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21.06.2019 03:36
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora looked at Mooki Antworten

BOSTON (AP) — Somehow Kevin Long Jersey ,e Betts’ MVP season and saw room for improvement.Not the .346 batting average that was the highest in the major leagues. Not the career-high 32 homers, either.But Betts drove in just 80 runs last year while spending almost all of his time as the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox. That seemed like a missed opportunity, so Cora is planning to bat Betts second this season and move Andrew Benintendi to leadoff.“If you play 162 games, you’re going to come up 162 at-bats with nobody on,” Cora said.Betts tied for the major-league lead with 129 runs scored, but he had the fewest at-bats with runners on base in baseball (among batters with at least 600 plate appearances). He is expected to get more batting behind Benintendi, whose .366 on-base percentage was third on the team behind Betts (.438) and J.D. Martinez (.402).It’s one of the few changes Cora has planned for a team that won a franchise-record 108 games in his first season and its fourth World Series since 2004.Here are some other things to look for from the defending champions:ON REPEATAfter going 86 years without a championship, the Red Sox have won four this century. But they haven’t won back-to-back World Series since 1915-16.Cora isn’t pretending there’s any other goal.“One thing about repeating,” he said, dismissing popular theories of a championship “hangover” that prevents back-to-back winners. “I think it’s who you have in the clubhouse and what they want to do.”The last major league team to win two (or more) World Series in a row was the 1998-2000 New York Yankees. But Cora notes that since then, several other teams have come close enough to debunk the notion that there’s some sort of hex.The Phillies made it back to the Series after winning it all in 2008, the Giants won three times in five years and the Los Angeles Dodgers have won back-to-back NL pennants.“We do believe we’re going to do it,” Cora said. “We’ve got a good team.”CLOSING TIMEThe biggest offseason departure is closer Craig Kimbrel, who remained unsigned in this offseason’s curious free agent market after turning down Boston’s $17.9 million offer.Kimbrel saved 42 games and struck out 96 batters in 62 innings last year. He had six saves but also a 5.91 ERA during the postseason, and Cora went to starter Chris Sale to close out the Game 5 clincher of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Reliable setup man Joe Kelly has signed with the Dodgers.In their place, the Red Sox are auditioning Matt Barnes , Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier and Tyler Thornburg. (Another option, knuckleballer Steven Wright, has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for human growth hormone). None has impressed this spring.Cora has said he might use more than one pitcher in the role, depending on matchups.NEW FACESThe Red Sox have won three straight AL East titles, and they have done it with virtually the same roster.Last year, they signed J.D. Martinez during spring training, and then added Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi midseason. Pearce, who was the World Series MVP, and Eovaldi, who pitched six innings of relief in the 18-inning Game 3, were both re-signed this offseason.ROOKIES TO WATCHTop prospect Michael Chavis hit four homers in 11 spring training games but already has been optioned to Triple-A. Bobby Dalbec, who also plays first and third base, could get the call if the team needs help at one of the infield corners.ON DECKThe Red Sox open the regular season at Seattle on March 28 and then complete their West Coast swing in Oakland and Arizona before returning to Boston to raise their championship flag at Fenway Park on April 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Evening links!"One thing we do know concretely about former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan is that he cleared waivers yesterday, meaning nary a franchise out there thought he was worth picking up at the cost of a roster spot. That means that while he’s still ‘former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan,’ he’s still going to stick around the organization sans roster spot Ryan Zimmerman Jersey , which - if he can miraculously rekindle his previous form - means there’s still a chance he could be ‘future Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan’ at some juncture.A quick click on the AAA Louisville Bats roster shows his name there, but no number, and that’s by design - he’s not expected to start the 2019 season with the Bats, as’s Mark Sheldon relayed. Whether it’s with AA Chattanooga, A+ Daytona, or back in Arizona doing work in instructional play, it appears the Reds are going to do everything they can to unplug and plug back in the once electric left arm of Finnegan, or at least give it one last heave-ho. If you look back through the history of pitchers, pitcher injuries, and dudes falling completely off the boat wagon, there are a handful of success stories of guys who lost it, went all the way back to the depths of the minors, and emerged with some semblance of success after the fact. Edinson Volquez went through that with the Texas Rangers way back in the day, and their frustrations with him were part of how he ended up with the Reds in the first place. Hopefully, a pressure-free environment and a bit of a reality check will help do that with Finnegan, assuming he’s healthy and pain free , and at least if any team will get the chance to see if that works, the Reds will get first crack.In other recently-DFA’d Reds news, Matt Wisler is officially out of the organization, claimed by the San Diego Padres and eventually dealt for young hurler Diomar Lopez, as MLB Trade Rumors relayed earlier this week. Wisler, of course, was out of options, and lost the race for the last spot in the bullpen to Robert Stephenson (who was also out of options). The former Atlanta Braves hurler will now get to ply his trade in a bunch of big parks out west, which might well turn into something. In Lopez, the Reds get a 22 year old Nicaraguan who pitched at three levels of A-ball last year exclusively as a reliever, and while he struggled in the runs scored department (5.18 ERA), he posted an excellent 11.4 K/9 against just a 2.8 BB/9 in 41.2 IP. This time last year, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen listed Lopez at #38 on his top Padres prospects list, noting that he could touch 97 mph and ‘his control needs to improve significantly,’ something that his 2018 stats suggest might well have happened since that report. One can hope.In other news, it appears that Nick Senzel’s ankle is improving quite well Bryce Harper Jersey , as Doug Gray noticed in an on-air interview from Dr. Stick Pokey. That’s obviously a wonderful piece of news in a vacuum, but given the relative struggles of the Cincinnati outfield since he was reassigned to the minors, that’s even more welcome news.In other injured prospect news, Baseball America highlighted which franchises have been bitten the worst by players needing Tommy John surgery in recent years in the wake of the Hunter Greene news, and wouldn’t ya know it, the Cincinnati Reds sit atop that list:/groans audiblyFinally, FanGraphs sleuthed the 2019 MLB Draft Bonus Pool amounts, and the Reds check in with the 13th highest amount on the board. Of course, that factors in not just where teams finished last year (and where their highest pick is), but also the comp rounds that most of the small market/low revenue teams receive for being so tiny. You’ll remember the Reds shipped one of those away in their winter deal that brought Sonny Gray in from the Yankees, and along with it they lost the slot-value for that pick for their overall draft budget, hence why it isn’t a tad bit higher than that.

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