Author Archive

Boston Red Sox’s Andrew Miller Okay After Being Hit in the Head by a Foul Ball

Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller recently dodged a major injury after he was hit in the head by a foul ball while standing in the dugout.

The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reported that Miller was in the dugout during the top of the ninth inning of Friday’s 3-2 10-inning win against the Minnesota Twins when the scary moment happened. A foul ball off the bat of teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia ricocheted off a wall and struck the left-hander in the forehead.

Miller had been searching for a piece of gum at the time and never saw the ball coming. He described to the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber, “I heard something like whistling, and then, the next thing I know, I was like, ‘I think something just hit me in the forehead.’ I’m fine—I think.”

Typically, Miller would have been sitting in the bullpen. However, he had just finished setting down the Twins in order in the eighth inning and was waiting to go back to the mound after the Red Sox finished hitting.

Despite the scare, Miller returned to the game and retired two more batters.

The game marked the southpaw’s finest performance of the year, as he went a season-long 1.2 innings—striking out three without allowing a base runner.

Miller’s performance is part of a hot streak dating back to April 21, when his ERA stood at 6.75. Since that time, he has allowed just three runs and seven hits in his last nine innings (12 games), while striking out 16.

For the season, Miller is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 19 relief appearances. He has also averaged an impressive 15.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Since Miller wasn’t hurt by the foul ball, his near miss is something that can be laughed off. If nothing else, he proved that not even a blow to the head can stop his recent momentum towards establishing himself as a dominant reliever. 


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on

Oakland A’s Pitcher Brett Anderson out at Least a Month with a Fractured Foot

The Oakland A’s received some bad news Friday about the ace of their pitching staff, Brett Anderson. He was already on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, but was determined to have a fractured foot and will be out for at least another month.

Oakland announced that the 25-year-old left-handed Anderson has a navicular stress fracture in his right foot via their official Twitter account:

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser confirmed the story, while indicating Anderson will be re-evaluated in four weeks. In an update to her story, she reported that he is expecting to pitch again this year, but if it is determined he needs surgery, it would likely end his season.

Now in his fifth major league season, Anderson has been consistently plagued by injuries since a successful rookie campaign in 2009 that saw him go 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA in 30 starts. He has appeared in just a combined 44 games (43 starts) in the four years since, and been on the disabled list a number of times, including undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011.

Anderson is 1-4 with a 6.21 ERA this year in six games. He has been on the disabled list with a sprained ankle since May 1, and was nearing a return when he found out about his most recent injury.

According to an Associated Press Report on, the southpaw was bitterly disappointed about his most recent setback:

It’s pretty frustrating, disappointing and all the other similar adjectives. I was two days away from making another rehab start and now I’m in a walking boot with a fracture in my foot…

I’d pitched in San Antonio and felt good after that. I was running Monday in the outfield and all of a sudden my foot started hurting. I got it checked out and this is the result. I’m still processing it. I should take up a hobby, maybe play darts or something.

Slusser reported Anderson is in a walking boot and on crutches. She believes that even in the best case scenario, between healing and necessary rehab, he would miss at least two months with his fracture.

Young right-hander Dan Straily replaced Anderson in the Oakland rotation, but his poor performance so far suggests the team could look at other options. He is 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA in five starts, while walking 4.2 batters per nine innings.

In a separate article, Slusser suggests the A’s could look at minor leaguers Sonny Gray or Andrew Werner to step in for Straily if needed.

The right-handed Gray was the team’s first-round draft choice in 2011. He has dominated at Triple-A so far this season, going 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts.

Werner, a left-hander, pitched briefly in the majors with the San Diego Padres last year before being traded to Oakland during the offseason. He is just 4-5 with a 6.92 ERA at Triple-A this season, but had a 3.57 career minor league ERA the previous four years combined.

Anderson told Slusser that while he is frustrated, he can’t dwell on his string of injuries or his current situation:

I can’t feel sorry for myself. That would be a waste of time. I’m still young, I’m 25. You never want to be labeled injury prone, but hopefully, I’ll get out there and make consecutive starts. I have the highest expectations for myself and I think I’m one of the better pitchers in the game when I’m healthy.

