MLB Notes: Red Sox feel the absence of David Ortiz

MLB Notes: Red Sox feel the absence of David Ortiz

FORT MYERS, Fla. — When the Boston Red Sox started to report for spring training Monday, David Ortiz was missing.

For the first time since 2002, Big Papi is not on the roster.

"It's going to be different," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "He's been here every year that I've been here. We just have to find a way to overcome his absence and it's going to have to be a team effort to find a way to do that."

Ortiz retired last October after helping Boston win its first three World Series titles since 1918. He hit 541 home runs in 20 major league seasons and decided he didn't want to put himself through another season at age 41.

Hanley Ramirez took over Ortiz's locker, the one closes to the exit to the players' lounge and cafeteria. He also is expected to also take over the majority of Ortiz's duties as designated hitter, with Mitch Moreland also getting some at-bats.

"Nobody is going to replace Ortiz," Moreland said. (see full story)

Braves: Sean Rodriguez to have shoulder surgery
ATLANTA — Braves general manager John Coppolella isn't sure if it's realistic to hope for a return this season of infielder Sean Rodriguez, who will have shoulder surgery.

Rodriguez, who agreed to an $11.5 million, two-year contract with Atlanta in November, hurt his shoulder when a vehicle he was driving was rammed by a stolen police car in Miami on Jan. 28. His wife Giselle and two of their children were hospitalized with injuries she said on her Twitter account were not life-threatening.

Rodriguez's shoulder injury was not immediately disclosed. On Monday, Coppolella told The Associated Press that Rodriguez's surgery hasn't been finalized.

Atlanta acquired second baseman Brandon Phillips from Cincinnati on Sunday.

Rodriguez hit .270 with 18 homers and 56 RBI -- all career highs -- for Pittsburgh last year.

Rays: Odorizzi takes salary dispute to arbitration
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Jake Odorizzi and the Tampa Bay Rays have gone to salary arbitration.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Odorizzi asked arbitrators Edna Francis, Margaret Brogan and James Oldham for a raise from $520,700 to $4.1 million. The Rays argued during Monday's hearing that he should be paid $3,825,000.

A right-hander who turns 27 next month, Odorizzi was 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA last year, his third full season with the Rays.

A decision won't be issued until all cases involving first-time eligible starting pitchers are completed. Milwaukee's Chase Anderson, Houston's Collin McHugh, Toronto's Marcus Stroman and Arizona's Taijuan Walker also have had hearings and are awaiting decisions. St. Louis' Michael Wacha is among five players scheduled for hearings this week.

Teams and players have split six decisions: Oakland outfielder Khris Davis ($5 million), Miami pitcher David Phelps ($4.6 million) and New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores ($2.2 million) won, and Arizona pitcher Shelby Miller ($4.7 million), Boston pitcher Fernando Abad ($2 million) and Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph ($700,000) lost.

Red Sox: TV analyst Remy announces cancer diagnosis
BOSTON — Boston Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy says that he has experienced a cancer relapse.

Remy announced the diagnosis Monday on Twitter, a day before the Red Sox were set to hold their first spring training workout in Florida.

The 64-year-old former Red Sox second baseman was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and has missed numerous games in recent years while battling health issues, including lung cancer. He also took time off while dealing with the legal problems of his son, Jared, who is serving a life term in prison after pleading guilty in 2014 to the murder of his girlfriend.

Remy, who has worked more than 3,900 Red Sox games during his broadcast career, agreed to a new multiyear contract with cable network NESN in January to remain the Red Sox's primary color analyst and work 115 Red Sox games each season.

IronPigs rally to help Phillies end West Coast trip with 2 straight wins

IronPigs rally to help Phillies end West Coast trip with 2 straight wins

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Ben Lively, his eyes wide before his eighth big-league start, looked around at his teammates moments before the game.
 
"Dude, this is a really familiar dugout," he told Rhys Hoskins.
 
Indeed. Six of the Phillies' nine starters Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park were recent teammates at Triple A Lehigh Valley. They recently graduated to the majors and on this day joined together in rallying for a 5-2 win over the San Francisco Giants as the Phils closed out a West Coast trip with two wins and five losses (see Instant Replay).
 
It was a very entertaining ball game for several reasons:
 
The Phillies came back from a run down in the eighth inning and scored three times on a succession of five straight singles against Giants reliever Hunter Strickland.
 
Closer Hector Neris pitched himself into a tight spot when he plunked Buster Posey with a first-pitch fastball to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth. Posey took exception with the pitch, said something to Neris and moaned about it to reporters after the game (see video).
 
And then there was the IronPigs. All of the recent additions from Triple A had a hand in the win. All five of the Phillies' runs were driven in by players recently promoted. In Saturday night's win, a cast of recent additions drove in 10 of the Phillies' 12 runs. So, newcomers drove in 15 of the Phillies' 17 runs the last two days.
 
