—Kevin Youkilis was activated on Tuesday and promptly participated in some heavy bridge work courtesy of Brian Matusz. Because my Little League All-Star team had more outfield depth than the Red Sox currently possess, Adrian Gonzalez started in right field, Will Middlebrooks held down the fort at third base, and Youk reclaimed the first base bag. I’m not a fan of of displacing Gonzalez for the sake of keeping better bats in the lineup. The Sox pitching staff isn’t exactly filled with Cy Young candidates and sacrificing defense surely won’t help Clay Buchholz‘s ever-rising earned run average. Nevertheless, I would rather have Gonzalez pushed to the outfield than Middlebrooks. So for now, I’ll accept the lesser of the two evils.
—Related to the above note, if you are someone who calls into radio stations, comments on blogs, or tweets to reporters stating that Player X should be able to play the outfield because Player X once played right field for his T-Ball team, please, for the love of Christ, stop.
—Bobby Valentine’s comfort level as manager of this team has certainly increased. It not out of the ordinary to see Valentine take a trip to the mound, speak with the pitcher, and head back to the dugout–without making a change. He gently slapped Matt Albers in the face within the past week. I like it.
—Felix Doubront lacks efficiency, but man, the kid has some poise. He knows how to pitch. I feel pretty good when the Venezuelan toes the rubber.
—I had an interesting exchange with a friend of mine today about Jacoby Ellsbury. Essentially, his premise was that Ells’ injury can only hurt him at the negotiation table following his first crack at free agency after the 2013 season. In turn, that benefits the Red Sox. My counter was that I would rather have a healthy, productive Ellsbury while he is making roughly $8MM and under team control. We finally realized that we weren’t disagreeing with each other, but rather raising two extremely fair points. Ultimately, the Red Sox are losing out on valuable team-controlled years thanks to two freak injuries that have derailed significant portions of Ellsbury’s young career. Simultaneously, it would stupid for any potential suitor to not bring up Ellsbury’s injury marred past when he reaches free agency.
—In the bottom of the sixth inning, Doubront and Adam Jones, who is awesome, engaged in a pretty good battle. It lasted eleven pitches. Doubront threw only two pitches out of the strike zone during the exchange–one of which was a pitchout. Ultimately, Doubront won the showdown, striking out Jones on a breaking pitch. Again, I was impressed by the young lefty.
—David Ortiz held a players only meeting sometime after the first game of the four game set with the Indians a couple of weeks ago. Josh Beckett had just pitched like trash. Ortiz focused on the importance of accountability for each individual player and emphasis was placed on the pitching staff. Good for him. That is a guy is talking the talk and walking the walk.