Category Archives: Nathan Farrell

Red Sox Report: Sox Lose 3 of 4 In Bronx, Possibly Pedroia

Sox manager John Farrell was the first manager ejected for arguing with a replay ruling.



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The feelings John Farrell expressed toward the umpires last night seemed to have boiled over from a bigger problem the Red Sox are going through. The offense is struggling without its healthy starters playing every day. Dustin Pedroia seems to have received good news this afternoon that his wrist is not broken but just bruised. Pedroia, who hates missing games period, missed Sunday’s game and might still require a DL stint but not an extended one.

Koji Uehara did not pitch this weekend either with soreness in his shoulder. This made the Sox bring on Edward Mujica for the save in Friday night’s 4-2 over the Yankees, their only win in the series. Home runs from Jonny Gomes and Grady Sizemore were the only offense Jon Lester needed en route to his first win on the young season. The Sox offense did not score over four runs in any of the games this weekend and have only scored five runs in four games this season, with two of them being a losing effort.

Shane Victorino who has not played at all this season, will likely start a rehab assignment in AA Portland on Tuesday. Victorino who has been bothered by hamstring issues, would have likely been back sooner if he did not catch the flu. His return will cause an outfield logjam as John Farrell has been playing Jackie Bradley and Grady Sizemore together in the outfield with Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes seeing more time on the bench. Bradley is better defensively than Sizemore in center and left field might save Sizemore’s legs making him more effective on the base paths. A decision might come as early as this weekend on who Victorino replaces on the roster and Daniel Nava could be on his way out.

The  loss of Pedroia would hurt Sox offense even more.

The loss of Pedroia would hurt Sox offense even more.

With Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list the Sox brought in veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to platoon with Jonathan Herrera. Roberts collected his first two hits with the team in last night’s game and has been playing good defense. He was pinch hit for in the eight by Mike Carp, who struck out with the bases loaded against David Phelps. No timetable has been set on Middlebrooks return, but I expected him to come back strong this season, so hopefully a return is soon.

The starting pitching this weekend besides John Lackey’s start on Friday was excellent. 4,2,7,3 those were the runs given up respectively in the series. With this offense you should win three of those games. Run support has been a problem with the team as the leadoff hitter has been a spinning wheel between Gomes, Nava, Sizemore, and even Pedroia got a crack at it on Saturday. Xander Bogaerts has no RBI but a .283 average, can’t knock in runs with no one on base.

The Sox turn to Jake Peavy for Tueday night’s opener in Chicago against the White Sox. Peavy will be making a return to Chicago where he pitched nearly four years. He has looked good in his first two starts, giving up a combined three runs, but no wins to show for it. The Sox offense has to come around or John Farrell will be yelling at more people than just umpires. Here’s to hoping it comes around tomorrow night with Peavy on the hill.

Red Sox Report: 3 Players That Will Be Important For A Trip To October

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The Red Sox announced the expected this afternoon with Grady Sizemore being named to the Opening Day roster and Jackie Bradley being sent to AAA Pawtucket. When Jacoby Ellsbury left for the Yankees this winter it was expected that Bradley was going to man centerfield. Sizemore was brought it on a now risk contract, with no one really knowing if he would make any impact at all. This spring he has showed maybe he can still be part of what he once was, after missing over two years.

Craig Breslow and Steven Wright were placed on the disabled list last night after both did not appear in a game this spring. Wright had sports hernia surgery and will likely be out until May. Wright, was not expected to make the roster but would provide depth in the AAA rotation that will feature the likes of Matt Barnes and Allen Webster. Breslow, appeared in a minor league game this week and like last spring will start the year on the disabled list. The workload of last season has forced the Sox to be careful with Breslow this spring and will likely not be out too long. He can come off the disabled list April 5th at the earliest, meaning he could only miss four games to start the year.

Last season the Red Sox got contributions from the most unlikely of characters. Daniel Nava was an on base machine. Koji Uehara was nearly untouchable during the second half and the run to the World Series. John Lackey was a pleasant surprise and was more of the pitcher during his days with the Angels, after missing the entire 2012 season. This year those three will likely not perform as well as last season, but anything close to last season and this team will be in it in October. What players will need to perform at a high level for the Red Sox to succeed this season? I have three players to expect to step up this season and pick up their games.

Will Middlebrooks

Middlebrooks is an interesting case as he burst onto the scene during the horrible 2012 season and was really the only bright spot that year. Last season he was given the third base job from the start and besides a three homer game early in the season brought not much to the table. He started the season hitting fifth and was quickly moved down as far as ninth in the lineup. The Sox had Jose Iglesias grasp third base and then replaced Middlebrooks at third with Middlebrooks being sent down to Pawtucket. Middlebrooks came back up after Iglesias was traded to the Tigers and looked better in the second half but then was replaced by another shortstop learning third, Xander Bogaerts.

