Rich Gedman will serve as the PawSox' hitting coach in 2015. (Photo courtesy Pawtucket Red Sox)

Rich Gedman will serve as the PawSox’ hitting coach in 2015. (Photo courtesy Pawtucket Red Sox)

Rich Gedman keeps getting closer to a return to the big leagues.

The former Red Sox catcher has been named as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Gedman, who interviewed with the Sox for their hitting coach job earlier in the offseason, has spent the last two seasons guiding hitters for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. It’s his fifth year in the Red Sox minor league system, with his coaching career beginning as an Can-Am Independent League manager from 2005-10.

Dave Joppie, who was the hitting coach for the PawSox last season, will take Gedman’s place in Portland.

Also new to the PawSox’ staff is Bob Kipper, who spent the last five seasons as the Sea Dogs’ pitching coach. He replaces Rich Saveur, who has left the organization.

Kipper is entering his 17th season in the Red Sox organization, serving as the Red Sox’ bullpen coach for the 2002 season.

Returning as the PawSox’ manager is Kevin Boles, who guided his team to the International League‘s Governors’ Cup for the 2014 season. In so doing, the PawSox became just the third team in the 131-year history of the IL to go to three straight Governors’€™ Cup Finals with three different managers. (Arnie Beyeler in 2012 when the PawSox won the Cup, Gary DiSarcina in 2013 when the PawSox lost in the Cup Finals, and Boles in 2014 when the PawSox recaptured the Cup.)

Also returning on Pawtucket’s staff will be Bruce Crabbe.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Dan Butler will always have a soft spot for the Red Sox.

Dan Butler

Dan Butler

Dan Butler will always have a soft spot for the Red Sox.

This was the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona, and then gave him his big break to play in the majors in 2014.

And now, it’s the Red Sox who are potentially allowing Butler to take a step he might not have gotten if the Sox were still signing his paychecks.

The catcher was designated for assignment by the Red Sox Wednesday to make room on the 40-man roster for newly-signed pitcher Craig Breslow. What that means is that the Red Sox have 10 days to attempt to trade Butler, or put him on waivers for the rest of the major leagues to have a crack at the 28-year-old. If there is no trade made or he clears waivers, Butler could be reassigned to the Red Sox minor leagues.

What that it means for Butler is potentially the kind of shot at the big leagues he has never possessed.

Even if the Red Sox kept him on the 40-man, there were going to be two catchers — Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez — ahead of him heading into Opening Day. With another team, there might be a clearer path.

“It just creates and opportunity and gives me a chance to see if any other teams are interested and kind of see what happens,” Butler said by phone from Arizona. “If nothing happens, the worst-case scenario is you’€™re back with the Red Sox in the minor league system, and that’€™s worked out with me pretty well so far.

“I feel like there are probably teams interested. There’€™s not a lot of catchers out there. You always hear people are looking for catchers. I’€™m assuming that’€™s why they were hesitant to do this. It might create a different type of possibility for me to maybe continue on with another team. But, again, worst-case scenario you’€™re back with the Red Sox, and that’€™s not a bad thing.”

In Butler’s mind, the chance to get a clearer road to the majors comes at a perfect time. Having gotten his first taste of big league baseball under his belt via seven games with the Red Sox (going 4-for-19 with a walk and three doubles), the backstop is ready to make the majors a regular thing.

“It doesn’€™t matter who you’€™re playing for, along as you get the opportunity to play in the big leagues,” he said. “It creates a huge opportunity for me to go to a team, whether they traded for me or if I went through the waiver process. That means that team wants you, so that’€™s always a good feeling, too. That means you have the chance to make the club and maybe start a new journey to make a run at staying in the big leagues. It might mean making a career in the majors instead of floating around in the minors.

“You never know how you’€™re going to act, or how you’€™re going to do until you’€™re presented that opportunity. I definitely have always thought I could play in the big leagues and that kind of solidified that by getting up there. I know that I have more than the capabilities to play in the major leagues.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

How do you announce your retirement after playing for 16 seasons for eight different teams? John McDonald was asking himself that very question.

How do you announce your retirement after playing for 16 seasons for eight different teams? John McDonald was asking himself that very question.

McDonald knew that as solid a career as the former Providence College star possessed, there would be no press conference or even press release. But he also understood that the time had come to move on, having played in 95 games, as primarily a defensive replacement, for the Angels in 2014.

