Notes: Saltalamacchia, Varitek banged up


Notes: Saltalamacchia, Varitek banged up

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- The Sox suddenly find themselves thin in the catching department.

Varitek tried to do some running before the game and the decision was made that he wouldn't start. He was hit in the right knee by a pitch in the fifth inning Sunday night in New York, then left the game two innings later when the knee stiffened up.

"We were going to try (to have me play)," said Varitek, "get treatment all day and see what we could do."

Saltalamacchia started in his place Monday night, but, he, too, was injured when he was struck in the left collarbone by a foul tip.

Ryan Lavarnway replaced Saltalamacchia for the final inning behind the plate.

"He got hit pretty good," said Varitek of his teammate. "I think it went through the chest protector. It was the angle."

"The loss was a lot worse than the stinger," said Saltalamacchia, who underwent x-rays after the game that proved negative. "(The foul tip) missed (all the padding). It didn't touch the chest protector and hit me right on the collarbone.

"I want to (play Tuesday), get treatment and throw and see how it feels. It's pretty sore right now. Hopefully, it gets better overnight."

Asked if he thought he could play Tuesday if Saltalamacchia couldn't, Varitek said, "Let's just get to (Tuesday); that's all I can say."

It was the catch that wasn't.

Jacoby Ellsbury raced back to the warning track when Robert Andino golfed a pitch from Beckett with two on and two out in the sixth.

Ellsbury gloved the ball, but then immediately collided with the wall, jarring the ball from his glove as Andino circled the bases with three runs scoring.

"I figured if anyone could catch, it would be (Ellsbury)," said Beckett.

Said Ellsbury: "I hit (the wall) about as hard as I could while running and looking up at the ball. Right as I hit it, I caught it and the ball popped up."

Ellsbury had a long way to go just to catch up to the ball, since the Sox play Andino shallow as a matter of course.

"I thought I had a good shot at catching it off the bat," said Ellsbury. "I knew it would be close. I knew right as I went for it, I was hoping I had a little more room, but I hit the wall."

Ellsbury said he had the wind knocked out of him "for a split second."

It's becoming increasingly clear that Kevin Youkilis is probably through for the year, whether the Red Sox make the playoffs or not.

Youkilis has been trying to play through a hip injury and a sports hernia, but the pain and discomfort has been too great.

"He's trying so damn hard, but he's pretty sore," said Francona. "He did some light running (Sunday), but he's pretty sore. I don't think we've pulled the plug (on his season), but realistically, we're probably fighting an uphill battle."

Clay Buchholz threw 18 pitches in a simulated game in the Instructional League in Fort Myers.

"He did really well,'' said Francona. "He gave up a double but health-wise, did really good. He was a little bit rusty facing hitters, which I think is (natural).''

The plan calls for Buchholz to join the team here Tuesday and get re-evaluated by the medical staff.

If the Sox have clinched a playoff spot by Wednesday, Buchholz will make an appearance. If the game means something, however, he'll return to the Instructional League for another outing.

Scott Atchison, who suffered a right groin strain in the afternoon game Sunday, was "more sore than we had hoped,'' according to Francona and was unavailable.

Francona said the Sox expected to have most of their bullpen -- including closer Jonathan Papelbon, who threw a season-high 2 13 innings -- for Monday night. Franklin Morales, who threw the final two innings was ruled out, however.

Dan Wheeler, who has been out for the last two weeks with a forearm strain, was scheduled to throw on the side.

J.D. Drew was back in the starting lineup for the second straight game, but will likely be out Tuesday when the Sox face lefthander Zach Britton.

"We'll take any help anywhere we can get it,'' said Francona.

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

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.

With trade rumors finally over, Sale shifts attention to dominating in Boston

With trade rumors finally over, Sale shifts attention to dominating in Boston

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Chris Sale had been the subject of so many trade rumors for the past year that he admitted feeling somewhat like "the monkey in the middle.”

On Tuesday, the rumors became reality when Sale learned he was being shipped to the Red Sox in exchange for a package of four prospects.
It meant leaving the Chicago White Sox, the only organization he'd known after being drafted 13th overall by Chicago in 2010. Leaving, he said, is "bittersweet.''
Now, he can finally move forward.
"Just to have the whole process out of the way and get back to some kind of normalcy will be nice,” said Sale Wednesday morning in a conference call with reporters.

Sale had been linked in trade talks to many clubs, most notably the Washington Nationals, who seemed poised to obtain him as recently as Monday night.

Instead, Sale has changed his Sox from White to Red.

"I'm excited,” he said. "You're talking about one of the greatest franchises ever. I'm excited as anybody. I don't know how you couldn't be. I've always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston. (My wife and I) both really like the city and (Fenway Park) is a very special place.”
It helps that Sale lives in Naples, Fla., just 20 or so miles from Fort Myers, the Red Sox' spring training base. Sale played his college ball at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
"Being able to stay in our house a couple of (more) months,” gushed Sale, “it couldn't have worked out better personally or professionally for us.”
Sale joins a rotation with two Cy Young Award winners (David Price and reigning winner Rick Porcello), a talented core of mostly younger position players and an improved bullpen.

"There's no reason not to be excited right now,” said Sale. "You look at the talent on this team as a whole... you can't ask for much more.”

Sale was in contact with Price Tuesday, who was the first Red Sox player to reach out. He also spoke with some mutual friends of Porcello.

That three-headed monster will carry the rotation, and the internal competition could lift them all to new heights.
"The good thing in all of this,'' Sale said, "is that I can definitely see a competition (with) all of us pushing each others, trying to be better. No matter who's pitching on a (given) night, we have as good or better chance the next night. That relieves some of the pressure that might build on some guys (who feel the need to carry the team every start).”

But Sale isn't the least bit interested in being known as the ace of the talented trio.

"I don’t think that matters,” he said. "When you have a group of guys who come together and fight for the same purpose, nothing else really matters. We play for a trophy, not a tag.”

Sale predicted he would be able to transition from Chicago to Boston without much effort, and didn't seem overwhelmed by moving to a market where media coverage and fan interest will result in more scrutiny.

"It's fine, it's a part of it, it's reality,” he said. "I'm not a big media guy. I'm not on Twitter. I'm really focused on the in-between-the-lines stuff. That's what I love, playing the game of baseball. Everything else will shake out.”

After playing before small crowds and in the shadow of the  Cubs in Chicago, Sale is ready to pitch before sellout crowds at Fenway.

"I'm a firm believer that energy can be created in ballparks,” he said. "I don't think there’s any question about it. When you have a packed house and everyone's on their feet in the eighth inning, that gives every player a jolt.”