Umpires tight-lipped over ejections

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Umpires tight-lipped over ejections

By Maureen Mullen and Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- After Saturdays 14-inning Red Sox win over the As at Fenway Park, umpiring crew chief Brian Gorman declined to discuss home-plate umpire Tony Randazzos ninth-inning ejections of Jason Varitek and Jonathan Papelbon.

We cant comment right now because the reports not written, Gorman said, when asked if he could provide some clarification on the ejections. So, we still got to write the report and any comment should be made after the report is filed with the league office in New York. Any ejection, we have to file a report to the league within the next two hours after the game.

Asked if there was any way an explanation could be given as to what Varitek and Papelbon were ejected for, Gorman replied:

Not until the report is written.

Varitek was ejected first, immediately after Oaklands fifthrun of the game crossed the plate. He admitted after the game that he wasarguing balls and strikes from a previous at-bat.

Actually you can't really do that and I lost my coolthere, said Varitek. Weve still got to maintain our poise out there and Ilost mine today.

It's hard to go into detail, but I just felt like therewere a few pitches with Papelbon that changed the course of that entireinning, added Varitek. I could've handled things a little different.

Conor Jackson tied the game in the next at-bat, and afterthat, Papelbon was ejected after comments he made about a called strike againstRyan Sweeney.

Papelbon liked the call, obviously, but said afterwards he was confused with the strike zone, and that his comments were directedtowards new catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, not Randazzo.

Randazzo walked out from behind home plate, and saidsomething to Papelbon, who then came off the mound, yelling at Randazzo whilewalking towards him. That forced Randazzo to eject Papelbon.

From my perspective, I had my back turned and then I turnedaround and Randazzos got his hands up, said Papelbon. I wasnt eventalking to him. I was talking to Salty. I said Salty, hey, come out here. Ineed to know where thats at. Because I felt like some of the pitches that Iwas not getting were strikes, and then I threw one that I felt like was a ball,and then he called it a strike.

Pap said he was talking to Salty, said manager Terry Francona. Thatswhat set him off. I thought Tony got a little aggressive there, and Pap, oncehe charges him . . . I cant get out there quick enough. I wish I could.

Asked if there would be an opportunity for some clarification Sunday, Gorman said Major League Baseballs executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre, who oversees disciplinary matters, wants the umpires to withhold comment.

We believe that Joe Torre wants us to reserve all comments, and questions should be directed to the league, Gorman said.

It was the first ejection of Papelbons career. For Varitek, it was his fifth ejection, and his first since May 28, 2009, in Minnesota.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Bogaerts continues to battle through struggles with bat

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Bogaerts continues to battle through struggles with bat

BOSTON -- Early in 2016 praises were sung around the league that Xander Bogaerts was the best hitter in baseball.

Rightfully so. For a good portion of the season he led the league in both batting average and hits. But between Mookie Betts’ ascension and Bogaerts’ drop in average from .331 on 7/29 to .306 after Monday night’s game, he’s taken a back seat.

But the Red Sox shortstop’s month-long dry spell hasn’t been a straight decline. Although he was held hitless Monday, Bogaerts went 6-for-13 (.462) against Kansas City.

In fact, the 23-year-old doesn’t even consider the recent month of struggles the worst stretch of his career.

“2014 probably,” Bogaerts said, “yeah I had a terrible, terrible few months -- probably three months.”

That was of course the season a lot came into question surrounding the now All-Star shortstop, so he was pretty spot on. In 2014 Bogaerts went from hitting .304 through 5/31, to .248 by the end of June, .244 after his last game in July, all the way down to .224 by the last day of August.

Bogaerts would hit .313 that September and finish with a .240 average -- but more importantly, an appreciation of what he’d experienced.

“That definitely helped me become a better person, a better player -- and understanding from that and learning,” Bogaerts said.

From that experience, he gained a better understanding of the importance of maintaining a consistent day-to-day routine.

“That has to stay the same,” Bogaerts said without question in his voice. “The league adjusted, they adjusted to me. It kind of took a longer time to adjust to them. They’ve just been pitching me so differently compared to other years.”

Bogaerts has had the point reinforced to him throughout, with Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez serving as one voice of reinforcement.

“When you have a routine from the mental side, physical side, when you struggle that’s when you really need that,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been so good with his daily preparation, it doesn’t matter the result of the game. He can always go to something that feels comfortable.”

“He’s been so comfortable and confident with his daily routine and preparation that it allows him -- when he doesn’t get the results he wants in the game -- to have some peace knowing that the next day, we’re going to go back to doing that again.”

It’s clear Bogaerts needs to maintain his daily routine to help work through slumps -- and maintain hot streaks -- but Rodriguez made it clear, consistent preparation from a hitter doesn’t magically cure every problem.

“That doesn’t mean that because you stick with the routine you’re going to have results,” Rodriguez said. “What it means is, [because] you know and believe in that routine that you know you’re going to get out of it.”

Which means in addition to sticking to his normal routine, Bogaerts also had to identify flaws elsewhere in order work through his problems. He came to realize the problem was more mechanically based than mental -- given he’d done everything to address that.

“They pitched me differently, and some stuff I wanted to do with the ball I couldn’t do,” Bogaerts said. “I just continued doing it until I had to make the adjustment back.”

Bogaerts isn’t fully out of the dark, but he’s taken steps in the right direction of late -- and is nowhere near the skid he experienced in 2014. He and Rodriguez fully believe the All-Star’s ability to maintain a clear mind will carry him through whatever troubles he’s presented with the rest of the way.

“The more stuff you have in you’re head is probably not going to help your chances,” Bogaerts explained, “so have a clear mind -- but also have the trust in your swing that you’re going to put a good swing on [the pitch] regardless of whatever the count is.”

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar.

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays

 

QUOTES:

"Rick has been the model of consistency.'' - John Farrell on starter Rick Porcello

"It means that we have a heck of a team, really. The runs we put up, and I don't think anybody talks about our defense.'' - Porcello, asked about the significance of being baseball's first 18-game winner.

"It's cool to be a part of that, but we're in a race right now and that's way more important.'' - Mookie Betts on the crowd chants of "MVP!" during his at-bat.

 

NOTES

* Hanley Ramirez has nine extra-base hit in the last 15 games.

* Opposing baserunners have stolen only 54 percent of the time when Sandy Leon is behind the plate, the lowest figure for any Red Sox catcher (minimum 20 games) since 1987

* Brock Holt tied a season high with three hits, including two with two outs and runners in scoring position.

* Mookie Betts set a career high with 72 extra-base hits.

* Betts became the third player in franchise history to have a 30-homer season before the age of 24. Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro are the others.

* Betts has five homers and 13 RBI in his last five home games.

* Rick Porcello is just the fifth major league pitcher since 1913 to begin a season 13-0 at home

* Porcello is the third Red Sox pitcher to win 18 of his first 21 decisions after Cy Young (1902) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008)

* David Ortiz leads the majors in doubles, slugging percentage and OPS.

 

STARS:

1) Rick Porcello

The righthander became the first 18-game winner in the big leagues and he did it by supplying seven innings for the sixth straight start while improving to 13-0 at home.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts gave the Red Sox an early lead with his 30th homer of the year, becoming the third player in franchise history to reach that milestone before the age of 24.

3) Travis Shaw

Shaw broke out of a month-long slump with a three-hit game, including a double, to go along with two RBI.