Pedey out with groin strain

Dustin Pedroia, last year’s MVP, left yesterday’s game with a groin strain. That leaves Nick Green starting at second base and Julio Lugo at shortstop, not exactly an inspiring combination. It shouldn’t keep Pedey off the field more than a couple of days, but combine that with Kevin Youkilis’ injury, and suddenly you’ve taken a lot of firepower out of that lineup and the defense on the right side of the diamond suffers tremendously. The pitching will have to do it tonight if we want to win.

Links: Health reports, Bay, Dice-K

J.D. Drew is sitting with that quad again, which was fine today with Scott Kazmir on the mound. But it’d be nice to get him back in the lineup sooner rather than later. Somewhat more worrisome to me is Kevin Youkilis being out with tightness in his side. It’s improving, but the Sox are loathe to test it prematurely. Asked about it today, Youk said he has no clue what it is. Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the lineup after tweaking his hamstring at the end of last week. Read more of this post

Linkage: Big Papi, Lugo, Beckett and more

Maybe the biggest story of the year offensively is the absence of David Ortiz’s power. Batting a mere .222/.319/.333, he has yet to jack a single pitch out of any stadium this year. Papi has been scuffling since a very slow start, swinging aggressively, striking out and getting popped up a lot. Much has been made of his 100 AB homerless drought, the longest of his career, but there are still signs that the lovable slugger may be okay yet. Since  April 15th, Ortiz is batting .243/.325/.400 with 9 doubles and a triple. His walk rate is increasing, and he’s hitting a healthy 21.3% line drives, which should all reflect in his numbers eventually. Francona, of course, is steadfast in his support of Ortiz, and has not moved him from the three hole at all. I’m in agreement with that, though I’d consider sitting him a day here and a day there, just to help him clear his head. Read more of this post

Penny for your thoughts

Last night was a pretty awful start for Brad Penny. On the cold, rainy and foggy night, he was having trouble locating his fastball, and his curveball was out of control. In four starts, we’ve seen two quality starts out of Penny, mixed in with two horrible ones. That 8.66 ERA is unsightly, Justin Masterson is looking very good in two starts, Clay Buchholz needs to log some innings here, and Michael Bowden looked good in his two inning came0 against the Yankees. At this rate, Penny could be the one to get the boot when Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready to rejoin this rotation. What do you think, Red Sox Nation? Are we ready to give up on Penny? Read more of this post

Sox 5, Yanks 4 in 11 innings

Wow. That game was just – wow. Jason Bay comes up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Mariano Rivera, against whom he was 0-4 lifetime with 2 strikeouts. The score? Yankees 4, Red Sox 3. But then he drives a cutter high and deep, but towards the deepest part of Fenway – oh no, it’s going to be caught. It sails back, back, and, somehow, clears the fence by a matter of inches. Everyday Jason Bay sends it to extra innings, and in the 11th, Kevin Youkilis hits a walk-off homer. If there was ever a symbol (since *ahem* 2004) for the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, this game was it. The Yankees came into town with all their shiny new free agent acquisitions and self-confidence, and, somehow, some way, Boston wins it against the Sandman. I know it’s early, but that kind of game is why I watch baseball. Read more of this post

Welcome back, Kason

A year and a half ago, when the Red Sox traded away Kason Gabbard in the Eric Gagne trade, there was quite the uproar amongst the Red Sox faithful. Gabbard, who had made some successful spot starts in 2007 was seen as a potential rotation booster. Things didn’t go too well in Texas, and with their young superstars ready to rise up this year and next to the Majors, the Rangers saw him as expendable – and Epstein pounced on the opportunity, reacquiring Gabbard yesterday for cash considerations. Gabbard is a bit of a soft-tosser and injury-prone, but he has shown a penchant for winning, and has a great attitude. He has been assigned to Pawtucket and will provide more pitching depth (of the left-handed variety). I wonder if more cash-strapped teams will do deals like this as the year progresses and ticket sales continue to suffer? Read more of this post

Links: Anticipating Opening Day

The Sox roster looks to be set, with Nick Green filling the role of utility infielder in the absence of Julio Lugo and Chris Carter being the left-handed 1B/LF off the bench until Mark Kotsay returns. I hope Carter hits a ton and wins the job outright, but that’s me. Read more of this post

2009 Spring Training: Bard cut, injury progress report

Somewhat surprisingly, the Red Sox cut catcher Josh Bard this week, preventing his non-guaranteed contract from vesting for 2009. Instead of paying Bard $1.7M, the Sox owe him just $283k. As a direct result, 26-year old catcher George Kottaras (who will make the Major League minimum salary) appears to be penciled in as Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher and Jason Varitek’s backup on Opening Day. That is probably due to him being out of Major League options; however, should he struggle, the Sox will not hesitate to designate him in favor of Dusty Brown, who is seen as a better defensive option. Read more of this post

Links: Papi and more

David Ortiz is back, slimmer and trimmer (see this photo),and his wrist is no longer clicking. Watch out, American League. I wouldn’t underestimate a guy who, even with some major physical ailments last season, would have hit 32 HR and 122 RBI had he reached his usual playing time (about 150 games).

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Links: Pitchers and catchers this week

More trickles of news as the winter slowly fades into the only Spring that counts:

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