Yaz makes rare Fenway return to throw out first pitch

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Yaz makes rare Fenway return to throw out first pitch

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- For 23 years, he was a Fenway fixture on Opening Day.

And then, when he retired in 1984, Carl Yastrzemski disappeared.

"When I retired, I kinda said, 'That was it,' " said the 71-year-old Hall of Famer. "I stayed away . . . It was difficult for a couple of years, but after that it got easier.

He made a rare appearance at the renovated old ballyard Friday, throwing out the first pitch prior to the Red Sox' Opening Day game against the Yankees. And he thinks he knows why he got the call to open the season.

"I'm undefeated," joked Yastrzemski, who threw out the first pitch before Sox victories in both the 2004 and 2007 World Series. "Terry Francona already told me he wants me to come back tomorrow if they win."

There's no chance of that; Yaz flew up from Florida Friday morning and will fly back down Friday night. But he doesn't believe they need him as a good-luck charm.

"A slump is a team thing," he said. "It's the way it happens in baseball, and always has. For five, six games, no one hits. And then, boom.

"The reason for it? Who knows?"

But you'll forgive the Fenway Faithful -- who watched their team score more runs in the first two innings than it had in the last four games combined -- if they credit their long-beloved, but seldom-seen, star.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

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Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.

"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."

No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .

. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.

Not so.

 

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.