Notes: Hits keep coming for Gonzalez

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Notes: Hits keep coming for Gonzalez

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Ten days ago, Adrian Gonzalez was on a home run tear, clubbing five in the span of four games.

Now the long balls have dried up for the time being, but the hits keep on coming.

Gonzalez was 4-for-4 in the Red Sox' 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs Sunday night, giving him two four-hit games in the span of his last three. He's hitting .342 for the season.

"I feel good,'' said Gonzalez. "I'm able to swing at the pitches I want to swing at and I'm not chasing too many pitches out of the zone. I'm just trying to execute my game plan.

"You have the same thought process all the time. It's about execution and I've been able to execute. If I know my body's going to respond the way I want it to, I'm confident.''

Gonzalez has had multiple hits in 8 of his last 13 games and is hitting .431 in that span. He now leads the American League in multihit games with 20 and also has seven games three of more hits.

The only hitter in the big leagues with more than two four-hit games this season is Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.

"He's a really good hitter,'' said Terry Francona, "and he's in a really good period, too. He hits the ball to left field. He fights off pitches and get something he can handle.''

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has seemingly found his power stroke.

The Red Sox catcher launched a homer to left in the fifth inning Sunday night, his second homer in as many games and his third in his last four starts.

"We talk a lot about catching is first and foremost for him,'' said Francona. "But he's starting to add something with the bat, and so is Jason Varitek. If they're sitting there in the ninth spot and hit a ball out every once in a while, or get a couple of hits, it certainly helps us.

"Saltalamacchia looks more confident. He should be -- he's playing better.''

Saltalamacchia has hit safely in five straight games and during that stretch is hitting .389 (7-for-18) and of his last 15 hits, eight have been for extra bases.

The Red Sox are seeing progress with two sidelined pitchers and are encouraged that both may be ready to begin rehab assignments later this week or early next.

John Lackey, sidelined with elbow inflammation, threw on the side Sunday afternoon and will throw a bullpen Tuesday in Cleveland.

"He was really upbeat, which was good to see,'' said Terry Francona.

Bobby Jenks (biceps tendinitis) played catch Sunday and will throw a side session Monday.

Meanwhile, shortstop Marco Scutaro continues to feel some discomfort from a strained oblique muscle and must wait some more before being cleared to begin taking batting practice.

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

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”