Tag:Curt Schilling
Posted on: March 14, 2009 4:01 pm

Julio Lugo undergoes MRI on knee

Julio Lugo left Friday's exhibition game in the first inning with soreness in his right knee. Today, Lugo was sent back to get an MRI on that knee, but the Red Sox don't know the extent of the damage. The Boston Globe reported Lugo as saying that he was "worried" about his knee. Terry Francona did say that Jed Lowrie would get the bulk of the remaining opportunities at short-stop.

Lugo could be worried because he sees his job slipping away because if the only thing he could do was hit well during spring training to try to keep his job. Now that he is on the shelf, it is looking more and more like Lowrie will be the everyday short-stop, and that Lugo will be moved sometime during the season. It is unfortunate for the Red Sox that Lugo got hurt because Lowrie likely already had the job, and they were pleased with Lugo's impressive spring training performance thus far because that improves his trade value.

No matter what Lugo hit in spring training, which was .450 before the injury, the Sox would have still been responsible for paying some of Lugo's contract, and he is owed $18 million over the next two season, if they were able to trade him. But, the better Lugo does in his opportunites, the less the Sox would be left responsible for.

Lugo would have marginal value without his pricey contract. There are enough teams who would be interested in a short-stop if the Sox paid a big chunk of that $18 million. Lugo has only played short-stop with Boston, and a few emergency innings in the outfield, but in the season before he came to Boston, Lugo played 16 games at third base, 29 at second, and three more in the outfield. He can play other positions, and there are teams that could use someone like him (the Yankees are in the market for a third basemen I think?).

Unfortunatetly, the Red Sox will not move Lugo until the trading deadline, unless a major buyer becomes more immediately available. Lugo has been emphatic about foreshadowing his disappointment if the job is given to Lowrie. If Lugo's situation seems to becoming a problem, it will quickly spiral. Unlike when Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martinez have raised issues about contracts and other things in recent years, they are all Hall-of-Fame caliber players and some people at least were able to stand up for them because of their on-field performance. But, virtually no one is in Lugo's corner from the team's, fans' or media's perspective. If Lugo starts to complain, and is still only hitting .220 and has as many errors as RBIs, it would quickly become a bad situation (dare I say, cancerous?).

The injury to Lugo buys the Sox some time and more excuses to play Lowrie, but may hurt their chances to move Lugo in a timely fashion.

Posted on: May 3, 2008 10:54 pm

Red Sox Recap 5-3-08

The Sox got their second consecutive eight innings performance from their starter and an impressive offense attack. Some thoughts on the game:

Josh Beckett had a very good start tonight, allowing four runs in eight innings. He struggled a bit in the early innings, having some command issues and yielding a two run home run in the second. But, after yielding another run in the fourth, he seemed to gain better control of his fastball and settled down. He threw only 100 pitches over the eight innings, and was trying to mix more changeups in along with his fastball and curveball. Very few pitchers can get by on just two pitches, and as good as Beckett is, he does need a third pitch, even if he uses it rarely. A power pitcher like Beckett would likely try to feature a two-seam sinking fastball as a third pitch to use to mix up hitters and try to get a groundball in tight situations. His third pitch, though, is the changeup. However, for a pitcher who throws 95-97 MPH on his straight fastball and drops his curveball in at 77-79 MPH, Beckett’s changeup should come across the plate in the low 80s, but Beckett’s whistles past at 90-91. He does seem to have good control over it, and he always keeps it down, but he has to be very careful with this pitch. Because it is coming in as fast as most people’s fastball, it probably looks more like a fastball than a changeup. If hitters are late on his fastball, they may be able to time his changeup well. He has to keep that pitch down if he wants it to be effective, but it still may not be the best third pitch option for Beckett. For the record, though, all of the four runs Beckett gave up came off of his fastball.

It was mentioned in the recap yesterday that the lineup would hit their stride again when Jacoby Ellsbury came back, and, at least for two games, they have. (The Sox improved to 13-2 when Ellsbury scores a run). This is not to do any patting on the back, but it was brought up in an interview with Terry Francona that he was not entirely happy with his rookie outfielder. Francona is the stereotypical “players”-manager, and will likely never call a player out in public and likes to care of those kind of situations in-house, as he should. But he did express some discontent about the way that some of the players on the Sox were treating injuries, though he was explicit that he was not singling out Ellsbury. However, his comments included him saying that there “is a fine line” between players who are injured and who can play, and that “We can’t wait for guys to be 100 percent.” Perhaps the most accusatory words from Francona was when he described that minor league managers and staff are more protective of players and their injuries and when they experience pain. He went on to say that he thought Ellsbury would be able to play back on Tuesday, but when it became evident that he could not, the manager was surprised that Ellsbury did not come by on the off-day on Monday to receive treatment. Francona said that it gave his staff a chance to talk to Ellsbury about how to handle these kind of situations. But also in Francona’s words there was likely a reference to J.D. Drew, who had missed the past few games because of a quadriceps injury. Drew has been notorious about refusing to play when hurt, but Francona also went out of his way to mention that Coco Crisp had been hampered by a sore knee, although he went out and has been playing in place of Ellsbury, and that Crisp is a good example of a player who is willing to play through pain. It is likely that Ellsbury’s problem was more of a misunderstanding, but Drew’s issues come as little surprise.

