Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Foulke has injections in his knee

According to Nick Cafardo of the Globe, Keith Foulke is still getting injections in his knee. Because of confidentiality, it's unknown what they are injecting. Foulke did undergo knee surgery this offseason, so this is most likely related to that.

This is not good news for Red Sox fans. As I've previously stated, without Foulke, Schilling and Beckett, chances are not good the Sox will prevail in the playoffs this year.

Graffanino looking for a deal

According to the Boston Herald and Graffanino, the Sox are shopping him around. With Loretta and Cora already taking the second baseman's spot, Tony is looking for a job where he can start. While the Sox have to look out for themselves in this trade, they did assure Tony they are looking out for spots where he can start.

Boston Herald

Graffanino, who was the Sox’ primary second baseman after being acquired from the Kansas City Royals July 19, lost his job when the team acquired Mark Loretta from the San Diego Padres. Graffanino was exploring deals with other teams when the Red Sox surprised him by offering arbitration. The 33-year-old accepted (before reaching an agreement on a one-year, $2.05 million deal), but arrived at spring training behind Loretta and Alex Cora on the second base depth chart.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Getting to know the 2006 Red Sox

Take a look at all the photos from Spring Training, courtesy of the Boston Globe.


If you want to know the difference between Alex Cora and Alex Gonzalez, I suggest you take a peek. Also, you get to see Jason Varitek (USA), Lenny DiNardo (Italy) and David Ortiz (Dominican) in their WBC uniforms.

CBA in the NFL

From what I've heard, the problem with getting a new CBA in the NFL has very little to do with the players and almost everything to do with the owners.

In the NFL, there are the haves and the have-nots, relatively speaking, when it comes to income for the owners. "But the NFL has a revenue sharing program, so doesn't everyone make the same?" you might say. But it all depends on what revenue you are talking about.

For instance, all money dealing with the TV deals are shared across the league, and so are shared with the players as well (since this shared revenue is what determines the cap number). But, the luxury boxes that the new stadiums have are not counted in the general revenue. That money goes straight into the owners pocket (so to speak). So do all of the other local revenue streams.

The next obvious question, then, is why don't the owners share all such revenue. The haves, owner of the Patriots Kraft for instance, would say that's really an unfair practice.

The Patriots have turned out a new stadium out of their own money. They are the ones who took a huge financial risk by doing so. They've also turned that stadium into a money maker with conventions, concerts, soccer games; not just football games. Why should they have to share the money they've worked so hard to produce?

The counter argument is a good one though. If it wasn't for the Patriots and the NFL as a whole, the other income streams wouldn't be available. It's the product on the field that makes the rest of it possible.

So when you see stories like the following about how labor unrest is a problem, you're being misled. It's the owners who are having problems. If it wasn't for the smaller market teams having issues with large market teams, the deal would be made.

Trade talks between Red Sox and Nationals

Jeff Horrigan talks about the Nationals looking for starting pitchers in Boston. He mentions Clement, Arroyo and Wells. While I wouldn't be sorry to see Wells go (I've never like having David on the team from day one, and I don't care if he makes it back to the West Coast), and I would like to keep Clement around, I'd be disappointed in the Sox if they traded Arroyo away.

According to all reports, the Sox promised Bronson they would not trade him after he signed a deal for less money than what he was worth. He basically took a 'home-town' discount in order to stay in Boston. If they immediately trade him away because he has a lower salary, what will that say to future members of the Red Sox who are trying to ink a deal. They'll be a lot less likely to sign on for less.

BostonHerald.com - Boston Red Sox: Nationals might pitch deal to Red Sox

Celtics beat the Lakers

More important than beating the Lakers, is the Celtics went 3-1 on their recent roadtrip. Now that's an improvement and a milestone.

It's rather depressing when you think about the Celtics. While their young talent is exciting to think about, I'm not sure they will be enough in the coming years to improve this team. Since the Celtics continually finish near the top middle, their chances of drafting a real difference maker is almost nill.

I am not, however, advocating they just throw away this season and drop to the bottom. Not only would that hurt their fan base, it would be pointless. Unless I'm missing something (which is quite possible when it comes to basketball prospects), there's noone out there for the Celtics to go after.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Run, Sox, Run!

