Excuse Me Edgar?

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Excuse Me, Edgar?

Home of the Mr. Brave

(AP Photo)

Mr. Ed Adds Infield to Injury

Dirty Trick: Brave Blames Fenway
for His Big Time Sox Flop

Our $22 Million Dollar Mistake is Suddenly
Making Excuses for His Horrible Showing in Boston
Rent-a-Wreck Blames Fenway's Infield for Errors
and a Bad Back and Legs for Lousy Season

Rent Wanted Out Like Manny and Wells
Did He Even Bother to Get in Shape for His New Club, Con-tract?

"Edgar Renteria last night acknowledged that he 'wanted out of Boston,' but not because of the Boston fans (he called them 'more demanding' than those in St. Louis but said he came to appreciate it) or his comfort level with the American League (he said it was increasing). Rather, he cited the Fenway infield, which he said contributed to his major league-leading 30 errors.

"'It's one of the main reasons why I didn't feel comfortable,' he said, speaking in Spanish yesterday when reached by phone in Miami.

'''I worked a lot last year to feel comfortable and just couldn't. It's one of the reasons why I wanted out of Boston.'"

"The 30-year-old shortstop also confirmed last night that he dealt with back and leg injuries this season, which he said limited him to '50 to 60 percent' at times, though he didn't say how much of the season he spent coping with those injuries.

"Renteria said he 'pulled [his] lower back and leg' catching a ground ball, though he wasn't specific as to when that occurred. He was clear in that it handicapped him.

"'It was really uncomfortable,' he said. 'It is not the same thing to play at 100 percent than at 50 or 60 percent. But I think that God doesn't let his children get roughed up.'" -- 12.12.05, Chris Snow and Luis Andres Henao, The Boston Globe

But He Made 14 Errors on the Road to Go with 16 at Fenway
And the Infield Was Brand Spankin' New to Boot

"So this offseason, the Red Sox owners did something even more fundamental to shore up their defense than signing Gold Glove shortstop Edgar Renteria.

"They ripped up the old field and rebuilt it.

"For the first time since the major league�s oldest park was built back in 1912, the playing surface has been dug up, down to as much as two feet, and completely reconstructed. And even though the dimensions of the park will be exactly the same, the field will definitely look different. Especially the infield.

"It�ll be flat. There will be no blade of grass in the Fenway infield any higher or lower than the one next to it. The old Fenway infield was crowned, to encourage water to drain off. They were playing baseball on a hill. The grass around the base of the mound was as much as eight inches higher than the foul lines. So a ground ball to first or second might bounce or roll a little to the right, and one to short or third might head a little left. Or it might not. Not great for your team fielding percentage."

"The infield of Joe Cronin and Bobby Doerr and Nomar, and the outfield once patrolled by Tris Speaker and Ted Williams and Yaz, is gone, dug up and replaced down to its roots. Head groundskeeper Dave Mellor, who planned and supervised the work, said �I thought about all the people who played out there, the impressions that field made on so many peoples lives. It was a great privilege, but also a lot of responsibility. Nothing this major had ever been done. It�s probably the most antiquated field in baseball.�

"And subsurface soil packed down more in some spots than others after 92 years of use. That old mess has been replaced with a 3-inch layer of gravel specially manufactured so all the grains are uniform in size, on which is laid a grid of perforated 6-inch drainage pipes, and a modern automated irrigation system.

"On top of all the pipes, they laid nine inches of USGA-certified sand (the kind approved for use on golf courses). Then they laser-leveled everything, to make sure it�s REALLY flat. Actually, there will still be a slight crown, but only in the outfield. About 40 feet past the infield dirt things will slope off slightly toward the outfield wall and the foul lines, to help with drainage. It�ll barely be noticeable."

