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Tag:Red Sox
Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:25 pm
 

Red Sox receive RHP Chris Carpenter for Epstein

Chris Carpenter

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In what only seems fitting, the Red Sox and Cubs have agreed upon the compensation for new Chicago president Theo Epstein, but there are still players to be named for both teams to complete the deal, dragging out the case even longer. The two teams have been trying to figure out the compensation for Epstein's move from Boston since the World Series, when Epstein was hired.

The Red Sox will receive right-hander Chris Carpenter (no, not that Chris Carpenter) and a player to be named, while the Cubs will also receive a player to be named. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters the players to be named will be decided by the end of spring training. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the two players to be named are just a "procedural" thing to satisfy MLB transaction rules.

Carpenter, 26, was ranked the No. 13 prospect in the Cubs' system by Baseball America (and the same publication had the Cubs' system ranked No. 14 overall).

The Cubs drafted him in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Kent State. Last season he pitched in 10 games for the Cubs, putting up a 2.79 ERA in 10 innings, allowing 12 hits, a home run, seven walks and eight  strikeouts. In his first season as a reliever, Carpenter pitched in 32 games between Double-A and Triple-A, going 3-4 with a 5.91 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. He had a WHIP of 1.617.

"I am relieved that this process is over and particularly pleased that the teams were able to reach agreement on their own without intervention from MLB," Epstein said in a statement from the Cubs. "I truly hope and believe that this resolution will benefit both clubs, as well as Chris, who is an extremely talented reliever joining a great organization at a time when there's some opportunity in the major league bullpen."

While there had been reports that Bud Selig would have to decide the matter, Selig said the two sides worked out the move on their own.

"I am pleased that the Cubs and the Red Sox have resolved this matter," Selig said in a statement realsed by MLB. "It has always been my preference that Clubs resolve matters like this amongst themselves, as they understand their unique circumstances better than anyone else could.  Though the matter required time, both Clubs demonstrated professionalism throughout their discussions, and I appreciate their persistence in finding common ground."

Cherington said he was happy to have the matter decided.

"I think it took this long because it was a unique circumstance," Cherington said, according to the Associated Press. "We talk to teams all the time about trades and it's player for player and it's pretty easy to, easier to, assign value and figure out what's fair, what's not fair. In this case it was just tougher because it involved not just an executive but a friend."

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:06 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:18 am
 

Epstein compensation may be announced Tuesday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball is expected to announce the compensation the Red Sox will receive from the Cubs in return for the hiring of president Theo Epstein on Tuesday, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

According to Heyman, the compensation was negotiated by both parties with input from MLB. One thing that worked in the Cubs' favor was the fact Epstein only had one year to go on his contract and his relationship with John Henry was seen as deteriorating. The Red Sox are expected to receive a minor-league player or players in compensation for allowing Epstein to go to Chicago, but the perceived value of that player or players is what has been in question since Epstein's hiring in October.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:42 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 8:49 pm
 

Crawford surpises Valentine, aims for opening day

By Matt Snyder

Just a few days ago, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he expected left fielder Carl Crawford to miss a few weeks to start the 2012 season. Crawford had surgery on his left wrist a month ago, so having him miss some time wouldn't be altogether shocking. Monday, however, Crawford surprised his new manager, who may have spoken too soon late last week.

"I didn't know (Carl) was there," Valentine said (ESPN Boston). "I walked around the corner and he was throwing the ball. It was great to see him. His health looks much better than I expected. (I was) pleasantly surprised."

And Crawford doesn't want to miss any games.

"I definitely don't want to miss any games. That's my goal right now."' said Crawford (ESPN Boston), noting that the odds of him being in the opening-day lineup are good.

After signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the four-time All-Star hit .255/.289/.405 with just 65 runs and 18 steals. In 2010 for the Rays, Crawford hit .307/.356/.495 with 13 triples, 19 homers, 110 runs, 90 RBI and 47 stolen bases.

If Crawford does miss time, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney would man the corner outfield spots, flanking center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. If all goes as planned for Crawford, though, Ross and Sweeney will be battling for the right field job from the outset.

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:48 pm
 

Polar opposites Beckett, Lester talk collapse



By Matt Snyder


After a historic collapse in September, blowing a huge wild-card lead to the Rays, the Red Sox offseason got off a turbulent start for several reasons, chief among them a revelation that starting pitchers were drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during games. So when pitchers and catchers reported to camp this weekend, obviously the subject came up.

With All-Star pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, there were two different approaches.

Lester came full of accountability and apology.

“We stunk. I stunk. Tampa Bay was better,” Lester said (BostonHerald.com). “I take complete responsibility for it.”

Beckett, on the other hand, gave what the Boston Herald termed "the bare minimum," while also going a bit on the offensive.

“I’m upset with myself for the lapses of judgment, but there’s also some ill feelings toward some people," he said (BostonHerald.com), with "people" obviously being the clubhouse leak that exposed the locker-room activities.