I wonder where she got the photo from?

The Angus Index

Update: Now I know... she stole it from the Globe.

Vinatieri not tagged

Despite being the best clutch kicker in football, Adam was not given the franchise tag this year. Instead, (hopefully) it's expected that he and the Patriots will work out a long term deal.

Unfortunately for Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, the insecurity of not knowing what the cap numbers will be have killed negotiations across the league. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire next week and the 2006 cap numbers are up in the air. So, no one is able to guess what the salaries should look like.

Meanwhile Vinatieri will be (if he makes it to free agency) one of the top free agents available. He's being listed as the third most sought after, beating out the likes of Edgerrin James.

Boston Sports Blog

Google can be a curse and a blessing. For a period of about three weeks I was getting a torrent (torrent for me) of traffic from google as I was ranked first for a keyword that was being searched for a few hundred times a day. That was exciting and ever since I've been trying to figure out how to get back to that.

And so, I was checking the stats for this site and someone actually found me using the phrase boston sports blog. I was curious about how high I ranked for this search and it turns out I'm third, right below bostonsportsmedia.com and boston.com.

I'm feeling good about that.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Beckett speaks

Someone actually got a quote out of Beckett. Impressive. From all reports out of spring training, Josh has been elusive and quiet (if not quite downright rude) to all of the reporters begging for a quote. As opposed to Papelbon, who was described as being 'giddy', and Schilling, who is always ready to talk.

BTW, Schilling has been talking up quite a storm about how excited he is to have Loretta and Lowell on the team. Hopefully, the fans will be just as excited when the ball drops.

USATODAY.com - Improved pitching part of Boston's '06 plan
"Last year I threw 14 bullpens before I even got to spring training," Beckett said. "The Marlins wanted us to be ready to go because we were on a four-man rotation last spring. I think things are a little bit different over here.

"A lot of things feel different. It's great to be here. I'm ready to go."

Laughter is the best medicine

I was running a search on feeds using bloglines and accidently ran across this. I just had to laugh.

My First Attempt: My $22.1 Million
So, here are 3 things I'd do with my $22.1 million cut:

1. 5 words: swimming pool full of nickels -- Does that work?

2. Step 1: Buy hybrid. Step 2: Get Xhibit to "pimp" it.

3. Buy the Kansas City Royals at market value, use remaining $22 million investing in talent.

Not that Steinbrenner is an egomaniac or anything

A few good quotes from George Steinbrenner.

SI.com - MLB - Steinbrenner: Yankees will win World Series - Wednesday February 22, 2006 10:59PM
"We're going to win it this year," the Yankees owner said Wednesday. "We're going after it."

(In describing Torre) "I can't do much to teach him anything, but I'm just there so he knows he's got my support," Steinbrenner later said.

Update: Rebuttal from Lucchino
"I'm sure the optimism of spring flows through every camp in baseball, and I'm glad [Steinbrenner's] optimistic, but I'm not going to comment on that," Lucchino said. "We still see ourselves as David against Goliath."

Trot Nixon to bat.. fifth?

According to Terry 'Tito' Francona: "If he’s healthy, to me, against right-handers, he’s the perfect No. 5 hitter because you can’t throw the ball past him."

Umm... if he's healthy, Trot is a .275 lifetime hitter. His best HR season was two years ago with 28 HR in 134 games. Which brings to mind his health issues. In the past three seasons, he's played in 134 games in 2003, 48 games in 2004, and 124 games in 2005.

This is not a great guy to rely on in your fifth spot. Especially sinced he hits .224 against lefties last year. Is this what you want late in the game? Most teams have a lefty specialist these days (not the Red Sox this year, but you can't everything). "Walk Manny (or David) and trot out your lefty to face Trot" will become the rallying cry of our opponents.

Unfortunately, our only other option would be Lowell, and no one knows (not even Mike Lowell himself) how things are going to turn out this year for him.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Manny will not report until March 1st

Without revealing any information as to why, Tito and Theo had a press conference today to report that Manny will not be reporting to training camp until March 1st. Reasons were not given, giving a mysterious aura to his absence.

