Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually on Thursdays or Fridays) to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
My Dad and I have often wondered as we seem to watch the left-handed hitting Jason Varitek send an inordinate number of ground balls to the second baseman for double plays, why he doesn't consider batting only right-handed. Today is a case in point. It's only the fourth and he's got two hits already -- no small feat considering he was hitting about .100 coming into the game. So, any chance he would ever consider batting only right-handed or is that too much of a switch at this point in his career? (His righty numbers are way better than his lefty ones) Thanks. Keep up the good work!
Matt Weiss, Auburn, Maine
Matt, that's not going to happen. The vast majority of Jason's at-bats have come from the left side, of course, and at this stage of his career I can't imagine him contemplating anything so drastic. Plus, we have no way to know how he would do against a right-handed pitcher batting from the right side. His numbers batting right-handed against left-handed pitchers, especially the last three years, have been significantly better than when he is batting left-handed against righties: .327 average to .266. He has hit into seven DPs in 395 at-bats from the right side (one every 56 at-bats) to 24 DPs in 989 AB's left-handed (one every 41 at-bats). But simply because he has hit better right-handed facing lefties we can't assume that the same would hold true against righties.
Hey G, what do you know about this J.D. Durbin the Red Sox pulled off of waivers? Is he another project?
Chris DeMatteo, New Haven, Conn.
Chris, that's exactly what he is. Durbin is a hard-throwing right-hander who was Minnesota's No. 2 draft choice in 2000 and was the team's minor league pitcher of the year in 2002. He had some nerve damage in his arm last season, and the D-Backs claimed him on waivers from the Twins. The Sox then plucked him on waivers and are trying to pass him through waivers themselves so they can send him down to the minors. He's only 25, so the Sox are hopeful that he can give them some depth in their system.
Any chance the Red Sox bid for the 2012 All-Star Game. It will be the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park and 2012 will be an AL year to host the game. It will only be 13 years after they last hosted it but there is precedence: Pittsburgh hosted the game in 1994 and again 12 years later in 2006. Bud Selig is on record as saying that Kauffman Stadium will host the game sometime between 2010-2014, so any timetable as to when a decision is made about Fenway 2012?
Patrick Flynn, Hadley
Patrick, I find it inconceivable that the All-Star Game will be held anywhere but in Fenway in 2012. They've gotten away from a strict alternating of AL and NL cities, and Bud Selig has such regard for the Fens and the Henry/Werner/Lucchino group that this will be a slam dunk. I would imagine you'll hear about that no later than 2010, maybe a year sooner.
When you see Dustin Pedroia getting all kinds of help in spring training on how to make the double play, it makes you wonder what he was doing in the minors. They had to know he was a middle infielder and most likely a second baseman. And did he swing like that with the PawSox? I thought the minors were to make a player ready for the bigs. He could be this year's Beckett -- stubborn. I saw where he said, "that's the way I have always done it." At least, for now, Beckett has changed his strategy. We have all heard the phrase "a pesky [not Johnny] little hitter. A guy who puts the ball in play and goes the other way and tough to strike out. Is there any concern among the Sox brass about the way he goes about his at bats?
Jim C., Savannah, Ga.
Jim, I know better than most 'Baggers how closely you watch the game. As you know, in the minors Pedroia played both short and second, and received instruction at both positions, but as you know, kids get called up sooner now than they did in previous years, and a lot more teaching goes on at the big-league level. Yes, the Sox have some concern that Dustin's swing gets long, but they are also confident he'll figure it out. The kid has hit at every level.
Gordo, love your work (excluding your sharp critique of Manny). Seriously though, am I crazy, or does Tito/Sox front office place too much stock in experience in terms of pitching? The Sox middle relief (e.g., Timlin, Donnelly, Romero) would be really good ... if it was 1999)! And Taverez, even as the fifth starter, is simply inadequate. I say we give the PawSox kids a chance. Young guns like Davern Hansack and Kason Gabbard were lights out late last season and in spring training. Moreover, the Sox have shown a reluctance to deal their young pitching talent (Delcarmen, Hansen, Lester) for proven position players. It just seems like what is the point of them racking more AAA innings when they're clearly ready to pitch in the bigs? Such a strategy is a waste of their value. I say it is time to change this seniority system into a meritocracy!
