BOSTON -- Today's lineup, and pregame notes courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mike Aviles 3B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Conor Jackson LF
Darnell McDonald RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS
Tim Wakefield P
Todays starter, Tim Wakefield, owns a club-record 2,997.0 innings pitched with the Red Sox, three innings shy of becoming the first Boston hurler to reach the 3,000-inning plateau . . . Of the original 16 teams, Boston and Cincinnati are the only ones that have not had a pitcher work at least 3,000 innings.
LEADING SINCE JULY
Since July 1, Jacoby Ellsbury leads the majors with 44 extra-base hits and 181 total bases . . . In that time, his 18 homers are tied for third in the A.L. . . He is the only major-leaguer with 50 runs, 50 RBI and 35 extra-base hits since the start of July.
MIKE ON A ROLL
Mike Aviles went 3-for-4 yesterday and has hit safely his last eight starts since Aug. 18, batting .438 (14-for-32) . . . He is batting .361 (26-for-72) since joining the Red Sox on July 30, third-best clip in the A.L. in that time (min. 75 PA) . . . Aviles .361 batting average is the best by a player in his first 25 games with an at-bat to begin a Red Sox career since Sean Casey hit .378 (31-for-82) from March 26-June 6, 2008.
Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 30th save of the season Friday night . . . He became the first pitcher ever to record 30 or more saves in each of his first six full major-league seasons (2006-11) . . . He has not allowed a run in 22.0 innings over his last 21 games since July 17, with 28 strikeouts in that stretch . . . It is the longest active scoreless streak in the majors and matches the longest single-season scoreless run of his career, also 22.0 innings from May 4-June 26, 2006 . . . He has converted his last 25 save opportunities since May 13, the longest stretch of his career and the second-longest save streak in the A.L. this year.
Daniel Bard recorded his 32nd hold of the season on Friday night, second most in the A.L. to New Yorks David Robertson (33) . . . The 32 holds match Bards single-season club record, set last year . . . Bard is the only major-league pitcher with 30 or more holds in each of the past two seasons.
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
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.
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.”