Manny will reportedly continue to train with his personal trainer. Theo said 'it's not perfect, but we support it.' Tito said he's content. Tito also said he expects Manny to show up with a smile on his face, ready to go.

Official press release follows:
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox and Manny Ramirez today issued the following joint statement.

"With the permission of the Boston Red Sox, Manny Ramirez will report to Spring Training in Fort Myers on March 1, 2006. Manny is in Florida completing an extensive training regimen and is prepared to have an exceptional season."

Dan Shaugnessy quote: "This cartel member votes to keep Wells on the island. He's a lefthander who won 15 games last year and the Sox aren't likely to get commensurate value given Wells's rehabilitation status and his destination restrictions. Like Manny Ramírez, Wells's only leverage is to sit out, and the betting here is that he'll pitch for Boston before he forgoes $7.5 million."

Oh yes, let's keep the 15 game winner (with the highest run support in major league, just as with D-Lowe the year before). He's a strong lefty (42 years old, coming off of knee surgery). He's anxious to play (for someone else). Oh yes, let's keep David Wells on the team.

Foulke and Schilling

Reports out of spring training indicate Schilling is looking good, although he has had to ease off due to a cold or a flu that has affected his family. Foulke has also looked good so far.

This is probably the best news Red Sox fans could hear. Without these two players, this team will make an early exit once again in the playoffs this year.

Monday, February 20, 2006

David Wells practice schedule

I was listening to the radio this morning as the yahoos are down in Fla this morning wathcing spring training. They just reported on David Wells practice schedule this morning. He pitched for about 5 minutes and then walked off the field.

Yep, he's tradeable...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Red Sox salaries

If nothing else changes during Spring training (and everyone still expects David (I need the sun of SD) Wells to be traded, ESPN has the salaries (based on last year) of the Boston Red Sox. Although the Red Sox have a base salary of 121,311,945, the Yankees are projected at almost twice that at 205,938,439.

The third team at the top of the payroll ladder is the NY Mets at 104,770,139. Why are the Mets always considered to irrelevant, but the Sox and Yankees are believed to be teams that 'buy' their way into the playoffs each year?

1. Manny Ramirez19,806,820
2. Curt Schilling14,500,000
3. Jason Varitek8,000,000
4. Trot Nixon7,500,000
5. Keith Foulke7,500,000
6. Mike Lowell7,500,000
7. Matt Clement6,500,000
8. David Ortiz5,250,000
9. Tim Wakefield4,670,000
10. David Wells4,075,000
11. Alex Gonzalez3,400,000
12. Mike Timlin2,750,000
13. Mark Loretta2,750,000
14. Julian Tavarez2,600,000
15. Josh Beckett2,400,000
16. J.T. Snow2,000,000
17. Bronson Arroyo1,850,000
18. David Riske1,425,000
19. Alex Cora1,300,000
20. Tony Graffanino1,100,000
21. John Flaherty800,000
22. Rudy Seanez550,000
23. Coco Crisp364,900
24. Kevin Youkilis323,125
25. Josh Bard317,900
26. Adam Stern316,000
Total Team Salary: 121,311,945

Not too long ago, I talked about the Red Sox salaries on 12/13/05 and despite having more players listed, the sox payroll is about the same. What a difference there is between Mota and Crisp.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Boston Red Sox -- Big Papi

Want a breakdown of the Red Sox position players?  Take a look at who's fighting for what position and what you should be looking for in spring training.  Personally, I found the Big Papi round up to be the most fascinating part, but that's just me.

Boston Red Sox : News : Boston Red Sox News

BOSTON -- He came to Boston relatively anonymously, fresh off a pink slip from the Minnesota Twins. Three years later, the anonymity has been replaced by two words that are equally beloved in New England and feared by pitchers all across baseball: Big Papi.

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Jeter to bat leadoff, Damon second?

Tom Verducci makes some very good points about Jeter being a better leadoff candidate for the Yankees than Damon, but The most telling point is down at the bottom. If Cano bats ninth, having Damon bat first leads you to a left, left situation Torre would rather avoid in late inning situations.