Calvin Schiraldi, San Francisco
Calvin, I think the Sox love the fact they have as much depth as they do in the minors, so if the veterans do falter, you have a ready supply of reinforcements. Hansack is off to a tremendous start -- 20 K's in 10 2/3 innings -- and Delcarmen and Hansen have a chance to get their confidence back after some rough going last season. They realize they are near the end of the road with Timlin, who is 41, but he has been so reliable he was worth bringing back one last time. I actually think the bullpen -- when you extend it to the arms in Pawtucket -- has a chance to be a real strength. There is no aspect of a ballclub that varies more from year to year than middle relief, and Theo has commented on numerous occasions that he has not had much success in constructing a pen in the past, but if the current group falters, the Sox have some attractive options.
Hello from New Jersey, Gord. I got a good belly laugh from your quote of Donnelly concerning his unintended gesture. He would not execute a Lowe-like gesture because there "...are [expletive] kids out there." I guess it's better to say it than to do it, aye Brandon. I hope he sticks to pitching and abandons any thoughts of a speaker circuit career.
Mark Caissey, Westampton, N.J. (formally of Leominster)
Mark, nice to hear from another Central Mass. guy -- did you play any ball at Doyle Field? I thought it was pretty funny myself, but the actual quote -- I know, because he was talking to me at the time -- is that he would never do that because "there are kids in the [expletive] stands.''
What does the official scorecard of the Boston Red Sox look like? Can I get a copy of a blank one, please. I will also need to know if I can make copies of it. I want to learn how to score the Red Sox baseball games like the pros. I really enjoy my boys of summer. Although it doesn't feel like summer yet.
Jackie Bates, Rockport
Jackie, I love the idea that you want to learn how to score; I find it to be one of life's better little pleasures. I'm going to refer you to baseballscorecard.com. They've got some samples there, and some instructions on how to score.
With Lester looking sharp and beginning to stretch out, will the Sox wait to hear from Clemens first, or just slot Lester in the five slot once he is ready?
Scott Kaplan, Philly
Scott, Lester is supposed to be up to 85 pitches or so by April 20. By that time, I expect the Sox to have to make a decision, whether to bring him directly to the big leagues or make a couple of more starts in Pawtucket. As for Roger, I would think he's going to have to make up his mind mid-May or so. Personally, I think he's going to stay in Houston (just a guess), with the Yanks his second choice and the Sox running third. Totally a guess on my part. John Henry, obviously, has said the Sox are very interested in the Rocket.
I'm 39 years old and as long as I can remember, there has always been a rendition of the national anthem before every game. There has even been a rendition of the national anthem of foreign countries that might be involved in the night's game. ... What happened to the national anthem on the Red Sox Opening Day? I wanted to write to the Red Sox about this ... but I can no longer find an address to e-mail on their site.
Arthur Sennott, Milford, N.H.
On infrequent occasions, a ballgame has been preceded by the singing of "America the Beautiful" instead of the "Star-Spangled Banner,'' which is what happened at the Sox home opener. Harry Connick Jr. sang "America the Beautiful."
When is the front office going to pull the trigger and make the move to ship Coco Crisp out. I know it is unfair to compare him to Johnny Damon (who I now despise), but Coco is not nor will he be the player they thought he would be in Boston. He is an adequate fielder and may be a great guy in the clubhouse, but he isn't producing in any of the areas that he was expected to. Might there be a trade coming long before the deadline in July?
Rick Pohle, Williamstown
Rick, not your primary question, of course, but why despise Johnny D? What if he had wanted to come back to the Sox and they weren't interested, and dealt for, say, Andruw Jones, instead? Would you have despised the club doing so, or would you have chalked it up to business? Would you have done any differently if an employer had offered you $12 million more than what your current employer was paying you?
