April 1, 2015

Vazquez Lost for Season; Will Undergo TJ Surgery Tomorrow

Catcher Christian Vazquez will have Tommy John surgery tomorrow, and will miss all of the 2015 season.

Given the typical recovery time of roughly a year, Vazquez should be ready next spring training, but that's of little consolation in the here and now for a Red Sox team that expected Vazquez to handle not just a new pitching staff, but to shut down opposing running games with his howitzer of a right arm.

Vazquez threw out 52 percent of opposing base stealers in an impressive debut last year, but that arm ended up being his undoing. He felt soreness after throwing out Tyler Wade of the Yankees on March 13, and when two weeks of rest didn't provide adequate healing, underwent an MRI. The results of that, on Friday, "found something," Vazquez said, and he was referred to Dr. [James] Andrews.
The starting catching job will fall to Ryan Hanigan, with newcomer Sandy Leon in reserve. Top prospect Blake Swihart will begin the year in Pawtucket.

Pedro Says Yankees Ace Is "Not Completely Healthy"

Pedro Martinez believes Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees' Opening Day starter, is still having elbow issues and predicted that Tanaka will not make it through the 2015 season without injury. Tanaka is pitching with a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow.

Anthony McCarron, Daily News:
[Pedro Martinez] said Wednesday he believes [Masahiro] Tanaka has been holding back on most of his pitches in spring training and predicted the Yankee ace won't get through the season intact. ...

Tanaka missed 10 weeks last season, but doctors recommended rest and rehab instead of Tommy John surgery. ...

There were questions in camp about Tanaka's fastball velocity, which dipped to 89-90 miles per hour. But Tanaka waved those away, saying he was working on his two-seam fastball rather than the harder, four-seamer that could get into the mid-90s last year.

Martinez isn't convinced. "Tanaka's not healthy right now because I believe Tanaka is hesitant to let it go," he said. "He's hanging all those breaking balls he's throwing. The only pitch he's committing to is the split-finger and his problems are actually in a place where you don't need to put any more stress, which is the elbow. And he's hesitant. He's hesitating to throw the fastball and he's hanging every breaking ball he throwing out there."

March 31, 2015

Baseball America: Boston Has MLB's #2 Farm System

Baseball America ranks the organizational talent of all 30 major league teams.

The top five farms: Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Twins, and Mets. ... The Yankees rank #18.
2. Boston Red Sox
2014 Rank: #2
2013 Rank: #6

 1. Yoan Moncada, 2B
 2. Blake Swihart, C (17)
 3. Henry Owens, LHP (44)
 4. Rusney Castillo, OF (21)
 5. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (59)
 6. Brian Johnson, LHP (82)
 7. Rafael Devers, 3B (99)
 8. Manuel Margot, OF (72)
 9. Matt Barnes, RHP
10. Deven Marrero, SS
How They Got Here: An aggressive spender under the old draft rules, Boston has attacked the Cuban market aggressively, spending more than $130 million on Yoan Moncada and Rusney Castillo in bonuses, guaranteed major league contracts and international bonus pool penalties. Their top lefthanded starters all had success in Double-A or higher in 2014.

High-Ceiling Sleeper: Hard-throwing RHP Michael Kopech has one of the fastest and liveliest arms of any 2014 draft pick. He has a somewhat unconventional delivery for a starter, but the Red Sox will let him take his time to develop.

2015 Rookies: Castillo will challenge 2014 rookies Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley for a spot in Boston’s crowded outfield. Matt Barnes could ease into a relief role. Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez all could pitch their way to Boston in 2015.
Note: Moncada signed with the Red Sox after BA had compiled its Top 100 list.

March 30, 2015

Buchholz To Start Opening Day; Vazquez Put On 60-Day DL; Mookie!

Clay Buchholz will start on Opening Day, next Monday afternoon, in Philadelphia.

Christian Vazquez was placed on the 60-DL with a sprained right elbow. The Red Sox immediately added to their catching depth by trading for Sandy Leon of the Nationals.

Koji Uehara (hamstring) has not pitched since March 14 and will likely not be on the Opening Day roster. Edward Mujica will be the closer.

Mookie Betts continues to tear it up. In 14 games, Betts is hitting .452/.477/.857 for a 1.334 OPS. He leads the Grapefruit League with 11 extra-base hits, is second with 36 total bases, and is tied for second with 19 hits.

March 26, 2015

David Ortiz: On The Record

David Ortiz:
In some people's minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that's bullshit. Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I've been tested since 2004? More than 80. They say these tests are random. If it's really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It's no joke. Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will. ...

In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from The Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, "You're from the Dominican. You're older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don't you think you're a prime suspect?"

He's saying this with a straight face. I had taken like 70 at-bats. Anybody can get hot and hit .400 with 70 at-bats. I was stunned. I'm like, I'm Dominican? I fit the profile? Are you kidding me?

I wanted to kill this guy.

March 23, 2015

Everyone Loves A Contest #17

With Opening Day (April 6) only two weeks away, it's time for this year's Red Sox W-L Contest!

Correctly guess Boston's 2015 regular season record and win a copy of Peter Golenbock's Red Sox Nation: The Rich And Colorful History Of The Boston Red Sox.

Older readers may remember Golenbock's Fenway: An Unexpurgated History Of The Boston Red Sox from the early '90s. This new book, which will be published next month by Triumph*, updates the team's history through the 2013 World Championship season.

* FYI: Triumph published another cool Red Sox book last spring.

Contest entries must be emailed to me and include the following two items:

1. Predicted 2015 W-L record
2. Tiebreaker: Mookie Betts's OPS (OBP+SLG)

W-L guesses must be exact. Tiebreaker winner will be the closest guess, either over or under.

Deadline: Sunday, April 5, 11:59 PM.

March 22, 2015

Friday: Angels Hit Four Triples In One Inning

On Friday, the Angels hit four triples in the third inning against Cleveland. Erick Aybar, CJ Cron, Johnny Giavotella and Collin Cowgill hit the three-baggers.

According to The Baseball Almanac:
On September 15, 1901, Chicago hit five triples against Milwaukee in the eighth inning which is the most ever hit in a single inning by one team.

On May 6, 1934, Boston hit four consecutive triples [Carl Reynolds, Moose Solters, Rick Ferrell, and Bucky Walters] against Detroit in the fourth inning which is the most ever hit consecutively in a single inning.
The Red Sox scored 12 times in that fourth inning and beat the Tigers 14-4.