Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington announced that right-hander Clay Buchholz was expected to undergo a minor right knee procedure to repair his meniscus by head team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis. Cherington said that Buchholz had been dealing with the issue on and off for some time, though the discomfort hadn’t always been present and it was not significant enough to prevent him from pitching. Cherington described the meniscus injury as “not a debilitating issue,” and was not at the root of the player’s struggles (8-11, 5.34 ER) in 2014.

“Given where we are in the calendar, it’s a fairly quick recovery. Let’s just knock it out and he should have a normal offseason,” said Cherington. “It’s something that we managed. I think he would tell you it did not affect him. We’re just trying to be proactive so it doesn’t turn into something bigger.”

– Brock Holt will see Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9 to get clearance that he’s recovered fully from his concussion. He won’t play in games (that visit will come too late to clear him for fall instructional league), but given that Holt took batting practice and grounders in the final homestand of the season, all parties appear comfortable that he will enter the offseason healthy.

Mike Napoli is expected to recover from his toe, knee and finger injures with rest. He’s also been dealing with sleep apnea for a number of years, with the condition worsening in recent years. The team will work with Napoli to see if that condition can be addressed this offseason.

David Ortiz (wrist soreness) is expected to be fine with rest.

Dustin Pedroia‘s recovery from thumb/wrist surgery is proceeding in a fashion that is expected to permit him a full, healthy offseason strengthening and conditioning program in Arizona.

Shane Victorino is recovering from his discectomy on his lower back.

“Still has a road ahead of him, but you know, if he stays on track without any significant setbacks, should be active in spring training at some point. I don’t want to put a date on it yet,” said Victorino. “I think our hope would be that he’ll be in games at some point in spring training. It’s too far away to know exactly when.”

– Cherington said that the team does not feel that there are any health concerns related to Allen Craig’s foot.

“We’ve had it examined. We don’t believe — he doesn’t believe — it’s an issue. So he’s just focused on having a good offseason. I think we’ve done everything we can to make sure that the foot is OK going forward,” said Cherington. “No further testing needed.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Will Middlebrooks missed the final homestand of the season with a hand/wrist injury. (Getty Images)

Will Middlebrooks missed the final homestand of the season with a hand/wrist injury. (Getty Images)

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who missed the final homestand of the season with soreness in his right hand/wrist (an area that had been injured when hit by a pitch in May), is expected to return to complete health with rest. That said, the 26-year-old has decided against the team’s recommended course of going to winter ball.

GM Ben Cherington said that Middlebrooks gave the matter consideration, and while the team did want him to play in more games after missing roughly half of this season due to injuries, the decision about whether or not to play this winter would not impact whether the team views him as major league-ready in the spring.

“He’s made a decision that he’s going to focus on other things this winter. He feels he can address what he needs to address without playing winter ball. That’s a decision that he’s made,” said Cherington. “I don’t think whether or not he plays winter ball should be a determining factor on where he is next March or April. We talked to him about it. We felt there was some merit. But players have to make some decisions that they think is in their best interests.

“We’re going to present information and what we feel like might be helpful, but ultimately offseasons belong to players, and they need to do what they think is in their best interests,” added Cherington. “He gave it consideration. He thought about it. I think he understood where we were coming from. I think he just feels like it’s in his best interests to focus on an offseason without playing, to get strong, get ready for spring training.”

Cherington said that the 26-year-old is expected to be healthy after resting for the next month. Middlebrooks hit .191 with a .256 OBP and .265 slugging mark in 63 big league games this year, his season compressed by a pair of stints on the DL for a calf strain and broken right index finger.

Middlebrooks discussed his view of the 2014 season, and his reluctance to go to winter ball, here.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Once again, Jon Lester will occupy center stage in the postseason.

Once again, Jon Lester will occupy center stage in the postseason. The left-hander is slated to start the Athletics’ one-game playoff against the Royals on Tuesday night, his opponent (in almost comical coincidence) Kansas City ace James Shields.

With Lester on the mound following a 16-11 season, career-low 2.46 ERA, career-high 219 1/3 innings, 220 strikeouts (9.0 per nine) and career-low 48 walks (2.0 per nine) and on the cusp of free agency, the baseball world will be watching closely. That, of course, includes the Red Sox organization that traded him on July 31 (along with outfielder Jonny Gomes) for Yoenis Cespedes.

