V-Mart: 'No hard feelings' towards Red Sox

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V-Mart: 'No hard feelings' towards Red Sox

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

LAKELAND, Fla. The big Red Sox story at Joker Marchant Stadium in Tuesday's game against the Detroit Tigers is obviously Daisuke Matsuzaka, but there's also the first reunion between Victor Martinez with his old baseball team.V-Mart is in the Detroit lineup, batting fifth and serving as the designated hitter a role hes expected to occupy much more with the Tigers this season and said he was looking forward to playing against his old squad. Sox regulars Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie and Darnell McDonald made the trip to Lakeland along with newcomer Carl Crawford, and Martinez has happy to spot familiar faces while serving out liners during batting practice.It was always nice to getting together with some old friends. I was really looking forward to it, said Martinez. Boston was a great experience for me and for my family. It was a great experience. My family and my son really miss the Red Sox. They treated my family first class, and as a player thats one of the things that youre really looking for.It makes you want to go out there, play your best and give your all. It was great for me, and it was one of the best experiences of my career. I cant say anything but great things about the Red Sox organization. There are no hard feelings at all.Martinezs son, Victor Jose, was a fixture around Fenway Park over the last two seasons and it was pretty clear listening to the backstopdesignated hitterfirst baseman that Boston and the Sox organization had a profound impact on both father and son.Sox manager Terry Francona was often spotted playing with the rambunctious duo of Victor Jose Martinez and DAngelo Ortiz in the Sox clubhouse over the last couple of summers, and he misses the energy and levity brought by both youngsters.Were trying to make a move today. Theo is trying to acquire Victor Jose. Theyre asking for Crawford, and were holding out for a little less, said the smirking Sox skipper.Martinez recounts a conversation with his 6-year-old son when they both realized the Sox were coming soon, and Big Papi wouldnt be making the trip: A week ago, he said to me, The Red Sox are coming. Im gonna see DAngelo. And I said Papi, I dont know if youre going to see him. I dont think David Ortiz is going to make the trip. And he was like Aw man!It was tough for him. Hes a kid, but you try to make him understand. Its a hard part of the game. Detroit is a great organization with a lot of good guys, and hes getting used to it over here.Martinez maintains he holds no ill will toward the Sox after they went in a different direction for their offense and catching and never really gave the former backstop the kind of contract offer denoting a serious desire to keep him in Boston. Questions about Martinezs overall defensive abilities and his skill throwing out base stealers certainly clouded his long term future in Boston as a full-time catcher. The Sox werent willing to shell out the bucks for a versatile switch-hitter capable of swinging between catcher, first base and designated hitter while providing respectable middle-of-the-order offense when they still had a few first basedesignated hitter types under contract.Martinez' first move, from Cleveland to Boston (when theRed Sox acquired him at the trade deadline in 2009), was gut-wrenching-- to that point, he'd spent his entire career with the Indians -- butit was easier this time around. For one thing, he'd been through itbefore. For another, Martinez got what he was looking for from theTigers: Four years, 52 million.He said hes interested to see if lightening the catching duty can help preserve his career and bulk up his offensive numbers further.They told me right out of the gate that I was going to catch two or three days a week and the rest of the time Id be DH-ing, said Martinez. Im good with it. Its going to be fun. Ill do my best and see what happens.Martinez ended his Sox career with a .313 batting average and .865 OPS with 28 home runs and 120 RBI in 183 big league games.
All of the good stuff we heard in Cleveland we found out was true, said Francona. Hes a gentleman, first of all. He instantly became a good teammate and kind of a leader. Thats a hard thing to do when you come in the middle of a season.He found a way because of his personality and leadership to find a way to have guys following him. Guys took to him after the first day and its a compliment to him. Guys come and go. Thats the business part of it, but it doesnt mean that youre not crazy about him.Trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Crawford certainly softened the blow on the business end of it for the Sox, and perhaps DAngelo and Victor Jose can rekindle their friendship 20 years from now when theyre both big league superstars. For now, though, V-Mart and the Sox are both getting on with their lives.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.

"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.

"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.

* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.

* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.

* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.

* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.

* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.

* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.

* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.

* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.

2) Luke Maile

Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.

3) Hanley Ramirez

The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.