Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see whether it was answered.
Do you think David Ortiz's knee injury is really bothering him? He's still driving in a lot of runs, but his average is way down and he seems hobbled at times on the basepaths. Do you think the knee is the reason his average is down? And should we be bracing outselves for some time on the DL for Papi?
Elliot, Rochester, N.Y.
A: Elliot, David has made no secret of the fact that his knee is still sore after off-season surgery. His late scratch from Sunday's lineup is only the most recent example. But I think we've been seeing a lot of good swings from him lately, which suggests to me he's making the mental adjustments necessary to play through the pain. No one has suggested a trip to the DL -- the knee is structurally sound, from all reports, but it also is becoming clear he's going to need the occasional day off. I'm curious to see how much first base he'll play in NL parks when interleague play begins; I suspect that's one place the Sox will cut back on his playing time.
Hey Gordon, what do you think the chances are that the Sox trade Coco Crisp before the All-Star break? Is it just me, or do the Sox seem content with keeping him around, and with both Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew a little hobbled, seems like a smart idea to me.
A: Warren, without Bobby Kielty, who has a broken hand, the Sox are lacking the OF depth they'd like to have to move Coco, a problem compounded when Brandon Moss went on the DL after an emergency appendectomy. Having Coco around is a nice problem to have, but I still think a trade is in the offing. Keep your eye on San Diego, where Jim Edmonds is really starting to show his age.
Is this the year the Yankees finally take a nose-dive in the standings?
Gina, Providence, R.I.
A: Gina, one week into May and the Bombers already are without their top two pitching prospects, neither one of whom won a game in the season's first month. Phil Hughes has a stress fracture in his ribs, and Ian Kennedy was just demoted to the minors to give him a chance to regain some confidence. There is still too much talent here to see the Yanks fall apart, but it is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Sox create separation from the Bombers in the division. Mike Mussina has rebounded nicely from a disastrous start, but that may be a temporary reprieve for a Yankee rotation that is clearly inferior to Boston's and may rank as the fourth best in the division, behind the Sox, Blue Jays and Rays, assuming Tampa Bay's kids can achieve some consistency.
Do you ever remember an illness hitting a team as hard as the Red Sox got hit with the flu last week? Also, any media members come down with it after being around the team?
A: Brian, these things seem to strike teams periodically, although this was one of the worst flu bugs I can remember in some time. Nonplayers were not immune; PR man John Blake, who never misses a game, was temporarily knocked out of commission by the virus, and WBZ's Jonny Miller, who has been doing this for 36 years, also took a hit. I wasn't with the club when the flu was at its most potent, but I spent a good part of last week hacking -- fortunately, it wasn't more than that. The Herald guys? They're like cockroaches. They can survive anything.
Dice-K is looking great so far this season. Do you think this is just a tease or shoud we expect this kind of consistency all season long? I still think he throws too many pitches out there to be an ace.
A: Owen, I'm not sure Daisuke has been as consistent as you describe -- he still has a tendency to run up his pitch counts early -- but it appears the Sox have been dead-on in their assertions that his second season has a chance to be much better than his first, now that he has dealt with many of the cultural adjustments -- and pitching adjustments-he went through last season.
With the Red Sox playing with short bench the past couple nights and having Ortiz on base in the ninth, we have seen a reluctance to bring in Lowrie to pinch run. The announcers say that Lowrie is the only option to run, but I am curious as to why pitchers couldn't pinch run. Is it an injury concern? If so, why would they be any more susceptible to injury than a position player? I seem to recall hearing that Buchholz could give Ellsbury a race -- it seems that maye he could have beaten out Vernon Wells' throw where Lowrie could not (not that it mattered in the end...). Thanks.
A: John, it is all about the injury concerns. Buchholz is way too valuable to the Sox to risk him getting hurt doing something he ordinarily wouldn't do, running the bases. Buccholz is indeed one of the fastest players in the organization, and if the Sox desperately needed a run in the postseason they might consider using him, but even then they'd think long and hard.
Hi Gordon, Love your column. I have an off-topic question for you. I was at the game last night sitting near the Sox dugout and David Eckstein fouled off a pitch that rocketed over our heads and into the stands. The immediate buzz around the ballpark was that the ball violently struck an 8 year old boy in the stands. Can you confirm this? and if so, is he alright?
A: Bill, an 8-year-old was indeed hit above the eye by a foul ball and taken to Children's Hospital, but the Sox say he was in good condition and owner John W. Henry personally paid a visit. I really think the day has to come where netting is extended along the foul lines -- especially at a venue like Fenway, where the fans sit so close.
Which Red Sox player has surprised you most out of the gate so far?
A: Lil, I don't know if there has been a major surprise, other than perhaps David Ortiz getting off to such a slow start, but that definitely had something to do with his knee. Manny's hot start after getting out of the gate slowly the last two seasons is a mild surprise; Manny Delcarmen struggling to the degree he has is also something of a surprise; I thought he'd taken a big step forward at the end of last season.
Any update on how Bartolo Colon is doing? Does he still have the oblique strain?
A: Donald, this is the week Colon shows if he is ready to pitch again. He was threw two innings of an extended spring training game Monday. He will come back to Boston to be re-examined, and then is expected to pitch for Triple A Pawtucket Saturday and build up his pitch count.
Any chance the BoSox make a play for recently released Derrick Turnbow? They say change of scenery is sometimes all it takes to get a guy back on track?
Greg Kurantowicz, West Hartford, Conn.
A: Greg, I thought that might be a possibility but haven't heard his name to date. The Sox already tried turning around another former Brewer, Dan Kolb, and that didn't work out.
Gordon, are you going to do this any longer? Secondly, this is a bit far a field but not something I've heard talked about. The Jays were lauded for their "classy" treatment of Frank Thomas -- Thomas was even given many "classy" kudos from ESPNites despite his temper tantrum the day before he was released -- but was it in their best interests and in the interests of their fans? By giving him his release, they saved nothing and only helped by eliminating him from their bench. But they allowed the A's to sign him for rookie dollars, thus giving them a clean-up hitter they badly lacked. By year's end if both teams are vying for a wild card, you wonder if classy will still outweigh doing what's best for the team and expecting Thomas to honor the contract he signed? Seems like a strange move overall that was not really scrutinized as it should have been. Had it been the Sox, I think it would have caused outrage. Thoughts?
Scot in San Francisco
A: Scot, I think the move was made as much about next year as this season. The Jays didn't want Thomas to get enough ABs to trigger a $10m option for next season -- especially in view of his slow start. I think it was all about business, not trying to look classy. And I'm certain Jays owner Paul Godfrey wasn't happy about swallowing an $8 million poison pill; I suspect he may have some questions for GM J.P. Ricciardi about the wisdom of the original signing. And wherever I'll be, I'm sure I'll still be 'Baggin' it.
While pleased with Dice-K, we have been waiting for the game liked he pitched against Toronto 4/30. Do you attribute that to (1)Someone finally finding the Japanese translation of "Trust Your Stuff" (2) the extra rest he had due to the flu or (3)did he just have his best stuff. I didn't think he had his best stuff as he only had 4 strikes outs. But very few balls were hit hard off him and he controlled the game.I am hopeful that he now "gets it".
Russ Gil, Verona, N.J.
A: Russ, that was a very encouraging performance, as we discussed above, just as it means something the Sox have yet to lose a game in which Daisuke has taken the ball. I think John Farrell has not lost anything in translation in urging Daisuke to do precisely what you suggested, to trust his stuff, but maybe he is learning he won't have to nibble as much.