz at first base.

Francona will probably leave the lineup the wayit is for Sundays series finale.

"I don't think I'm going to do it Sunday, he said. I'm kind of on the fence. Since I am, I'm not sure I know what's right. But I am sure of what's not right. Until I'm positive that this is something to do, I'm going to stay away. That's how I feel. I'll probably stay away tomorrow. Reevaluate on the way to Philly. I'm hung up and I'm struggling with it and I don't want do something I'm struggling with. If we put Gonzie out there and he got hurt, I'm just not ready to do it. Maybe three, four games into this road trip . . . maybe I will. We'll see.

Although the Sox have lost three in a row two to the Padres and Friday night to the Pirates Francona will not let that affect his decision-making process.

I would never do that, he said.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the disabled list since June 8 with left back tightness, is scheduled to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Portland Saturday night. Jenks is expected to start against New Hampshire (Blue Jays).

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is making his second career start against his former team, and his first at PNC Park. He is three wins shy of 200 for his career. In his last start, at 44 years and 321 days old, he became the oldest American League pitcher to earn a win while recording six or more strikeouts in an outing of at least eight innings since Nolan Ryan did it at 45 years and 155 days on July 4, 1992, while with Texas. Asked how long Wakefield can continue to pitch, Francona replied: As long as he wants to.

Its not easy, Francona said, and as players get older they have to work harder both during the season and in the offseason to maintain their conditioning.

His knuckleball is still good, Francona said. Hes lost a couple miles an hour, but its not the same thing.

Francona on Josh Reddick, hitting .435, who is in his second call-up this season:

Hes done a terrific job. With Carl out it lessens some of the burden.

Reddicks ability to play all three outfield positions also helps, Francona said.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.