Torre has probably considered this already and so I'm going to come down on Tom Verducci's side on this one. Damon will bat second in New York.

SI.com - Writers - Tom Verducci: The Yankees' best leadoff hitter - Tuesday February 14, 2006 12:10PM
but Derek Jeter is a better leadoff batter than Damon.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

At present, Sox, 'Stros not built to succeed

This headline is extremely misleading.  The Red Sox are an unknow quantity right now because of health issues.  Is Schilling healthy?  What about Foulke?  Is Beckett going to break down?  These are huge question marks right now that will determine the fate of the Sox.  If (and what an if it is) all three work out, then Sox will coast to the playoffs this year.  If any of the three break down, so will the Sox.

ESPN.com - MLB - Klapisch: Trouble ahead for Astros, Red Sox

At present, Sox, 'Stros not built to succeed

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Mirabelli Update

Want to know how Doug Mirabelli is doing in SD? Take a look at the following story from the record eagle.

MLB: Piazza signing motivates TC's Mirabelli
TRAVERSE CITY - It has been a winter of change for Doug Mirabelli - perhaps a little too much change.

Once a popular member of the Boston Red Sox, the Traverse City resident was traded to San Diego in December and told shortly thereafter that he would be the team's starting catcher in 2006.

Then came the recent free-agent signing of longtime all-star Mike Piazza, who hopes to catch 90-100 games for the Padres this summer.

"It bums me out a little bit, to be honest," Mirabelli said earlier this week before leaving for spring training in Peoria, Ariz. "I've always held back and tried not to get too excited about things because baseball is what it is - a business - and things can change pretty quickly.
(General manager Kevin Towers) told me that I would start unless something fell into his lap, and Piazza will help this team," Mirabelli said.

Red Sox questions that matter

There's a lot of debate going on about where the Sox stand, now that the pitchers and catchers are reporting for duty down in Florida. But a lot of writers are wasting time on things that don't matter.

Will Crisp be better than Damon? Will Manny and Ortiz' offensive output stay as high as it was last year? Will Wells be traded before the season starts? Will Loretta/Lowell be better this year and/or stop their aging slide? Will Nixon stay healthy? Will Varitek be able to withstand the season's rigors (especially after playing in the WBC)? Who will be the backup catcher? Is this the best defensive infield they've had in years? Who will fill the fifth spot in the rotation? What about Clement? Or my favorite, how do the Yankees fielders match up with the Red Sox?

These are all questions that can be asked of the Red Sox after their tumultuous off season, but none of them matter. You want to know if the Sox will make it into the playoffs, and once there, will they truly contend? Well, you only need to one thing about three people. Will Foulke, Schilling, and Beckett be healthy or not? If any of the three are not capable of playing up to their potential due to health concerns, none of the rest matters.

The only safety net to these concerns is Papelbon may develop into a closer if Foulke struggles. But that's putting a lot onto someone who hasn't closed since college.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fehr is optimistic about baseball labor talks

If you're interested in the sort of drama that takes place between MLB and the player's union, I suggest you read this story from SI. If you're more interested in the Yankees and Red Sox, I've highlighted an important fact from last year. The Yankees had a $34 million luxury tax, while the Sox had $4 million. That's not as big a difference as I expected.

Also, the Sox and Yanks are still the only two teams expected to be over the cap this year.

SI.com - MLB - Fehr sees reason for optimism in talks - Friday February 10, 2006 1:30AM
The Yankees were hit with a $34 million luxury tax last season and the Red Sox had a $4 million bill. Under the labor contract, the Yankees and Red Sox will be the only teams subject to the luxury tax this season and both will pay at a 40 percent rate on the amount over the $136.5 million threshold for all players on 40-man rosters, including benefits.

The Grand Old Park won't be as old as it used to be.

Fenway is going through quite a list of renovations this year. Let's review (since everyone else has been doing so):

The .406 Club will have two levels and it's glass front has been removed. The upper level will now be known as the Home Plate Pavilion, while the lower level will be known has the EMC Club. Together, there will be 780 seats in the renovated clubs.

New seats are also being added onto the roof along the first- and third-base lines. There used to be four rows, but next year there will nine rows instead. Altogether, there will be 2,507 more seats this year.

