State of the Red Sox

The health of Clay Buchholz will be paramount to the Red Sox success this season.

They have been moved to the back of the Boston sports pantry by talk of Bowls and Cups. But it’s never too early to dish on the 2012 Red Sox. With spring training less than a month away, and the roster finally coming into focus, the concerns heading into the season are becoming clearer. And coming off the epic collapse of 2011, there is no shortage of riddles for Bobby Valentine to solve.
 
Carl Crawford

It took him longer than anticipated, but Valentine was finally able to get his left fielder on the telephone to talk about the past and the future. As an ESPN analyst in 2011, Valentine had been critical of the struggling Crawford’s batting stance. And after an excruciatingly long game of phone tag, Valentine and Crawford cleared the air earlier this month.

“Carl and I talked a long time,” Valentine said two weeks ago. “It went good.”

But already, Crawford’s 2012 season is off to rocky start. Crawford recently had left wrist surgery, putting his availability for Opening Day in jeopardy. After slumping badly under the weight of his seven-year, $142 million contract last season, another sluggish start is the last thing he or the organization can afford.
 
Shortstop

And you thought Theo Epstein had a blind spot for the shortstop position?

That the Red Sox had late-season acquisition Mike Aviles play outfield this winter, instead of his natural infield positions, is a pretty strong indication that the offseason plan did not include Aviles being a primary shortstop in 2012.

But that all went out the window two weeks ago when the Red Sox shipped Marco Scutaro to Colorado for a minor-league pitching prospect, leaving the Red Sox with just Aviles and Nick Punto as the only viable shortstops on the roster.

The Red Sox are hoping that prized prospect Jose Iglesias will take over the shortstop job for years to come. But the 22-year-old has thus far proven to be all glove, no stick in the minors, and if that continues in spring training, it may leave the Red Sox with a giant sucking sound at shortstop all season.
 
Starting Pitching

What was supposed to be the sure thing on the 2011 Red Sox proved to be its Achilles’ heel. Clay Buchholz got hurt, John Lackey got rocked and Jon Lester and Josh Beckett got the beer and fried chicken. That got the Red Sox a September meltdown and a third-place finish.

Will it be any better in 2012? Figure the food and drink selections will be severely curtailed in the Valentine administration, but the questions linger: Is Buchholz’s back better? Can Lester regain his luster? Can Beckett repair his reputation as staff leader? And has time healed whatever wounds Daniel Bard suffered as a starter in the minor leagues before the Red Sox originally moved him to the bullpen in 2010?

If any or all of those answers are no, there’s always the Stanley Cup playoffs and NFL draft to look forward to in April.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…