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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling changes stance, set to resume fight vs. NBA

Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Pacers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Israel, 9:25 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: French Open, 10 a.m. (Tennis Channel)

AROUND THE WEB:

Donald Sterling reportedly is battling prostrate cancer. (Getty images)

Donald Sterling is set to renew his fight against the NBA. (Getty images)

– The attorney for Donald Sterling‘s wife confirmed that the banned Clippers owner has given Shelley Sterling written permission to sell the team, but Donald’s lawyer said Tuesday he has “disavowed” the agreement and “is going to fight to the bloody end” to stop the league from forcing him out.

“I don’t know what agreement she has with him, but I’m saying to you today, he disavows anything she’s doing to sell the team,” attorney Max Blecher told ESPN on Tuesday. “He says, ‘It’s my team, and I’ll sell it when and if I get around to it.’ ”

As to why Sterling initially agreed to allow his wife to sell the team, Blecher said, “He was in a state of shock at first. Now he’s recovering and he’s much more feisty.”

In his official response to the NBA’s attempt to remove him, Sterling argued that the league has no basis because the racist comments he made were illegally recorded.

“A jealous rant to a lover never intended to be published cannot offend the NBA rules,” Sterling wrote to the league Tuesday, noting that he was “clearly distraught” during the argument with V. Stiviano.

Said Blecher to ESPN: “I believe what they’ve done is illegal and it will not hold up in court. I believe what they’re doing is a blatant invasion of his constitutional rights because they’re using a tape recording that he did not consent to, and under California law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose, for any proceeding.

“So if the basis of their case is illegal evidence, they don’t have much of a case. … The whole thing is a pile of garbage.”

The league’s owners are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in New York to vote on Sterling’s removal, and he said it won’t be fair because the owners already have made their positions clear.

“These proceedings will be a spectacle meant to mollify the popular opinion, not a fair and impartial hearing: the outcome of these proceedings became a foregone conclusion weeks ago,” Sterling’s response reads.

Shelly Sterling — who reportedly is seeking binding bids for the team with next Tuesday as the deadline — also responded to the NBA’s charges (separately from her estranged husband) and continued to insist that she did nothing wrong.

– Former Bucks owner Herb Kohl made quite a profit on the team, selling it for $550 million this year after purchasing it for $18 million in 1985. He decided to share some of his good fortune with BMO Harris Bradley Center employees, distributing $500 checks.

“Today, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation,” Kohl wrote in a letter to employees. “That’s why I am pleased to provide you with a gesture of my appreciation.”

Izeal Atkins, an usher who works in the section where Kohl used to sit, got emotional when he received his gift.

“I am not quick to shed tears,” Atkins told Wisconsin TV station WISN. “I sat there and shed tears for maybe 5-10 minutes because nobody just walks up, gives you $500.”

– Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said Tuesday he has “no regrets” about last season despite the bullying scandal that cost the team two players. “No, not at all,” he told reporters on the first day of Miami’s organized team activities.

Pouncey, known in these parts as a longtime friend of accused murderer Aaron Hernandez (the two were college teammates at Florida), was mentioned in investigator Ted Wells‘ report as one of the players — along with Richie Incognito and John Jerry — who actively participated in abuse of teammates and staff, most notably fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

Pouncey has been ordered by the league to undergo a mental-health evaluation before returning to the field, something that does not sit well with him.

“I have no clue [what it entails], but I don’t think I need that,” he said. “I don’t think I do.”

Pouncey also made news on draft night when he tweeted about the team selecting offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James 19th overall with a reference to Martin and others being forced to spend their money on the veterans. Wrote Pouncey: Great pick! I can’t wait for our gifts he’s getting us lol.

Said Pouncey on Tuesday: “Obviously [the tweet] was a joke, but I’m not here to be a distraction. It’s all about football right now. We’ve moved on from that.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 28, 2000, in a memorable matchup at Yankee Stadium, Pedro Martinez outdueled Roger Clemens and led the Red Sox to a 2-0 victory over the Yankees. Which Red Sox player hit a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning for the game’s only runs?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “More than anything, our guys are having fun playing the game. It was a tough 10-game stretch we came through, but there’s been plenty of energy kind of injected back in the dugout.” — Red Sox manager John Farrell, after Tuesday’s 6-3 victory over the Braves, the Sox’ second straight win

STAT OF THE DAY: 1 – Career home runs for Phillies outfielder Ben Revere, who hit his first in Tuesday’s game against the Rockies in the 1,466th at-bat of his career

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Rangers defenseman John Moore delivers a shot to the head of Canadiens forward Dale Weise, earning him a game misconduct.