The team is installing a new sound system that will minimize noise to
the Fenway neighborhood and improve sound within the park. The old
system was motored by an oversized speaker in center field that the
team purchased from an Eric Clapton tour four years ago.

Installation of a new sprinkler system required digging within the
concourse as plumbing is replaced. There is a new emergency public
address system going in and a new in-stadium electrical substation is being

The Red Sox plan on continuing renovation (in the off seasons) until 2012 (Fenway's 100 year anniversary). This will include renovations to the lower concourse which will finally turn those right field seats that face into the bullpen towards the playing field instead.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Spinners are looking to take the Yankees out of Mass

In a publicity ploy, the Lowell Spinners (Red Sox - A) are looking to buy out any teams labeled Yankees in Massachusetts. In case you weren't aware, little league teams are modeled after the big leagues. In towns across the US, the little league teams are named after pro teams, so there are Red Sox, Yankees, and I was on the Astros at one point.

Well, the Spinners are willing to pay to replace any team labeled with the hated Yankees logo, with, you guessed it, the Lowell Spinners moniker. They will also allow them to play at the minor league club's home field before a Spinners game this summer.

This is a great PR move and should be applauded. It's a little bit silly to worry that much about the rivals so much, but hey... Why not?

In case you were wondering, the Spinners have stated (according to the story in the Globe) three teams have already accepted their offer. Not surprisingly, those three teams are very close to Lowell: Chelmsford Little League, Methuen Instructional League, and Tewksbury Youth Baseball.

Fenway billboard features son of cop who died in drunk driving accident

What are the chances? It would seem the Sox have unknowingly placed a sox fan who died into a billboard over fenway.

BostonHerald.com - News & Opinion: Grieving couple gets sign from above

Grieving couple gets sign from above By Michele McPhee/The Beat Monday, February 6, 2006
In the terrible days after his 20-year-old son was killed by an allegedly drunken driver, Boston cop Dennis Thomson prayed for a sign from his slain namesake. And he got one. It hangs over Fenway Park. The Red Sox’s newest billboard over Yawkey Way features three guys from North Quincy knocking knuckles with Trot Nixon in 2003 after he pounded a home run in the 11th inning to clinch Game 3 of the series against the Yankees.

Flutie returns again?

Interesting. Why would Flutie return if he thinks a career in broadcasting is waiting? Wouldn't he make more riding the media bench? It would be a great deal for the Pats. Someone with his experience at such a critical position for so little money against the cap just doesn't appear on your doorstep every day.

BostonHerald.com - NFL Coverage: Flutie, Pats may huddle up again
Flutie, Pats may huddle up again
By Lenny Megliola and Herald wire services

Doug Flutie hasn’t had any dialogue with the Patriots yet regarding a return to the team, although one team official said he felt it was likely the 43-year-old quarterback will be asked back.

Flutie backed up Tom Brady this season, with Matt Cassel the third quarterback. Flutie’s contract for $750,000 would count for $425,000 against the salary cap. “If the opportunity is there, I think he’ll be back,” Flutie’s agent, Kristen Kuliga, said.
If Flutie doesn’t re-sign with the Patriots, he will retire and prepare for a broadcasting career.

The Patriots will also be looking at potential free agent signings next month.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alex Gonzalez signs with the Phillies

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this headline... I had to go take a look and make sure it was a different Gonzalez. It's just typical of this offseason that something like the deal with Alex Gonzalez would go south.

Gonzales, Phillies Agree on 1-Year Deal - Yahoo! News
Gonzales, Phillies Agree on 1-Year Deal

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Clemens to the Red Sox?

Bentley92 brought up Roger Clemens possibly coming back to the Red Sox.
bentley92 said...

I think it is interesting that they are making a big push to get Roger to come back including a DVD J.H. & NESN is producing.

I heard the talk about Roger coming back to the Sox for next year, but I'm not sure I take it seriously. I would think he 1) still holds a grudge, and 2) I can't believe he would play so far from his home. Would he write his contract so that he would only play in stadiums near to Houston?