But during a conversation with Jay Stenhouse, the Blue Jays’ media relations director, McDonald was finally able to formulate a plan. He was going to turn to Twitter, the mechanism he had no previous relationship with.

It was determined that, with the help of Stenhouse, and his counterparts with the Angels and Indians, Tim Mead and Bart Swain, three teams would simultaneously release tweets at 2 p.m. Wednesday to announce the retirement.

“I was just catching up with Jay and just letting him know. We were just talking about retirement and told him I didn’t know how to put it out there,” said McDonald, who played with the Red Sox during their 2013 World Series run. “We were talking about different things and he mentioned something about doing with the club putting it out there. I said that I had been on so many different teams. So we talked to Bart since I came up with the Indians, and I finished my career with the Angels and I made my biggest impact with the Blue Jays. It kind of felt fitting to me that those three clubs put it out, so I talked to Bart and I talked to Tim and Jay, and it was nice for them to do that for me.

“I thought about it over a long period of time. If I had people calling about big league jobs it might be a little harder. But your body lets you know what you can do and what you’re capable of, and that was on the forefront of my mind. Last year I wanted a job very badly. I didn’t want to stop playing. I was willing to make phone calls to get that job. I could have gone to camp with a minor league deal with no real chance to make a club. But I told myself I wasn’t going to do that. I was ready for whatever was next.”

McDonald is now moving on. Having excelled as a co-host for our “Hot Stove Show” last season (dominating this Jonathan Papelbon interview), he is spending two days at MLB Network this week while exploring other media opportunities.

But before locking in on any full-time commitments, the 40-year-old Massachusetts resident is going to spend time with his wife and two young children, while reflecting on a career that began with a base-hit in his first at-bat (July 4, 1999 against Scott Service) and finished a double in his last plate appearance (Sept. 28 off of Danny Farquhar).

“I wish people could feel what I’m feeling right now, that sense of accomplishment,” McDonald said. “I feel that I put an end on my career. That’s it. It’s over. instead of wondering what I’m going to do, now I know I’m going to find something and I’m not playing anymore. It feels really good and for the first time I can really reflect on my career for the first time.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

In the end, Drake Britton’s potential was too good to part ways with quite yet.

Dan Butler

Dan Butler

In the end, Drake Britton’s potential was too good to part ways with quite yet.

The Red Sox have designated catcher Dan Butler for assignment to clear up room on the 40-man roster for newly-signed Craig Breslow.

The decision always appeared like it would come down to either Butler or Britton. The case for keeping the catcher was that if something happened to Ryan Hanigan or Christian Vazquez early in the season, the former undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona would be needed. Top prospect Blake Swihart is the only other catcher on the Red Sox 40-man roster, and he wouldn’t seem to be a major league option until later in the season.

Britton also was out of options, meaning if he didn’t make the team in spring training he couldn’t be sent down to the minor leagues. Butler does have options.

But with the Red Sox needing another lefty in the bullpen, and with Britton bouncing back from a horrific minor league campaign in 2014 to impress in his seven outings with the Sox at the end of the year (6 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs), the value of the reliever was too much to part ways with quite yet.

Butler, who could re-sign with the Red Sox on a minor league deal, was one of the best Sox stories in ’14. The 28-year-old made his major league debut, ultimately appearing in seven games in which he hit .211 with three doubles.

The Breslow announcement comes after the lefty agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Red Sox Dec. 19. The lefty passed his physical, which was taken Monday. (To read about how Breslow landed back with the Red Sox this offseason, click here.)

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday, after falling short of election to the

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday, after falling short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the former Red Sox star said he believes some writers won’t ever vote for him because of his political leanings. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling received 39.2 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Four players were elected: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and former Sox star Pedro Martinez, whose surprisingly low 91.1 percent result was more evidence to Schilling that something is wrong.

“The process isn’t flawed; stupid people do stupid things,” Schilling said. “I’ve seen so many in the past, voters making their vote into a news article, protesting this or protesting that, except just voting the player on his playing merits. And that’s normal, I guess, because we’re human, we all have bias, we all have prejudice. When Pedro gets 91 percent, that tells you something’s wrong.”

