Red Sox Notebook: Hank Steinbrenner, Adrian Gonzalez, Felix Doubront
As we sit just a day away from live game competition for the 1st time this Spring, there are a ton of story lines for the Boston Red Sox and around baseball. It was a week for news out of the New York Yankees camp, from Alex Rodriguez and Hank Steinbrenner, as well as good and bad news on the injury front for the Red Sox. This week was a great one for Terry Francona and there was some new news in the rumor mill about potential signings. Saturday begins a double-header with BC and Northeastern, followed by the 1st of 3 consecutive Mayor’s Cup games against the Minnesota Twins beginning Sunday. Although Spring games aren’t a substitute for regular season contests, it is still live on-field competition that will get us prepped for the regular season beginning in April. Without further ado, let’s begin with the Red Sox Notebook for February 25th.
A-Rod Loves Iglesias
If nothing else, young Red Sox prospect Jose Iglesias has a big-time supporter in Yankees 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez. Over the winter, A-Rod invited Iglesias to work out with him in Miami and he had nothing but rave reviews on the shortstop after that experience. “That kid is going to be sensational. His hands . . . great hands. Really, really stood out for me. He’s going to be a good one. The Red Sox fans should be very excited to see this kid in the future.’’ Those aren’t small comments from a big-time star and if nothing else, they should give Iglesias some confidence going forward.
Hank Steinbrenner Rants
If there is one thing that we can always count on from the Yankees ownership, it is a lot of chatter and ranting. George Steinbrenner was the ultimate rant-king with controversy swirling around him at various points in his long tenure with the Yankees and now Hank is taking over his father’s role. Steinbrenner ranted on revenue-sharing and the luxury tax in baseball, as well as made a few side comments about Yankee players being too busy building mansions this week. For more information and my feelings on the situation, check out my post from this week.
Adrian Gonzalez Hits Off Tee
The best news of the week surrounded superstar Adrian Gonzalez. After having surgery on his shoulder just 4 months ago, Gonzo swung a bat for the 1st time, hitting 20 balls off the tee on Monday, 30 on Tuesday, and after a day off on Wednesday, hit 36 more Thursday. Gonzo said he felt good after each session with no set-backs or side-effects, which is music to my ears. Check out my post from Tuesday for more information on the great progress of Gonzo so far this Spring.
No Opening Day Starter for a While
Sometimes no news is noteworthy. This week, Terry Francona told the media that he is no intention on naming an Opening Day starter for some time this Spring. He believes that there is no point in naming 1 guy early in Spring, because a lot can happen between early Spring and April 1st. As Spring games progress, he will then begin to make his decision and announce it to the media when the time is right.
Francona Extension/Hall of Fame Induction
It was a fantastic week for the beloved manager of the Red Sox. According to a report early in the week, the Red Sox front office intends to pick up his 2-year extension after this season. The deal will be worth $4.5 million per season and will keep Francona locked-up through 2013. Also this week, Francona was informed that he will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame this year, because of his impressive accomplishments in his time with the Arizona State Sun Devils. For more information on both topics, check out my post from earlier this week.
Chad Durbin on Radar
Earlier this week, the Red Sox appeared to be in the running to add pitching depth. They were looking at former Phillies righty and free agent Chad Durbin. He has spent time as both a starter and reliever, but the Red Sox were interested in adding him to the starting pitcher depth on the roster. As of writing this post, it appears Durbin is being pursued by the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Kansas City Royals according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. It is likely a deal will be signed within a few days. For more information on Durbin, check out my post from earlier this week.
Felix Doubront’s Injury
Thursday brought some not so great news about Red Sox prospect Felix Doubront. Doubront felt tightness in his elbow and has been shut down for 10-14 days. He is fighting for a spot in the major-league bullpen, but will likely end up as a starter in AAA Pawtucket when the season begins. As a lefty, Doubront could fill many important roles in the organization, including filling in as a starter if a member of the rotation is injured during the season. Many within the organization believe he is the future, so they will be cautious with Doubront when facing this elbow issue.