Notes: Red Sox sweep split-squad doubleheader

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Notes: Red Sox sweep split-squad doubleheader

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox swept their split-squad doubleheader Tuesday, beating the Astros, 3-2, at City of Palms Park, and defeating the Cardinals in Jupiter, 8-7.

At home, Josh Beckett went 3 23 innings, giving up one run on three hits with one walk with four strikeouts. Dennys Reyes earned the win pitching a scoreless eighth inning with a walk and a strikeout. Matt Fox got the save with three swinging strikeouts in the ninth. Nate Spears single in the eighth scored Paul Hoover with the winning run. Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard each pitched one scoreless inning.

In Jupiter, Stolmy Pimentel started and went 1 23 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Clevelan Santeliz got the win, throwing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Kyle Fernandes earned the save. The Red Sox scored four runs in the eighth for the win. Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

Outfielder Mike Cameron, who hasnt played since Thursday, said his left knee has been bothering him, but expects to serve as the designated hitter Wednesday night against the Orioles.

His left knee is a little sore, said manager Terry Francona. He has a little tendinitis. He could have played today. We just didnt think it made sense to play him today and then maybe limp for the next week. Were not in a pennant race right now so we want him to feel good.

Roger Clemens was in attendance at City of Palms Park to watch his son Koby start at first base, batting sixth, for the Astros. The father watched from a suite as his son went 0-for-4.

Asked how it felt facing the younger Clemens, Beckett replied:

"Pretty old. I've played against both of them. I don't know, I think some more of that stuff is going to happen. Cameron and them always tease me. Cameron actually came up to me today and said something about it. He said, 'Man, you're getting old, man, facing sons of guys that you've faced . . . ' "

Chris Johnson, the son of Sox first base coach Ron Johnson, started at third base for the Astros. The pair exchanged lineup cards at home plate before the game. Astros manager and former Sox bench coach Brad Mills, whose son Beau was the No. 1 pick of the Indians in 2007, enjoyed watching the family ties this afternoon.

Its fun for me, but its great for these kids, Mills said. These guys want to be able to play in front of their dads and so forth. And I think its great. Its something that I miss every now and then. I dont get to see my son much. But I think its good. Thats pretty cool.

The Red Sox 109-game spring training sellout streak, going back to March 16, 2003, ended with this game.

Due to an unfortunate scheduling conflict, todays game was a late add-on to our spring training schedule, said Katie Haas, Red Sox director of Florida operations, in a statement. We werent able to include it in the normal sales process, including season ticket renewals, and this created extra ticket inventory for this particular game. Last week we announced that some of that inventory would be used in a special promotion to show our appreciation to Lee County by providing discounted tickets to residents and fans visiting Southwest Florida.

We are glad a number of people were able to be a part of the promotion, and they came out to enjoy a game and join us in recognizing a number of Lee County nonprofits and community groups who serve those in need in the area. The Red Sox organization is extremely fortunate to have the most passionate and dedicated fans in all of sports, and we want to thank them for their incredible, sustained commitment to this team. We look forward to starting a new streak with Red Sox Nation and carrying it with us to our new spring training home in 2012.

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.''