ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane Thursday morning to disc

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane Thursday morning to discuss the postseason and his current situation with ESPN. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling has been taken off the ESPN game broadcasts following a controversial tweet. In his place has been former softball player Jessica Mendoza. The New York Times has called for Mendoza to replace Schilling for next season, but the former Red Sox pitcher says as far as he knows he will be back next year.

In the meantime, Schilling has been doing shows in studio for the network.

“As far as I know everything is going to be normal next year, get back to that,” Schilling said. “A couple of things: First off, I don’t blame [The New York Times], they are still bitter. It was 11 years ago that we did it, but they are fans of a team that offered the biggest choke in the history of sports. They will always be bitter and I am alright with that.

“Jessica is not bad at it. I thought she was good, real good. I thought that she was there, not because she’s the first woman to every do it, I thought she was good. I thought she was kind of a hidden gem on the women’s softball thing and in getting to do that and get exposed to that she can do this. I listen to her talk to guys in spring training about hitting and she did some different pieces for Baseball Tonight during spring training and she is as knowledgeable about putting the barrel of a bat on the ball as anybody I’ve ever heard speak about it.”

Schilling is not surprised John Farrell will be back as Red Sox manager.

“No. Listen, until the day I die I will still be of the mind that John Farrell is overqualified to do anything in the game,” he said. “I still think he’s one of the most amazing people. I think in-game management is an issue. I think something he needs to get better at, but he’s as good of a communicator and presence as anybody I’ve ever known in the sport.”

Farrell recently finished treatment for Stage 1 lymphoma. Schilling, a mouth cancer survivor, isn’t sure how Farrell will be once spring training rolls around in the spring.

“I don’t know how because he just did the chemo that I know of,” Schilling said. “I had a chance to visit with him and talk with him on a couple of different occasions and the one thing I was blown away by was the fact he was going from chemo over to the ballpark, but what I got was he was pretty wiped out, pretty exhausted. I think he will be ready. I don’t know because his chemo was a lot more dramatic than I think than most in that situation and that was I thought kind of the easy, breezy part of what I did was the chemo. He went through some pretty heavy stuff.”

Torey Lovullo will return as bench coach, which has caused some to question why, given he likely could get looks as manager in another city. Schilling said it comes down to loyalty.

“That’s what happens when somebody shows loyalty people can’t put a value on in sports,” Schilling said. “Everybody wants to assume, ‘OK, there’s some sort of deal or they promised him something or whatever.’ I played with a lot of guys and played for a lot of coaches that were loyal to the end, were loyal to a fault. They wanted to be with their guy. These two guys, if you dig a little bit in the history they’ve been around each other quite a long time.”

Schilling was also asked about CC Sabathia checking himself into rehab for his alcohol addiction. He said his teammates likely had no problem with him doing it when he did — the day before the Wild Card game, as some things are more important than baseball.

“None. None,” Schilling said. “There are certain things that are bigger than the game and a players life and his health and his well-being to me were always far, far more important. This is the real world stuff. This is the thing I think a lot of people assume — look at how much money he makes, why would he do that? There is a disconnect. There are a lot of people, I think a lot of kids maybe are brought up to believe or taught that athletes are better than everybody else at things and that’s not true. Expect for throwing a baseball, life is exactly pretty much like everybody else.”

Blog Author: 

Xander Bogaerts (left) and Mookie Betts are two future cornerstones.</p>
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Jacoby Ellsbury's stay in New York hit a low point Tuesday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Thanks for the reminder.

The player who is slated to earn $153 million, and is slated to make just more than $20 million annually through 2020, is starting the playoffs on the bench.

The player who is slated to earn $153 million, and is slated to make just more than $20 million annually through 2020, is starting the playoffs on the bench.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has benched Jacoby Ellsbury for his team’s wild-card, one-game playoff against the Astros Tuesday night.

New York will start Brett Gardner in center field in the place of Ellsbury, with the right-handed-hitting Chris Young manning left field against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel.

Ellsbury has been slumping badly in the second half of the season, totaling just a .601 OPS since July 8. He missed six weeks with a knee sprain. The left-hitting Gardner hasn’t been much better, totaling a .592 OPS since making the American League All-Star team.

Against Kuechel, who has shutout the Yankees over 16 innings in his previous two meetings with New York, Ellsbury is 2-for-7 with a walk while Gardner is 0-for-4.

Here are the lineups for both the Yankees and Astros:

Brett Gardner CF
Chris Young LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 3B
Greg Bird 1B
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Didi Gregorius SS

Jose Altuve 2B
George Springer RF
Carlos Correa SS
Colby Rasmus LF
Evan Gattis DH
Carlos Gomez CF
Luis Valbuena 3B
Chris Carter 1B
Jason Castro C

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Hanley Ramirez is one of the great unknowns as we enter the offseason. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)The building blocks are clearly in place. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts have the potential to be franchise players, and both only just turned 23.