The negotiations — or lack thereof — between the Sox and Lester after the pitcher had stated a desire to sign a long-term deal to remain with the Sox, even if it meant taking a discount to do so, lorded over the Sox’ season. That was true while Lester was with the team, and it’s true now that he’s gone, given that the Red Sox make no secret of the fact that they have a significant amount of work to do regarding the rebuilding of their rotation, and more specifically, the front of their rotation.

“Hopefully we can get right back into it if we fix the top of the rotation,” Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said.

“That’s absolutely our intention,” team chairman Tom Werner said on Sunday about whether he believed that the Sox could build a rotation to return to contention in 2015. “We have the resources. Hopefully it will all fall into place soon.”

That would represent a contrast to how things developed with Lester. The negotiations in spring training represented little more than a false start, and even with the possibility of middle ground apparent, the initial gulf between the two sides was such that there wasn’t a great deal of movement in negotiations.

With hindsight, Werner was asked, was there regret about the shape that negotiations with Lester took?

“No. I don’t want to go back too much, but let me just say that we expected a little more dialogue back and forth than happened,” said Werner. “But I’ll take our share of the responsibility in that.”

By contrast, Kennedy suggested that the fact that dialogue between the two sides was amicable left little ground for regret.

“There’s a lot of stuff that probably went on behind the scenes that is not for public consumption,” said Kennedy. “I think we feel really, really good about the way both sides handled the discussion. Very positive.”

While the two sides did not find common ground during the season, the Red Sox seem likely to pursue Lester anew this winter. Whether there is a greater likelihood of an agreement come November remains to be seen, though Kennedy suggested that characterizations of the Sox’ philosophical rigidity — particularly a bright line unwillingness to go beyond deals of four years for pitchers in their 30s — may not be accurate.

“I don’t know what we will do or won’t do, but I would be surprised if we wouldn’t consider every and any option — whether that means a long-term deal for a pitcher over 30, I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rules,” said Kennedy. “I think there’s a philosophy and empirical data that shows [deals of five-plus years for pitchers in their 30s have] not worked in most situations. But I’ve never heard, we don’t do this, we don’t go long on a pitcher, we don’t go more than six years, or seven years.

“There was a lot of talk after the Dodgers trade about what we were going to do or not do vis-a-vis existing players. We traded Adrian and Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. And then shortly thereafter, we made the deal with Dustin Pedroia. Having a long-term extension with a player going well into his 30s.”

Does that mean that the Sox, who would not have to wonder about Lester’s fit for Boston or whether he has a routine that would give him at least a chance to sustain success into his 30s, might make another serious run at Lester?

“On the pitching front, I don’t know. I really don’t know what will happen. I think a lot will depend on the market and what the market looks like,” said Kennedy. “Obviously, I’m not at liberty to say one word about any potential free agents but I said before the trade that I was hopeful we would have certain players here for a long time. I’m hopeful that we’re active in the free agent market.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

It was a glorious day, bathed in warmth and sunlight, an idyllic atmosphere that carried a faint reminder: There would be no autumnal chill, no baseball in the vivid fall hues where each pitch carries the weight and magnitude of a full season. This was the final reminder of a backwards season that ultimately is defined by the absence of October baseball. 

The last major league pitcher Derek Jeter faced was Clay Buchholz. (Elsa/Getty Images)"J6"

It was the season of the selfie.

Just more than five months after David Ortiz snapped a photo with President Barack Obama, Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly used the camera-phone technology to punctuate the campaign’s final day.

Upon greeting Derek Jeter during the entire Red Sox‘ roster’s meet-and-greet with the Yankees shortstop during pregame ceremonies, Jeter took a few extra seconds to pose with the man of the day.

Yet, as well-executed as Kelly’s photo turned out, his wife’s tweet after the moment may have been even more impressive.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The wave of tributes to Derek Jeter came and went at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon during his final major league game. In the midst of them all was this video tribute from Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Chris Rock (courtesy “Funny or Die”), played on the center field video board:

Blog Author: 

In the end, he was ready to cross the finish line.

Derek Jeter salutes the crowd at Fenway Park during a pregame tribute that preceded his final major league contest. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter salutes the crowd at Fenway Park during a pregame tribute that preceded his final major league contest. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

In the end, he was ready to cross the finish line.

Derek Jeter acknowledged that, after the nearly overwhelming emotion that accompanied his final Yankee Stadium contest on Thursday, he gave some consideration to never playing again, to sitting out the entirety of his team’s final three games of the year against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. But ultimately, he decided that while he wouldn’t play shortstop, he was ready to complete his career in Boston, with two at-bats in the final two games of the season.

