Reyes still competing, battle could go to the wire


Reyes still competing, battle could go to the wire

By Sean McAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- His status in limbo for much of the spring, lefty reliever Dennys Reyes had his contract purchased by the Red Sox, bringing him a step closer to making the Opening Day 25-man roster, but still, without any firm guarantees.

Reyes had an opt-out clause in his original minor league deal, allowing him to pursue other opportunities if he wasn't added to the 40-man roster by Friday. At the Red Sox' behest, Reyes agreed to push back that "out'' another 24 hours, and by mid-afternoon Saturday, the move paid off when he was added to the team's roster.

However, the Red Sox emphasized, that merely meant that Reyes would remain in competition -- with fellow lefty Hideki Okajima and righthanders Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves -- for the final two spots in the seven-man bullpen.

"They haven't said to anybody (that they've won) the two spots they need to fill in,'' said Reyes. "I'm still competing.''

"I know a lot of people think we're playing games here and the bullpen is decided,'' said one Red Sox official. "Trust me -- we're not. We're still trying to decide (who's going to make it).''

Francona said weeks ago that the club could go down to the final day of camp -- or theoretically, beyond -- before finalizing its final roster.

By forgoing his own opt-out clause and deciding, for now, to remain with the Red Sox, Reyes didn't forfeit much, said a person with knowledge of the situation. If the Red Sox designate him for assignment, he is out of options and if claimed, must be placed on a major league roster. On the other hand, if he should clear waivers, he would still receive his full major league salary (900,000) while at Pawtucket.

"The season hasn't started yet," cautioned Terry Francona. "We still have some guys in camp and he's one of them. We still have decisions to make. We like his movement, his track record and his ability to compete.''

The Sox, Francona said, are sifting through a number of factors, including "depth in the organization, how we set up our team, not being redundant...just have ourselves set up as good as we can.''

Albers is out of options; Okajima and Aceves have options. But although Aceves has pitched well, the Sox might be better off optioning him to Pawtucket, where he could stretch out as a starter and be ready to step in if the Sox lose someone in the rotation to injury or ineffectiveness.

Then there is the matter of whether the Sox need to have two lefties. Francona won't use either in the late innings for matchup purposes because Daniel Bard is tough on both lefties and righties.

Being out of options may work to Albers' advantage. If the Sox can't find a suitable deal for him, they may opt to keep him and worry about roster consequences down the road.

By now, Reyes is accustomed to late-spring indecision, having played for 10 different teams over his 14 major league seasons. Waiting until the final few days to learn of his fate is hardly anything new.

"A lot of times...a lot of times,'' said Reyes. "The last time was in 2004 with Kansas City. It went to the last day, after the game, they decided to keep me. It's tough. The last four or five days gets tougher. You get used to being around the guys and getting to know everybody. It is hard.

"But at the same time, this is a business. And as a business, you have to take it and see what comes out of it. You think about (the uncertainty) a few times during the day. If you start thinking like that, you're done. You put that in your head, then when you come out to pitch, instead of thinking about the (hitter) you have in front of you...that's the one who's going to hurt you, not (the process), because you don't have control over that.''

Reyes allowed a three-run homer to Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia Friday night and knows that, this late in camp, every at-bat is scrutinzed.

"You think about that,'' he admitted. "Everything that goes wrong, you know that it's going to hurt. But you realize it was a good pitch. It was a low pitch. You have to give him credit. He put up a hell of an at-bat against me. He got me. That's the way it is. You need to show them consistency. And if that means I have to come in tomorrow and go 1-2-3, I will try to do that.

"But you try not to think the bad stuff. As a reliever, you need to have a short memory with the bad outings that you have.''

Even though he is guaranteed nothing, Reyes has made it quite -- in words and action -- that he wishes to remain with the Sox.

"They have unbelievable talent,'' said Reyes. "It seems like everybody gets along together. Tito, the pitching coach, the whole coaching staff -- they've been great to me and everybody else. I think this is a great organization to be part of. I'm really proud of it and I'm going to try to do my best to win a spot.''

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

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

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. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: '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.”