Red Sox notes: Gonzalez hits unusual homer

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Red Sox notes: Gonzalez hits unusual homer

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- It wasn't a called shot. More like a called approach that resulted in a shot.

Adrian Gonzalez had had three rough at-bats against CC Sabathia Saturday night. He chased a pitch out of the zone for strike three in the first, then broke his bat grounding out weakly to first, then hit into a double-play.

Something had to change.

"He said 'I'm going to give it a little Ichiro and leak a little bit,'" recounted Terry Francona. "He said, 'Do you have a problem with that?' I said, 'Not if you get a hit.'"

"I was just trying to get ready early and clear the inside part of the plate,'' said Gonzalez. "I didn't predict anything. All I said I was going to hit like Ichiro. He had struck me out with a fastball in and broke two bats with two-seamers in, so I was trying to clear my hips a little bit and cover the inside pitch.''

Sure enough, Gonzalez cleared his hips out and swung as though he was wielding a tennis racket. The result? The ball landed in the right field seats for his fifth homer in the last four games and eighth in his last 11 games.

"He amazes me,'' gushed Francona. "When you say you're going to do it, and then you do it... that's pretty impressive. He's really good and he's intelligent.''

This stretch marks the fourth time in his career that Gonzalez has homered in at least four straight games. He did it twice in 2009 and once in 2010.

In addtion to handling Josh Beckett's superb start, Jason Varitek had two big at-bats at the plate.

In the fifth, with runners and first and second and one out, he drew a walk in a long at-bat. The walk pushed the baserunners over to second and third, from where they scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's double to left.

"That's why you grind them out,'' said Francona. "You never know what's going to happen.''

Then, in the seventh, with the Sox still clinging to a 2-0 lead, Varitek lashed a line single to right, scoring Mike Cameron from second.

"I'm just trying to go about my work and have good at-bats every day,'' said Varitek.

It was just his third RBI of the season, but it was huge.

And it got bigger when Gonzalez later added his three-run homer in the same inning.

"He had some real quality at-bats against CC,'' said Gonzalez. "They were huge for us. That base hit was really big. It opened it up to 3-0 and gave us a little breathing room.''

Kevin Youkilis came out of the game in the bottom of the ninth, with his hip stiff. The hip has been plaguing Youkilis some for the last two weeks and when he dove in the Friday night series opener, it became sore.

Throughout the course of the night Saturday, it got tighter.

"If we get him out of there, I don't think it's anything that will keep him out tomorrow,'' said Francona.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.