For those Red Sox fans out there grousing about Theo Epstein electing to replace Jason Bay with Mike Cameron, and Mike Lowell with Adrian Beltre (for far less money, too), remember that a run prevented is just as good as a run scored.
And with Cameron in center field pushing Jacoby Ellsbury to left, and Beltre taking over the hot corner, Epstein got himself two very nice upgrades on the defensive side of things.
Cameron covers so much ground he once literally broke his face on a horrific collision with Carlos Beltran (who also covers a lot of ground) when both were with the Mets. The play came on a ball Ellsbury and Bay wouldn’t have been close to catching.
And Beltre, for his part, can pick it and throw it like few other at third base. He is also quite adept at ranging far down the left field line and catching balls over his shoulder.
The folks at Red Sox Monster are plenty aware of Beltre’s talents, posting a video of his defensive highlights while with the Mariners. It’s a little on the lengthy side (8-plus minutes), but oh-so-impressive.
So don’t despair Boston fans. The Red Sox’s improved defense should help offset the loss of offense, and the money saved helped bring John Lackey to town. Now if Lackey’s elbow will just hold up, and if Beltre would just wear a cup …
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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.