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Ask Nick: Rough stretch for the Sox

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  May 13, 2013 02:50 PM

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What are your thoughts on the Red Sox acquiring LHP Neal Cotts from the Rangers? He is pitching very well for Texas' Triple A affiliate and would likely be available without giving up too much. He had Tommy John surgery a few years ago and was a former AL "Set-up Man of the Year" during the White Sox' World Series season.
Dave, Clarksville, Tenn.

Just wrote about him in this weekís Sunday Baseball Notes. Having a nice run. I think the Red Sox feel theyíre OK lefty-wise because of Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, and a comebacking Franklin Morales. But you canít have enough good pitchers no matter which side they pitch from. Iím also sure the Red Sox are looking for another reliever.

Is Rubby ready to take over as closer? If not, do we have anyone in the pipeline that could handle the job?
Dan, Virginia Beach, Va.

Donít think Rubby is ready. I think the Red Sox thought Allen Webster was ready and look what happened. De La Rosa needs more time and more innings. Thatís my opinion, and from speaking to some of the Red Sox people, they also think he needs some time. But sometimes necessity accelerates things. And I donít think thereís really anyone who could come in and be a closer for them from the system at this point.

Should Dan Shaughnessy apologize for an unfounded, inflammatory article accusing David Ortiz of using PEDs? I feel, like Red Sox management, Dan has crossed a line of respect and decency regarding Big Papi.
P.C., San Jose, Calif.

Thatís between Dan and Ortiz. Dan made two legitimate points, in my mind, One, Ortiz was on a list of players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003, a list of some 8 percent of the players, which triggered testing and discipline. Ortiz has never explained what he took. Secondly, Dan made the point that when we were all watching the height of the steroid era, most journalists, including myself, never asked the question, ďAre you on steroids?Ē Dan believes we shouldnít make that mistake again.

Can you please tell the Sox first base coach to stop walking over to the runners at first base every pitch? It makes me laugh but wastes time. I think the Red Sox lineup would be awesome with a good No. 4 hitter, getting Pedey batting second and Ortiz third, how about you?
Donald C.

If the first base coach has something constructive to say, he should do it. Heís doing his job. As for the No. 4 hitter, that should be Napoli with Ortiz batting third and Pedroia second. Thatís one thing we do agree on. I wrote this offseason that the Red Sox should go get an impact hitter. I suggested Josh Hamilton, who is off to a poor start. But I believed they needed an impact guy.

With regards to San Francisco's Brandon Crawford, do you think Jose Iglesias has the ceiling of this type of player? Crawford hits around .250 and has some pop. It seems like the Giants really like his defense and that's why they keep in him in the lineup.
Zubin, Milwaukee, Wis.

Absolutely love the comparison. Thatís exactly what Iglesias could do. The only thing Iglesias has to do is stop moping and get his concentration level back to where it should be. Itís lousy to get sent down and lose your job when youíre batting .500, but thatís life. He didnít do himself any favors when he went down necessitating Gary DiSarcina to bench him. He should know better.

Considering how well Carp and Nava have worked out, do you think the Sox trade Gomes for another need (and if so what) or do they go for depth?. (Keep in mind I love Gomes. I'd keep him on the team just for that iconic pose.)
Tyler, Charlottesville, Va.

Great question. I think the Red Sox still love the energy and clubhouse stuff Gomes brings to the table. I think the Red Sox would have to be really out of things by the trade deadline for this to happen and/or someone like Bryce Brentz would be ready to come up and be part of that left field platoon. Gomes is a special guy for his team-binding attributes.

Watching the Sox-Blue Jays tonight, I see Toronto reliever Brett Cecil has a fairly sizable tattoo on the inside of his (left) throwing arm, and his undershirt is pulled up to his elbow. I would think it is a distraction to hitters when they try to pick up his release point. Does MLB have any official policy on this?
K.G., Gilbert, Ariz.

My short answer is, I donít think so. Have discussed this with MLB officials recently, but the violations they get are with uniform issues, the way theyíre worn, or whether there are improper emblems etc. on the jersey itself. They have many shoe violations where the shoe color has to be at least 60 percent of the certain team color etc. Tattoos are commonplace now. The Red Sox are a heavily tattooed team.

I have a question regarding the injury Middlebrooks had before being cleared to play. If he had landed on the DL, who would've been the call-up? I'm hoping Iglesias can be trained to be play at third needed.
Rhys, Stoneham

My guess would be Brock Holt. Heís on the 40-man roster.

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