“I’m not saying we didn’t make mistakes, because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse. But the biggest mistake we made was — the biggest mistake I made — was not pitching well against Baltimore. I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there. I just didn’t execute pitches when I needed to.” (BostonHerald.com)

The Herald also called Beckett "defiant" in the face of the questioning while saying Lester was "contrite."

While it's easy to see that anyone would be annoyed for being outed like that, Beckett's outward frustration shows that he isn't fully accountable for the clubhouse actions. He's only sorry he got caught. It's like blaming the police officer for getting a speeding ticket -- Yeah, I shouldn't have been speeding, but I'm mad at the cop for pulling me over. But the cop wasn't the one speeding, just as the clubhouse leak wasn't the one in the wrong in September. If Beckett was truly accountable, he would be acting like Lester, the true staff ace of the Red Sox.

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 19, 2012 12:37 pm
 

Mike Cameron retires from baseball

By Matt Snyder

Exactly two months after signing a minor-league deal with the Washington Nationals, Mike Cameron has decided to call it a career, according to the club.

Cameron appeared to be a possibility as a center-field platoon partner with either Roger Bernadina or Rick Ankiel -- both of whom are left-handed -- but now the Nats are without a righty option. Of course, if Bryce Harper makes the team out of spring, the plan is to play Jayson Werth in center every day.

Cameron, 39, closes with a good career resume. In 17 seasons, he hit .249/.338/.444 with 278 home runs, 968 RBI, 1,064 runs and 297 stolen bases. He won three Gold Gloves, made one All-Star Game and received MVP votes two times. He has a shot at getting on the Hall of Fame ballot (Bill Mueller and Tony Womack were on this year's, for example), but no shot of getting in.

He never spent more than four years with the same ballclub, playing for eight different franchises: The Mariners, White Sox, Mets, Red Sox, Padres, Brewers, Reds and Marlins. Amazingly, as you can see, he played in every single division.

He was also involved in two pretty big transactions as part of trades in exchange for both Ken Griffey Jr. and Paul Konerko.

The highlight of Cameron's career had to be on May 2, 2002, when he hit four home runs in one game -- becoming the 13th player in big-league history to accomplish the feat.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:13 pm
 

NFL lineman helped Matt Kemp get in top shape



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With pitchers and catchers reporting this weekend, there will be a slew of reports about players coming into camp in great shape -- either having lost weight or put on muscle. The only thing we'll see more of than these reports people on Twitter and on blogs mocking those reports thinking they're making an original point about these kind of stories by making tired jokes.

One of these stories came over the Associated Press wire on Thursday, as the AP talked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp about his offseason training. Kemp attributed much of his success last season to his offseason workouts at Zone Athletic Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kemp dropped 15 pounds before going to camp last year and went on to an MVP-type season. What caused an editor to send me a link to the article was the hook that Zone is owned by an NFL player, who worked out alongside Kemp. What caught my eye was that NFL player was Eagles guard Evan Mathis.

Mathis isn't exactly a household name, despite the fact that ProFootballFocus.com ranked him the No. 1 guard in the NFL last season. But I covered Mathis both in college at Alabama and in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and got to know him a little bit. So, with that as a starting point, I emailed Mathis about working with Kemp and he agreed to answer a couple of questions about his work with Kemp, as well as with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon and Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox.

Any doubt Mathis knows what he's talking about? Check out this photo of what he did during the NFL lockout:

Evan Mathis

Q: How'd you hook up with Matt Kemp?
A: We met six or seven years ago at a now-defunct training facility.

Q: Do you follow baseball at all, did you know much about him?
A: When we first met, he hadn't been in the majors yet.

Q: So after working with Matt last offseason, how closely did you follow him last year?
A: He was pretty much Zone Athletic Performance's first professional athlete client. As soon as we opened he was in there training preparing for his 2011 season. I definitely followed him throughout the season watching his hard work and dedication pay off.

Q: I'm sure you were happy with his success, but where you surprised?
A: Not at all.  The two trainers at Zone who handle our professional athletes, Garrett Shinoskie and Adam Mathis, have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to bringing the best out of an athlete. When you combine that with a player who has the drive and determination that Matt has, it's destined for success.

Q: What's the difference between working with baseball players and working with football players?
A: I'm not the one writing the programs but it is definitely different. But so is training an offensive lineman and a safety. Everybody has different strengths, weakness, goals, and requirements.  All of that goes into the formula for devising anyone's most efficient workout program.

Q: Are there any similarities?
A: Indeed there are some similarities. Most baseball and football players can benefit greatly from developing explosion through their hips.

