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Curt Schilling: Members of Red Sox organization encouraged me to use PEDs

Curt-SchillingSay what you will about Curt Schilling and his blowhard attitude, but at the time being we have no reason to believe he wasn’t one of the clean guys during a tainted generation. Schilling dominated throughout much of his career and had his fair share of injuries toward the end, but his name has not been linked to steroid use. According to the three-time World Series champion, it would have been if the Boston Red Sox had their way.

During an interview with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio on Wednesday (via WEEI.com), Schilling said that members of the Red Sox organization encouraged him to use performance-enhancing drugs when he was recovering from an injury in 2008.

“At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in in which it was brought to my attention that this is a potential path I might want to pursue,” Schilling said before noting that the people involved are no longer with Boston. “It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation. Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren’t in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn’t going to get healthy, it didn’t matter. And if I did get healthy, great.

“It caught me off guard, to say the least. That was an awkward situation.”

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Red Sox hire Pedro Martinez as a special assistant to the GM

Pedro-Martinez-Red-SoxThe Boston Red Sox officially announced on Thursday that they have signed Pedro Martinez. No, not like that.

While Boston could certainly use some more starting pitching, Pedro is retired from baseball. This time around, Martinez will be working at Fenway Park as a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington.

“I am thrilled to be returning to this organization and to the city I love,” Martinez said Thursday, via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “Ben Cherington’s meetings this week have been outstanding. It is an honor to be back with the Red Sox and help in any way I can. I am grateful to our leaders; I believe in them, and I thank them for allowing me to return to the field and help us win again. My heart will always live in Boston.”

Martinez was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball with the Red Sox from 1998-2004. He compiled a 117-37 record and an impressive 2.52 ERA during his seven-year career in Boston. Cherington said the team is happy to have him on staff as a talent evaluator and mentor to young players.

“We are very excited to have Pedro onboard with us and back in the Red Sox organization,” the GM said. “He was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers and without a doubt a beloved figure in Red Sox history. Similar to former teammate Jason Varitek, who joined the baseball operations staff in September, Pedro will be involved in several areas, including the evaluation, mentorship, and instruction of young players in spring training and throughout the season.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner can certainly provide an extra pair of eyes for the Red Sox as they look to bounce back from two incredibly disappointing seasons. However, given what we recently learned about Boston’s brass in Terry Francona’s new book, you have to wonder if the Pedro hiring is a PR move as much as a baseball move. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the folks on Yawkey Way care very much about public perception.

Theo Epstein takes exception with his quotes in Terry Francona’s book

Terry Francona has co-authored a book, “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” and from the sound of it, the former Boston Red Sox manager is seeking a bit of revenge in the wake of the team smearing his image on his way out the door.

Earlier this week, we shared one of Theo Epstein’s quotes from the book in which the former Boston general manager talked about John Henry, Larry Lucchino and the Red Sox ownership group wanting “sexy” players.

On Wednesday, Epstein told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the quotes were taken out of context.

“My quote about how ‘they told us… we needed sizzle’ was in response to a question about the meeting to discuss the consultants’ study on NESN ratings,” Epstein, who is now with the Chicago Cubs, said. “It was specifically about the consultants’ meeting; it was not about ownership.”

Epstein insists that it was marketing consultants that said the team needed to bring in “sexy” players — not Henry and company. He also took exception with the book’s assertion that he was pressured into trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford prior to the 2011 season.

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Theo Epstein: Red Sox owners wanted ‘sexy’ players

Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has co-authored a book, and as expected there are parts in it that paint an unflattering picture of the way the team’s owners operate. As many of us already suspected, John Henry and company care more about the image of their team than they do about putting a winning team on the field.

In his book, “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” Francona talks about how Henry, team chairman Tom Werner and team president Larry Lucchino were always worried about television ratings. Former general manager Theo Epstein, who is now with the Chicago Cubs, also weighed in.

“They told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle,” Epstein said. “We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.”

In 2004, Epstein was able to break an 86-year World Series drought with little-known players like Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar. David Ortiz was hardly a household name when Boston brought him over from Minnesota, but he was a “small” acquisition that wound up becoming huge. On the other hand, trading for Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford two years ago brought fireworks in the media, but it led to one of the worst results the team had seen in years.

Francona even went as far as to say he doesn’t think the current Red Sox ownership group loves baseball.

“They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don’t think they love baseball,” Francona said. “I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners … and they’re good owners. But they don’t love the game. It’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball. It’s different for me. Baseball is my life.”

After Francona was fired following Boston’s epic collapse in 2011, Henry had to defend himself against accusations that he leaked information to the media to smear Francona’s name. Tito seems to think it happened that way, and who can blame him? The quotes in the book simply confirm what Red Sox fans have come to know so well — it’s all about image for Henry and the boys.

Bobby Valentine: David Ortiz quit on Red Sox after big trade with Dodgers

Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine appeared on “Costas Tonight” with Bob Costas on Monday night in his first interview since the team fired him following the season. Since Boston parted ways with Valentine, we have been waiting see who he will blame for the abysmal season Red Sox fans just endured.

To his credit, Bobby V. blamed himself above all others and told Costas, “It was my fault.” However, he did take some time to throw David Ortiz under the bus. Valentine said Ortiz gave up on the season after Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto were traded to the Dodgers.

“David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list and we thought it was only going to be a week,” Valentine said. “He got two hits the first two times up, drove in a couple runs; we were off to the races. Then he realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there.”

As Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk pointed out, the Red Sox were 60-66 when Ortiz returned from the disabled list. He certainly would have added pop to the lineup, but how many wins can a DH account for? The fact that he was hot in his first few plate appearances hardly means Boston was “off to the races.”

Ortiz did a great job of acting if he truly didn’t hurt himself while running out a double, but that’s beside the point. If Valentine is telling the truth and Ortiz gave up, that is obviously a bush league move and not something a leader would do. It does not, however, mean the end result would have been any different. Check out Bobby V.’s full interview below:

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Red Sox rookies dressed as big-breasted cheerleaders for hazing (Pictures)

We’re nearing the end of the baseball season, which means Sunday’s road trips marked the last opportunity for teams to haze rookies by dressing them up in silly costumes. The Red Sox partook in the tradition by dressing their rookies as large-breasted cheerleaders.

Well, they dressed most of their rookies up as cheerleaders; Will Middlebrooks was dressed as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.”

A few more pictures below:

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Bobby Valentine pinch hits for Jose Iglesias on a 2-2 count

Jose Iglesias is the most promising fielding prospect in the Red Sox farm system, but the shortstop can’t hit. His bat is nowhere close to major league-ready, but Boston’s roster is thin enough right now amid their lost season that guys like Iglesias are being given a chance to prove their worth. After he worked a 2-2 count with a man on base in the top of the seventh on Sunday, Bobby Valentine took that chance away from the young prospect.

The Red Sox manager opted to sit Iglesias down for pinch-hitter Daniel Nava. Again, the count was 2-2 when the move was made. Pedro Ciriaco was on first when Iglesias’ at-bat began but Valentine decided to go with Nava once Ciriaco stole second to get into scoring position.

“Just trying to get a run for Jon (Lester), obviously,” Valentine explained according to WEEI.com. “I told Daniel, if we steal second, you got it. Otherwise, I was all set to play defense in a nothing-nothing game. Once a guy gets to second base, I figured take a shot on a base hit. It’s tough. Jon’s pitching such a good game is what it is. You get him a run there and he wins a ballgame. He’s battling, too. It’s not about one guy. It’s about a whole group of guys.”

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