A case could me made that Schilling’s statistics are comparable to those of Smoltz, yet the Braves legend received 240 more votes. Schilling said Smoltz deserves enshrinement, but he noted that Smoltz’s political views are more consistent with many media members.

“I think he got in because of [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think his ‘Swiss army knife versatility,’ which somebody said yesterday, I think he got a lot of accolades for that, I think he got a lot of recognition for that. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schilling said. “And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that, as a Republican, that there’s some people that really don’t like that.”

A proud conservative, Schilling has been outspoken in his support for Republican candidates. He also received heavy criticism when he moved his video game company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to take advantage of government assistance and then the company went bankrupt.

Schilling said there’s no question that he would have received more votes had he been more mainstream in his beliefs and less outspoken and controversial.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. Listen, 9 percent of the voters did not vote for Pedro. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me [out] or anything like that, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I said or did. That’s the way it works.”

Roger Clemens has said he no longer pays attention to the Hall of Fame voting. Schilling didn’t take it that far, but he insisted it’s not something he obsesses about.

“I don’t know about it mattering,” Schilling said. “The funny thing was people were asking me yesterday about this, and about what are you thinking about, and I said, ‘Listen, it’s already done, it was done a month ago.’ We just found out yesterday, everybody’s already done their thing. I can’t spend my time being concerned about people’s opinions of me that I’ll never meet. I don’t want to diminish or degrade the accomplishment because the Hall of Fame, the greatest players in the world are there, but there are Hall of Fame players that aren’t there that if I don’t get in, I’ll be OK. Dale Murphy and Fred McGriff, I know there are guys, Jeff Bagwell, there are guys that aren’t in that are Hall of Famers, so I’ll be all right.”

Added Schilling: “I don’t think about it like that. I am now done thinking about it until people ask me about it next year. I was around the game so long and I met so many people and I heard so many people talk about the process that a long time ago I became very cool with the fact that it may never happen because human beings are doing the process, they’re involved in the process. And when that happens you have tremendous bias and prejudice in some cases. And that, to me, takes away some of what the Hall of Fame should be. It should be for the greatest players, not the people that were liked the best by some people in the media.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On Martinez’s dominance: “I do believe that his run was the greatest run in the history of the game. … [Sandy] Koufax did it in an era when there was some other guys that were really good that did it. But no one touched Pedro. What he did when he did it was never done, never will be done again.”

On if he would choose Johnson or Martinez to pitch in one big game: “I was asked that last night, I’m not sure, I answered me, because I don’t know which one I would take. At his peak, Pedro dominated the game like nobody I’ve ever seen. What he did in that short run, ’99, 2000, in that era, I don’t think anyone’s come close to doing something like that no matter what the era was.”

On Johnson’s personality: “He was miserable. I mean, he was just a miserable, miserable guy. Part of that had to do with the fact that the one thing that you recognized him for, that everybody recognized him for, he didn’t find it funny — the fact that he was that tall. If you think about it, and we talked about it when I first started playing with him, he probably is — or was, when he played — one of the four or five most recognizable people in the world. And for someone that’s insecure or uncomfortable with that, that’s not a great thing.”

On the common thread between the pitchers who were elected this year: “They’re power arms. I said last night, we were talking about it last night, all three of those guys were traded young, and it’s amazing to me when you see guys, the power arms that get traded. I just think it’s stupid. I think the common thread is probably the competitive thing, you’ve got three guys who wanted to be the best in the world. Maybe they’ll give you a different answer, but I think all of it means the same thing. I think these three guys were guys that put it together. If you look at RJ at the beginning of his career, he wasn’t what he was. Hhe was a mess, he was kind of a Nuke LaLoosh and then he figures it out and becomes, for my money, one of the three or four best pitchers of all time.”

On Mike Piazza, who received 69.9 percent of the votes, and how he compares to other players who have been rumored to be involved with PEDs: “I think Piazza’s move up the ladder was an indicator. I think guys are starting to soften up a little bit. One of the differences, though, for me is that Mike Piazza was never named on anything. Everybody that didn’t vote for Mike didn’t vote for him because they think he might have cheated. And I think it’s the same thing that’s killed Bagwell, which is unfortunate, because I think Jeff is a Hall of Fame player. But I don’t think there’s ever going to be enough writers OK with it that [Roger] Clemens and [Barry] Bonds will get in.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

David Ortiz's path to Cooperstown may be a complicated one.</p>
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