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About Alex Speier

Before he joined WEEI.com, Alex covered the Red Sox for several New England and national publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, Boston Metro, Boston Herald and Baseball America. Alex graduated from Harvard, where he served as the captain of the debate team, an experience that has been of surprisingly little use in press boxes across the country.

 
COLUMNS
Alex Speier
03/23/2009 - 6:59am
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The round of cuts made by the Red Sox on Sunday included some of the most dominant performers of the spring. Daniel Bard (0.00 ERA in 9.1 innings), a non-roster invitee to major-league camp this spring, was reassigned to the minors in anticipation of a likely stint in Triple-A Pawtucket. Junichi Tazawa (1.00 in 9 frames) was optioned to the minors after dazzling the team in his first exposure to professional baseball.
Alex Speier
03/22/2009 - 7:12am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – First it was awe, then surprise. Jason Bay destroyed a baseball against the Minnesota Twins in the spring training contest on St. Patrick’s Day. The shot carried well over the 410 feet to straightaway centerfield at City of Palms Park. In fact, it crashed atop the batter’s eye above the fence in dead center, a 40-foot tall concrete installment covered black fabric to improve the batter’s view of pitches.
Alex Speier
03/21/2009 - 6:27am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In demeanor, there is little question that Clay Buchholz has been a different pitcher this spring than he was in 2008. Last year, team officials were disconcerted by the constant pick-off throws to first made by Buchholz (a pitcher whose quick time to the plate already allows him to hold runners well), a sign of his confusion while on the hill.
Alex Speier
03/20/2009 - 6:19am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Everyone knows that Jonathan Papelbon features one of the most powerful fastballs in baseball. But there are those – foremost Papelbon – who insist that he is nearly as powerful with a bat in his hands. “I’ve got mad power, bro,” Papelbon said. “I (expletive) raked, dude. … I’m being dead serious.”
Alex Speier
03/19/2009 - 3:57am
Apparently, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia are inseparable. The fact that an injury has now forced Youkilis out of the World Baseball Classic, just as happened for Pedroia over the weekend, merely reflects the latest chapter linking the players. As Pedroia burst onto the scene in 2007, the two felt a kinship thanks to motivation drawn from the desire to win and to prove their doubters wrong while defying expectations. Both are champions, Gold Glovers and Silver Sluggers.
Alex Speier
03/18/2009 - 5:03am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Even now, there are those who have a difficult time embracing the concept. THAT Kevin Youkilis, hitting cleanup for a Team USA lineup that includes some of the top sluggers in the majors? THAT Kevin Youkilis, entrusted with the responsibility of occupying the Red Sox cleanup spot that was once the domain of Manny Ramirez?   Certainly, the notion was once unfathomable. The idea that Youkilis could emerge as a power hitter worthy of that spot seemed far-fetched, at least for those willing to judge a book by its cover.  
Alex Speier
03/12/2009 - 2:30am
FORT MYERS, Fla.—The pair of shock-the-world wins by the Netherlands over the Dominican Republic came as a bolt from the blue to most baseball fans. The mere name for the sport of baseball in Holland (“honkbal”) does little to suggest an international powerhouse capable of making noise in the World Baseball Classic.
Alex Speier
03/11/2009 - 7:38am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – How did a Quality Assurance Coach help to push the Tampa Bay Rays past the Red Sox into the World Series? For that matter, what is a Quality Assurance Coach? The answers to both questions require an introduction to new Red Sox first-base coach Tim Bogar.
Alex Speier
03/09/2009 - 7:41am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jon Lester may be going where no pitcher has gone before. Yahoo! Sports reported on Sunday that, according to a source close to the Red Sox, Lester has signed a five-year, $30 million deal with a $13 million option for the 2014 season. Red Sox officials, including CEO/President Larry Lucchino, GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona, all declined to confirm, deny or comment on the report.
Alex Speier
03/08/2009 - 6:46am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz had just concluded a live batting practice session against Red Sox prospect Junichi Tazawa. It was early in the spring, but the slugger was nonetheless impressed after an introduction in which he swung and missed at a number of pitches. Ortiz was asked whether the young hurler, who came to the Sox directly from a Japanese amateur industrial league, created deception in his delivery, and whether he hid the ball well.
Alex Speier
03/04/2009 - 9:12am
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The natural tendency would be to look at the fact that J.D. Drew was flown to Boston to receive a pain-killing injection in his lower back and conclude that trouble’s a-brewin’. Clearly, the starting right-fielder has yet to answer some of the injury questions that plagued him last year, and for that matter, throughout his career. As such, there will be questions about his ability to stay in the lineup that, in turn, will play into broader uncertainties about the Red Sox lineup.
Alex Speier
02/27/2009 - 9:41pm
FORT MYERS, Fla.--Spring training is typically the story of renewal and promise. That notion rings especially true for Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo. While Feb. 27 marks the official start of minor-league camp, the 19-year-old has been in Fort Myers since Feb. 1. He is in what he describes as the best shape of his life, an apparently robust slugger-in-the-making.
Alex Speier
02/25/2009 - 3:53pm
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jason Varitek wants to act as a bridge to the future of Red Sox catching. When he discussed his return to Boston, he spoke of not only the chance to come back to Boston and compete for more championships as a member of the Red Sox, but also his ambition to leave an imprint at his position after he leaves.
Alex Speier
02/19/2009 - 2:00am
Alex Speier
02/17/2009 - 3:00am
FORT MYERS, Fla.—In recent years, it has not been unusual for the Red Sox to report to spring training with the roster all but set. Barring injury, players have often come to camp knowing exactly what the starting lineup, rotation and even bench and bullpen would look like. This year, that is not the case. For the second straight spring, the Sox have a legitimate battle for a starting role at a premium on-field position.
Alex Speier
02/15/2009 - 1:00am
FORT MYERS, Fla.—If Jason Varitek was defeated by an offseason of seemingly agonizing negotiations, it wasn’t apparent. The Red Sox catcher spoke on Saturday for the first time since signing a one-year, $5 million deal that includes both a club ($5 million) and player ($3 million) option for the 2010 season. He suggested that the contract that he ultimately received featured what was most important to him: a chance to stay in Boston for as long as possible.
Alex Speier
02/14/2009 - 1:00am
Alex Speier
02/12/2009 - 1:00am
Alex Speier
02/11/2009 - 6:00am
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The notion sometimes got lost. Amidst the obsessive monitoring of key negotiations this winter, or the disbelief at watching the Yankees hand out almost as much in guaranteed contracts to free agents ($446 million) as the other 29 clubs combined ($602 million), it was easy to overlook what was actually taking place in Boston.
Alex Speier
02/06/2009 - 8:07am
Alex Speier and Christopher Price throw down to determine whether the Patriots should trade or keep newly franchised quarterback Matt Cassel in 2009.
Alex Speier
01/30/2009 - 10:18am
In one respect, it should come as little surprise that the fate of Jason Varitek has consumed all the oxygen of conversations about the Red Sox. The man who has served as captain of the Red Sox since signing his last contract in 2004 has long been described as the backbone of a club that has won two World Series.
Alex Speier
01/08/2009 - 10:18am
It was an offseason so extravagant that it was ripe for parody.
Alex Speier
12/29/2008 - 10:00am
It used to be an annual rite of passage to see great sports teams miss the playoffs. But then, computers were once 18-feet tall and the interweb was a pre-zygotic glimmer in Al Gore’s eye. Amidst the steady playoff expansion in pro sports, it’s rare that outstanding teams spend the postseason on the sidelines. Since the NFL increased its playoff roster to 12 teams in 1990, there have been more undeserving teams playing football in January (cough, 2008 Cardinals, cough) than excellent teams left to lament the injustice of the football gods.
Alex Speier
12/25/2008 - 4:18am
In retrospect, nothing about Mark Teixeira’s signing should have come as a surprise. The Yankees had a weakness in their lineup and at first base that could be addressed by the best position player in the free-agent market. That shortcoming created an opening for Teixeira to seek an eight-year, $180 million windfall. The sum might seem absurd. Even so, it would be difficult to identify a deficiency that would have prevented Teixeira from becoming one of the top paid players in the game.


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