Brock Holt sent to Pittsburgh to see concussion specialist

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Brock Holt will miss his sixth straight start tonight and Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com reports that he was sent to Pittsburgh to see a concussion specialist.

Holt left a game last Friday due to dizziness, but Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters this afternoon that they now believe that his symptoms could date back to a collision with teammate Dustin Pedroia from back on August 25. You can watch the play here.

“The only thing we cant race back is when he and Dustin collided in Toronto,” manager John Farrell said. “He didn’t complain of anything in the moment, the tests that are conducted on everyone after some impact was negative. he played regularly from that point.

“When he came out of the game in Boston (on Sept. 5), at the time we thought it was consistent with the illness, but the illness that he and his wife were dealing with, once that subsided some of the symptoms remained and we’re going to take every precaution necessary.”

With Brock’s status in question and Pedroia done for the year after wrist surgery, the Red Sox plan to use Mookie Betts as their regular second baseman the rest of the way. He’s still viewed as an outfielder for the long-term, but the Red Sox want to clear up a potential logjam in the outfield with Rusney Castillo expected to make his way to the majors soon.

Astros block Detroit Free Press from clubhouse at Justin Verlander’s request

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Last night a BBWAA-credentialed reporter from the Detroit Free Press was barred from the Houston Astros’ clubhouse by team security following the Tigers win over the Astros. The reporter — who was almost certainly Anthony Fenech, who covers the Tigers — was kept out at the request of Astros starter Justin Verlander. Here’s the scene as described by the Free Press. The article contains a photo, taken by Fenech, of the three Astros officials who blocked the door to prevent him access:

At 9:35 p.m., the Astros opened their clubhouse to credentialed media in coordination with MLB rules. As other media members entered the clubhouse, the Free Press reporter with a valid BBWAA-issued credential was blocked from entering by three Astros security officials . . . The reporter contacted Mike Teevan, MLB vice president of communications, who said he would immediately reach out to Dias regarding the issue. Dias eventually gave the reporter access to the clubhouse at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander’s media session had ended . . . Once inside, the reporter approached Verlander, who said: “I’m not answering your questions.” When asked to comment on Wednesday’s loss, Verlander walked away.

That after-the-fact access for the reporter came only after he called Major League Baseball who, in turn, called Astros officials, presumably, to tell them that they cannot bar credentialed media.

It’s unclear at the moment what the beef is between Verlander and either the Free Press or the reporter. For what it’s worth, I follow Fenech and, while he’s a bit more witty and, occasionally, cutting than your average beat reporter, he’s self-effacing and doesn’t do cheap shots. Though he talks often about former Tigers and has made a point to highlight Verlander’s post-Tigers career whenever relevant, to my knowledge he hasn’t said or done anything specific to tweak Verlander in the past.

I will note, though, that last night, about eight minutes before Fenech was barred access, the Free Press Twitter account sent this tongue-in-cheek tweet out. It’s unclear if he or someone else at the paper wrote it:

Maybe that pissed off Verlander, who is known to be active on social media and is usually pretty aware of what’s being said about him. Hard to say.

What’s easy to say, though, is that no matter what has hurt Verlander’s fragile ego, the Astros barring the reporter from the clubhouse is in blatant violation of the agreement between Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America, which ensures access for credentialed reporters. Verlander doesn’t have to talk to the guy — he doesn’t have to talk to anyone he doesn’t want to talk to — but the team honoring Verlander’s wishes to bar access is totally unacceptable and, frankly, about as low-rent as it gets from a media relations perspective.

We’ll probably hear more about this later today.