Chris Sale

Chris Sale

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale is listed at 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, and the second number might be high.

So how did the new Red Sox ace get so thin? Genetics.

Speaking to reporters for the first time at JetBlue Park on Tuesday, Sale shared a bit of his family history, which is littered with beanpoles.

“[Eduardo] Rodriguez just asked me, ‘How was the food?'” Sale said. “I was like, ‘I’m not skinny because I don’t eat.’ I come from a long line of skinny people. My dad, when he got married, he was under a size-30 waist. My grandfather’s nickname was ‘Streamlined.’ He was a swimmer. Tall, skinny guys for days. My dad I think is 6-3, my grandfather was 6-4, both my grandfathers are 6-4, 6-5, all my uncles. I think my shortest uncle is like 6-2.”

Sale may be built like a wispy small forward, but there’s nothing slight about his game He went 17-1o with a 3.34 ERA last year and league-leading six complete games.

His length helps him bedevil hitters, thanks to a cross-body delivery that makes him destructive on left-handers in particular.

And for that, he’s got his ancestors to thank.

“We’ve got tall, skinny guys all over the place,” Sale said.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Young, Andrew Benintendi get their running in. (Jason Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Young, Andrew Benintendi get their running in. (Jason Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

“I don’t want to create another one of these football vs. baseball thing, but you learn very little in spring training. Very little. Because when the guys are hitting, you don’t know who’s pitching. You don’t know who’s on the other team at the time.” — Glenn Ordway on OMF, Monday morning.

Actually …

I heard this a lot last year. The “you learn very little in spring training” narrative. So, since it’s the first official day of spring training, I figured it was a good time to address the subject.

What Glenn is talking about is basing his nothing to see here argument on is the hitters’ production during March. Pitchers are often times prioritizing their fourth pitch, while some hurlers who are giving up these hits won’t even be in the major leagues for a single day in 2017.

And sometimes the same goes for hitters. They’re just easing into things. Just ask David Ortiz.

But to say there is nothing to take away from spring training these exhibition? Wrong.

The numbers and production obviously don’t always translate. That’s true. Especially for pitchers. But one look at last year’s spring training and you’ll find plenty of examples where Grapefruit League momentum made a difference when the games started counting.

Travis Shaw won a job after hitting .417 with a 1.147 OPS in spring training. For the first two months of real baseball, he went on to hit .292 with an .866 OPS as the starting third baseman.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Hanley Ramirez. Both needed a springboard to hurdle uncertainty heading into the regular season and used the games in Southwest Florida to make their jumps. Confidence. Altered batting stances. The numbers were really good, but it became clear after continuously watching that group of players that this had become an important 50-or-so days.

Perhaps the best argument against the suggestion this spring training is an ineffective way to form regular season opinions involves Ramirez. Over and over and over again, the consensus north of the Mason-Dixon was that Ramirez wouldn’t be able to handle playing first base. And when anybody covering spring training suggested he might be able to manage at the position, the ridicule and eye-rolling was quick to follow.

But anybody who witnessed Ramirez on a day to day basis up until April could see this was probably going to work. Looking back, that seemed like a productive exercise.

And for those who suggest that spring training didn’t do it’s job when trying to figure out if Hanley could handle left field the previous year, understand that actually also offered some insight into how important the exhibition games can be. There were probably four balls hit Ramirez’s way throughout that Grapefruit League schedule, highlighting the importance that March is important to figure out what will work and what won’t.

You could watch Pablo Sandoval last March and see that his lack of conditioning was effecting his fielding. And during that run, it was also evident that Travis Shaw might be able to handle his new position better than anybody thought possible.

There are other examples.

Take last season’s spring training home run champ, Philadelphia’s Maikel Franco. The third baseman followed up his nine-homer Grapefruit League season with 25 home runs in the regular season in first full regular season. The year before it was Kris Bryant who went deep more than any other spring training hitter on the way to his Rookie of the Year season. My opinion? There is something to be said for entering the real games with some sort of swagger.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to ignore when it comes to spring training.

Cesar Crespo made the Red Sox in 2004 after leading the Grapefruit League in walks. That led to his last 79 big league plate appearances, during which he didn’t draw a single free pass.

Once again, pitchers’ performances are almost always meaningless. Remember the excitement of Allen Webster throwing 99 mph? Or how bad Keith Foulke was before storming into his memorable 2004 season?

But to suggest this entire exercise is useless? Nope. And besides, those palm trees aren’t going to sit underneath themselves.

LISTEN TO GLENN ORDWAY, CHRISTIAN FAURIA, LOU MERLONI TALK ABOUT THE MERITS OF SPRING TRAINING

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Watch: Jerry Remy talks about his relapse of lung cancer. Video by @TaylordeLench pic.twitter.com/xc1kK069li

— Matt Pepin (@mattpep15) February 13, 2017

Steven Wright continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury.</p>
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Andrew Benintendi never had anything to worry about this offseason. He wasn’t going anywhere.

Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Andrew Benintendi never had anything to worry about this offseason. He wasn’t going anywhere.

When the Chris Sale trade went down in December, Benintendi was eating at a Subway in St. Louis with a college teammate. He briefly wondered if he was part of the deal, and his agent texted him to say that he’d have an answer within two minutes.

The answer was no, Dombrowski made clear on Monday afternoon, because it was always going to be no.

“Well, we were never planning on it,” Dombrowski said. “That was not a goal of ours to trade him. We like him a lot. I know we’ve traded a lot of good, young players, but I think it’s important to break young players in. He’s going to be one of the young players to break in the door. We’ll have some other young guys breaking in on a year-in, year-out basis. But our goal was that he really was our left fielder. We never came close to trading him.”

This became a story after Benintendi’s comments earlier in the day were misconstrued. His agent never told him he was almost traded. He was merely saying they’d have an answer within two minutes, when the names of the players involved would be released.

In any event, Dombrowski elaborated on what makes Benintendi special and why it was easier to deal Yoan Moncada (and right-hander Michael Kopech) to Chicago for Sale.

“He’s a very talented individual in many ways,” he said. “The way I looked at it at that perspective, we were looking at him as a starter with our big league club. We looked at him as being our left fielder this year. For me, we had Moncada, who we liked a great deal. But Moncada, we didn’t look at it the same way where we really penciled in to have Benintendi in left field for us. Moncada, we thought, needed some more development. But Benintendi is an all-around player.

“I think he’s got a beautiful swing. He’ll hit with some power. He’ll drive the ball. I don’t know if he’s going to be a big, big power guy but he’ll hit with enough power. He’s a good defensive player. He throws well. Good instincts on the bases. He’s a driven guy, great makeup. So I think he really has the capability to be a fine player for all those reasons.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jerry Remy’s lung cancer has returned.

NESN announced on Monday that the popular broadcaster, who is due to start his 30th season in the booth, is being treated for a relapse of the disease.

Jerry Remy

Jerry Remy

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jerry Remy’s lung cancer has returned.

NESN announced on Monday that the popular broadcaster, who is due to start his 30th season in the booth, is being treated for a relapse of the disease.

The 64-year-old was first diagnosed in 2008. The lifelong smoker had a cancerous growth removed that year and missed part of the 2009 season while recovering from depression. He was treated for a relapse in April of 2013, though he didn’t miss time due to illness.

The diagnosis comes just weeks after NESN announced it had extended Remy’s contract.

“I’m very excited and pleased to be able to continue doing the job that I love, now heading into my 30th year and beyond with NESN,” Remy said then in a statement. “I want to thank NESN and the Red Sox for all their support in the past and going forward.”

Remy will address his cancer’s return in an interview with NESN’s Tom Caron that will air at 5:30, 6, and 10 p.m. According to the station, he also plans to stress the importance of periodic screenings and checkups.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox made the announcement via an October press release, and fans can be forgiven if it slipped their notice — second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent left knee surgery to repair a meniscus injury.

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox made the announcement via an October press release, and fans can be forgiven if it slipped their notice — second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent left knee surgery to repair a meniscus injury.

That’s the last we heard about the injury until Monday, when Pedroia arrived for spring training and declared himself ready to go.

“I did rehab stuff most of the offseason,” Pedroia said. “But you know, I feel great, normal, just like previous years. That’s it. I’m good.”

Pedroia reportedly injured the knee on Sept. 11 against the Blue Jays and his production suffered thereafter, though he only missed one game down the stretch. He hit .238 over his final 18 games before going 2-for-12 in the ALDS loss to the Indians.

Following the season, Dr. Peter Ansis performed a partial medial meniscectomy and chondroplasty.

This season marks a significant change for Pedroia, who turns 34 in August. For the first time since he joined the Red Sox after being drafted in 2004, he’s not sharing a clubhouse with David Ortiz, who retired after a walk-off season for the ages in 2016.

“It’s going to be different,” Pedroia said. “He’s been here every year I’ve been here. We have to just try to find a way to do things to overcome his absence. It’s going to be a team effort to do that and we’ll do it, and put the work in.”

Pedroia doesn’t expect to change in order to fill a leadership void.

“I don’t look at  it any differently than previous years,” he said. “You show up to win every day. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Obviously the guys know if they need anything, they can come to me or anybody. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase