Napoli finds joy in brightening lives of ill children

Red Sox first baseman to be honored at Champions for Children Dinner

Napoli finds joy in brightening lives of ill children

Mike Napoli was about to undergo surgery for sleep apnea a few weeks back when one of the nurses asked him to remove a bracelet from his wrist. But he didn't take it off because it meant too much to him. There was simply too much of a connection, and he rarely removes it.

The blue bracelet says "Lacey Strong" and has hearts on it, and it is for a foundation in memory of Lacey Warner, someone who Napoli will never forget.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Hanley's journey brings him back to Boston

Hanley's journey brings him back to Boston

BOSTON -- Nine years and one day after his heart was broken by the Boston Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez was ecstatic on Tuesday as he officially returned to his original franchise.

Though Ramirez would emerge as a star after the Red Sox traded him to the Marlins for Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett on Nov. 24, 2005, it always pained him to follow his former team from afar.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Red Sox willing to dramatically expand payroll for '15

Henry says flexibility allows club to go beyond tax threshold

Red Sox willing to dramatically expand payroll for '15

BOSTON -- Fresh off investing over $180 million in two hitters, the Red Sox are hardly done reconstructing their roster. There is pitching to go get, and owner John Henry made it clear that he isn't going to hold back the front office when it comes to investing properly in the starting rotation.

In fact, Henry mentioned that the Sox would be open to going over the $189 million luxury tax threshold for the first time since 2011, something that would likely be necessary if Jon Lester is going to return to Boston as a free agent.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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'Three Amigos' ready to take Boston by storm

Sandoval, Ramirez thrilled to join Ortiz on roster

'Three Amigos' ready to take Boston by storm

BOSTON -- Although Pablo Sandoval is just beginning to get a taste of his new home, Boston's new third baseman is having no trouble adjusting to his new teammates, especially Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz.

"It is exciting for me to be out there with Hanley and David," Sandoval said during his introductory news conference on Tuesday at Fenway Park. "Right now, everyone is calling us the 'Three Amigos.' It's an exciting time to be a part of this lineup and organization."

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Sandoval excited about 'new challenge' of Boston

Red Sox introduce new third baseman

Sandoval excited about 'new challenge' of Boston

BOSTON -- Pablo Sandoval couldn't have looked any more at home as he sat at the podium on Tuesday with the lights, cameras and microphones of Red Sox Nation surrounding him.

While the electricity of the market that is Boston has been tough to stomach for some other high-profile acquisitions through the years, the allure of being in such an environment seemed to be a driving force in Sandoval giving up the comforts of San Francisco.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Panda's goal is to remain full-time third baseman

Veteran isn't thinking about being Boston's DH in future seasons

Panda's goal is to remain full-time third baseman

BOSTON -- As the reports swirled in recent days that Pablo Sandoval could be coming to the Red Sox, a throw-away line in just about every story talked about the veteran switch-hitter being able to move to designated hitter when David Ortiz retires.

Sandoval, who was unveiled on Tuesday as the club's new third baseman, is acutely aware of that perception and is determined not to make it a reality.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Farrell: Yoenis will move from left field for Hanley

Skipper says Cespedes' versatility makes him an option in center and right

Farrell: Yoenis will move from left field for Hanley

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell made it clear on Tuesday that Hanley Ramirez will play left field for Boston in 2014.

So where does that leave Yoenis Cespedes, who has played that position for most of his career?

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Panda thanks fans in SF farewell message

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Panda thanks fans in SF farewell message

Though Pablo Sandoval is relocating to the East Coast, like so many others, he's left his heart in San Francisco. (Don't boo, you knew it was coming.)

As news of his move became clear, he made sure fans knew how much he appreciated them. 

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Red Sox score big, land Panda and Hanley

Red Sox score big, land Panda and Hanley

BOSTON -- The Red Sox have made a pair of impact free-agent deals that should bolster their offense in 2015 and beyond. Both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval have agreed to join the Red Sox.

Sandoval was introduced Tuesday during a news conference at Fenway Park. Ramirez's deal, which is pending a physical, could also be announced later today.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Red Sox change tactics to win now

Boston shows it's serious by returning to big-ticket signings with Sandoval, Ramirez

Red Sox change tactics to win now

Are the Red Sox going to regret these deals? Aren't these the type of contracts they told us they hoped to avoid? I'm glad you asked.

Yes, this represents a change in tactics. Yep, they may regret them. That's life. What was their alternative? To do nothing? To risk finishing last again?

