Sox notes: Albers struggles; McDonald pitches

191542.jpg

Sox notes: Albers struggles; McDonald pitches

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON --Matt Albers recent struggles continued on Friday night, asthe Red Sox relief pitcher allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in theeighth inning.

He entered the game with the Oakland Athletics holding a 9-4lead, but by the time Albers was done, the As were up 13-4.

Obviously he made some mistakes, said Red Sox managerTerry Francona. And when hes making mistakes, theyve been in the middle ofthe plate. And I know hes frustrated. Weve just got to get him back on thatrun again.

I dont think hes tired. His velocity is fine. He wasfrustrated. He wanted to go back out in the ninth inning and pitch again,just because he wants to get it, and he wants to get it now.

But hell be OK, added Francona. Hes going through alittle rut, like a lot of guys do. Weve certainly come to depend on him, andwell get there again.

Outfielder Darnell McDonald came in to pitch the ninthinning on Friday night, in an effort to save the rest of the bullpen for Saturdaysdouble-header. McDonald became the 23rd Red Sox position player to pitch in agame, and he allowed two runs on a hit and two walks.

Franklin Morales was our next option, and hes beenwarming up or in, probably five, or six out of the last seven nights, and wedidnt want to do that, said Francona. So with two games tomorrow, becauseMcDonald was able to go out there, maybe we have a better chance of winning agame tomorrow.

McDonald who hadnt pitched since high school walked thefirst two batters he faced, which included an 84-mph fastball that went up overeverything and into the backstop on his first pitch.

A couple more bullpen sessions with pitching coach CurtYoung, Ill be ready for the playoffs, joked McDonald.

I just came in, and Tito asked me if I can throw an inning,and Im more than happy to do it, he said.

Hopefully there wont be, but if theres another time, Illbe ready to go.

On a positive note, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz hitback-to-back home runs in the fourth inning on Friday night. It was the eighthtime this season that the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs. Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew (shoulder) began a rehabassignment with Short-A Lowell on Friday night. Drew went 0-for-2 with a walk,a hit-by-pitch, and a run scored as the designated hitter.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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. 

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, according to 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. 

 

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."