Rapper 50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson, throws out the first pitch before Tuesday’s Mets game and misses the catcher — by a lot.

Bowler Joey Augustine from Virginia Beach bowls a strike from the doorway of the bowling alley.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Trot Nixon

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Gladys Knight was born on this day in 1944.

Bonus: From “The Richard Pryor Show” in 1977, here’s a memorable performance by the Pips after their split from Gladys Knight.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

‘He has a chance’ : Why Christian Vazquez may be ready for big leagues right now

Christian Vazquez showed major strides in his approach at the plate during the 2013 season. (AP)

Christian Vazquez showed major strides in his approach at the plate during the 2013 season. (AP)

PAWTUCKET — Catcher’s gear engulfs Christian Vazquez by his locker at McCoy Stadium. A pair of red shinguards litters the ground around his locker while a catcher’s mask, surrounded by his uniforms and warmup gear, sits dead center on a shelf in his locker. To the left of the locker on a porch that stands in the corner of the PawSox clubhouse sits a burly bag filled with Vazquez’s game gear. Vazquez’s bats sit, almost hidden, behind a closet full of clothing.

The overwhelming amount of catcher’s gear around Vazquez seemingly embodies the hype surrounding the prospect. At some point, Vazquez almost surely will make the trip on I-95 to Boston based on his advanced abilities behind the dish. In spring training, manager John Farrell stated that Vazquez is advanced enough defensively to play in the majors right now.

“He has the ability to shut down a running game with the way he defends and the way he throws,” Farrell told reporters in March. “This is a guy, there would be no hesitation if the need were to arise to call upon.’€”

While Vazquez’s potential for Gold Glove-caliber defense is the most lauded part of his game, the Red Sox advanced the 23-year-old to Pawtucket at the end of last year based on the tremendous strides the catcher made with a bat in his hands. While spending all but his last regular season game of 2013 with Double-A Portland — the same level where he spent the final weeks of the 2012 season — Vazquez took a step forward with his approach at the plate, hitting .289/.376/.395 with five homers, 48 RBIs, 19 doubles a triple, 48 walks and 44 strikeouts in 96 games with the Sea Dogs.

PawSox manager Kevin Boles, who was the Sea Dogs skipper during Vazquez’s time with the team, saw a very noticeable improvement in the catcher’s approach at the plate in 2013.

“He came up to Portland a couple of years ago and seeing him, he was pretty pull-conscious the first time he came through Double-A,” Boles said. “Then we started to see the adjustments where he started to use all fields and the frequency of contact has been something that is on his side also. The walks to strikeout ratio greatly improved last year and we’re looking to see that again. People know who he is and I think the other organizations and the other teams, they give him credit that he’s a hitter, that he has a chance to become a quality bat and not jut a defensive specialist behind the plate.”

Despite his steps forward in 2013, Vazquez has struggled at the plate in the early parts of the season, hitting .250/.302/.328 with no homers, 10 RBIs, 10 doubles, 10 walks and 26 strikeouts in 34 contests coming into Tuesday. Vazquez is the first to point out the noticeable decrease in his strikeout to walk ratio.

“I feel strong in that part right now,” Vazquez said. “I have more strikeouts than walks right now, but I feel good at the plate. I’m hitting the ball good and continuing to work. Keep grinding and it’s going to be better soon.”

The Red Sox kept Vazquez’s development in mind when they set out to find a catcher for the 2014 season. Instead of pursuing a long-term option along the lines of Brian McCann or even pursuing another option like Carlos Ruiz for as many as three years, the Red Sox signed A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal, an indication of their plans to have Vazquez potentially start on Opening Day in 2015.