“A lot of fans told me that they came a long way to see these last games and I felt it was right to play here,” said Jeter. “Don’€™t think I didn’€™t think about it, I thought about it.”

Sunday marked the final game of a disappointing season for the Red Sox, but the focus of the afternoon was primarily on Jeter as he played in the final game of his stellar 20-year career.

After an extravagant pre-game ceremony that included appearances from the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Bruins legend Bobby Orr, former Celtic Paul Pierce and former Patriot star Troy Brown (among many others), Jeter served as the DH for two at-bats, ending his career on an infield single that drove in a run.

Jeter said that the plan was to get a couple of at-bats, regardless of the results. But he was glad to collect a hit in his final plate appearance, even if it was just an infield chopper.

“I would have loved to hit a home run like everyone else, but getting hits is not easy to do,” Jeter said. “My first at-bat I hit a line drive [to shortstop Jemile Weeks], unfortunately it was caught, but I feel a whole lot better getting a hit. I don’€™t care how far it goes, where it goes — I have no ego when it comes to hits. It’€™s either a hit or an out. I’€™ve gotten a lot of hits like that throughout my career and they all count the same.”

With one more hit this season, Jeter could have tied Ty Cobb‘s record of 19 consecutive 150-hit seasons. But the record wasn’t all that important to the 40-year-old.

“I wasn’€™t aware of [the record] until [manager] Joe [Girardi] told me this morning. But I never played this game for numbers, so why start now?” Jeter said. “With one more hit I would have tied Cobb’€™s record but I’€™m tied with Hank Aaron, that’€™s enough for me.”

After his single on Sunday, Jeter was lifted for a pinch runner. On his way off the field, he stopped at the mound to talk to Clay Buchholz, who will remain the last pitcher to ever face Jeter.

“When I ran past him, I said I know that this is kind of odd, but I just wanted to say I’€™ve enjoyed competing against you over the years and good luck to him,” Jeter said. “I had an opportunity to speak to everyone on the Boston team [in the pre-game ceremony] but obviously not him because he was warming up, so I just took a brief moment to tell him that.”

The pre-game festivities included the entire 2014 squad (sans Buchholz and catcher David Ross, who were in the bullpen) lining up to shake hands with the Yankees shortstop. Also on the agenda was the presentation of gifts (including a pinstriped base, scoreboard sign and a donation to Jeter’s foundation) and the inclusion of all three of the Red Sox’ living captains: Yastremzski, Jim Rice and Jason Varitek.

“[The ceremony] was unbelievable. I didn’€™t know anything about it or what was going to happen or who was going to be here,” Jeter said. “All the things they’ve done, it was hard to envision because this is a place where we’ve been an enemy for a long, long time and for them to flip the script this last time coming here it made me feel extremely proud and happy I was a part of this rivalry.”

Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of the day was the way that, for one game, the feelings of animosity that exist between Red Sox and Yankees fans seemed to take a backseat to appreciation for Jeter’s career. The crowd was filled with fans of both teams, and a “Der-ek Je-ter” chant broke out amongst the packed house multiple times.

“I’€™ve been a part of some chants here at Fenway Park, but I don’€™t know if any of them were good,” Jeter said.

Regardless of what team they were rooting for or which side of the rivalry fans were on, it seemed that, at least for one day, they were united in one feeling: respect for Jeter.

“I€’ve been here for parts of 20 years, and whether you’€™re a Yankee fan or you’€™re not, if you want us to win or you want us to lose, you have good or bad memories, there’€™s a pretty good chance that I was a part of it,” Jeter said. “What I mean by that is I took a lot of pride in playing every game, I missed some but I took a lot of pride in doing my job and going out there every day and I think if you do that, people may respect you, they might not necessarily like you or root for your team, but they have respect for you.”

He returned the respect by playing on Sunday and by saluting Red Sox players and fans at Fenway Park with a final tip of the helmet as he jogged off the field one final time after his infield hit in the third. By the time he arrived in the dugout, he was ready for the finality of the moment.

“My emotions were so over the place on Thursday in New York, when I got here I was ready, I was ready for my career to be over with,” said Jeter. “I’€™m happy I had the opportunity to come and play here for a couple of games. I’€™m ready for this to be the end.”

Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison