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About Rob Bradford

Rob Bradford joined after serving as a Red Sox beat writer for the Boston Herald and the Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.). Prior to manning the Red Sox beat, he spent several years at the Lowell Sun. He has written two books: “Chasing Steinbrenner,” following the front offices of the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays through the 2003 season, and “Deep Drive: A Long Journey to Discovering the Champion Within,” which he co-authored with Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

11/13/14 12:42 EST
PHOENIX -- Here we go. Remember when there was all that talk about what life would be like if the Red Sox let Jon Lester hit the open market? Stroll through the hallways of the Arizona Biltmore (the site of the GM meetings and, by the way, the place where both Ronald Reagan and Sandra Day O'Connor honeymooned) the last few days and it was clear we are no longer guessing what free agency will be for Lester. He is now a full-fledged arm for hire, and because of it, the Red Sox have to act accordingly. This isn't about public relations or positioning anymore. It's pretty cut and dried. Forget missed opportunities in March. Disregard dealing him away on the last day of July. What's done is done. All that came before is inconsequential. If the Red Sox truly want Lester, they have to do what they have done before when chasing top priority free agents. Plain and simple. What is sometimes lost is that more than any other free agent the Red Sox have pursued in recent years, Lester is the one most
10/31/14 06:59 EST
Friday is Mike Napoli's birthday. Thirty-three years old. It would be fair to say, this year won't match up to celebrating Year 32. It was that day -- one year ago -- that Napoli punctuated his immersion into life as a Bostonian like few before him. The Red Sox first baseman celebrated a birthday, and, more notably, a World Series championship, like so many might hope to. The photos peppered Twitter. Shirtless at McGreevy's (until some smart campaigner helped Napoli boost Marty Walsh's mayoral campaign thanks to a well-place T-shirt). Roaming Boylston, once again without a shirt, but now with the jeans-and-cigarette-Marlboro Man persona. And, finally, another shirtless bartending stint, this time at Daisy Buchanan's down the street. He was among the people. He was among his people. ("My mom was there with me that whole night," he said.) One year ago, contract or no contract, Napoli was forever identified as one of Boston's own. "Wednesday we clinched and Thursday was my
09/29/14 12:02 EST
"J6" That's probably what was written on the only baseball that truly mattered Sunday afternoon. That's what was written on the last baseball ever struck by Derek Jeter. Jeter finished off his major league career in the only manner deemed acceptable: with a hit. The shortstop's 3,464th regular-season hit was a simple infield single, but it was good enough. The script had been properly punctuated. But, as nondescript as the third-inning, high-hopper to third might appear, it was far from run of the mill. It was awkward. It was fitting. It was the last image we will remember of Jeter in a Yankees uniform. As catcher David Ross succinctly summarized the shortstop's final at-bat, "Trying to give him respect and get him out at the same time is tough."Particularly when you're Clay Buchholz, a pitcher who had a poster of Jeter on his wall growing up, who also was desperately trying to finish off a miserable season on somewhat of a high note. Buchholz had said he wanted to be
09/26/14 10:30 EST
Another regular season down. But for Jon Lester, this wasn't any other regular season. "At times it feels like it has gone by in a blink of any eye. Other times you sit back and think, 'That happened this year?' My bearings are all off as far as what happened this year, what didn't happen this year," said Lester Friday afternoon by phone from Texas. "It's just been a whirlwind. It's been a crazy year." The lefty -- currently of the Oakland A's, and soon-to-be free agent -- has officially completed the non-postseason portion of his 2014 season. By almost every measure, it has been a success. Lester finished his combined stints with the Red Sox and A's pitching a career-high 219 2/3 innings, going 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA, also the best of his nine-year career. The statistical kudos have continued to pile up: Lester is tied with Felix Hernandez for most quality starts (27), and is one of just four starters this season with a sub-2.50 ERA and 15 wins. The southpaw also

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