Weiland learns the hard way in MLB debut

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Weiland learns the hard way in MLB debut

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Kyle Weiland sat in silence at his locker on Sunday morning with his headphones on. The music coming through the speakers drowned out any noise going on around him in the Red Sox clubhouse.

The quiet was temporary, though. It wouldnt be long before he was surrounded by a stadium packed with over 37,000 fans, cheering and reacting to every pitch he threw in his Major League debut at Fenway Park.

The outing didnt go exactly as planned.

Weiland, 24, was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill-in in an injury-stricken starting rotation. (He was 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA for the PawSox this season.) Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the game that he looked excited and confident -- and it showed in his 1-2-3 first inning.

But the Orioles bats would not be so quiet in the second. They scored six runs off seven hits, including a home run by Derrek Lee. The Red Sox two-run lead quickly became a four-run deficit. Francona kept Weiland in the game, however, as the Red Sox fought back to tie the game at six apiece by the end of the second inning.

Second inning was a difficult inning, said Francona following the Red Sox 8-6 win. A couple of bleeders, a couple of balls hit really hard, a lot of hits and a lot of runs. Saying that, he stayed composed and gave us some more. At a point, you cant go too far. Alfredo Aceves (who began warming up in the bullpen) is pitching as much as he is down in the bullpen.

"Stuff was good, just didnt locate a couple and really paid for it. Hes probably not used to paying for it that much . . . in the minor leagues, maybe you get away with some of those. You throw it to Derrek Lee over the heart of the plate and it goes a long way.

While the runs stopped coming from the Orioles, Weiland faced a new set of difficulties. He hit Mark Reynolds with a pitch in the third inning, and after Jeremy Guthrie hit Kevin Youkilis in the fourth, both teams were warned. Weiland missed on a pitch to Vladimir Guerrero the following inning and hit him on the hand, leading to an automatic ejection of both him and Francona.

Not really the way Weiland pictured leaving the mound in his debut (13.50 ERA, 4.0 IP, 8H, 6ER, 2BB, 2K).

Its not exactly what you have written out and planned for, but it is what it is and it was a great experience, he said. I got the first one under my belt. Obviously I would have liked a few things to go different, got a little ahead of myself, things kind of snowballed on me in the second inning. But obviously having this Red Sox lineup supporting me is a luxury, so it got us right back into the game. After that I felt like I started to calm down and control the adrenaline a little bit more.

Aceves entered the game in place of Weiland, whom Francona said would not have continued to pitch much longer even if he had not been ejected, and helped keep the game under control for the Red Sox in their victory.

The debut -- ejection and all -- was a learning experience for Weiland. Later in the game Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez and manager Buck Showalter were also thrown out as a result of the warning issued earlier in the game. It capped off a heated series between the two games that included a brawl on Friday night.

Obviously everything up here at this point is all new to me, Weiland said. So when the ejection happened I was like, well, thats the rules I guess. I didnt think the warnings were really warranted. Youkilis got hit on a changeup, so that was a little confusing that we got warned, but if thats the way the rules go, I know with the past few games you cant really do much about it and had to take a walk.

With his big-league debut in the books, Weiland can look back on it and grow. The Red Sox can also looked toward him in the future.

I thought he threw the ball much better than his results, said Jason Varitek, who caught Weiland. He learned a lot, hes come a long way from the last time I got to see him.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''