Red Sox notes: Gonzalez shines in debut

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Red Sox notes: Gonzalez shines in debut

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If you discount the outcome -- which he didn't want to do, of course -- Adrian Gonzalez had a near-perfect debut as a member of the Red Sox.

The newly acquired first baseman had two hits, collected three RBI, made a number of nice scoops on low throws at first base and even added the second stolen base of his career.

But . . .

"We lost the game and that's all that matters,'' said Gonzalez.

Still, it was hard not to come away impressed with Gonzalez individually.

In his first at-bat, he singled to right, scoring Kevin Youkilis from second. In his second, he singled up the middle, scoring two baserunners. Both at-bats came off C.J. Wilson, among the toughest pitchers in the game for left-handed hitters like Gonzalez.

"Lefty, righty . . . it doesn't matter,'' marveled Terry Francona.

And to top off the debut, Gonzalez, who joked often about his lack of speed during the spring, swiped second base.

Francona noticed Wilson and the Rangers weren't holding Gonzalez near the bag and gave him the green light. Gonzalez, surprised, took off and swiped the bag easily.

"It's just a matter of lefties not paying attention,'' said Gonzalez.

Like the steal Friday, Gonzalez's first steal also came when Yorvit Torrealba was behind the plate. Yesterday, he was catching for Texas; in the previous steal, which came on April 28, 2009, Torrealba was catching for Colorado.

The two were teammates last year with the Padres.

Gonzalez said he told Torrealba: "Do you realize my only two career stolen bases are against you? That's why I like you so much.''

The afternoon wasn't as impressive for the Sox' other big-ticket acquisition, Carl Crawford.

Crawford lined softly to short in his first at-bat, then struck out in each of his next three plate appearances. He stranded five runners, including four in scoring position.

"That was a tough day,'' acknowledged Francona. "Wilson carved him up pretty good. There will be a lot better days. Hopefully, it will start tomorrow.''

"Wilson is tough on everybody,'' said Crawford. "You still hope to do well. But he really bore down on us.''

Crawford said before the game that he had some butterflies and worried about trying to do too much in his first game with the Sox.

"I think I was trying as hard as I could,'' said Crawford. "I was probably pressing a little bit, I'm not sure. But it was just one of those things. It was tough on me today.''

If nothing else, Crawford was relieved to have the first one behind him. The rest, he said, he can treat as normal games.

"I'm glad it's over with and out of the way,'' he said. "We can just keep going and play the rest of the games.''

All of last season, David Ortiz hit exactly 2 of his 30 homers off left-handed pitchers. As such, Francona gave some consideration to sitting Ortiz Friday before giving him the opportuninity to get off to a better start this season.

Ortiz looked a little overmatched against Wilson, going 0-for-3 with two weak grounders and a strikeout. But against another lefty, Darren Oliver, brought in to pitch the eighth inning by Texas manager Ron Washington, Ortiz connected, driving a homer to left-center to tie the game -- for a while, anyway -- at 5-5.

"Boy that was a nice swing,'' marveled Francona. "A really nice swing. He stayed back and used his legs. Boy, that was pretty.''

"You got to keep working,'' said Ortiz, "and be consistent in the long run. Hopefully the homer off a lefty is a good sign. I'm going to keep my mouth shut and keep on working. This is not an easy game to play. You've got to come to the game ready to do some damage. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

"Oliver has good stuff. You've got to make sure you don't miss when he gives you something to hit.''

Three Red Sox relievers made their debuts, too. Some fared better than others.

Matt Albers pitched an inning and walked one, but got three groundouts. Dennys Reyes was called on to face one lefty hitter -- Josh Hamilton -- and walked him. Finally, Dan Wheeler pitched two-thirds of an inning and retired Adrian Beltre and Michael Young with a runner on first.

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

Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

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Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”

Kennedy in pursuit of Drake for concert at Fenway

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Kennedy in pursuit of Drake for concert at Fenway

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Quick, if you could have one artist perform at Fenway Park, who would it be?

Florida Georgia Line or Carrie Underwood?

Kanye West?

Maybe a little throwback with Eminem?

Let’s stick to artists who go by one name actually. Red Sox President Sam Kennedy seems to think that’s a good idea.

“We’ve been approaching Drake, this year, we would love to have Drake come,” Kennedy said at Red Sox Winter Weekend. “We understand he’s not doing a big summer tour, but that’s an example of someone we’ve proactively gone out after.

“We’d love to have him come to Fenway Park, given his popularity.

Fenway will already play host to New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boysz II Men, James Taylor and Billy Joel, with the possibility of adding more.

“I’m not a huge music person,” Kennedy said. “We’ve tried to bring in as many different types of acts as we can to appeal to different demographics. The reality is with the baseball schedule, with the way it lays out, we’re sort of at the mercy of the touring and who’s out.

“We love having these events in Boston. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for Fenway . . . The city has been a very supportive partner in bringing events into town.”

From what Kennedy and his staff have gathered, it appears Drake is looking to do one-off shows instead of a tour. That’s just enough for the ever-persistent Red Sox President to keep working on bringing in the superstar.

“We’re not gonna give up,” Kennedy said.