�Next to my daughters being born and getting married, the Red Sox winning the World Series and being part of putting in a whole new field are my biggest dreams come true,� Mellor said. He declined to say how much this new field of his dreams cost to build. One source suggested it was several million dollars, the going rate for a No. 3 starter these days. If it helps reduce some of those excruciating unearned runs and turns a bunch of games from Ls to Ws, it could be one of the best offseason acquisitions the Red Sox have made." -- 1.25.05, David Ropeik, Boston.com

Truth Be Told: He Never Blamed the Field Before; Said He Was Healthy

"Renteria claims that he's simply made physical mistakes in the field, that the burden of a new city and a pennant race are not affecting him. He also claims that nothing is wrong with his body. The fact that he dives so rarely gives the suggestion that he might be injured, but that, he said, is not the case." -- 9.15.05, Chris Snow, The Boston Globe

"'It's been different,' he (Renteria) said of finding his way with the Sox, 'but when you're struggling, it doesn't matter if you're here or the National League or Japan.' -- 5.2.05, Gordon Edes, The Boston Globe

"'I'm going to show Tony that I can play here.'

"How about the booing during the series with the Braves last weekend? 'That doesn't bother me one bit,' said Renteria, who went 1 for 13 against Atlanta. 'If you're not doing the job, people have the right to boo you. If I don't give them a reason to cheer for me because I'm doing good, what can I say?'

"'I know the fans in Boston are the best in baseball. When you perform the way you're supposed to, they're behind you. When I play the way I'm supposed to play, the Boston fans will be behind me.'

"Renteria, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal, isn't denying that he has a lot to live up to. He wants nothing more than to justify the faith of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein, in particular, who went to ownership over the winter and sold them on Renteria.

"'All I can do is try to work my way out of it,' said Renteria. 'I work every day with Papa Jack [hitting coach Ron Jackson]. Mike Barnett has helped me, too. Everyone is trying to get me going, but I have to go out and do it myself. I know this will come because I know myself. I know how hard I work at it.'" -- 5.25.05, Nick Cafardo, The Boston Globe

Lucchinote: Don't Hire These Guys for Co-GMs

"'Edgar is a guy who's going to hit .300 and win a Gold Glove,' Ramirez said. 'He's a guy who will do a lot of special things, be a runner, get a big hit, that's part of his game.'"

"'He's pretty much Jeter, without that notoriety,' Johnny Damon said. 'He's that solid of a player.

I got asked last year, `Who is the most underrated player in baseball?' " said Sox reliever Matt Mantei, Renteria's Florida teammate in '97 and '98. 'I said, `Edgar.' He hits .300 every year, plays great defense, is one of the best clutch hitters in the game, doesn't get a lot of recognition. He's quiet, laid back, plays for his team. He's awesome. He hasn't changed a bit.'" -- 4.11.05, Chris Snow, The Boston Globe

"'He doesn't have to say anything,' Clement said, when asked if Renteria apologized to him (for a costly third-inning error, allowing an Alex Rodriguez two-hopper to carom off the heel of his glove into the outfield). 'When I was on the Cubs, that was the one shortstop I wanted to play with. He's going to make a lot of plays that will over shadow that one.'" -- 4.6.05, Chris Snow, The Boston Globe

"David Ortiz told Renteria, 'you've got two different jobs. If you're not hitting, then you've got to do the job with the glove. He's a smart player. We're going to see a very good player there.'" -- 4.9.05, Nick Cafardo, The Boston Globe

"'We've known all along that Edgar is a great player,' said manager Terry Francona. 'When you sign a four-year deal and come to Boston, you're supposed to be a great player on Day 1. Edgar's smart enough. He didn't panic. Hopefully, we can get him on a roll because we need him. We know he's going to be good. He had a big impact on the game. That's going to happen a lot.'"

"'In September, Edgar is going to be right where we think he should be with his numbers,' said Nixon. 'This guy has a proven track record. He's done the job year after year. This guy can play. He doesn't have to prove anything to us. We all heard of him and his reputation before he came in this locker room and he's lived up to it.'" -- 4.15.05, Nick Cafardo, The Boston Globe

"Jason Varitek also is optimistic the Red Sox and Renteria will turn it around. 'I just know,' he said. 'Guys will start getting their hits. [Renteria] is working his butt off. He wants to be the player we know he is capable of being. We all have a ton of confidence in Edgar. He is going to do well for this team. We need him to do well for this team. He's been a very clutch player everywhere he has been and he will be here, too.'" -- 5.22.05, Paul Harber, The Boston Globe

The Renteria Regimen


(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jhony Olivares Rodriguez)

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BDD is a feature of Boston.com. All posts are by Steve Silva unless otherwise indicated.

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