Q: You mention the hips, that seems to make sense -- it's something you hear from all coaches. Hips seem to be an underrated part of the body to work on, but it makes sense because it's close to your center of gravity and controls everything in both the top and bottom half of the body. What kind of specific things do you do to strengthen that part of the body?
A: In baseball it's more about rotating the hips. A player can make an explosive rotation and put their strength behind the swing. For myself in football, when I hit a defender I explode through my hips and lift their center of gravity on contact. Some simple hip exercises include the medicine ball keg toss, kettle bell swing, step-ups, and the list goes on. The most important aspect of training for hip explosion is maintaining ones flexibility. At Zone, the trainers use the first ten minutes of each workout to do stretches and warm-ups to ensure maximum flexibility.

Q: Not giving away any secrets, but what's a typical workout like for an elite-level pro athlete? What about the diet?
A: Off-season training at Zone usually consists of 6 day weeks, each workout an hour long.  The average schedule is like this: Monday = arms, Tuesday = legs, Wednesday = core/conditioning, Thursday = torso, Friday = power, Saturday = core/conditioning. Each day has different dietary guidelines based on that day's workload.

Q: What's the most important thing you teach at Zone?
A: In a close second to the training is the diet.  Most athletes have no idea how to follow efficient nutritional guidelines. An athlete has to treat their body like a machine and put the best fuels into that machine that will maximize its production. I still have Garrett write out my diet because I'm not the expert in that field and he is.

Q: What kind of diet tip do you have for anyone out there?
A: The biggest thing for me was understanding the importance of carbohydrates. When used the right way, they can feed your muscles to maximum growth and help you maintain a high metabolism. My diet is a carb cycling diet. Based on the intensity of each day's training I will have either a high, medium, or low intake of carbs for that day. A lot of people try the low or no carb diets but that's like trying to drive a car with no gasoline. Your body needs its carbs. Getting into the details of the carb cycle would turn this response into an essay. There are numerous articles on the web about it and the trainers at Zone are actually working on an eBook guide as we speak.

Q: Any workout tips?
A: Change your routine every three-to-four weeks, don't stick to the same lifts for long periods of time. Every three weeks at Zone we have a completely new set of workouts. This aids in injury prevention, avoids training plateaus, and ensures that all muscle groups are getting their necessary attention.

Q: Often when a player starts camp and says they're "in the best shape of their life" people kind of roll their eyes and make a joke out of it. Does it matter or is it just talk?
A: Being in the best shape of your life definitely does matter for an athlete. There are two problems when it comes to an athlete saying that. The first is whether or not it's true when they say it. The second is, while it may be true, some guys won't work to maintain it throughout the season. Kemp stayed in constant contact with the trainers at Zone making sure he was doing everything he could to carry over all of the hard work he did throughout the season. I said I was in the best shape of my life going into last season and it definitely showed on the field.  I had a great year and it gave me a great starting point for this off-season to get in even better shape for 2012.


Q: Are you a baseball fan at all? Do you have any baseball background?
A: Growing up I was always a baseball fan. I was an avid card collector, a huge Frank Thomas fan, and I played a little baseball from ages 12-17. I still dabble in card collecting and can tell you almost any player's rookie year from 1986-2003. I tell Matt Kemp every day I see him that we need to go to the field so I can show him how to crush a ball. He thinks that it would be easier for him to crossover to football than it would be for me to go to baseball. I'm confident that I would crush a few bombs in BP if given the chance.

Check out the attached picture of a tweet between myself and Frank Thomas. I have to make something like this happen one day.


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Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:21 pm
 

Report: Okajima fails physical with Yankees

By Matt Snyder

The Yankees had signed relief pitcher Hideki Okajima to a minor-league contract, likely to provide left-handed depth. As things currently stand, Boone Logan is the only lefty in the Yankees 'pen. And it appears that's how things will be moving forward, as Okajima has failed his physical and will not be in Yankees camp, reports Sweeny Murti of WFAN.

There is no word just yet as to why Okajima failed the physical, just that he failed it.

Okajima, 36, pitched for the Red Sox last season, sporting a 4.32 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in just 8 1/3 innings -- he spent most of his time in the minors. He has spent his entire five-year MLB career with the Red Sox. He was an All-Star in 2007, but his numbers have gotten progressively worse pretty much each season since then.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:37 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Valentine: Crawford will miss 'a few weeks'

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford is expected to miss "a few weeks" of the regular season, says manager Bobby Valentine (via Pete Abraham). Crawford is recovering from minor surgery on his left wrist, an arthroscopic procedure he had back in the middle of January. Abraham also reports that Crawford can currently do everything except hit -- obviously he could run, but this also means he can use his left hand in the field.

The beginning of Crawford's Red Sox career couldn't have gone much worse. After signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the four-time All-Star had the worst season of his career. He hit .255/.289/.405 with just 65 runs and 18 steals. Now it appears he'll miss a few weeks before being able to join his teammates in 2012, as they wish to erase the disaster that was the 2011 finish.

With Crawford out -- as we pointed out in the AL East position battles -- expect Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney to man the corner outfield spots, flanking center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Darnell McDonald will then serve as the fourth outfielder.

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