While the Red Sox appear to have planned 2014 as a bridge year between Saltalamacchia and Vazquez, the collective offensive struggles of Pierzynski and David Ross have some clamoring for the promotion of Vazquez. As a group, Red Sox catchers are hitting .240/.280/.370 with six homers, 28 RBI and rank 23rd in baseball among catchers in WAR at 0.4. While he certainly has the defensive chops to make the leap, Vazquez is still adjusting to Triple-A pitching.

Vazquez says that the most difficult part about the adjustment to Triple-A has been the exposure to a higher level of pitching.

“The pitchers, hitting, it’s tough,” Vazquez said. “They have more experience than Double-A and they know what they are doing on the mound and it’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s OK. I’m going to get it.”

Despite his difficulties at the plate so far this season, Vazquez has impressed the Pawtucket coaching staff with the strides he’s made every day at the plate. Vazquez’s steps forward at the plate lead Boles to believe that Farrell’s spring training assessment of the catcher’s abilities still rings true.

“He has a chance to be a quality bat,” Boles said. “He has a chance to be a quality bat now and also be a future major league hitter.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching his hitting. His approach, he works to all fields. He’s a guy that can hit and run, a guy that can play the short game. The numbers are early here too but I like the consistency of the approach. I think he has a chance to be a quality [hitter] and it’s a new level. There is going to be an adjustment period to [it] and I think he’s done a nice job with that.”

Until the day the Red Sox call upon his services, Vazquez is focusing on his day-to-day work.

“I’m going to continue working hard and if they call me up, it’s the time, but I don’t pay attention to that,” Vazquez said. “I’m going to keep working hard every day and focus game by game and that’s it.”

While Boles thinks that Vazquez would be a serviceable hitter at the major league level should the opportunity present itself, the manager does not want to make any concrete predictions about the catcher’s future in Boston.

“I think we sell the bat short sometimes because the defense is that good,” Boles said. “A lot of players fall into that and they want to categorize a guy as a premium defender and put the bat short or vice versa, but with him, I think we’re looking at a guy who could be a complete package. He has a chance.”

Blog Author: 
Joon Lee

Should Jerry Remy return to the NESN booth?

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Blog Author: 
WEEI

Clay Buchholz remains optimistic he will make next start

ATLANTA — Clay Buchholz said Tuesday morning he woke up with an unpleasant reminder from his forgettable Memorial Day start ‘€“ a hyper-extended left leg.

Buchholz explained the ailment first revealed by Red Sox manager John Farrell prior to the Sox’€™ 6-3 win over the Braves at Turner Field. (To read Farrell’s pregame comments, click here.)

“I’€™ve done it in the past. It was a little bit more intense yesterday, just over-striding and sort of hyper-extended I guess,” Buchholz said. “I’€™m a little sore today, so I’€™ll throw a bullpen [Wednesday] and see how it feels from there.

“I really didn’€™t think about it then. It was more when I woke up it was stiff and I had to think about what I did to make it feel like that. That was the only thing I could come to.”

Buchholz, who was still left searching for answers after his three-inning, 88-pitch, six-run, eight-walk outing, was still optimistic he could make his next scheduled start, Saturday.

Both the pitcher and Farrell said that any determination would made once Buchholz’€™ physical progress was evaluated Wednesday.

“I don’€™t think so,” said Buchholz when asked if he thought he might miss his next start, “but we’€™re going to wait an extra day and throw a bullpen [Wednesday].”

Another eye-opening revelation by Farrell was that Buchholz had lost a significant amount of weight during his start. While the manager estimated he had dropped seven pounds, the pitcher said he went from weighing in at 181 prior to Monday’€™s game, to 176 upon arriving Tuesday.

“I wouldn’€™t think so,” he said when asked if that was normal.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Closing Time: Red Sox enjoy reversal of fortunes, complete sweep of Braves

David Ortiz and the Red Sox enjoyed their fourth straight game of five or more runs on Tuesday. (AP)

David Ortiz and the Red Sox enjoyed their fourth straight game of five or more runs on Tuesday. (AP)

A Red Sox team that spent weeks seemingly unable to buy a hit with runners in scoring position enjoyed a sudden confluence of them on Tuesday en route to a 6-3 victory over the Braves. A four-run seventh inning in which the Sox transformed a 3-2 deficit into the winning score represented the polar opposite of what the team has experienced for most of May.