In baseball, players’ reputations are made from production. If Anderson can come back and pitch to his fullest potential, his snake-bitten past will recede from memory, which would surely be welcomed by both Oakland and the hobbled pitcher.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on

Boston Red Sox: Will Middlebrooks Reportedly Playing with Separated Rib

The Boston Red Sox continue to be hit hard by injuries recently, as third baseman Will Middlebrooks is reportedly playing through a separated rib.

Middlebrooks left Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins following a collision with his teammate, catcher David Ross, while the two were chasing a foul ball. Although he returned to play after taking one full game off, it appears he is not fully healthy.

WEEI’s Alex Speier is reporting that Middlebrooks suffered a separation of one of his ribs in the collision. He doesn’t have a broken rib, but tore the cartilage that connects the bone to the sternum.

Middlebrooks described to’s Evan Drellich how the injury has left him feeling:

“It’s still pretty sore, pretty tender. I got a nice little bruise on my ribs. I thought I got hit by a truck. I’ve got to pick the biggest guy on the team to pick on? But it was actually the wall that got me the best. But I’m fine, good enough to play.”

Speier wrote that Middlebrooks is able to play through the injury, but it has left him in significant pain and affected his breathing.

The Red Sox were concerned enough that minor league infielder Brock Holt was flown to Boston as a precaution earlier in the week, according to a tweet by’s Matt Huegel:

Holt’s tweets were later removed and the Red Sox determined that Middlebrooks could play with the discomfort.

Boston manager John Farrell explained to the Boston Herald’s Adam Kurkjian why the team was willing to let the third baseman (and Ross) back on the field:

Yeah, both guys continue to show improvement and, even by the end of the game (Wednesday) night, their stiffness and soreness was starting to dissipate. So they felt like they were ready in emergency situations last night, which was the case. Overnight, they continued to feel better and they’re ready to go today.

Middlebrooks has struggled so far this season, hitting just .203 with six home runs and 13 RBI in his first 34 games. He told The Boston Globe’s Julian Benbow that his rapid return was largely influenced by wanting to break out of his early-season slump:

“The way I’ve been looking at it, the more at-bats I get, the more games I’m in, that’s how much closer I am to getting out of this [slump]. I want to keep grinding this thing out. I don’t want to go sit down and watch. I’m going to eventually run into something.”

Middlebrooks joins relievers Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan as recently injured Boston players. However, unlike the pitchers, it appears that the he will be able to avoid the disabled list—at least for now.

The tough start to the 2013 season for Middlebrooks just got tougher. The team wouldn’t be letting him play if he could cause any further damage, so how he produces in the coming games will be determined by how he can gut his way through the pain.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on

Boston Red Sox Name Setup Man Junichi Tazawa Their New Closer

In the face of mounting injuries in their bullpen, the Boston Red Sox named setup man Junichi Tazawa as their new closer Tuesday.

The decision was announced by Boston manager John Farrell during an appearance on MLB Network Radio, according to’s Jason Mastrodonato.

MLB Network Radio analyst Jim Duquette confirmed Tazawa’s new role via Twitter:

The switch to Tazawa, who had served as a setup man so far this season, was necessitated by the team losing two closers to the disabled list during the past two days.

Andrew Bailey, who leads Boston with five saves, was placed on the disabled list Monday with sore biceps.

Joel Hanrahan, who is second on the team with four saves, prematurely left Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins because of arm discomfort. He was subsequently placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a right forearm strain.

A staff report by ESPN Boston quoted Farrell on his radio appearance talking about his closer plans while his two incumbents are on the mend:

I think what we’d love to do is close Tazawa. We’d keep Koji [Uehara] in that eighth-inning role that he’s been in. We just got [Craig] Breslow back to us yesterday and before the game we put Bailey on the disabled list who had done a great job in the closing role as well…

Tazawa has a little bit more fastball which, whether I’m siding to the traditional approach with a little bit more power late in the game, that’s there. So, right now that’s the initial approach that we’d take to closing things out.