I would like to see him play in Boston again. He would have a lot to teach to the younger hotshots (Papelbon, Beckett) that Schilling's personality doesn't allow for. Based on how much Roger (according to media reports) focuses on teaching his sons the basics of baseball, I would imagine he could do the same for our 'kids'.

Bentley, let me know and I'll change the link to one of your sites, instead of your profile. I'm just not sure which one you'd prefer.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Beckett and Sox get arbitration done

Good news for the Red Sox.  With Josh Beckett signed for next year, things should settle down for the Red Sox Nation.  I do expect Wells to be traded during spring training, but I don't expect Manny to be traded at this late date.  It just isn't possible, with Manny's contract, to get an even trade. 

BostonHerald.com - Boston Red Sox: Sox give Beckett $4.325M

The 25-year-old right-hander sought $4.9 million while the Sox offered $3.75 million. The sides reached an agreement at the midpoint. Beckett earned $2.45 million in 2005, when he went 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA. He is eligible for free agency after his first season with the Red Sox and the team has indicated that it didn’t expect to begin negotiating a new deal with Beckett until during or after the season.

In related news:

BostonHerald.com - Boston Red Sox: Crisp agrees to $2.75 million, one-year deal
New Boston center fielder Coco Crisp avoided arbitration by agreeing Monday to a $2.75 million, one-year contract with the Red Sox, who also announced their $3 million deal with free-agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

The best team won

By now, it's fairly obvious the best team won. Is there any doubt that the Steelers had the best QB (9/21, 2 interceptions, 0 TD passes, QB Rating under 30), the best running back (Bettis 43 yards, Parker 93, of which 1 was for 75), the best defense (allowed 396 yards total), best special teams (allowed 174 yards in returns, app 30 yards per attempt). They dominated on both sides of the ball (only 26:58 time of possession). Truly, the Steelers should be proud of their performance last night.

Yes, the above paragraph is all about sarcasm.

Maybe I'm making to much of this. The Steelers did beat out the top seeded teams to get to the Superbowl, and it was obvious the Seahawks didn't want to win. What were they doing at the end of the first half? What about the 4 penalties in the first half, including one that nullified the touchdown? Both QB's were throwing airballs all day, allowing whoever jumped higher to catch the ball.

I guess I'm just depressed I stayed up to watch such a boring game.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Brady working on his tossing

Brady will be at midfield to help out in the coin toss. He'll be the first active player to participate in the coin toss. Tom and Deion, as past superbowl MVP's, will be honored in pregame festivities. It's like they think they've retired or something.

Brady will reportedly be having off season surgery to repair a hernia, as well. Looks like he's keeping busy, at least.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One year deal for Gonzalez

Everything about this deal is good. Not only will they get a shortstop for one year who's defensive skills are superior to what they had last year, they also leave the door open for Pedroia to emerge as the starter next year. They keep Cora on as their backup player, but it's all risk free for this year, too. If Gonzalez hasn't recovered from off season surgery, he'll get only 500K.

BostonHerald.com - Boston Red Sox: Gonzalez’ 1-year deal carries minimum risk
At a $3 million pricetag, Alex Gonzalez’ pending deal is considered by most to be a pretty good one for the Red Sox. It’s even better considering the bulk of the money is not guaranteed.

As part of the team’s policy for all free agents, Gonzalez will take a physical here today, the final obstacle remaining before signing his one-year deal with the organization.

The team reduced its risk and maximized its flexibility by retaining the ability to cut Gonzalez before Opening Day and not be on the hook for his entire salary. If they cut him before March 15, they are responsible for one-sixth, or $500,000, and if they cut him between March 16 and Opening Day, they are responsible for roughly one-quarter, or $750,000. If he is on the Opening Day roster, his $3 million becomes guaranteed.

By structuring the Gonzalez deal this way, the Red Sox buy themselves some time in case he passes the physical but has not made enough progress in spring training from his Sept. 30, 2005, arthroscopic surgery to remove two bone chips from his right throwing elbow. Gonzalez had a similar procedure performed at the end of the 2004 season.

The deal also allows the competition to be more intense. No one is expecting shortstop prospect Dustin Pedroia to jump to the top of the depth chart this spring but Alex Cora may have something to prove.