Tuesday, March 11, 2014
NEW YORK — “Game One and we’re headed in the right direction,” reliever Andrew Bailey said.
An 8-2 Opening Day win is indeed a positive start.
But that right direction began in the off-season when the Red Sox resisted offers for their best prospects in trade deals. Boston was coming off a stinker of a season. It might have been tempting to make a big splash in the off-season, attempting to win back fans by trading for big names.
That, of course, would have required the trading of prospects.
Boston once had a prospect named Anthony Rizzo. He was a sight to see during batting practice at Hadlock Field, crushing balls everywhere. Did pretty good in the Portland Sea Dogs games too, sending a few balls to neighboring Fitzpatrick Stadium.
But Boston traded Rizzo as part of a deal to obtain first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who is no longer on the team. Rizzo, meanwhile, was in the Chicago Cubs opening lineup Monday. On the first pitch he saw from A.J. Burnett, Rizzo swatted a 438-foot, two-run home run, in the Cubs’ 3-1 win over the Pirates.
Several years ago, the Red Sox tried to get Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers. It would have cost Boston malcontent Manny Ramirez and a prospect - a Class A left-handed pitcher named Jon Lester.
Both Rodriguez and Lester were in Yankee Stadium on Monday.
Rodriguez asked the Yankees not to introduce him before the game. He may be out for the year with continued hip problems. Also, he is again under suspicion in a performance enhancing drug scandal, with his name associated with a dubious clinic in Miami. The boos might have been too much.
Lester, meanwhile, was the winning pitcher. It was a solid-enough start (five innings, two runs) that Lester can build on.
The point is that Boston kept Lester, like the Red Sox have held onto prospects named Buchholz, Pedroia and Ellsbury.
And they kept Jackie Bradley Jr. Even without getting a hit, Bradley amazed on Monday and played a key role in the win. See today’s column.
The other rookie handed himself well, too. Shortstop Jose Iglesias is the top subject in today’s notebook.
Concerning the game, Bailey was right. I was a good step in the right direction. And Bailey played a big part, even if he did face only one batter. See the game story.
Also in the Press Herald, Tom Caron looks at Boston's "decent start."
As for the Yankees, New York Post columnist Joel Sherman cited the team’s lack of power, at the plate and in C.C. Sabathia’s decreasing velocity.
Thanks for reading. Time to leave New York. The Sea Dogs are coming. Please keep checking this space (plus www.pressherald.com) and on twitter: @ClearTheBases
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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