Notes: Red Sox not too high on Sunday's win

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Notes: Red Sox not too high on Sunday's win

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON After an outstanding performance by Josh Beckett Sunday night and taking two of three from the Yankees over the weekend for their first wins of the season, it would be understandable if the mood in the Red Sox clubhouse Monday afternoon were a little more upbeat.

But, manager Terry Francona hopes observers see no difference.

As much as we love to win, I hope that when we come into the clubhouse the next day it's hard to tell, he said. That's what were striving for because it's a tough way to go through the year. If you walk through the clubhouse the next day and you're basing your feelings on what you did the night before, it's hard. Try to come in the same way every day. But when you see Beckett pitch like he did, it's exciting.

But, he was happy for his team to start settling into the routine of the regular season, putting Opening Days and the Yankees series behind them.

Its nothing against the media but theres a lot of people that you see once and they all want part of your day, he said. Itll be nice to be able to go out and play. Yeah, I agree with that. Whether you call it getting into the grind or whatever, but getting into our normal routine and taking our BP at our normal time, theres not a lot of stuff going on. Yeah, it does help.

With the win Sunday, Beckett improved to 1-1 (2.08 ERA). It was his 11th career game with 10 or more strikeouts, sixth with the Red Sox, and first since July 27, 2009, against Oakland.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is making his 100th career start, posting a record of 46-28 overall, with 544 strikeouts. Since 1919, he only Red Sox pitcher with more strikeouts at that point in his career in Roger Clemens with 646. The only pitchers with more wins are Clemens (56), Boo Ferriss (55), Tex Hughson (50), and Mel Parnell.

Matsuzaka enters the game with a career record against the Rays of 2-6 (5.09) in 12 starts. In three starts in 2010, he was 0-2 (8.62).

Francona said Adrian Gonzalez, who was hit on the left hand and the right pinky and ring finger by a CC Sabathia pitch, was fine.

Carl Crawford is equally surprised by his current teams and old teams starts.

"I'm surprised about that, he said. It's funny the way things work out.

He still keeps tabs on his former team and teammates.

"It's my former team so you watch them a little bit, he said. I'm close to the guys over there so you watch them a little bit. We're friends. At some point we're going to play better just like I think they're going to play better. They have a good pitching staff. Their starters are really good. They got guys in the lineup who can hit. Just got to be careful with them."

Crawford, who is hitting just .132 entering Mondays game, doesnt feel that he has been pressing at the plate, but might have been earlier in the season. Although he went 0-for-5 yesterday, he hit the ball hard in several of his at-bats.

"I wasn't pressing yesterday, he said. Hitting ball well. Just got to find the hole. I hope I'm turning the corner. Things haven't been going my way so far. Just have to keep playing.

Francona, likewise, does not see his lead-off hitter pressing.

Francona sees a couple of reasons for his teams struggles with runners in scoring position.

One is you probably try to do maybe a little too much, he said. The other things is like last night Sabathia, hes a pretty smart pitcher too. The things we talk about when we go into a series, theyre doing the same thing and hes able to navigate around some people. Thats just the nature with good pitchers. Theres certain guys theyre going to stay away from and theres not much you can do about it.

Crawford will receive his 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in an on-field pregame ceremony. It was the first time he has earned each honor.

With left-hander David Price starting for the Rays Tuesday, Francona said outfielder Mike Cameron may get a start.

Jason Varitek turns 39 today.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''