The 26-year-old right-handed Tazawa is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 16 relief appearances this season. He has struck out 18 batters and walked just three in 14.1 innings, without a save.

A starter earlier in his career, he converted to a reliever role following Tommy John surgery in 2010. He has one major league save in two career chances.

To complete the reshuffling of the pitching staff, the Red Sox also announced that left-hander Felix Doubront was being moved to the bullpen, and prospect Allen Webster was recalled to start Wednesday’s game:

It’s unknown how long Tazawa will remain the closer.

ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reported that Bailey’s MRI showed only inflammation, which could make for a quick recovery. The right-hander is eligible to return as soon as May 14 if his arm bounces back as hoped.

A staff report indicated Hanrahan has inflammation and a strain in his forearm. He will need rest before being re-evaluated. Although it’s not believed he has structural damage, it’s unknown when he may be able to return.

This will be the veteran right-hander’s second trip to the disabled list already this season as he was just activated on April 30 following a stint caused by a hamstring strain.

Boston’s bullpen is experiencing a major overhaul, but sliding Tazawa so quickly into the closer role is evidence of the unit’s depth.

If the injured pitchers can bounce back quickly, this will likely be a temporary move for Tazawa. In the meantime, he has been thrust into the spotlight and given a chance to show he can handle the new responsibilities.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on

Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers: Live Score, Reaction and Analysis

SCORE UPDATE:   Red Sox 0 –  7 Rangers, Final

W: Holland: 2-2

L: Doubront: 3-1

HR: None

Read more MLB news on

Joel Hanrahan Informed He Has Lost Boston Red Sox’s Closer Job

Although Boston Red Sox reliever Joel Hanrahan was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, it was not all good news, as the team informed him he had lost his closer’s job.

WEEI’s Rob Bradford is reporting that Hanrahan, who was activated in time for Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, was notified by Boston manager John Farrell that he will not be used to close games in the immediate future. Instead, Andrew Bailey, who closed in Hanrahan’s absence, will continue to get the ball at the end of games.’s Evan Drellich confirmed the story in a tweet:

The 31-year-old right-handed Hanrahan was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason to be Boston’s closer.

He started the season out strongly with saves in his first three opportunities, but allowed five hits, four walks and six runs during his final three appearances before being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain.

He has an 11.57 ERA in six major league games so far this season.

During Hanrahan’s absence, the right-handed Bailey stepped up as a dominant force in the Boston bullpen. For the season, he has made 13 appearances and gone 1-0 with five saves and a 1.46 ERA. He has also struck out 20 batters in just 12.1 innings.

Hanrahan told Bradford that while he isn’t currently the closer, he doesn’t see it as having permanently lost his job:

I had a talk with Farrell for a little bit today and obviously I’ve been out of the game for 15 days so he’s going to kind of work me back in. Bailey has been doing a heck of a job. I told him I’m comfortable with whatever you want to do. The way the team is playing right now, I just want to fit in and do my part to help. I’m just excited to be back.

At 18-7, the Red Sox have roared into first place in the American League East out of the gate. Clearly, they want to continue going with the hot hand and seeing if they can sustain their success.

Hanrahan is taking the demotion well for now, telling Bradford, “There’s nothing different. My job is to go out there and put up a zero. It doesn’t matter what inning it is.”

Such a positive attitude will go a long way. Even though he won’t be closing games, Hanrahan can still give the Red Sox a major boost as a setup man if he starts pitching like he did at the beginning of the season.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on

Boston Red Sox: Why Clay Buchholz Can Continue His Outstanding Production

Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz has jumped out to arguably the best start of any pitcher in baseball this season. While it is unlikely he will keep up his current torrid pace, signs indicate that he can continue contributing outstanding production.

The 28-year-old right-hander is off to the finest start of his career, having posted a 5-0 record and 1.19 ERA in his first five starts. In 37.2 innings, he has allowed just 25 hits while striking out 39 and walking 13. Additionally, he has gone at least seven innings in each of his starts and has given up two or fewer runs each time.

