Notes: McDonald tweaks thumb


Notes: McDonald tweaks thumb

By Sean McAdam

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Darnell McDonald left the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the Phillies on Monday after the top of the third inning with a jammed right thumb, but the move was out of precaution more than anything else.

McDonald had surgery on the thumb last October, making the Red Sox extra vigilant.

"It just puffed up on him a little bit after an at-bat in the second inning," said Terry Francona. "He wanted to stay in. I just didn't want to undo a really good spring. We'll give him the day off Tuesday and then we're off Wednesday. He's fine. He said he took a swing and it hurt him a little bit. I just didn't want to mess with it.

"With the surgery, that's why I wanted to get him out of there. He said it had been a little bit sore for the past week. With the day off coming up, let's get him back feeling good."

Nate Spears, who had started the game at third base, shifted to left field with Ryan Khoury taking over at third.

McDonald wasn't the only injury victim Monday. Longtime clubhouse attendant Tom McLaughlin, stationed in the Boston dugout, was hit in the face with a splinter of a bat when Jacoby Ellsbury's bat shattered to lead off the game.

McLaughin was cut on the bridge of his nose, but was otherwise OK.

"It's amazing what some people do to get on TV,'' cracked Francona, noting that the game was televised by ESPN. "He got a little cut on his nose. But I was the only casuality. That's the quickest I've moved. I've got a little bit of a sore left hamstring.

"I was actually scared when he dropped his head. I thought he was hurt.''

McLaughlin joked that he suffered only a "broken eyebrow."

While the Sox and Phils played 140 or so miles to the north, four pitchers who stayed behind in Fort Myers were kept busy.

Felix Doubront, who has been slowed by left elbow tenderness, tossed a two-inning, 30-pitch simulated game. Doubront will throw a live batting practice session in a few days, then appear in a game before the Red Sox leave Florida next Tuesday.

Bobby Jenks also pitched a simulated game, throwing 17 pitches over an inning.

Jonathan Papelbon, pitching for Single A Greenville at the Red Sox' minor-league complex, gave up a hit and two walks over an inning and a third. He also had a strikeout. Of Papelbon's 28 pitches, 14 were for strikes.

Daniel Bard gave up four hits in an inning, pitching in the same game as Papelbon. He had one strikeout, with 16 strikes in his 26 pitches.

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

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.