Will Middlebrooks is in a make or break year.

Will Middlebrooks is in a make or break year.

Middlebrooks came to Spring Training looking like a man on a mission, looking stronger and seeming like he did not want to lose his job again this year. The Sox did not resign Stephen Drew which I feel is a testament to how they believe in Middlebrooks. Third base depth in the organization is relatively small besides Garin Cecchini, who will start the year in Pawtucket. Middlebrooks will probably hit eighth or ninth in the Red Sox lineup to start the year with the hope he will move up to as high as fifth behind Napoli. No question he has power and has worked on his defense, but cutting down on the strikeouts and being able to go the other way should be a main focus this season. He is in a make or break year and I expect him to prove his worth.

Jake Peavy

Peavy came over from the White Sox in a late July trade and provided the Sox with rotation depth with Clay Buchholz on the shelf. Thankfully for the Sox he wasn’t just a rental and had another year left on his contract. With Ryan Dempster sitting out the year Peavy got his spot in the rotation guaranteed as one of those two likely would have been dealt as they were battling for the fifth spot in the rotation. After a few so-so years with the White Sox where he suffered from an array of injuries, Peavy has said this spring that he is as healthy as he was in his San Diego days where he won a Cy Young Award.

Jake Peavy brings the bulldog mentality the Sox rotation needs.

Jake Peavy brings the bulldog mentality the Sox rotation needs.

I expect Peavy to be a key cog in the Sox rotation, and provide the Sox with what John Lackey provided last season. A healthy Peavy, who is still just 32 years old, will put less pressure on Clay Buchholz as Sox fans cannot expect him to make 30 starts in a season. Peavy does not have to be Cy Young material but the Sox won last year because of their rotation depth and Peavy was part of the reason.

Edward Mujica

Koji Uehara was the Sox fourth closer last season. Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey were both out for the season by May, and Junichi Tazawa did not take on the role like the team wished. Uehara worked an unprecedented pace and mowed down hitters through July and August. The workload continued into October where he was counted on to get some four and five out saves and did so. Mujica, was the Cardinals closer for most of the last season until late in the season where he wore down and was rarely used in the postseason. The Sox signed him to a two year deal this offseason, addressing a need in the bullpen, as depth is something every team needs going into the season.

Edward Mujica will likely get many save opportunities this season.

Edward Mujica will likely get many save opportunities this season.

Mujica will likely be the arm John Farrell uses in the ninth inning when Uehara needs a day off. Look for Mujica to get a lot of save opportunities in April and May as the Sox try to keep Uehara fresh for opportunities late in the season. Mujica might not have the strikeouts that Uehara has but he did have 37 saves last year in 41 opportunities. In order for Uehara to be successful I feel Mujica will have to a key cog in the Sox bullpen. Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa will also be counted on but we know what they are capable of, Mujica will need to burst onto the scene and Sox fans will embrace him like Koji’s high fives.

Middlebrooks, Peavy, and Mujica will all be counted on this season but I feel they can all perform better than anticipated. Nava, Uehara and Lackey were not expected to perform the way they did and everybody was in love with them last summer. With the season starting Monday Sox fans have many expectations coming off a World Series Championship. Don’t be surprised if these three make an impact in April and Peavy seems beyond excited to start the home opener on Friday. Are you excited Sox fans?

Red Sox Report: Sizemore Decision Has Impact On Sox Lineup

Grady Sizemore has done nothing but impress the Sox with his bat and glove.

Who will be leading off for the Red Sox preparing for the first pitch from Chris Tillman on Opening Day in Baltimore? With ten days from the first game of the 2014 season, signs point towards Grady Sizemore winning the center field job as well as the leadoff spot in the Sox lineup. Not something most fans and writers expected back in February when the team reported to camp. Sizemore, who has not played in a major league game since 2011, has looked healthy this spring and this upcoming weekend will play in three straight games for the first time.

With the health and the timetable of Sizemore’s recovery not being questioned at this time signs point to Jackie Bradley being sent down to Triple A unless another move is made to deal outfielder. The Sox like Mike Carp’s bat off the bench and the fact he can provide help at first base. Carp packs left handed punch off the bench that this team needs, and unless they are overwhelmed with an offer he is here to stay. Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes seem to have the left field platoon locked down with Carp getting the occasional start as well. Sizemore of course needs to pass the test this weekend. Starting Bradley in Pawtucket I feel is the better choice than with the big club just to send him down like last season. He could use some more seasoning and work on hitting pitches inside.