Pitching in his seventh major league season, he is 51-32 with a 3.77 ERA in 112 career games (110 starts) but has struggled with health and inconsistency. The only two seasons he had as many as 16 starts in his previous six years in Boston came in 2010 (28 starts) and 2012 (29 starts).

The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton explained in a couple of tweets why what Buchholz is doing this year has been both rare and historic:

Buchholz’s connection to the legendary Pedro Martinez goes beyond his stand-out early-season numbers. WEEI’s Alex Speier wrote that Buchholz was a 2005 compensatory first-round draft choice Boston received from Martinez signing as a free agent with the New York Mets.

Few pitchers have or ever will match Martinez’s production with the Red Sox (117-37, 2.52 ERA in seven seasons). However, Buchholz has become a very solid starter, and a number of factors suggest he will continue building upon his outstanding start to the 2013 season.

With a caveat that five games is a small sample size,’s data suggests that Buchholz may have harnessed his stuff and matured into a better pitcher.

His average fastball velocity of 91.6 mph is the lowest of his career. Despite the loss of speed, his vFA/C (Fastball Runs Above Average per 100 pitches) of 0.97 is his highest since 2010, when it was 1.14. In addition, his Runs Above Average per 100 pitches value on his cutter (4.04), curveball (2.28) and changeup (2.31) are the highest of his career.

His 9.3 strikeouts, 6.0 hits and 0.2 home runs allowed per nine innings represent career bests, while he has surpassed the 3.0 walks he has allowed per nine innings this year just once before.

Combining those statistics with his pitch values and the fact that there have been no significant changes in how frequently he has thrown his various pitches provides solid proof that he is commanding his stuff better than ever.

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported that Boston manager John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves mandated that Red Sox pitchers, especially Buchholz, pick up the pace between pitches this season. This was to not only to keep hitters off balance but also to prevent the pitchers from thinking too much.

It appears Buchholz has succeeded in adopting that approach. shows that he is averaging 23.3 seconds between pitches, which is the best mark of his career and nearly 2.5 seconds better than last year’s mark of 25.6.

Looking at his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) counters any argument that his success has been due to luck. The .264 average he’s allowed this year is right in line with his career mark of .281. It is also nearly identical to the .261 he permitted in 2010, when he had his best season as a major leaguer, going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA.

Buchholz has also maintained his success when working with different catchers. shows he has a 1.14 ERA when caught by starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a 1.29 ERA when David Ross, who is considered a much better defender, is his receiver.

Buchholz’s dominance has come against diverse competition. Four of his five starts have come at home. He has also faced three teams with winning records, including the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, who both rank in the top four in runs per game in the American League.

It’s highly unlikely that Buchholz will finish with a 1.19 ERA. However, if he remains consistent in the various improvements he appears to have made, there’s no reason why he won’t be one of the best pitchers in baseball at the end of the 2013 season.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference (except where noted) 

Read more MLB news on

David Ortiz Gives NSFW Speech at Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park Return

The Boston Red Sox made an emotional return to Boston and Fenway Park on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, led by veteran star David Ortiz, who sparked the crowd with a NSFW (not safe for work) speech.

Life started to return to normal for the city the day after the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings was captured. With Friday’s game having been canceled, the prospect of the Red Sox returning to action came as welcome relief to a city exhausted from the bombing tragedy and subsequent week-long manhunt.

The game also marked the return of the Red Sox’s designated hitter, Ortiz, who last played on August 24, 2012 because of an Achilles injury.

The Red Sox honored the victims and first responders of the bombings and investigation Saturday with a lengthy pregame celebration that included video tributes, songs and recognition of individuals.

The ceremony concluded when Ortiz took a microphone and delivered a short but fiery (including the use of a certain four-letter word) speech about the strength and resiliency of Boston that drew raucous cheers from the crowd:

WARNING: The YouTube video below contains adult language

Despite the adult-oriented tone of the speech, it drew immediate praise and appreciation from Boston media and celebrities:

Ortiz, affectionately known as “Big Papi,” is entering his 11th season as a member of the Red Sox and is one of the most popular athletes in the history of Boston. He has been part of two World Series-winning teams and became known for his big, friendly personality.

