June 20, 2018
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Red Sox owner calls out Marlins on Twitter

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

Boston Red Sox owner John Henry took to Twitter to throw some kindling on a smoldering feud between his team and the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins were upset on Thursday after the defending World Series champion Red Sox used a roster with only two players who had major league experience for an exhibition in Jupiter, Fla., that Miami had deemed a premium-ticket spring training game.

On Saturday, Henry decided to weigh in, tweeting in reference to the Marlins, “They should apologize for their regular season lineup.”

According to Major League Baseball guidelines, a team is supposed to field a minimum of four regulars for a spring training game. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherrington offered an apology to the Marlins during the Grapefruit League game. Miami did not file a formal protest, according to The Boston Globe.

Ironically, Henry owned the Marlins from 1999 to 2001. He sold the team to Jeffrey Loria and then took over the Red Sox.

The two teams meet again on Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Sox rookies seek roster spots

Most of the attention during Boston’s spring training has been focused on shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley, both of whom are projected to take over as everyday players at key positions in the middle of the field. But the Red Sox also have several pitchers who may be ready to contribute at the major league level.

RHP Brandon Workman, RHP Allen Webster and RHP Rubby De La Rosa were among those who got a taste of the big leagues last season. Chances are, the Red Sox will need them again, either in the rotation or the bullpen. RHP Anthony Ranaudo will begin the season at Triple-A and may not be far behind.

Tigers’ Verlander to make first exhibition start Tuesday

TAMPA, Fla. — Justin Verlander’s first exhibition start is scheduled for Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, manager Brad Ausmus said Friday. If Verlander continues to pitch every fifth day for the remainder of spring training, he will be in line to start the March 31 opener on his normal four days of rest.

Ausmus was asked whether he set up Verlander’s spring rotation this way so that the right-hander would have a chance to extend his streak of Opening Day starts.

“If you look at that, though, (Max) Scherzer throws the day before (Verlander),” Ausmus said before Friday night’s game with the Yankees. “We’re in a position where we don’t know where Verlander is going to be with a pitch count. It gave us the option of going in either direction.”

In his recovery from core-muscle surgery, Verlander will need to show he can throw about 100 pitches on Opening Day before Ausmus would consider letting him make his seventh straight Opening Day start.

Yankees’ Pineda looks sharp in spring debut

TAMPA, Fla. — The last three pitches delivered Friday night by Michael Pineda were sharp sliders, all of them strikes to the reigning two-time AL MVP.

Miguel Cabrera swung through the second slider and couldn’t check his swing on the final pitch – the fourth strikeout by Pineda on a chilly evening full of wide-eyed possibilities at Steinbrenner Field.

Nearly two years after right shoulder surgery delayed Pineda’s anticipated entry to the Yankees’ rotation, a large measure of promise returned during his 2014 exhibition debut, with two significant scoreless innings against the Tigers.

“I know (it’s been) a long time not seeing a major league hitter, and I had a good focus tonight,” Pineda said. “I showed Michael Pineda.”

Manager Joe Girardi liked what he saw, too.

“I don’t want to make too much of it, but I’ve said all along he looks different than what we’ve seen this spring compared to a couple of springs ago. … This was a good first step,” Girardi said, after the Yankees scored a 3-2 victory as Luis Marte balked home the winning run.

“The thing I was impressed about was him pounding the zone with all of his pitches,” said catcher Brian McCann after Pineda retired six of the seven batters he faced. “It was really encouraging.”

Entering Friday’s game to start the fifth inning, Pineda threw 22 of his 28 pitches for strikes, starting with a three-pitch strikeout against Austin Jackson.

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