Sox notes: Sutton, Spears staying to the end


Sox notes: Sutton, Spears staying to the end

By Maureen Mullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Drew Sutton and Nate Spears have been informed that they wont be on the 25-man roster, but will be with the team for the trip to Houston to play the Astros in an exhibition game Wednesday.

They play all over the place, Terry Francona said. Theyre getting a ton of at-bats. Theyre great kids. So theyre going to stay right up to the end with us.

Spears has played all four infield position, right field, and left, including appearances in both the infield and outfield in several games. Sutton has played all four infield positions this spring. They are tied for the team lead with appearances in 22 Grapefruit League games this season.

Jon Lester will pitch in an intra-squad game Sunday at the minor-league complex.

Kevin Youkilis will hit in a minor-league game Monday at the complex. Hes had 43 at-bats in Grapefruit League games and could get another five to seven Monday. The Sox will host Twins Single-A teams.

The Red Sox are also trying to figure out what to do with left-hander Felix Doubront, who was limited this spring because of tightness in his left elbow. Extended spring training and the disabled list are options. He appeared in a minor-league game Thursday, his first game action of the spring. He is expected to pitch in his first Grapefruit League game Tuesday.

Daisuke Matsuzaka donated 1 million to help victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Third base coach Tim Bogar was away from the team Friday to attend to a personal matter. Ron Johnson took over coaching duties at third base, and Lynn, Mass., native Duncan Webb, the organization's player development program coordinator, coached first base.

Dennys Reyes relieved Beckett. Earlier this week Reyes extended his deadline from Friday to Saturday for the Red Sox to add him to the major league roster or allow him to become a free agent. He went 1 inning, giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits, including a three-run by J.P. Arencibia, and a walk. But he was not helped out by an error on a double-play ball.

Hes got good moment, Francona said. The ball Arencibia hit was actually a pretty good pitch. The four-pitch walk to his first batter, Eric Thames is not what were looking for. The ball, when its down, it moves. I think its the first ball Ive seen hit in the air.

Hideki Okajima was scheduled to pitch, but was told during the game a schedule change moved him to Saturdays game against the Twins.

Daniel Bard hit Corey Patterson in the helmet with the first pitch of his outing. One scout registered the pitch at 95 mph on his radar gun. Patterson walked off the field on his on but went to Lee Memorial Hospital for a CT scan. Bard spoke briefly to him. I just wanted him to know I didnt do it and not think twice about it, Bard said.

No preliminary report or anything, said Blue Jays manager John Farrell. He's gone to the hospital to get a CT scan. He was conscious when he came off the field, obviously. Until further tests come back, there's no real report yet.

Farrell didnt know if Patterson would be kept overnight in the hospital.

That will be up to the discretion of the medical people, he said.

Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch also went to the hospital because of dehydration.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner


Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”