Although Boston still has a lot of healing to do, the few words spoken by Ortiz at Saturday’s game spoke volumes about the resolve of its people and the special place the team and the affable slugger have in the community.

Read more MLB news on

Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz Rejoining Team and Jubilant City from Disabled List

With the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect finally over, life may start to return to normal for the community and the Boston Red Sox. Something that should help in that quest is designated hitter David Ortiz, who is rejoining the team and jubilant city from the disabled list.’s Ian Browne first reported that rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket following Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Indians to make room for Ortiz’s activation.

The Boston Globe‘s Mike Scandura confirmed Ortiz is on his way back to Boston.

The 37-year-old slugger was placed on the disabled list last July 19, and missed all of spring training this before starting this season on the DL once again because of an Achilles injury.

Although the Red Sox have not yet made an official announcement, all signs point to him being activated in time for Saturday’s game at Fenway Park against the Kansas City Royals.

He spent the past week rehabbing with Pawtucket, and following Thursday’s game he proclaimed himself ready to the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. “I think I go back to the big team tomorrow.  “I’m old enough to know what I need to do to keep it compact [his swing]….We were taking our time and just trying to do the right thing. It’s time.”

The left-handed Ortiz had just four hits and six strikeouts in 18 at-bats during his rehab stint, but did blast a solo home run in his final game.

Despite his readiness, he wasn’t able to make his first 2013 major league appearance Friday as hoped because the Red Sox game was cancelled to support the efforts of local law enforcement in their investigation of the bombing suspects.

The Red Sox have gotten off to their hot start primarily on the back of their pitching, as the offense has mustered just a combined .257 batting average and 14 home runs. The return of Ortiz could boost those numbers.

He hit .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI in the 90 games in which he did appear last year. If he can come anywhere close to that kind of production in 2013, placing him back in the middle of the Boston lineup could make the team an even more difficult matchup.

Boston manager John Farrell explained to the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber what Ortiz’s return means for the team: 

He feels good about where he’s at. To have his presence in the middle of the order certainly speaks for itself, the number of years and the success that he’s had. He gives us the potential to lengthen our lineup even more, and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing him in the clubhouse tomorrow.

As Britton reported, Ortiz will hold on to a significant amount of money if he is activated in time for Saturday’s game. His contract calls for his 2014 salary to be cut from $15 million to $13 million if he spends more than 20 days on the disabled list in 2013. Saturday would be the 21st day since he was deactivated.

His return will also result in a domino effect for other players and potentially the Boston community.

Ortiz, entering his 10th season with the Red Sox, is the team’s longest-tenured player and a regional icon. His return at the end of an incredibly emotional week for the city is sure to have a positive impact.

Bradley, who hit .419 during spring training, will return to the minors after struggling to a .097 average so far this season, including going hitless in his last 20 at-bats. He impressed with his maturity, but it appears that a little more seasoning in the minors is needed for the 23-year-old.

Besides Bradley, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes were getting the bulk of the playing time in left field and designated hitter in Ortiz’s absence. They may now get fewer at-bats with another designated hitter on the roster, but perhaps not as few as one might think.

Ortiz told Britton that he will need “some days off once in a while.”

Meanwhile, Farrell confirmed to Lauber that the Red Sox will proceed cautiously with Big Papi. “We’ll use him as our guide, but we’re going to have to balance getting him back into full shape as well as monitoring how much stress that heel can take.”

The switch-hitting Nava has started the season with a .333 batting average and three home runs. He figures to remain above Gomes on the left-field depth chart; Gomes not only started slowly at the plate with a .167 batting average, but is also an inferior defensive player.

There are a lot of details left to figure out, but two things seem clear. David Ortiz is ready to play and his return couldn’t come at a better time for the Red Sox or the city of Boston.  

Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians: Live Coverage of Terry Francona’s Reunion


SCORE UPDATE:   Red Sox 7 – 2 Indians, Final

W: Doubront 1-0

L: Jimenez: 0-2

HR: None

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress