Sox prospect Ranaudo eager to put 2012 behind him

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Sox prospect Ranaudo eager to put 2012 behind him

There wasnt much about the 2012 season that went the way Anthony Ranaudo would have hoped. The right-hander slipped on the mound during a spring training game, straining a groin, and delaying the start of his season. When he finally did get started, with Double-A Portland on May 15, he lasted just nine starts, spanning 37 23 innings before a shoulder injury shut him down for the season with a record of 1-3 and an ERA of 6.69. In his last start, July 3 against Trenton, he gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk in three innings.

Ranaudo, the Sox third pick in the first round pick (39th overall) out of Louisiana State in 2010, made his professional debut in 2011, after signing late in 2010 for a 2.55 million bonus. In 35 career starts, the right-hander has posted a combined record of 10-9 with a 4.59 ERA.  Hed prefer just to chalk up last season as a learning experience.

It was very frustrating, Ranaudo said Thursday by phone from Puerto Rico.  I had a groin injury right before we broke in spring training. So that was frustrating in itself and when I came back I did not have very good results. Had really a bad experience in Portland. I guess you could say I learned a lot. And then my shoulder injury happened. So it was very frustrating.

But I think this past year is probably as bad as it probably could get. So hopefully Ill be able to build off this and use it as a learning experience and put it behind me and be able to move on from here.

Ranaudo has been in Puerto Rico for about three weeks, getting ready for the start of the Puerto Rico League. He is scheduled to pitch the season opener Thursday for Criollos de Caguas.

This is my first time in Puerto Rico, first time playing any winter ball, said Ranaudo, whos been brushing up his high school Spanish. So I think it will be a good experience. Im pretty excited.

Initially, Ranaudo was going to shut down for the offseason. But, after pitching in Instructional League, his shoulder responded so well, the Sox decided to find a winter ball opportunity for him. And, hes looking at this as a chance to close out 2012 on a positive note.

My shoulders feeling great, he said. We decided Id play some winter ball and Puerto Rico seemed like a good fit.  It would give me some time to get ready with the season starting a little later than most winter leagues. So it was a good fit and Im feeling great now and I get to start Opening Day here in Puerto Rico. So itll be a pretty good experience for me.

Ranaudo isnt sure how many innings or starts the Sox have mapped out for him. But, hed like to stay with the league through the end of the season, on Dec. 30.

Im just trying to go out there and get as many starts and as many innings as I can, he said.  And hopefully we can win some games out here because I heard its a pretty competitive league and the team that Im on is pretty successful every year. So hopefully itll be a lot of fun and Ill be out here for as long as I can.

I think its going to depend on how my outings go and things like that. Im assuming Ill be here from four to six more weeks.

Hes also hoping the experience in Puerto Rico will help jumpstart a strong 2013, one that will be much better than his past season.

I want to come in to spring training a lot stronger and stay healthy, he said of his hopes for next season. Thats obviously the main thing. And just to keep getting better each and every time I go out and pitch. Keep learning hitters, keep getting experience, gaining knowledge, and be more consistent with all my stuff on a regular basis. Hopefully from there everything will take over and Ill be able to keep getting better and be able to compete and play on the major league team and hopefully win some games up on the major league level.

After Puerto Rico, he will return to his home in Louisiana, where the New Jersey native now lives, and then back to his home state to visit his family. After that, he said hell rest up, work on his strength and conditioning program and get ready to report to Fort Myers around the beginning of February. Getting a fresh season started and putting this past one in the books is exactly what Ranaudo needs.

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

BOSTON – It took until his 43rd game in the NHL to finally score his first goal with the Bruins, but Rhode Island native Noel Acciari said it made him appreciate it all the more when that moment finally did arrived on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Acciari finished off a Riley Nash feed on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush that gave the Bruins an insurance goal they badly needed in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

Then David Pastrnak hit Acciari with a shaving cream pie to the face during the NESN broadcast as a way to commemorate his teammate’s big scoring moment, and Torey Krug immediately fished the puck out of the net to make certain that Acciari would get it.

So it was the best of both worlds with the team-oriented Acciari, who watched his Bruins win to go right along with his hallmark scoring moment that he’ll remember forever.

“Your first NHL goal is a special feeling and to finally have it, you know, like I said before I couldn’t have done it without the other guys, the other four, five guys on the ice. But it feels good,” said Acciari, who has a goal and four points in 24 games this season in Boston. “It just shows you how special it is. It’s not going to come the first game you play; it could come 10, 20, for me probably over 40, but it still feels the same.”

Clearly it’s more about providing a physical, heavy and aggressive opponent when Acciari suits up for the Black and Gold, and it’s less about providing offensive production that’s really a bonus from the fourth line. The focus on throwing hits, aggravating opponents and playing with extra energy have been a big part of Acciari’s game since his return from Providence, and that is absolutely been by design.

“I think I kind of strayed [from my strengths] when I got back from my injury – I kind of strayed away from the hitting game,” said Acciari. “Just getting in on the fore-check and, you know, just kind of getting back to that down in Providence was huge and kind of get my confidence up down there helped out a lot. So when I got the call up I was ready for anything.”

He’s certainly played like he was ready for anything while posting a goal and two points along with a plus-4 in his first four games back for the Bruins organization. Acciari did all of that while leading everybody in Tuesday night’s game with eight registered hits in the win over Nashville. So the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Acciari gave a pretty good example against the Predators of just what he can do with steady ice time and the trust of his teammates as all of the hockey clubs in the East gear up to finish strong for the playoffs.

Now all Acciari has to do is continue to play consistently, punish opposing players and chip in a little offense from time and time as he carves out a permanent role on Boston’s fourth line, and helps his team win a few along the way. 

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Mike Florio joins Quick Slants to discuss the problems of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, and the latest NFL rule changes.