With Sizemore leading off who will follow him? Signs point to Shane Victorino taking hold of the second spot in the lineup once again and Pedroia following in the three spot. Pedroia is more of a number two hitter but is hitting third to better the team. After thumb surgery this offseason Pedroia’s power numbers should be up this year. Pedroia did hit second in the World Series last October, with Ortiz and Napoli moving up as well but unless the team needs a shakeup the lineup with have Ortiz in the cleanup spot with Napoli behind him.

With the first five spots taken, expect Nava or Gomes to hit in the six hole in the lineup and possible switch with Victorino who seems to be giving up switch hitting this season and may move down against right handed pitchers. Xander Bogaerts will likely hit seventh to start the season and in all likelihood move up in the lineup if he shows the plate discipline he did last October and so far in Spring Training. Will Middlebrooks, who started last season hitting sixth in the Sox lineup, is expected to start in either the eight or nine spot flip flopping with the catcher that day David Ross or A.J. Pierzynski, depending on the matchup.
Sizemore is the real wild card in the whole lineup. If he starts the season with the team he leads off. If he doesn’t it is likely Jonny Gomes or Daniel Nava will, which might make the lineup suffer. You can’t expect Sizemore to be like he was in Cleveland but there is no question he is going to try to be the player he once was. With Victorino giving up switch hitting the flexibility might be lost when it comes to matchups but Victorino showed last October he could hit right handed pretty well. Pedroia and Ortiz are going to hit and both will start the season healthy together.

Mike Napoli came to spring training with no worries about his hip this year and just focusing on his hitting and defense. If Napoli cuts down on his strikeouts he could be even more of a force than last season, but the real focus is just continuing to have good at bats and work the counts like he did last season averaging over five pitches per at bat. Nava and Gomes can also work the count if they hit behind Napoli which will leave pitchers giving Ortiz something to hit. Bogaerts is already expected to be a top shortstop and the Sox will likely have an advantage against most teams if Bogaerts shows he can a premier hitter as a primarily weak hitting position.

The Sox are hoping the work Middlbrooks did this offseason will translate onto the field.

The Sox are hoping the work Middlbrooks did this offseason will translate onto the field.

Which Will Middlebrooks will the Sox see this season? The one who suffered through a long slump last year eventually getting sent down to Pawtucket and losing his job or the one who when recalled seemed to focus on grinding out at bats and working on hitting the off speed pitches. No question he has the power, the consistency is what John Farrell and the Sox brass are looking for. Pierzynski has gap power which may lead to many doubles at Fenway and has always been an above average hitting catcher throughout his career. Ross, who will see more time than the prototypical backup catcher, is no slouch at the plate either as we saw in October he was a contributor as well.

John Farrell and Ben Cherington still have to ultimately make the decision on Grady Sizemore within the next ten days but in my opinion he makes the team and Bradley starts in Pawtucket. The Sox will grind out at bats just like last season and try to get to bullpens early. If everything follows suit the Sox lineup on Opening Day look like this:

1. CF Grady Sizemore
2. RF Shane Victorino
3. 2B Dustin Pedroia
4. DH David Ortiz
5. 1B Mike Napoli
6. LF Daniel Nava
7. SS Xander Bogaerts
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
9. 3B Will Middlebrooks

If Sizemore doesn’t pass the test weekend and needs more time in Florida to start the year expect the lineup to look like this.

1. LF Daniel Nava
2. RF Shane Victorino
3. 2B Dustin Pedroia
4. DH David Ortiz
5. 1B Mike Napoli
6. SS Xander Bogaerts
7. 3B Will Middlebrooks
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
9. CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

Red Sox Report: Rotation Depth Will Be Key To Sox Success

Rotation depth is really what helped the Red Sox get to October and eventually win the World Series. The trade deadline deal with the White Sox and Tigers netting the Red Sox Jake Peavy for the stretch run definitely made a difference. Peavy won four of ten starts once acquired, filled in for Clay Buchholz in the rotation who had been out since early June. The Sox gave the ball to Allen Webster and Brandon Workman at other times across last season. Webster did not have the greatest go at it but Workman looked great in a short sample and eventually was moved to the bullpen and was getting important outs in the eight inning of the World Series. Who will be the pitchers counted on for depth this season?

Jake Peavy, who cut his finger, looks to get back on the mound soon.

Jake Peavy, who cut his finger, looks to get back on the mound soon.