"We were pretty talented down there and I think it's good for this organization to have that kind of burst of energy," Hoskins said. "Hopefully it carries over to the homestand."
 
The IronPigs' impact started with Lively, who was recalled before the start and delivered six innings of two-run ball — "just what we needed," manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
It continued with utility man Pedro Florimon starting in left field, throwing out a runner at the plate and driving in three runs, including the tie-breaking run in the eighth.
 
Jorge Alfaro started behind the plate and drove in the tying run with a base hit in the eighth after coming back from an 0-2 count.
 
In all, the Phillies had five straight one-out hits in that inning — by Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Alfaro, Nick Williams and Florimon. All but Franco was in Triple A until recently.
 
"It's awesome," Lively said. "Everyone is getting an opportunity. A lot of people are making the best of their opportunities. That fires me up more than anything."
 
Two others who had been at Lehigh Valley this season, Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia, chipped in with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
 
Hoskins gave the Phillies a little breathing room in the ninth inning when he bashed his fifth homer in his first 11 games in the majors. All of them came on this trip to his home state with a slew of friends and family in the seats.
 
"I think we could have come away with a couple more wins, obviously, but we're feeling pretty good going home, split the series after dropping the first two," Hoskins said.
 
The wins were the Phillies' only two in the state of California this season. They went 2-11 in the land of the Double-Double.
 
The game was not without some drama. With two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth, and the Phils clinging to a two-run lead, Mackanin summoned his closer, Neris, as the dangerous Posey — who had already singled and doubled — stepped in the box.
 
Neris' first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, hit Posey in the side. The usually mild-mannered Posey was angry and said something to Neris before cooler heads prevailed.
 
After the game, Posey was still angry.
 
"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose and it's just a shame because I wanted to compete in that at bat," Posey said. "I guess he didn’t feel he could get me out.
 
"It was a big spot. It would have been fun to hit."
 
Neris was incredulous when he heard what Posey said.
 
"Not a chance," he said when asked if he hit Posey on purpose. "I don't want to put the tying run on second base. I don't want to hit anybody in that situation."
 
Mackanin said there was no way Neris threw at Posey.
 
"If Hector hit him intentionally, I'm not real happy with Hector to put the tying run on second base and the go-ahead run on first," Mackanin said. "It doesn't make sense to me."

Best of MLB: Red Sox extend AL East lead with dominant win vs. Yankees

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Best of MLB: Red Sox extend AL East lead with dominant win vs. Yankees

BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. tripled in two runs and singled in another, and Rick Porcello pitched six innings of a combined three-hitter to help the AL East-leading Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Sunday and extend their lead over the Yankees to five games.

The Red Sox won for the 14th time in 17 games, taking two out of three from New York for the second weekend in a row. The archrivals meet again in the first week of September for a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Porcello (8-14) allowed all three New York hits, striking out four and walking three to win his fourth straight start. Three relievers provided a perfect inning apiece.

Porcello has allowed two runs or fewer in all six career starts against the Yankees in Fenway Park. That's the longest such stretch for a Red Sox pitcher since at least 1913, the ballclub said.

Sonny Gray (7-8) allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings.

Brett Gardner homered near the Pesky Pole for the Yankees, who had won five of their last six (see full recap).

Cubs score 3 in 10th inning to complete sweep of Blue Jays
CHICAGO -- Alex Avila capped Chicago's three-run 10th inning with a two-run single, and the Cubs swept the Toronto Blue Jays with a wild 6-5 victory on Sunday.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Avila lined a base hit into right field against Roberto Osuna (3-4). Ben Zobrist scored easily and Javier Baez slid in safely just ahead of the throw from Jose Bautista.

Avila threw his arms in the air when it was over, then was mobbed by happy teammates near first base. The improbable rally also included two batters reaching on swing-and-miss strikeouts, and Kyle Schwarber scoring on a wild pitch.

Toronto grabbed the lead with two runs in the top of the inning on Kevin Pillar's RBI single off Koji Uehara, and Norichika Aoki's bases-loaded loaded walk against Justin Wilson (4-4) (see full recap).

Giancarlo Stanton hits MLB-leading 45th homer in win over Mets
NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton hit his major league-leading 45th home run and Adam Conley struck out a career-high 11, leading the Miami Marlins over the New York Mets 6-4 on Sunday.

Stanton connected for a three-run shot off Jacob deGrom (13-7) as the Marlins scored four times in the seventh inning for a 6-1 lead. Stanton had homered in six straight games before coming up short Wednesday night.

Conley (6-5) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. Brad Ziegler pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

Yoenis Cespedes homered for the Mets, who have lost six of their last nine games. They fell to 6-15 on Sundays this season, including 2-9 at Citi Field (see full recap).