The 2015 season didn’t go how Red Sox 2014 first-round pick Michael Kopech had hoped.

Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

The 2015 season didn’t go how Red Sox 2014 first-round pick Michael Kopech had hoped.

The right-hander was suspended 50 games on July 16 for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The 50 games didn’t allow him to pitch the rest of the season.

He denied knowingly taking the substance through a statement, saying he had never heard of Oxilofrine. The 19-year-old is now pitching in the Fall Instructional League where he hopes to “redeem” himself.

“What most players down here are doing is trying to work on their pitches and stuff, but I had 50 games to work on that already, so personally I am trying to redeem myself, I guess that is the best way to put it,” Kopech said.

In 16 games with Single-A Greenville before the suspension, Kopech was putting up solid numbers. In 65 innings he had a record of 4-5, but had a 2.63 ERA and struck out 70 batters.

During the suspension Kopech was at the team’s facility at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers and was able to work on a few things. He said he’s pitching better now than he was before the suspension, so in a way the suspension was a “blessing in disguise.”

“It was difficult because I was finally starting to do well and kind of get some smaller issues behind me that were making me pitch better,” he said. “Then the suspension came and kind of put a set back on it, but I got to come down to [Fort Myers] and work on everything that I needed to. I guess in a way it was a blessing in disguise because I think I am pitching better now than I was during the season.”

One of the things he was able to work on was a new off-speed pitch, which he worked on during simulated games with the other players who were down at the facility.

“I just worked on my off-speed stuff that I hadn’t been executing very well,” Kopech said. “I had a slider and a curveball and I kind of morphed the two so now I am throwing I guess you could call it a slurve. It’s a breaking ball, but it’s a lot better than either of the two I had before.”

Having the instructional league is very beneficial to Kopech because he’s getting the live game action that he missed because of the suspension and he’s able to make up the innings he lost.

“Most guys are coming out here and at the most they will do two innings. I am going to do four and five innings my next couple of outings,” he said. “I will throw about 15 innings before it’s all set and done down here, which would give me close to what my innings limit would be this year anyway. It’s really helpful.”

The instructional league runs through Oct. 13.

Contributor Erin Lashley contributed to this report from Fort Myers, Florida.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

With the Major League Baseball playoffs upon us, and the Red Sox not in the picture, it’s time to look at what former members of the Sox are still actually playing baseball (and what they did this season) …

Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees, starting center fielder): 111 games, .257 batting average, .663 OPS, seven home runs, 21 stolen bases.

Stephen Drew (Yankees, out with a concussion): 131 games, .201 batting average, .652 OPS, 17 home runs.

Andrew Miller (Yankees, closer): 36 saves in 38 opportunities, 100 strikeouts, 20 walks, 2.04 ERA

Jed Lowrie (Astros, starting third baseman): 69 games, .222 batting average, nine home runs, .712 OPS.

Mike Napoli (Rangers, first baseman/left fielder vs. lefties): 35 games (with Rangers), .295 batting average, .908 OPS, five home runs.

Adrian Beltre (Rangers, third baseman): 143 games, .287 batting average, .788 OPS, 18 home runs.

Jonny Gomes (Royals, backup outfielder): 12 games (with Royals), .167 batting average, .469 OPS, four RBIs.

Jonathan Herrera (Cubs, potential odd man out for wild card game): 73 games, .230 batting average, .576 OPS.

David Ross (Cubs, Jon Lester‘s personal catcher): 72 games, .176 batting average, .518 OPS, home run.

Anthony Rizzo (Cubs, starting first baseman): 160 games, .278 batting average, .899 OPS, 31 home runs.

Quintin Berry (Cubs, pinch-runner): 8 games, two stolen bases, one caught stealing.

Jon Lester (Cubs, No. 2 starter): 11-12, 205 innings, 3.34 ERA, 207 strikeouts, 47 walks.

Mark Melancon (Pirates, closer): 51 saves, 53 save opportunities, 2.23 ERA.

John Lackey (Cardinals, No. 1 starter): 13-10, 218 innings, 2.77 ERA, 175 strikeouts, 53 walks.

Brandon Moss (Cardinals, on playoff roster bubble): 51 games, .250 batting average, .753 OPS, four home runs.

Yoenis Cespedes (Mets, starting left fielder): 57 games (with Mets), .287 batting average, .942 OPS, 17 home runs.

Bartolo Colon (Mets, starter/reliever): 14-13, 194 2/3 innings, 4.16 ERA, 136 strikeouts, 26 walks.

Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers, first baseman): 156 games, .275 batting average, .830 OPS, 28 home runs.

Carl Crawford (Dodgers, in outfield rotation): 69 games, .265 batting average, .707 OPS, four home runs, 10 stolen bases.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford