BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official Team News Release) – The Boston Red Sox today announced the 2018 field staffs of their minor league affiliates. Red Sox Vice President of Player Development Ben Crockett made the announcements.
Pawtucket (Triple-A, International League)
Kevin Boles will return for his fifth year as PawSox manager in 2018, his 11th year in the organization. Bruce Crabbe will remain on his staff as an additional coach for the fifth consecutive season, extending his tenure with the organization to 14 years. Joining the PawSox in the role of pitching coach is Kevin Walker, who held the same position with Double-A Portland for the last three seasons and has coached Red Sox affiliates for the last decade. Rich Gedman will continue as the club’s hitting coach for his fourth year in that role and eighth with Red Sox minor league clubs. Eric Velazquez, who joined Pawtucket as athletic trainer last season, will return for 2018.Kirby Retzer will serve as strength and conditioning coach in his third year with the team.
Portland (Double-A, Eastern League)
After managing Single-A Greenville to the franchise’s first South Atlantic League Championship in 2017, Darren Fenster will be at the helm for the Sea Dogs in 2018. Entering his seventh season in Boston’s system, Fenster had managed Greenville for the past four seasons. Also new to the Sea Dogs’ staff is Pitching Coach Paul Abbott, who joined the Red Sox organization in 2011 and spent the last two seasons as High-A Salem’s pitching coach. Lee May Jr. returns for a second season as hitting coach, having joined the organization in 2016. Entering his third season in the Red Sox’ system, Scott Gallon will continue as the Sea Dogs’ athletic trainer after moving into that role in 2017. Chris Messina, who joined Portland in 2016, will serve as strength and conditioning coach.
Salem (High-A, Carolina League)
Manager Joe Oliver will return to Salem for his third season at the helm, his fifth coaching Red Sox affiliates. He will be joined by Lance Carter, who takes over as pitching coach after spending the last three seasons in that role with Short-A Lowell. Nelson Paulino, who begins his 21st season coaching in the organization, will continue as hitting coach after starting in that position in 2016. Trainer Nick Kuchwara, who also joined the staff in 2016, will return in the same capacity in 2018.
Greenville (Single-A, South Atlantic League)
Former Red Sox minor leaguer Iggy Suarez will manage the Drive in 2017. The former infielder began his coaching career as Lowell’s hitting coach in 2015 before managing Short-A Lowell for the past two seasons. A 19-year veteran of the organization and South Carolina resident, Bob Kipper will return to Greenville as pitching coach. Most recently with the PawSox for three seasons, Kipper previously held his current role from 2005-06 and 2008-09. Returning in the same role is Hitting CoachWilton Veras, who spent eight seasons (1995-2002) playing in the Red Sox organization before returning as a coach in 2012. Phil Millan, who joined the Drive in 2017 after assisting with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2016, will remain Greenville’s athletic trainer.
Lowell (Short-A, New York-Penn League)
Corey Wimberly will become Lowell’s new manager after joining the Greenville coaching staff last spring. Wimberly played professionally from 2005-16, reaching the Triple-A level from 2010-13. Assuming the role of pitching coach is Nick Green, who played seven minor league seasons with Angels (2004-08) and Brewers (2009-10) affiliates before joining the Red Sox organization in 2015. Nate Spears will return as hitting coach for a second year after spending 2016 as a coaching assistant with Greenville. Spears played 12 seasons of professional baseball as an infielder from 2003-2014, including 2010-12 in the Red Sox organization. Joel Harris will continue in his role as athletic trainer for the third year.
Gulf Coast League Red Sox (Rookie, Gulf Coast League)
Tom Kotchman enters his fifth season as manager of the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, having spent 38 total seasons as a minor league manager and scout. New to the GCL staff last season, 2003 American League Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa will continue to serve as an additional coach in the coming year. Pitching Coach Dick Such will return for his sixth season in that role and 10th in the organization. Junior Zamora will be back as hitting coach, entering his fourth year in that capacity after seven years as a bench coach for the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Red Sox. Mickey Jiang, who has been coaching in the Red Sox’ system since 2009, will join the GCL club as a coach and interpreter. Entering his third season with the team, Ben Chadwick will continue in his role as strength and conditioning coach.
Dominican Summer League Red Sox (Rookie, Dominican Summer League)
Jose Zapata will return for his 12th season as the Red Sox’ Latin American field coordinator. New to the staff is major league veteran Fernando Tatis, who will manage one of Boston’s two DSL clubs. The Dominican-born Tatis played 11 major league seasons for five different teams (1997-2003, ‘06, ‘08-10). Managing the other DSL Red Sox squad will be Aly Gonzalez, who has been with the organization for the last nine seasons as a player (2009-11) and coach (2012-17), including the last three seasons in the same role.
Carlos Adolfo, entering his third season in the organization, and Ozzie Chavez, beginning his fourth, will serve as DSL hitting coaches. A six-year veteran of the program, Oscar Lira will continue as pitching coach for one of the two clubs. Also returning to the coaching staff are Claudio Sanchez, Carlos Sequera, and Leonel Vasquez, who will be joined by newcomer Steven Pollakov. A Chicago native, Pollakov played professionally in the White Sox’ system in 2016 and in the independent Frontier League in 2017. Guillermo Hinojosa will return for his ninth season as athletic trainer, while Mario Anguizola and Antonio Diaz will resume their roles as strength and conditioning coaches.
Additionally, the Red Sox have hired Joe Hudson and Richard De Luna to minor league strength and conditioning coaching positions.
BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Boston Red Sox signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a two-year contract through the 2019 season according to an announcement made by President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski.
Mitch Moreland scores for Red Sox in ALCS
Moreland, 32, played for the Red Sox in 2017 after spending his first 10 professional seasons (2007-16) in the Texas Rangers organization. In his debut season with Boston, the left-handed hitter batted .246 (125-for-508) with 22 home runs and 79 RBI, setting career highs in games (149), at-bats, runs scored (73), doubles (34), and walks (57). He reached base in seven of his 15 postseason plate appearances, going 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles, two walks, and four runs scored in four Division Series games against the Houston Astros.
Despite fracturing his left big toe on June 13, Moreland did not spend any time on the disabled list in 2017. He set a Red Sox franchise record—and tied an AL record—by hitting at least one double in seven consecutive games from April 7-13, as he led the majors with 12 doubles in April. Moreland homered in three consecutive games for the first time in his career from May 18-21, then repeated the feat from June 24-26. In 27 games from July 30-August 30, he hit .346 (28-for-81) with six home runs and a 1.071 OPS.
Moreland has hit at least 20 home runs and 20 doubles in each of the last three seasons, joining José Abreu as the AL’s only first basemen to accomplish that feat. In that same three-year span, Moreland recorded a higher batting average against left-handed pitchers (.255) than versus right-handers (.252). In 2017, his .341 on-base percentage against lefties was the highest single-season mark of his career. A 2016 Gold Glove Award winner and 2017 finalist,
BOSTON – (Staff report from Official News Release) – Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi joined Yankee standout Aaron Judge as the top first-year players named to the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie team.
The right fielder Judge, the presumptive candidate for A.L. Rookie of the Year and a finalist for league MVP, slashed .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs and 114 RBI in his first full season in the big leagues. The 25-year-old also won the Home Run Derby and was selected to the All-Star Game.
Judge was joined by his teammate Jordan Montgomery, 24, a surprise addition to the pitching rotation out of spring training who pitched to a 9-7 record and 3.88 ERA, starting 29 games and tossing 155 1/3 innings, both third on the squad.
“This is one of the most impressive Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team classes I have seen,” said David Leiner, Vice President and General Manager of Topps North American Sports & Entertainment. “It shows how incredibly popular baseball was this year with its young breakout stars. They join an incredible group of players who have won the Topps Rookie Cup in the past and will have the special logo appear on their Topps trading cards next season.”
For the second year in a row, baseball fans can get special TOPPS NOW® cards of the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team immediately with an exclusive set available on Topps.com.
Two other MLB teams had multiple players named to the Topps All-Star Rookie: the Boston Red Sox who in addition to Benintendi added rookie third baseman Rafael Devers, and the Milwaukee Brewers with catcher Manny Pina and relief pitcher Josh Hader.
The members of the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team will have their 2018 flagship trading cards feature a “Rookie Cup” logo depicting the honor.
Past honorees of the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team have included former MVPs such as Buster Posey, Ichiro, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Cal Ripken Jr. In addition, more than 20 former Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team members have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame including all three 2017 HOF inductees Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez.
Here’s the full list of the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team:
C – Manny Pina, Brewers
1B – Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2B – Ian Happ, Cubs
SS – Paul DeJong, Cardinals
3B – Rafael Devers, Red Sox
OF – Aaron Judge, Yankees
OF – Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
OF – Trey Mancini, Orioles
RHP – German Marquez, Rockies
LHP – Jordan Montgomery, Yankees
BOSTON – (Staff report from Official News Release) – Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts received the 2017 American League Rawlings Gold Glove Award for right field. The announcement was made on cable television by the Rawlings company, a sponsor of Major League Baseball.