Anyway, your question was about Coco Crisp the No. 1 target of fan dissatisfaction. I just don't think we can render a judgment on Coco after just a week into this season. If he's still struggling like this by June 1, OK. But his production in the past in Cleveland wasn't a mirage. It happened.
OK, Dice-K's first spring start, first regular season start, and first Fenway start are all out of the way. The next two firsts on the horizon are first start against the Yankees and first start at Yankee Stadium. If the rotation stays as it is (pretty unlikely) and barring any postponed games (extremely unlikely), and assuming my math is correct (most unlikely), Dice-K would be pitching in Yankee Stadium on Aug. 29. That's a long way away. ... In the meantime, there are a few series against the Yankees (both home and away) that Dice-K would just miss. If this all worked out this way, do you think Francona may shake things up a little to get Dice-K into more games against the Yankees, and potentially start in Yankee Stadium before the dog days?
Ian Jackson, Cambridge
Ian, things have all changed, and may change again due to weather. As things stand now, Dice-K will start against the Yankees in Fenway a week from Sunday, then pitch the opener of a three-game set against the Bombers the following Friday.
Big up, Gordo! Thanks for feeding me great Sox info down here in Argentina! I caught a game online and noticed that J.D. Drew is wearing Trot's old number 7. Don't teams normally wait a couple years before reassigning the uniform number of a long tenured player who has moved on? I feel positive about Drew's potential in Boston, but coming off the size of his contract, length of time it took to become official, and the fact he is replacing such a beloved player, it seems he was a 2-for-20 start to the season away from rubbing fans the wrong way by choosing to wear No. 7.
Tim Malone, Buenos Aires
Tim, first mail call from Argentina. Love it! It depends on the player. When an established star like Drew comes to town, he's going to get the number he wants I suspect that would have applied even to No. 5, Nomar's old number. Roger's No. 21? Now that's a different story, Sox are holding off on that one, though it would be interesting to see someone put it to the test.
My whole family of eight is going to the game on 4-20-2007. My daughter's boyfriend is going to ask her to marry him there. Can we announce this for them? We would really appreciate that.
Donna, I'm guessing (or hoping) that your daughter doesn't read the 'Bag, otherwise we might be spoiling the surprise. Here's the Sox policy on such requests, as taken from their website, redsox.com:
Make your game day experience at Fenway Park one of a kind with a message on our center field scoreboard! Birthday, anniversary, welcome, and congratulations messages can be posted by making a charitable donation in any amount to the Red Sox Foundation. (Sorry, due to the number of requests, no personalized or custom birthday messages are possible.) The messages run once, alphabetically by last name, starting in the first inning and every half inning after that for the duration of the game. These donations can be made by check or credit card. Please make checks payable to the Red Sox Foundation and send them to Message Board Requests c/o Fan Services/Fenway Ambassadors, Boston Red Sox, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. For donations made by credit card please call the Fan Service department at 617-226-6000 or 877- REDSOX9. Phone donations must be received by noon on the day of the game or by 5:00pm on Friday for weekend games; please allow one week to ensure processing for donations made by check. For additional information or for answers to questions regarding the message board policy, call 617-226-6000 or 877-REDSOX9.
Can you please tell Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo that no one cares about their stories or who they're talking to in the box, I'd really rather just watch the game.
Scott Mason, Syracuse, N.Y.
Scott, it's a long season, there is a lot of time to fill, some games fall far short of being riveting entertainment, and Jerry and Don do a nice job of connecting with many of their viewers by going beyond the action on the field by telling stories, having fun, etc. Your response suggests that they don't succeed in doing so with everyone, but judging by their popularity, the majority of their viewers do enjoy their interaction.
Editor's note: Join Gordon Edes of The Boston Globe, his special guests, as well as fellow members of Red Sox Nation at the 3d Gordon Edes and Friends NYC event on Saturday, April 28, from 9 p.m. to midnight at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant at 18 West 33d Street in New York City. Click here for more information.