Saturday, April 19, 2014
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
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
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You are one serious Red Sox fan if you can quickly name the seven players who manned third base last year for Boston.
Everyone knows who finished the year there, as the kid, Xander Bogaerts, burst into the post-season.
And Will Middlebrooks will re-claim his job this season.
Should anything happen to Middlebrooks during the season, a new name might be added to the list of those who have played third for Boston.
Big Papi will finish his career with the Red Sox. After lobbying all off-season for a contract extension, David Ortiz got his wish late Sunday night.
Ortiz, 38, already under contract this year for $15-million, will receive $16-million in 2015. There is a vesting option for 2016, based on plate appearances and a club option for 2017, for when Ortiz is 41.
The options make sense. If Ortiz is healthy and plays, he can go to 2016. If he is productive, Boston can sign him up for the next year, too. No more threats from Ortiz about possibly playing in another uniform.
Before Ortiz signed his previous contract, we looked at the wisdom of committing to a slugger reaching his late 30's. As the story pointed out, it was a gamble. But Ortiz came through last year (30 home runs, World Series MVP).
When players gets along, does that mean a team will win?
Or when a team wins, does that help the players get along?
All together now: "Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya"
(Fun fact: Kumbaya is actually a spiritual song that was meant to lift up a group, but now it's become synonymous with people moving unquestionably together)
Jacoby Ellsbury was supposed to take batting practice in Tampa Thursday, but was scratched. The tight calf muscle that prevented him from playing the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, is still a concern.
The Yankees knew they were getting a player with an injury history, writes Ken Davidoff off the New York Post.
Another former Sea Dog was in the news as negotiations between Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians have broken off, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Masterson was seeking a contract extension at a reported "discount." Without an extension, he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Pitching is always a premium. It can take a while to get to the majors as challenges are met. In today's column, we look at Anthony Randi's ride, along with a few other.
A baseball game is not as physical as football, nor as draining as hockey or basketball.
But unlike those other sports, a pro baseball season goes on for 162 games.
The Red Sox are in spring training for six weeks, preparing for a six-month regular-season grind. They go about it carefully.
That is why Boston is not sold on starting center fielder Grady Sizemore when the season begins. He may be good for a while, but his body has betrayed him before. The Red Sox need to make sure he is ready for the long haul.