The Gold Glove Award honors the best defenders at each position in each league. Major League managers and coaches, voting only within their league and unable to vote for players on their own teams, account for 75 percent of the selection process; the sabermetrics community accounts for the other 25 percent.
The honor marks the second consecutive Gold Glove Award in right field for Betts. He is the seventh Red Sox player since the award’s 1957 inception to be recognized in multiple seasons, joining outfielders Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, and Dwight Evans, as well as first baseman George Scott, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and third baseman Frank Malzone. Betts—who turned 25 years old on October 7—and Scott are the only players in team history to win multiple Gold Glove Awards at the age of 25 or younger.
Betts played more innings (1,389.1) than any other major league outfielder for the second time in as many seasons, posting a .987 fielding percentage with eight assists, one double play, and only five errors in 379 chances. According to FanGraphs, he ranked first among players at all positions in ultimate zone rating (20.5), while his 31 defensive runs saved led major league outfielders and ranked second among all players behind only Andrelton Simmons (32).
From April 9 through July 25, Betts started 98 consecutive games in right field, marking the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Red Sox player since Mo Vaughn started 153 straight contests over the 1997-98 seasons (source: Elias Sports Bureau). In his final 99 regular season games, Betts committed just one error in 247 chances for a .996 fielding percentage, ending the regular season with a 51-game errorless streak.
This is the 45th Gold Glove Award in Red Sox history, earned by 21 different players. The Red Sox have earned at least one Gold Glove Award in eight of the last 13 seasons since 2005, totaling 11 awards in that time.
BOSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Alex Cora was all smiles as he was introduced as the 47th manager of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Monday. Cora also became the first minority skipper for the Red Sox, who were the last Major League Baseball franchise to integrate.
“I am Puerto Rican, I can’t deny that, and I am the manager of the Boston Red Sox. So history is one thing, but it’s a different reality now,” the 42-year-old Cora said. “When I got the job I thought about that, but this city welcomed me with open arms from 2005 to 2008. It’s a city that has accepted me as I am.
“I don’t see that as an obstacle, I see it as an opportunity to open the eyes of many people and show them that we can perform these jobs at a high level.
Red Sox owner John Henry was quick to admit that the team needed change despite winning the American League East Division for the second straight season.
“We didn’t just change managers,” Henry said. “I think when the end of the season came, we were all of the mind that we needed change. Sometimes an organization benefits from change. We decided that the organization would benefit. John (Farrell) had a tremendous tenure here; back-to-back division championships is a really difficult thing. Sometimes you want change not just because of your results but there’s a time and a place for it. We thought this was really the right time.”
Cora, who played with the Red Sox from 2005-08, knows how passionate the fans can be.
“Boston is a challenge, but for me, it’s not,” Cora said. “I understand they live baseball 24/7. I come from a country that does that, and with my family, it’s the same. This is a good baseball team, a team that, as you all know, have won back-to-back division titles but at the end of the day, this city, everybody wants to win a world championship.”
Cora did precisely that with the Red Sox in 2007 and is coming off repeating the feat with the Houston Astros, who defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games during a World Series that concluded last week.
Cora, who served as a bench coach for the Astros, agreed to a three-year contract plus a club option for 2021 to begin his first managerial job.
“When you sit down with Alex, there are some players you talk to, some people in the game that have been players that manage every single play that they’re in — thinking all the time,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “They’re thinking what they would be doing. It was apparent with his intellect and feel for the game that managing at the major league level was not a major obstacle.”
Cora’s stock rose greatly due to the success of the Astros. The club went 101-61 in the regular season and defeated the Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series to reach the World Series for the second time in club history.
Cora served as a baseball analyst for four seasons (2013-16) before being hired by the Astros. His varied background and ability to relate to young players was a key in the hiring.
Cora batted .243 in 1,273 big league games from 1998-2011 with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Cleveland Indians (2005), Red Sox, New York (2009-10), Texas Rangers (2010) and Washington Nationals (2011).
His brother, Joey, also was a major league player from 1987-98 with the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners and the Indians
BOSTON – (Staff report from Official club news release) – The Boston Red Sox announced the hiring of Alex Cora as the 47th manager in club history. Cora agreed to a three-year contract that will run through the 2020 season, with a club option for the 2021 season. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made the announcement.