After a pair of one-out singles, David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes enjoyed back-to-back bloop singles to plate the tying run. A Grady Sizemore groundball then yielded one out instead of an inning-ending twin killing, giving the Sox a 4-3 lead, after which Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered a sharp two-run single to left.

Thanks in no small part to a bunch of balls simply finding holes, the Red Sox went 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position en route to their fourth straight game of five or more runs this year — matching a season-high for such a streak. And so, a roadtrip that commenced in disastrous fashion concluded on a more successful note, with the Red Sox claiming a two-game series sweep in Atlanta as the two teams prepare for a reciprocal two-game set in Boston.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Grady Sizemore went 2-for-5 with a double and a steal of third while driving in a pair of runs. It was the fifth game this year in which he drove out multiple runs, and his first since May 14.

Dustin Pedroia had his first multi-hit game in a week and his first extra-base hit in five games, going 3-for-4 with a double and a sac fly. It was the third game of three-plus hits for Pedroia this year, and his first since May 6.

Jackie Bradley Jr., who had been 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position in May, delivered a key two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh to break the game open.

– While Jon Lester encountered his share of bad luck and was something less than dominant, he made enough key pitches to control the damage against the Braves and ultimately position himself for a victory. The left-hander — who got off to a rocky start when he permitted the first batter he faced, Jason Heyward, to go deep (the first homer of the year Lester had given up to a lefty, and the sixth time in his career he was taken deep by the first batter he’d faced in a start) — worked around a total of eight hits and three walks in six innings thanks to seven punchouts and a pair of key double plays. Most notably, with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the second, Lester got starting counterpart Aaron Harang to tap back to the mound to start a 1-2-3 double play that permitted him to escape the inning unscathed. The Braves were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Lester, and 1-for-7 overall.

– The Sox bullpen delivered three scoreless innings, with left-hander Andrew Miller submitting particularly dominant work, punching out both of the batters he faced with a runner on in the bottom of the eighth and Koji Uehara flying through a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts on 11 pitches. Uehara now has thrown 10 straight scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts.

While there were questions earlier in the year about Uehara’s struggles, the closer now has a 0.87 ERA (an improvement on last year’s 1.09 mark) with 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings (again, besting last year’s 12.2 strikeouts per nine).

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Lester went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, and he’s now 0-for-34 in his career as a hitter. He has 41 plate appearances without a hit in his career, the fourth most plate appearances since 1901 without a hit.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

John Farrell: Clay Buchholz dealing with knee injury, Sox undecided on if he’ll make next start

The Red Sox are uncertain whether Clay Buchholz will make his next scheduled start on Saturday. (AP)

The Red Sox are uncertain whether Clay Buchholz will make his next scheduled start on Saturday. (AP)

ATLANTA — One day after Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in three innings while walking eight batters, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that the team had not yet decided whether the right-hander — who has a 2-4 record and 7.02 ERA– will make his next scheduled start on Saturday.

“We haven’€™t made a definitive decision on his next turn through the rotation,” said Farrell. “We’€™re not blind to what everyone sees. And yes, there is concern because we’€™re talking about a guy who was potentially on his way to a Cy Young year last year and now he’€™s only showing flashes of it, either inside a given game or for a given start. We continue to search for some consistency of execution of pitches which might lead to added confidence. He’€™s not there yet.”

Farrell noted that a couple of physical problems may have come into play during Buchholz’s poor outing on Monday. The manager said that his pitcher, working in the heat and humidity of Atlanta, lost seven pounds during the start.

“He lost seven pounds yesterday which for Clay is almost unheard of,” said Farrell. “It’€™s different than the weather we’€™ve been involved in. That’€™s not going to be used as an excuse.”

Farrell also said that Buchholz, after running the bases, felt some discomfort in his knee that requires further monitoring.

