BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox held an emotional 20-minute pregame ceremony honoring victims of the Boston Marathon bombings along with law enforcement officials, medical personnel, runners and race volunteers before Sunday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
With canvasses of handwritten notes from each of the 50 states being held on the outfield warning track from the left field corner in front of the Green Monster around to the Pesky Pole, a number of victims came walking in from the left-field corner to a loud ovation.
Just over a year ago, two bombs exploded near the finish line — less than a mile from Fenway Park, killing three and injuring over 260 others. It happened about an hour after Boston had defeated Tampa Bay.
The family of Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China that was killed in the bombings, made their first ever visit to Fenway Park and closed the ceremony with the traditional “Play Ball!” chant before the Red Sox took the field.
Before the victims entered, police and medical personnel came from canvas alley along the right-field line before runners came in from center field and race volunteers also came straight in from the outfield. They all lined up in the outfield grass near the University of Massachusetts band that played the national anthem.
Jim Gallagher, the president of the One Fund, a fund created to help victims and their families, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to David Ortiz. Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, current Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Deval Patrick were behind the pitcher’s mound.
There was a video tribute of the race and victims played with the backdrop music of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.”
The ceremony was held exactly one year after the Red Sox played their first game in Fenway following the bombings.
Before that game, Ortiz had a stirring moment when he spoke to the crowd and had a rousing speech that included an expletive.
The 118th Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday and the Red Sox play their annual 11 a.m. Patriots’ Day game, also against the Orioles.
On Friday, Ortiz said during a press conference that he’d like to visit the finish line.
Harper back in
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryce Harper will start Sunday in for the Nationals a day after he was replaced in the sixth inning for lack of hustle.
Harper is scheduled to bat second in Washington’s lineup against the Cardinals.
In the sixth inning on Saturday, Harper hit a comebacker to the mound and was easily thrown out at first base. The two-time All-Star was replaced in left field by Kevin Frandsen for the following inning.
Following the eventual 4-3 loss, Nationals first-year manager Matt Williams cited “lack of hustle,” for removing Harper. “That’s why he came out of the game,” Williams said. “He and I made an agreement, this team made an agreement, that when we play the game, that we hustle at all times.”
On Saturday, Harper said after the game: “I respect what he did. That’s part of the game.”
In the ninth inning with Washington trailing 4-2, Frandsen drove in a run on a groundout, but the inning ended one batter later.
Gomez, Snider ejected after Brewer-Pirates brawl
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Travis Snider were ejected Sunday after a shouting match quickly escalated into a full-scale brawl.
Several punches were thrown and a couple of players were tossed to the ground once the benches and bullpens emptied.
The problems started when Gomez paused at the plate and flipped his bat after hitting a two-out drive in the third inning off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole. The ball hit the wall and Gomez sped into third base, making a head-first slide for a triple.
Gerrit, who was near third base backing up the play, stormed toward Gomez and they exchanged words.
Gomez took a couple steps toward Cole before players rushed the field from both dugouts. Milwaukee’s Martin Maldonado threw a punch that knocked off Snider’s hat.
Snider, who wasn’t in the game, and Gomez shoved each other, and the Brewers star fell to the ground. Pirates catcher Russell Martin had to be restrained by teammate Gaby Sanchez as he walked off the field.
Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron also was ejected.
Dodgers’ Kershaw throws simulated game
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw was back on the Dodger Stadium mound Sunday — in a simulated game that was the next step in his recovery from a strained muscle in his upper back.
“Everything felt good, so that’s a good step,” The two-time Cy Young Award winner said following a 30-minute workout that was preceded by a brief bullpen session. “Hitters were kind of the next progression, so it was good to get some hitters in there and get some reactions. You get that little extra adrenaline with hitters in there.”
Kershaw, who is on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career, threw 50 pitches from the windup and stretch, and reported no discomfort after topping out at 90 mph.
“Obviously, you can’t simulate the adrenaline you have in a big league game, because that’s where you get your extra velocity and stuff from. But as far as pitching at 10 a.m. in a sim game, that’s all I’ve got,” said Kershaw, who was monitored by manager Don Mattingly, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Stan Conte, the team’s vice president of medical services.
The 26-year-old left-hander, who led the majors in ERA in each of the previous three seasons, hasn’t pitched since beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 in the season opener in Australia. He injured himself tossing on the side a few days later.
“All that still kind of feels gone, so I feel pretty normal,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of building back up and getting ready to go. I assume (a rehab assignment) would probably be the next step, but I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet. We’re kind of waiting to see how I come out of it tomorrow.”
A.J. Ellis caught him. Ellis underwent arthroscopic surgery on April 8 to repair the medial meniscus in his left knee, an injury occurred three days earlier when he took a bad step rounding third base.
“I think there was some very, very small rust in the way he threw, but he looked great and he was throwing everything,” Ellis said. “His warmup was very comparable to how he’d warm up coming into a regular start. And having the hitters in there was a good addition for him because of the added adrenaline and intensity. He worked through some counts today, and I think that was important for him.”
Ellis hasn’t come close to running the bases or doing any agility work. He will try it this week before the training staff re-evaluates him.
“I feel like I’m a hundred percent, baseball activity-wise. But I haven’t thrown to the bases yet, so that’s another thing we’re going to have to do this week,” he said. “I caught some balls yesterday in the batting cage off the machine and kind of lobbied my way into warming Clayton up today. Then I lobbied a little further and caught him during his entire workout.”