Cora, 42, made his Major League Baseball coaching debut in 2017 as bench coach of the Houston Astros, helping lead the club to a 101-61 record, the American League West division title, and the second World Series appearance in franchise history.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be named manager of the Boston Red Sox and I want to thank Dave, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy for giving me such a tremendous opportunity,” said Cora. “Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans. At the same time, I want to express my appreciation for Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch, and the entire Houston Astros organization for giving me the chance to start my coaching career. It has been a very special season and an incredible organization to be a part of and I am looking forward to the World Series and winning with this group.”
Alex Cora (rt).
“We were very impressed when we interviewed Alex,” said Dombrowski. “He came to us as a highly-regarded candidate, and from speaking with him throughout this process, we found him to be very knowledgeable, driven, and deserving of this opportunity. He is a highly respected and hardworking individual who has experience playing in Boston. Alex also has a full appreciation for the use of analytical information in today’s game and his ability to communicate and relate to both young players and veterans is a plus. Finally, the fact that he is bilingual is very significant for our club.”
“In Alex we have found a natural leader to guide our clubhouse,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry. “He is extremely smart with a dedication to what it takes to be successful in today’s game on the field. His baseball acumen and his ability to think strategically are uncommon for someone his age. We could not have found a better match for our players, our front office and for where we intend to go over the coming years as an organization.”
“As someone who has played in Boston and knows what it takes to win here, Alex is uniquely positioned to instill a championship culture,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “Baseball is in his blood and we could not be more pleased to have found someone so accomplished to lead our team. Welcome home, Alex.”
A native of Puerto Rico, Cora is the 22nd former Red Sox player named manager of the club, having played parts of four seasons with Boston from 2005-08. The last Red Sox manager who also played for Boston was Butch Hobson, a Red Sox infielder from 1975-80 and manager from 1992-94.
For the past five winters, Cora has served as general manager for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League, doubling as the club’s manager for two of those (2014-15, 2015-16). Last winter, his Caguas club earned Puerto Rico its first Caribbean Series title since 2000. Cora also was the general manager for the Puerto Rico team that finished second in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Prior to being hired by the Astros in November 2016, Cora spent four years (2013-16) as a baseball analyst for ESPN and ESPN Deportes. He appeared on several television programs, including Baseball Tonight, Beisbol Esta Noche, and SportsCenter, and contributed to ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio.
Cora’s broadcasting career followed a 16-year playing career that included parts of 14 seasons in the majors. He appeared in 1,273 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Cleveland Indians (2005), Red Sox (2005-08), New York Mets (2009-10), Texas Rangers (2010), and Washington Nationals (2011). Cora also played for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.
During his time with the Red Sox, Cora batted .252 (176-for-698) in 301 games, splitting time primarily between second base and shortstop. He was part of Boston’s Division Series roster in 2005 and appeared in four games during the club’s 2007 World Series title run, including two games in the Championship Series and two in the Fall Classic. He also served as the Red Sox’ starting shortstop in three games during the 2008 postseason.
Selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 1996 June Draft out of the University of Miami, Cora reached the College World Series in each of his three years with the Hurricanes (1994-96).
BOSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The Houston Astros clinched their first trip to the American League Championship Series with a 5-4 victory against the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of their AL Division Series on a rainy Monday afternoon at Fenway Park. Houston won the best-of-five series 3-1 after Boston temporarily staved off elimination with a 10-3 win in Game 3 on Sunday, assuring the Red Sox would not be swept in the ALDS in consecutive seasons.
Houston Astros celebrate ALDS victory at Boston
The Astros will face either the Cleveland Indians or the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Cleveland leads its ALDS series against New York 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled for Tuesday night.
Josh Reddick drove in the go-ahead run on a two-out single to left field in the eighth inning off Boston’s Craig Kimbrel, who relieved starter-turned-reliever Chris Sale (0-2) in the eighth after Houston tied it.
Evan Gattis reached second on a hard-hit bouncer down the third base line with one out in the inning off Sale, but was sent back to first because it was errantly picked up by a ball girl.
After Cameron Maybin entered as a pinch runner for Gattis, George Springer drew a walk off Kimbrel before Reddick’s big hit.
Pinch hitter Carlos Beltran doubled in a critical two-out insurance run in the ninth.
Rafael Devers cut the Astros’ deficit to one with an inside-the-park home run, his second of the playoffs, to lead off the Boston ninth against closer Ken Giles.
Giles proceeded to strike out Jackie Bradley Jr. and got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to complete the six-out save.
