Notes: Ortiz launches appeal of suspension


Notes: Ortiz launches appeal of suspension

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Ortiz has launched an appeal of his four-game suspension, handed down Thursday after his role in a bench-clearing brawl last week, but sidestepped any comments about the punishment.

"I can give you an answer after I go through the whole thing,'' said Ortiz. "I can't really talk about it right now. But I'm appealing and whenever I hear back from (MLB and MLBPA) I can let you know.''

Ortiz was hopeful that the appeal will be held soon.

"I can't really talk to you guys about it right now. But I will. I'll tell you what I was thinking, what I thought was right and I'll tell you what I'm going to get.''

He was unsure whether the appeal might be heard before Monday night when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore.

"I don't know,'' he said. "I haven't heard anything.''

Asked if there was the potential for a carryover from the last series when the teams meet next week, Ortiz said: "Hopefully not. Not from my side. You saw what happened already. You saw another guy (Mike Gonzalez) throw (behind) me (Sunday) and you saw my reaction. I was surprised they were still carrying it over (two days later).

"But let's see. Major League Baseball is always doing the right thing to make sure we don't get into that too much. Hopefully, everyone can turn the page.''

Ortiz joked that in an effort to not be hit, he "got skinny as (Andrew) Miller,'' when Gonzalez threw behind him Sunday.

Reflecting back on the series with the Orioles, Ortiz said: "Sometimes you get put in situations and you either act like you don't care or you do what you've got to do. I got caught up in a situation and you just move on.

"I don't want anyone looking at you like you're a punk. I'm a grown-ass man. I respect everybody and that's why I have a lot of friends around the league because that's the way it's supposed to be.

"When we cross the lines, you've got to play the game the way it's supposed to be and that's about it.''

- Shortstop Jed Lowrie (bruised shoulder nerve) feels improvement though there's still some fatigue in the area.

"He's doing better,'' said Terry Francona. "I bet you he's not too far off from starting to swing a bat. Maybe in Baltimore; maybe that's a little too quick. But I bet you in the not-too-distant future.''

- Jon Lester, who is on the DL with a strained lat muscle, threw Friday afternoon from a distance of 90 feet at Tropicana Field and will stretch out to 120 feet Saturday. After a day off, he'll throw a side session in Baltimore Friday.

Lester is eligible to come off the DL Thursday and has told the team he think he'll be able to go Friday when the club begins a homestand.

Francona, however, thinks that might be a little premature.

"I think he thinks he's going to be ready to do that,'' said Francona. "I don't know. When he pitches, we're not going to mess it up. There are a few things to think about. He feels he's going to be more than ready, so that's good news."

- Yamaico Navarro got the start in left field, with Darnell McDonald in right field against Tampa Bay lefty David Price.

"We've got some lefties,'' said Francona. "Some of it's going to be determined by how he hits and how other guys hit. Carl (Crawford) is going to be back in a couple of days; until then, we're just trying to get as much production as we can.''

Francona said Navarro "looks real comfortable (in the outfield). It's actually pretty impressive. Wherever you put him, he's got that nice feel. There's no panic. He's really athletic. He looks go out there.''

- Daisuke Matsuzaka was in the clubhouse, traveling up from nearby Fort Myers, where he's rehabbing following his recent Tommy John surgery.

"He just wanted to check in,'' said Francona. "He looks good. He's got nice range of motion (with his right arm); it's nice to see him.''

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

Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A


Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

NEW YORK -- Following a six-walk effort Thursday in Chicago, Henry Owens found himself optioned back to Pawtucket Friday, removed from the Red Sox rotation after three sub-par starts.

Owens lasted just three-plus innings Thursday, and allowed two runs. In three starts since being promoted to replace Joe Kelly in the Red Sox rotation, Owens walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing 13 hits for a ghastly 2.108 WHIP and a 5.11 ERA.

"Henry needs to go back and learn to command his fastball with more consistency,'' said John Farrell. "He's got an outstanding changeup that can get him back in some counts and get him away from some damage. But the strike-throwing is a priority here.''

In addition to wildness, Owens saw his velocity dip, with his fastball topping out at 90 mph most times.

But Farrell insisted there isn't a physical issue with the lefty.

"One thing that we can for sure rule out is health,'' said Farrell. "There's no health issues at play here. I think when a pitcher's delivery is not in sync, he's not getting the most power out of it (in terms of velocity). And then, with the strike throwing, it becomes a confidence factor. I don't want to say he was tentative or it was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you're feeling for pitches to try to get them in the strike zone, there might be a tentativeness that takes over.''

Owens has a quality changeup that can throw off hitters' timing and get weak contact, as happened Thursday night. But that pitch is only effective when he can set it up more with his fastball.

"That creates a little more margin for error,'' said Farrell of the changeup as a weapon, "but you've got to be in the strike zone first.''

Owens seemed to regress some from last year, when he was 4-4 in 11 starts with a 4.57 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning in three straight starts in September.

"It's the second time he's been in the big leagues with us,'' said Farrell. "When the opportunity presents, you take it and run with it. I felt last year, he pitched effectively. He pitched very good at times. There were a couple of starts where he didn't have his best stuff, but he found his way into the sixth or into the seventh inning. That was (what we were hoping for) last year. OK, he's battling but he's finding a way to get through it.

"As far as his opportunity, I'm sure he'll back to us at some point.''

Asked if the Red Sox had expected more from Owens, Farrell didn't mince words.

"Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,'' said Farrell.

Owens was replaced on the roster by Sean O'Sullivan, who was with the club here Friday afternoon and in the bullpen, at least temporarily.

He could take Owens's spot in the rotation Tuesday.

"He's a candidates, yes,'' said Farrell.

O'Sullivan is with his fifth different organization, having pitched with the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies.

He signed with the Red Sox last winter as a free agent, in part attracted by the presence of pitching coordinator Brian Bannister, a one-time teammate of O'Sullivan with the Royals. Bannister has taken an innovative, analytical approach to pitching and has already helped O'Sullivan.

"When he was in (spring training) camp,'' said Farrell, "he showed more arm strength than anticipated. The strike-throwing has been above-average for him. A veteran guy who's pitched at this level for extended outings. We felt like that dependability and durability were also a factor in getting him here.''

Farrell credited an improved cutter and "more consistent location down in the strike one,'' accounting for O'Sullivan's improved results at Triple A.

O'Sullivan wasn't on the 40-man roster until Friday, when he was added. The Sox shifted third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the 60-day DL to make room.


Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees


Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Rick Porcello attempts to increase his record to 6-0 as he starts tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York.

Tonight's lineups:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DB
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Rick Porcello P

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Aaron Hicks RF
Didi Gregorius SS
Ronnie Torreyes 3B
Michael Pineda P


McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox


McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

Sean McAdam talks with Toucher & Rich about the good start the Red Sox have gotten off to this season, playing well on the road and for the most part taking care of business.