“We’€™ve got to get through tomorrow’€™s bullpen. After he ran the bases yesterday, there was a pitch where his landing leg gave out,” said Farrell. “We’€™ve got to make sure that he gets through his bullpen [session on Wednesday and to determine that] that knee, where he felt was a little hyperextended, doesn’€™t persist or show any further soreness. That’€™s where we are right now.’€

Farrell said that Buchholz waved off the training staff from checking the injury during the game because “he didn’t want that to be part of the reason as to why he pitched the way he did,” but added that the team would be “conscious” of how the knee feels during the bullpen session.

“We’€™re not going to put him at any further risk injury-wise.,” said Farrell.

At the same time, the manager acknowledged that his pitcher’s poor results through 10 games likely indicate that there are issues that go beyond a tweaked knee.

 

“I can’€™t say that it’€™s strictly mechanical. From a fundamental standpoint, I’€™m sure he’€™s searching a little bit himself mentally to find some confidence and gain some of that along the way,” said Farrell. “But the thing that stands out, eight walks is very uncharacteristic. That’€™s a lot of walks for him for 20 innings, let alone three. We’€™ve got work to do.”

How that work takes place remains to be seen — including whether it will mean that Buchholz gets skipped in his next scheduled start or misses multiple turns while on the disabled list.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Patriots sign undrafted rookie WRs Wilson Van Hooser, Reese Wiggins

The Patriots on Tuesday announced the signing of undrafted rookie wide receivers Wilson Van Hooser and Reese Wiggins, putting them at the roster limit of 90.

Van Hooser, who stands 6 feet, 197 pounds, had 13 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns last season at Troy. He also returned 15 kicks for 237 yards. The Alabama native played his first three seasons at Tulane, recording 55 receptions for 805 yards and nine touchdowns before graduating.

Van Hooser participated in pro days and both of his former schools, and he turned some heads when he made a behind-the-back catch of an underthrown ball at Tulane.

Wiggins, 5-foot-11, 193 pounds, was an All-Conference USA honorable mention at East Carolina in 2013 after totaling 26 catches for 372 yards and four touchdowns. In his college career he had 80 receptions for 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Red Sox lineup at Braves: David Ross catching Jon Lester; David Ortiz back at first

One start after Jon Lester was shelled for seven runs while working with A.J. Pierzynski, the Red Sox left-hander is once again working with David Ross as his batterymate. In three starts with Pierzynski, Lester has a 6.00 ERA while averaging six innings a start and permitting opponents to hit .355 with a .410 OBP and .566 slugging mark. With Ross, Lester has a 2.39 ERA while averaging seven innings a start and holding opponents to a .194/.241/.297 line.

Whereas Pierzynski’s success against Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle resulted in the Sox’ decision to have him start over Ross in Lester’s prior outing, the Sox’ primary catcher owns a .200/.273/.200 line against Tuesday’s Braves starter, Aaron Harang. Ross, meanwhile, has a .333/.333/1.083 line with three homers in 12 plate appearances against Harang. Meanwhile, David Ortiz will be back at first base for the second time in as many days in a National League park.

For complete batter vs. starting pitcher histories, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, 3B

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, 1B

Jonny Gomes, RF

Grady Sizemore, LF

David Ross, C

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Jon Lester, SP

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Canadiens’ Carey Price skates in full equipment, still out for Rangers series

Carey Price got Canadiens fans hopes up, but coach Michel Therrien quickly shot them down.

The injured goaltender skated in full equipment for the first time since suffering an apparent knee injury in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday — his second straight day on the ice. But Therrien said afterward that Price will not play in the series, which the Rangers lead 3-1, even if it goes seven games.

Price spent the 30-minute session with goaltending coach Stephane Waite before the rest of the team skated out to prepare for Game 5 against New York as part of his rehab process. Price skated in warm-ups for about five minutes Monday.

Price suffered the injury in the second period of Game 1 when Rangers forward Chris Kreider crashed into him. Dustin Tokarski has started the last four games.

Blog Author: 
Nick Canelas

Dustin Pedroia on MFB: ‘We plan on turning this thing around’

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia joined WEEI’s new Middays with MFB show on Tuesday to discuss the state of the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox snapped their 10-game losing streak on Monday with an 8-6 come-from-behind win over the Braves, something Pedroia hopes will be a turning point in what has been a difficult start to the season.

