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Medical director position to be eliminated

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / November 16, 2011

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MILWAUKEE - Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the process of restructuring the team’s medical department would start with finding an ideal model, then determining whether any of the current staff would fit.

“I feel strongly that there will be people that were here in 2011 as part of our medical department that will still be here as part of the solution,’’ he said.

But that is not expected to include Dr. Tom Gill.

As part of the restructuring, team sources said, the Red Sox will eliminate the position of medical director, which Gill has held since 2005. But they would retain the services of Massachusetts General Hospital Sports Medicine Group, which Gill directs.

Gill could be involved in medical care to some degree. But a different doctor from MGH would be the head team physician.

The Red Sox have had a number of issues related to medical care in the last two seasons.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz are among the players who were originally said to have minor injuries that proved to be major when they were examined by outside physicians. The Sox already have fired strength and conditioning coach Dave Page and assistant trainer Greg Barajas.

Ortiz the topic

The Red Sox were scheduled to meet last night with Fern Cuza, the agent for designated hitter David Ortiz.

The Red Sox have been in regular contact with Ortiz since he became a free agent and recently made him an offer. With John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino on the premises for MLB owners meetings, the odds of making a deal improved.

Ortiz, speaking at a charity event in Boston yesterday, told reporters that he hoped the Red Sox would get a deal done and that he would give them the right to match any offer he received from another team.


Cherington will travel to the Dominican Republic Friday with two goals in mind. The first is to start the process of reorganizing the team’s international scouting operation.

The second will be to personally scout outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

The Red Sox did a poor job finding and developing international players under Theo Epstein, particularly in Latin America. Outside of lefthander Felix Doubront, the Red Sox do not have a homegrown Latin player in their organization who has made an impact in the majors.

Cherington would not comment on the status of senior vice president of player personnel and international scouting Craig Shipley other than to say he is examining the department and how it would be restructured.

Cespedes, who is said to be 26, was the home run champion of the Cuban League before defecting.

“He’s certainly an intriguing talent,’’ said Cherington. “He’s a guy who’s performed in Cuba. He’s a righthanded-hitting outfielder with tools and power. And he has been impressive in some workouts.

“But we need to get to know him a lot better. We’ll know him better after we get down there this weekend.’’

Many teams, including the Yankees, have scouted Cespedes in person or are planning to. Some believe he is ready for the major leagues now.

“I couldn’t say yes or no yet,’’ Cherington said. “I don’t think we know him well enough yet. It’s hard to translate the performance in Cuba to the big leagues.’’

New set-up for Bard?

The departure of Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies seemingly creates an opportunity for Daniel Bard to become the closer. But Bard passed on an interview request, saying he wanted the Red Sox to name a new manager and pitching coach first so he could discuss his role with them. “I’m happy for Pap, as he’s worked extremely hard for this, and he and his family will be missed in Boston,’’ Bard said in a statement. Bard was Papelbon’s primary set-up man the last two seasons. He had a 1.93 ERA and a 1.004 WHIP in 2010. His ERA climbed to 3.33 in 2011 but his WHIP dropped to 0.959 . . . The Red Sox and Cubs talked again yesterday regarding compensation for Epstein and were scheduled to meet again last night. If the sides cannot come to an agreement, commissioner Bud Selig will step in. Asked if a deal was possible without Selig’s help, Cherington said, “I still hope so. We’re making progress.’’

What about Yu?

If Japanese star righthander Yu Darvish is made available by the Nippon Ham Fighters, do not expect the Red Sox to be among the bidders. The Red Sox spent $103.1 million to obtain Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006, a deal that proved to be a mistake. They do not have that kind of money to spend on one pitcher again. “I think the timing is different in the sense that we’ve gotten a lot invested already in our starting rotation, whereas the winter of 2006, we didn’t have as much invested in our starting rotation,’’ Cherington said. “So there was a little bit more of an opening to get in aggressively on Daisuke, which may not be present this winter. We’ll see. Things change.’’

Surgery for Reddick

Outfielder Josh Reddick had minor surgery on his left wrist to repair a torn ligament, an injury that has lingered since Sept. 3, when he was hit by a pitch in Toronto. Reddick will need 4-6 weeks of rehabilitation. The hope was that rest would heal the tear but Reddick still felt discomfort when he played for an MLB team that toured Taiwan after the season . . . Buchholz has decided to spend time in Arizona working out with Dustin Pedroia and his trainer. Buchholz is completely recovered from the back injury that ended his season in mid June . . . Cherington acknowledged that vice president of player personnel and amateur scouting Mike Hazen would be named assistant GM.

Peter Abraham can be reached at

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