With Jake Peavy having a cutting his index finger due to a fish hook accident, depth might come into play right away this season. With Ryan Dempster announcing he would not play this season the first week of spring training the Sox turned to Chris Capuano who made his first spring start Wednesday against the Cardinals. The extent to Peavy’s injury is relatively unknown but he did throw off flat ground and will look to throw off a mound soon. Peavy has the bulldog attitude that he won’t be out for long but still this seems to be a concern if he doesn’t get in spring games soon. Peavy could be positioned as the fifth starter meaning he wouldn’t start until April 5th.

It seems Capuano would get the first look if a starter goes down this year as he is the most experienced and the young pitchers could use a little more seasoning in the minors. Capuano is experienced in the National League but could benefit from Fenway Park. Webster gave up 3 runs in his first spring start against the Twins only pitching 1 2/3 innings but did shut down the Marlins yesterday with 3 shutout innings. Webster, only 24 was acquired in the Dodgers trade of 2012, could soon be passed in the line with more starters expected to be getting time in AAA Pawtucket this season. Rubby De La Rosa also acquired in that trade did not pitch a great deal last season recovering from Tommy John surgery might be better fit in a relief role. He also did not fare well in his first spring outing giving up 4 runs to the Rays Tuesday.



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My pick after Capuano if a starter goes down would be Brandon Workman. Workman was relatively unknown last season until he was placed on the postseason roster and took the hearts of Red Sox fans getting key outs down the stretch. Workman did not give up an earned run in seven postseason appearances and that was huge for a gutted Sox bullpen from the start of the season. Workman will not be overlooked this season, as John Farrell knows what he has in Workman. Keep an eye on Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes, who will likely start the season in Pawtucket. Ranaudo struck out four Twins in two innings of work in his first spring appearance and was added to the 40-man roster this off-season. Barnes has been shut down for a few days with should fatigue and the Sox are not taking any chances on the fireballer from UConn.

Henry Owens could turn out to be the best Red Sox pitching prospect.

Henry Owens could turn out to be the best Red Sox pitching prospect.

Drake Britton looked good in stretches for the Sox last season and was a lefty out of the pen with the loss of Andrew Miller. With Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton ahead of him on the depth chart he was left off the postseason roster and might fit better as a full time reliever for the Sox. Another lefty to keep an eye on will be Henry Owens who finished the season in AA Portland and could be in AAA by June. Owens a 6’6 lefty is the Sox 4th rated prospect according to MLB.com and might pass all the names I said that is how good he could be.

With double headers and unexpected injuries that occur it is safe to say that Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and Jake Peavy all won’t make 30 starts for the Sox this season. Buchholz took a while to come back last season from a freak injury. Doubront broke down towards the end of the season in his first season with a full workload. Lester and Lackey were horses down the stretch and into the postseason and will be not pushed too hard early on in the season. Teams with depth in the rotation are usually the ones in October and expect the Red Sox to have even better depth this season.

Red Sox Report: Will Sizemore Grab a Roster Spot?

Not including the month of September due to Jacoby Ellsbury’s injury, last season you had a pretty good idea of who would be starting in the Red Sox outfield. What will happen this season? The expectation is that Shane Victorino will stay in right field and the center field spot vacated by Jacoby Ellsbury will go to Jackie Bradley. Then what was Grady Sizemore brought in for?

Grady Sizemore hit leadoff and played left field yesterday.

Grady Sizemore hit leadoff and played left field yesterday.

Well that question will certainly be answered in the upcoming spring training games. Sizemore lead off yesterday against Northeastern and was in left field. Bradley was in center batting ninth. Jonny Gomes started in right field, which he only did twice last season. With Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava not ready for game action yet, John Farrell was seeing what he had. Obviously the Red Sox do not want Gomes in the spacious right field of Fenway and Sizemore seems to fit better in left, if Bradley claims the center field job, as he throws left handed. Victorino should be ready for Opening Day and Nava is battling a small neck issue that is not worrisome yet.

If Sizemore is capable of playing a good left field and comes on strong will this take time away from Nava and Gomes? The platoon of Gomes and Nava worked out well last season, Gomes played against lefties while Nava played against righties. In the postseason Gomes took most of the left field duty and who could forget his home run in the World Series. Sizemore is obviously a wait and see type player as he has not played in a regular season in two years and whether he can hold up a whole season is a real question mark.



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Besides Sizemore, who was brought in on a major league contract, the real question mark is whether Jackie Bradley will hold the center field job for the whole season? There is no question he is there defensively, he has great range and some say he is a better defender than his predecessor Ellsbury. His offense is the question mark. He will hit towards the bottom of the lineup so not much pressure will be placed on him to be the table setter that Ellsbury was, but he will still need to bring something to the table. Bradley did struggle in his cup of coffee with the club in April but had a good year in AAA with Pawtucket. The team seems set with Bradley in center but brought in Sizemore in case he struggles and hopes to strike gold with Sizemore off injury and if it doesn’t work out he is only making $750,000.

