Pedroia sparks Sox with an epic at-bat

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Pedroia sparks Sox with an epic at-bat

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; There was simply nothing else Jered Weaver could do. Slider,changeup, fastball, cutter; he just couldnt get anything by Dustin Pedroia inthe bottom of the fifth inning on Monday night at Fenway Park.

It was the type of at-bat that signified everything thefeisty second baseman is all about. Pedroia was downright ruthless.

With runners on second and third and two outs in a gamewhich the Red Sox were trailing the Los Angeles Angels, 2-1, Pedroia and Weaver battled for nearly 10 minutes in a 13-pitch at-bat that ended when the Sox second baseman ripped a fastball up themiddle, scoring Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury and giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.

Needless to say, it was a game-changer.

He has a way of doing that, said manager TerryFrancona of Pedroia after Bostons 9-5 win over Los Angeles on Monday night. He fights,he doesnt give in. Not just at the plate. On the bases, in the field.

He plays the game. Hes a ballplayer.

Pedroia ran up the first-base line wearing his emotions onhis sleeve. Not just because he won a hard-fought battle, but because it came against one of the best pitchers in the league. Weaver entered the game with a 6-0 record and an ERA of 0.99.

To be honest with you, man, I was just trying to put theball in play, said Pedroia. Immean, Jereds tough, man. I faced him a lot in college and my first few yearsin the big leagues, and it doesnt get any better than him.

I havent won too many of those, but it was nice to drivein a couple, and kind of get everything going.

Pedroia started the fifth inning with some clutch glove workas well, after the Angels had loaded the bases with one out.

With the game tied at 1-1, Bobby Abreu hit a ball up themiddle that changed directions as it glanced off pitcher Clay Buchholz and then off the side of the mound.Pedroia, who was racing to his right, had to stop his momentum and make an awkward cross-body stab at the ball, which was now on his left.

Pedroia somehow wasable to snare the ball and make the flip to second base for thesecond out.

The Angels scored their second run of the game on the play, taking a 2-1 lead. But if Pedroia didnt make that play, the ball would have gone into short right field, two runs would have scored, and there would have beenrunners on the corners with only one out.

The Red Sox got out of theinning trailing by one, 2-1.

I was just trying to keep it in the infield, and it hitBuchholz glove, and I was just trying to knock it down and get an out, saidPedroia after the game.

He got the out, and then carried it over to his offense inthe bottom of the fifth, changing the momentum on Monday night.

It was a phenomenal at-bat, said Red Sox catcher JasonVaritek. It gave us the lead. Hes up there battling, doing what he does, andbattling. And thats what this team is built on.

With a guy like Weaver, were all battling, saidPedroia. Its not like you look at the lineup, and see hes pitching, andeveryones lining up at the bat-rack. We know its going to be a grind. We hadsome good at-bats. He still pitched his butt off, and we were a few runsbetter.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.