Alex Bregman clubbed a game-tying solo home run off Sale in the eighth, his second of the series, and Springer and Jose Altuve drove in one run apiece for Houston.
Andrew Benintendi hit a tying two-run homer in the fifth and Xander Bogaerts crushed his first career playoff homer, a solo shot in the first, for the Red Sox.
“It’s not easy to close these guys out,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “Hat tip to the guys across the way. They are not easy outs over there. We knew we were going to have to face their best pitching. You give the ball to Cris Sale and Craig Kimbrel with a lead.”
Astros Ken Giles on final out at Fenway
Game 1 starter and winner Justin Verlander (2-0) earned the victory after making his first career relief appearance, allowing one earned run on one hit — Benintendi’s homer — with two walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Astros starter Charlie Morton was chased after 4 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Sale entered in relief of Red Sox starter and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, whose outing lasted just three innings after giving up two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Sale allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts over his 4 2/3 frames out of the bullpen.
Boston manager John Farrell was ejected in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes. Bench coach Gary DiSarcina assumed managerial duties in his absence.
Houston will make its first appearance in a Championship Series since beating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games in 2005 when the Astros played in the National League.
The Astros were then swept by the Chicago White Sox in their only trip to the World Series.
NOTES: Sustained rains had both teams making preparations for potential delays. “I think you can’t prepare enough,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “… I have my hands full preparing for the Red Sox. I don’t really want to compete with Mother Nature, too.” … Houston 2B Jose Altuve and Boston RF Mookie Betts were nominated for the 2017 Hank Aaron Awards, presented to the most outstanding offensive performer in each league. AL MVP candidate Altuve won the league’s batting title after hitting .346 with 24 home runs and 81 RBIs this season. “A great player who (had) an outstanding series (8-for-15, 3 HR, 5 RBIs),” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Altuve. Betts, the AL MVP runner-up in 2016, batted .264 with 24 home runs and 102 RBIs in 2017. … Twelve years ago Monday, Houston’s Chris Burke hit a series-ending, walk-off homer in the 18th inning to win the longest game in postseason history 7-6 in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS against the Atlanta Braves
BOSTON – Hanley Ramirez struggled through the final two months of the regular season and was left out of the Boston Red Sox’s starting lineup in Game 1 of their American League Division Series. The veteran slugger seems to be back in form after an injury gave him another shot and looks to stay hot as the Red Sox attempt to even the best-of-five series at two wins apiece when they host the Houston Astros on Monday afternoon.
Ramirez, who batted .213 with 45 strikeouts in his final 43 games of 2017, needed an injury to Eduardo Nunez to regain the role of designated hitter and has gone 6-for-10 with three RBIs in the first three games of the series. Houston will try to contain Ramirez while getting its offense going again after being shut out by Boston’s bullpen over the last eight innings of a 10-3 loss in Game 3 on Sunday. AL batting champion Jose Altuve continued his torrid hitting by recording three hits for the Astros and is 8-for-11 in the series while Carlos Correa went deep for the second time in two games and has knocked in six runs in three contests. Charlie Morton won a career-high 14 games and will get the start for Houston in Game 4 against Rick Porcello, who went 11-17 with a 4.65 ERA this season after posting a 22-4 record en route to the AL Cy Young Award in 2016.
TV: 1:08 p.m. ET, FS1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (Playoffs: 0-0, 0.00)
Morton won his final three starts of the regular season, including one at Fenway Park, as he allowed just four runs and 13 hits over 18 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old limited Boston to two runs in 5 1/3 frames on Sept. 29 as he improved to 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox. Morton, who has handled Ramirez (1-for-15) and Mookie Betts (0-for-4), went 4-4 with a 4.17 ERA in nine turns on the road in 2017 and 4-1 with a 2.54 mark in September.
Porcello won his last two decisions and went 7-3 in the final two months of the regular season to get the start despite pitching one scoreless inning of relief in Game 1 on Thursday. The 28-year-old New Jersey native was 7-11 with a 5.43 ERA at home this year after going 13-1 with a 2.97 mark at Fenway Park in 2016. Carlos Beltran is 10-for-27 with a homer and Josh Reddick 3-for-10 with a blast versus Porcello, who gave up seven runs over six innings in a loss to Houston on June 17.
1. The Astros have not won a division series since 2005, when they beat Atlanta while in the National League.
2. Boston Cs Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez have combined to go 6-for-11 with a walk and two RBIs over the first three games.
3. Houston 1B Yuli Gurriel has gone 6-for-12 in the series after recording nine hits in 27 at-bats against the Red Sox in the regular season.