Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1

191542.jpg

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

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

IRVING, Texas -- Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides.

"It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text message.

In announcing the agreement, Major League Baseball and the players' association said they will make specific terms available when drafting is complete.

"Happy it's done, and baseball is back on," Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said.

As part of the deal, the experiment of having the All-Star Game determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series will end after 14 years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.

Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.

Another important change: The minimum time for a stint on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.

The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.

Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above.

Union head Tony Clark, presiding over a negotiation for the first time, said in a statement the deal "will benefit all involved in the game and leaves the game better for those who follow."

Key changes involve the qualifying offers clubs can make to their former players after they become free agents - the figure was $17.2 million this year. If a player turns down the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team forfeits an amateur draft pick, which usually had been in the first round under the old deal.

Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.

A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.

Among other details:

-For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.

-While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.

-There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

-Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.

-The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.

-The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.

-The drop-off in slot values in the first round of the amateur draft will be lessened.

-Oakland's revenue-sharing funds will be cut to 75 percent next year, 50 percent in 2018, 25 percent in 2019 and then phased out.

-As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.

Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before the old contract expired, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011.

Talks took place at a hotel outside Dallas where the players' association held its annual executive board meeting.

Clark, the first former player to serve as executive director of the union, and others set up in a meeting room within earshot of a children's choir practicing Christmas carols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years. The 2002 agreement was reached after players authorized a strike and about 3 1/2 hours before the first game that would have been impacted by a walkout.

The peace in baseball is in contrast to the recent labor histories of other major sports. The NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, the NBA lost 240 games to a lockout that same year and the NHL lost 510 games to a lockout in 2012-13.