Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1

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Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1

By Sean McAdamand JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox edged the Yankees, 2-1, Monday night with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, erasing an early 1-0 Yankee lead.

The Sox tied the game on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, then went ahead in the sixth on a fielder's choice by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Boston got six scoreless innings from their bullpen. Dennys Reyes, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks and Hideki Okajima all pitched an inning of shutout ball with lefty Rich Hill adding two scoreless frames.

Papelbon had a clean fifth, three days after a rocky outing against Minnesota last Friday in which he walked three and allowed three runs in just a third of an inning.

"The other day, he didn't command his fastball,'' said Terry Francona of his closer, "and he got in a bind. I think you chalk Friday up to a bad spring training day. The three outings I've seen, he's been down consistently with his fastball and that sets up everything else. You can talk all you want about his split, slider . . . if he commands his fastball, he's going to be just fine.''

For the second straight outing, Papelbon declined to speak with reporters after the game.

Alfredo Aceves continued his strong spring with three innings of one-run ball against the Yankees, the team which non-tendered him last fall.

"Alfredo threw strikes, worked quick,'' said Francona. "He's animated out there, he's enthusiastic. He has three pitches he throws for stirkes.''

Aceves, who gave up a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout, said it didn't feel strange facing his former team.

"No, I never faced the Yankees as a team before,'' he said. "But we did some simulated games the last three years and I threw against my teammates.''

Aceves visited with some former teammates and coaches 90 minutes before game-time on the field.

He said he held no bitterness toward the Yanks' decision to let him go last fall.

"It's not in my hands, that decision,'' he said. "We do the best we can do, out there on the field. But that decision is not in our hands.''

The Yanks were concerned about his back, but Aceves said that, physically, there are no question marks.

"I feel great,'' he said. "I feel 100 percent and it's getting better during spring training. We're going to be in good shape for our season.''

With every projected regular except J.D. Drew in the starting lineup for Monday night's game with the Yankees, the batting order might have contained some clues as to how Terry Francona is going to handle the regular season.

Or not.

While the top third of the lineup is likely to be replicated -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford -- the use of Kevin Youkilis fourth and Adrian Gonzalez fifth -- is not.

"We'll see,'' said Francona before the game, cryptic as ever on the topic of the batting order. "I honestly don't know.''

Monday night, Francona could afford to have Youkilis fourth and Gonzalez fifth because, with Drew out and Mike Cameron in the lineup instead, he could break up the run of lefty hitters.

But with Drew in the lineup, as he'll be for most nights, that would mean the Sox could have three lefties in succession -- Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Drew -- and make it easy for the opposing manager to utilize a lefty reliever in the late innings.

Also, the presence of lefty starter Manny Banuelos meant it made sense to have the right-handed Youkilis higher in the order than Gonzalez.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, scheduled to start Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, has not pitched well in three Grapefruit League outings, but Francona insisted it was too early to be concerned.

"I'm not real concerned about anybody in camp,'' Francona said. "I haven't looked at anybody's ERA. If we took Daisuke out of the rotation tomorrow, I wouldn't want to play for me. That's not a good thing. We've got to let these guys get ready.''

Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa and minor-leaguer Itsuki Shoda greeted fans at the gates Monday night, collecting donations for relief efforts in Japan.

Matsuzaka and Okajima recorded public service announcements in both English and Japanese, appealing for donations.

The Red Sox foundation pledged 50,000 and all four players are making personal donations.

On the subject of Banuelos, the Yankees' highly-touted 20-year-old lefty, count Francona as a fan.

Francona got a look at the rookie 10 days ago when the Sox faced the Yankees in Tampa and had some fun with New York media members.

"I hope he's too young to make their team,'' he said. "I think, out of respect to this young man's future, they should go with him. Very slow. He's been impressive. I'm actually kind of excited he's pitching tonight.

"I mentioned it to Brian Cashman, Yankees' GM the other night: they need to go slow. If you rush a guy like that, it could be bad.''

The Sox announced that Daniel Turpen, whom they lost to the Yankees during December's Rule V draft, has been returned to the Sox. Turpen would have had to remain on the Yankees' 25-man roster all season, an unlikely scenario.

Turpen was obtained in the deal last July 31 that sent Ramon Ramirez to the San Francisco Giants. Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield threw simulated games against each other prior to Alfredo Aceves taking the City of Palms hill against the Yankees on Monday night. Both pitchers faced off against a rotating trio of Jose Iglesias, Josh Reddick and Mark Wagner, and finished with a scoreless tie after 2 12 innings.Buchholz threw three innings, threw 40 pitches and struck out three while allowing three base runners (a walk, two hits) and working extensively on the control of his curveball.I wanted to work throwing some curveballs. I worked on flipping my first pitch in and switching off and then going and throwing some into the dirt, said Buchholz. Thats what I worked on.I think I had three outs in a couple of innings and then I threw a few more after that. I didnt even ask. I just went out there and threw whatever they wanted me to do. Im just waiting to see what they do with their decision for Opening Day once the regular season starts. You guys in the media will know pretty much as soon as I do.Wakefield meanwhile pitched two innings, threw 37 pitches and allowed four base runners (three hits and a walk) while striking out a pair and dazzling young Iglesias with his first introduction to a knuckleball.

Buchholz and Wakefield will both pitch on Friday with Buchholz set to face the Detroit Tigers at City of Palms Park and Wakefield set to pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Port Charlotte in a Friday night game.
Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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].”