Expect Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes to share left field this season and maybe even the lead off spot.

Expect Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes to share left field this season and maybe even the lead off spot.

Also cannot forget that Mike Carp will need at bats off the bench in left field but will likely play more first base this season if Mike Napoli goes through a slump. Carp is also working out at third base this spring which will further his versatility. Last year Daniel Nava learned first base in spring training with the help of Brian Butterfield and Ryan Lavarnway is doing the same this year. Carp provided left handed pop off the Red Sox bench last season and rumors this winter were that he was a wanted man. Those rumors cooled and the Sox should be glad they kept him. If Middlebrooks improves Carp won’t have to play much third base, if he grasps the position but it will certainly help him get some playing time.

So with two bench outfield spots up for grabs who will claim them? My prediction for the start of the season is that Gomes and Nava will be a part of a platoon in left yet again. Bradley will start the year in center and Carp will be on the bench. I see Sizemore getting staying in Florida for extended spring training for the start of the season to get him more at bats, which will lead to an assignment to Pawtucket for in game action. He will contribute to the team this season but they will still start him off slow even though he has looked better than expected so far.

Red Sox Report: Spring Training Week One Headlines

As the full squad workouts are underway at Fenway South, week one of spring training has not produced any huge headlines. As I stated last week Ryan Dempster would likely be moved to the bullpen, but Ryan Dempster decided he could not play in 2014. He announced such a decision last Sunday and it is believed the team knew two weeks ago. Dempster will be placed on the restricted list and will not be paid his $13 million salary for this season. Neck issues and wanting to spend time with his family are the reasons for him not playing this season.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

When I think of Dempster, I think of him plunking Alex Rodriguez. His plunking of Alex Rodriguez means so much more now that he is leaving money on the table. Easily Dempster could have taken a stint on the disabled list until he deemed himself good enough to go and collected his salary. He said he has too much respect for the game and his teammates. That is refreshing to here in today’s world where athletes seem to chase the money. Alex Rodriguez will of course not play in 2014 because of suspension.

With Dempster salary off the books, will the Red Sox make any moves? Well one was made yesterday in bringing in left handed pitcher Chris Capuano on a one year deal. Capuano, who pitched for the Dodgers last year, will make $2.25 million (with incentives capable of brining that to $5 million) and fill the role we thought Dempster was going to fill this year. Spot starter in the bullpen, as well as a long reliever capable of going multiple innings. You can never have enough pitching, even with the young pitchers the Red Sox have, Capuano is a good pickup as he is a veteran. A career National League pitcher, Capuano will have to make adjustments against American League lineups, but John Farrell will use him where he can be most successful.



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Capuano’s salary is nothing big, could the Red Sox afford to bring back Stephen Drew? According to Ben Cherington, that is not on the radar right now. He is comfortable with the infielders they have which I love hearing as Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks deserve their chance and not the thought of Stephen Drew coming in, possibly hampering their performance. Don’t get me wrong, Drew is a nice player who helped the Red Sox win a World Series last season, but it is time for the kids to play and hope they collect a draft pick if Drew signs with another team before the June draft. Of course super agent Scott Boras is still holding out for a good deal for Drew but the longer he waits the less likely Drew will get what they expect his proper value.

David Ortiz came to camp on Tuesday will some less than thrilling words about hit haters. All Ortiz wants is another year tacked onto his deal. Ortiz showed up with his agent which may dictate that the team may work something out in the near future. John Henry has said he wants Ortiz to retire in a Red Sox uniform and that will likely happen. Ortiz is in the second year of a two year deal signed last offseason, which many argued why they gave him a two year deal after a 2012 season where he tore his Achilles and was not all that happy with the team. 2013 silenced his critics  but apparently not enough and now he is seeking another contract. All these haters Ortiz describes I don’t know exactly who they are because every media member seems to defend him, but maybe they will help his performance if he is angry. Nomar Garciaparra towards the end of his Red Sox tenure had haters and that lead to him leaving town, let’s hope that is not the case for Ortiz.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

Spring Training games begin next Thursday already with the annual college matchups between Northeastern and Boston College. Friday the Sox take on Ft. Myers neighbors the Minnesota Twins. The Sox are likely to start some of the prospects in those games and get the expected rotation in on the second turn through the rotation, a way of giving them extra rest after a short offseason. Hard to believe spring games are already upon us and with plenty of coverage, Red Sox fans will get to know the players who might have an unexpected impact on this upcoming season.

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