“It was a big win for us. We’ve definitely been grinding lately,” Pedroia said. “It’€™s a step in the right direction. We’ve got a long way to go, and we plan on turning this thing around and winning a lot of ball games.”

Pedroia attributed much of the Sox’ struggles over this stretch to a series of misfortunes.

“It’€™s been tough. All the guys, we’€™re in it together,” he said. “We’€™re family. We’€™re on the flight together talking about how to pull ourselves out of it, try any way we can. We have a lot of things that didn’t go our way during the 10 games. The couple of games in Tampa, a couple of balls that go over [Brock Holt'€™s] head, a bloop single over my head and one mistake leads to three, four runs, and that kind of stuff had been happening throughout.

“You look at the big picture, there’€™s 162 games and guess what, those breaks are going to change. One of these games I’€™m going to chop a ball at home plate and it’€™s going to go over the third baseman’€™s head for a double and then [David Ortiz] is going to hit a home run. We’€™re going to start getting the breaks and it’€™s going to start turning around. We got to believe in that.”

Another element that has downed the Sox of late is some inconsistency at the plate. In particular, they have failed to find a regular lineup that has worked favorably for them. That has put multiple players, including Pedroia, at different spots in the order on a nightly basis. The second baseman has found himself hitting anywhere from leadoff to third.

“It’€™s what can I do to help out,” he said. “Coming into the year, we had a leadoff hitter for seven years in [Jacoby Ellsbury] and I always hit usually right behind him or I’€™d hit third and then David. So obviously when Jacoby left we tried to mix and match a little bit, and then [Shane Victorino'€™s] had some injuries this year so we’€™re trying to find some consistency at the top.

“It doesn’t matter. Wherever we’€™re at in the lineup we’ve got to find a way to be consistent. That’€™s the problem. You can say what you want about that we need to keep the same or whatever. We’€™ll keep the lineup the same when we get consistent performance. That includes me, David, everybody. It isn’t one guy.”

Despite all of the Sox’ struggles, Pedroia said they are still good enough to content with the roster they have.

“I think every game that we play and we show up, I feel we have a great chance of winning every night,” he said. “Even though we lost 10 games in a row, we won yesterday, we came back, it showed the fight in our team. Every time we show up I feel like we’€™re going to show up and win.”

Playing alongside Pedroia throughout this stretch has been Xander Bogaerts. The 21-year-old shortstop has had his ups and downs in the field this year, prompting the Red Sox to bring back Stephen Drew as a reinforcement. Regardless, Pedroia has been impressed with what he’s seen from Bogaerts.

“Everything we’ve asked him to do he’€™s been able to accept that challenge,” Pedroia said. “Great teammate. If we ask him to move to third when Stephen’€™s coming, he’€™ll just put a smile on his face. Anything to help our team win and make us better.

“I’€™m pretty proud of him from the first game to now, the way he’€™s improved in every aspect of the game, understanding the game. He’€™s going to be a star for a long time for us.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On the struggles of pitcher Clay Buchholz: “It’€™s like any of our guys. I think Clay needs to know that if we’€™re going to go where you want to go, he going to be a big part of it. This guy’€™s got electric stuff.

“Everybody’€™s confidence gets down at times, my confidence gets down at times where the game speeds up on you. … I would just tell him they are going to go your way. You just keep working, keep grinding, you’ve got a lot more starts, a long way to go. But if we’€™re going to get back in this thing and do what we want to do, he’€™s got to be a big part of it.”

On the scuffle that ensued after the Rays’ Yunel Escobar stole third base Sunday: “I didn’t have a problem with him stealing third base, I just had a problem with him yelling at our dugout. The way I play, I would never once think about turning to the Rays dugout and think about yelling at Joe Madden. I would never yell at David Price. I have too much respect for their team and just competing against them. That was the only thing I had a problem with.”

On Jon Lester and his current contract situation: “Everybody has seen what Jon Lester‘€™s done in a Red Sox uniform. Every time he has the ball it’€™s a good feeling. If we have a big game to pitch, guess who’€™s pitching it? Jon Lester. I love playing behind him. He’€™s going to compete until the last out is made. You want to go to work with guys like that every day, and I sure hope he’€™s here with me the rest of our careers together.”

Blog Author: 
Nick Canelas