Speaking of injured players, there have been several updates over the past few days. Bartolo Colon is going to pitch two innings in an extended spring training game on Monday. The Sox seem to feel that Colon, who has been traveling with the Sox, has not lost much because he would be in triple-A Pawtucket if it were not for paperwork issues. May 1 has come and gone, and Colon has not decided to leave the Sox and declare free agency, as the out clause in his contract says he can. The Sox signed Colon because they did not plan on Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz pitching as well as they have this season. As both have performed well, Colon will have to either wait for someone to get injured, or really hit a wall. Of the 309 games that Colon has pitched in the majors, 306 were starts, so he has no value as a reliever. If he continues to pitch well at Pawtucket, and no Red Sox starter needs replacement by mid-June, it is unlikely that Colon will stay at Pawtucket.

On other injured news, Brandon Moss underwent emergency surgery tonight to have his appendix removed. He will likely be out at least until the beginning of next week. Curt Schilling was also reported to be close to begin a throwing program, being able to start within the next 10 days. Even though it is true that no team can have enough starting pitching, the way that the Sox starters’ are going, there really is no room for either Schilling or Colon. It would be nice to have an option like Schilling, and Colon for that matter, if one of the starters gets hurt, but if they do not, it would be a bad descision to take out one of the young starters simply because Schilling is healthy. Schilling will not be as effective as Buchholz and Lester have been this season thus far.

Look for this recap after tomorrow’s game as the Sox try to return to the Rays the favor of being swept. (To view all previous recaps, follow this link.)
Keep the Faith.

Posted on: April 22, 2008 10:48 pm

Red Sox Recap 4-22-08

The Red Sox got another come-from-behind win, despite having Josh Beckett scratched from his start. Some thoughts on the game:

With Josh Beckett sidelined with a stiff neck, David Pauley got the call from triple-A Pawtucket did a decent job filling in. Considering that Pauley was a few minutes away from making his final preparations for a start tomorrow with Pawtucket when he found out that he would making his four career start. The Sox would have liked to see him get through five innings, and five runs in four-plus innings does not count as a quality start, but given the nature of the circumstances, it could have gone much worse. Pauley showed some flashes of what has gotten him a 1.17 ERA in three starts in the minors this year. He retired all of the first six batters that he faced in order, keeping hitters reaching for his very good sinking fastball. When he keeps it down, he can make it break away from left-handed batters, and he compliments it with a good breaking ball to righties. But, once the Angels came around for the second time, and started getting on base, Pauley started leaving a lot of his pitches up in the zone. He is still only 24 years old, and he seems to be headed toward a major league job somewhere in the next few seasons. It is unlikely that the Sox will be looking to trade Pauley, as he is close to being in big league form. Remember that Curt Schilling is likely in his last attempt at his pitching career, and Tim Wakefield will be 42 by the end of the year, and the Sox will need at least one more starter in the near future. At the very least, Pauley will have a chance to compete for that spot.

Keeping this recap impartial, there is a very big difference between analysts who call players like Jose Reyes and Grady Sizemore the “most exciting players in the game,” and the fact that Jacoby Ellsbury is actually getting it done, at all levels, as an exciting player. Reyes and Sizemore are both fast, and tend to be involved in flashy plays, but, at this very early point in all three players’ career, Ellsbury has delivered more than Reyes and Sizemore and the other “exciting” players. He has the ability to change the way his team plays. His play is not only infectious, but he draws so much attention when he is on the bases that hitters can come to expect more fastballs, and enjoy the chance to bat with a runner in scoring position. The bursts of power are unexpected, but no less appreciated, by the Sox, and his ability to make improvements, finally lifting his average over .300 while creeping his on-base percentage nearer to .500, is what makes him truly exciting. The Sox have had a lot of great players, but it is a rare occurrence to watch the development of one.

The Sox banged out an impressive 16 hits, and while they have had good pitching, their winning streak has been driven by their offense. Looking at their line-up, seven of the nine starting position players are batting over .300, one of the exceptions being David Ortiz, and the other being back-up catcher Kevin Cash, who fills in for Jason Varitek while he battles the flu. Ellsbury is short just a few at-bats of qualifying for batting average and on-base percentage, but with him included, the Sox have six of the top 25 batting averages in the American League. With their performance today, the Sox drove their team batting average to .303, which is a full ten points higher than second place, which happens to be the Angels. The thing is that the Sox won the game today with a triple-A minor leaguer making his fourth career start, where the Angels, with John Lackey injured, had their number one pitcher on the mound. The Sox do not have the best pitching, but they have the best offense, and the best combination.

Look for this recap after tomorrow’s game against the Angels. (To view all previous recaps, follow this link.)
Keep the Faith.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com