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Pedro highlights notable Red Sox on HOF ballot

Right-hander one of several players with Boston ties hoping to be elected

Pedro highlights notable Red Sox on HOF ballot

BOSTON -- During Pedro Martinez's seven years with the Red Sox, every start he made was an event at Fenway Park. If Martinez is successful in getting into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try, expect many New Englanders to gather again to cheer him on, only this time it will be in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Martinez was one of several players with Red Sox ties listed on the 2015 Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot, which was released on Monday. The voting results will be announced on Jan. 6 on MLB Network and MLB.com.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A visual timeline of Ramirez's journey back to Boston

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A visual timeline of Ramirez's journey back to Boston

Time is a flat circle. Almost exactly nine years after the Red Sox traded Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins, Ramirez is coming back to Boston.

How did we get here? What does it all mean? Is the secret fate of all life really "everyone comes back to Boston in the end?"

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Dice-K will return to Japan to continue career

Dice-K will return to Japan to continue career

WASHINGTON -- Great fanfare accompanied Daisuke Matsuzaka's move from Japan to the Major Leagues for the 2007 season, but now it appears he will head in the opposite direction.

The right-hander has decided to return to his home country, according to a report in The Japan Times on Monday, with the defending Japan Series champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks expressing a strong interest in signing him.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Where will Sandoval's Pandas sit in Fenway Park?

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Where will Sandoval's Pandas sit in Fenway Park?

Pablo Sandoval's time in San Francisco featured a contingent of superfans that either wore Panda masks or had their genes spliced with an actual panda bear's. It was all done in the name of rooting their third baseman on:

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Panda reaping benefits of win-win situation

Panda reaping benefits of win-win situation

This is a very good time to be Pablo Sandoval. Free-market economics are working out extremely well for him.

The free-agent third baseman had three legitimate, lucrative offers for his services; offers from highly motivated potential employers. He chose the one from the Boston Red Sox, reportedly five years for close to $100 million.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Don't blink, here come the Red Sox

Don't blink, here come the Red Sox

What an era this is for the Red Sox.

Has any team undergone so many seismic shifts in such a short time that it's on the verge of signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez for a cool $200 million or so?

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Holt past concussion, looking ahead to 2015

Symptoms gone for Red Sox's versatile, confident super-utility man

Holt past concussion, looking ahead to 2015

BOSTON -- A late-season concussion aside, one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox in 2014 was the play of Brock Holt, who came out of nowhere to contribute all over the diamond.

Holt's plan to make a cameo in the instructional league as reassurance that his concussion symptoms were clear didn't pan out for timing reasons. The good news is that Holt is now concussion-free, and he is going through his offseason as planned.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Cherington off to fast start with plenty of options

Signing Hanley, Panda would be first moves of offseason overhaul for Boston

Cherington off to fast start with plenty of options

The Boston Red Sox are on the verge of changing an entire offseason storyline. Say hello to the 2015 American League East favorites.

Simple, right?

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Castillo brings solid bat, great speed to Red Sox outfield

Castillo brings solid bat, great speed to Red Sox outfield

I was fortunate to get plenty of looks at exciting Boston Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo before he hurt his thumb and left the Arizona Fall League in late October.

Following Castillo's defection from Cuba and after establishing residency in the Dominican Republic, the Red Sox signed him as an international free agent this past August. He is signed through 2020.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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The Hall of Fame Case: Nomar Garciaparra

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The Hall of Fame Case: Nomar Garciaparra

Anthony Nomar Garciaparra. Nomar. I don't even have to give you his last name -- you know who I'm talking about. The one-name-famous shortstop is making his first appearance on Cooperstown ballots this year and before you dismiss his case, let's go over the very compelling argument for Nomar's Hall of Fame candidacy:

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Red Sox extend offer to Lester

Red Sox extend offer to Lester

BOSTON -- The Red Sox have extended an offer to lefty Jon Lester, and they are close to making one to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, sources tell MLB.com.

Those developments are significant considering that Lester and Sandoval are perhaps Boston's top two targets on the free-agent market. The Red Sox have not confirmed the offers.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Red Sox fill 40-man roster, protect four from Rule 5 Draft

Touted youngsters Swihart, Rodriguez highlight promoted prospects

Red Sox fill 40-man roster, protect four from Rule 5 Draft

BOSTON -- In preparation for the Rule 5 Draft next month, the Red Sox protected four prospects by adding them to the 40-man roster on Thursday.

The quartet consists of catcher Blake Swihart, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and infielders Travis Shaw and Sean Coyle. The moves put Boston's roster at 40.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Farrell, Francona and Hale thrilled to reunite in Japan

Farrell, Francona and Hale thrilled to reunite at All-Star Series in Japan

Farrell, Francona and Hale thrilled to reunite in Japan

SAPPORO, Japan -- Halfway around the world, in vast domes bearing little resemblance to baseball stadiums back home, John Farrell, Terry Francona and DeMarlo Hale hunkered down together in clubhouse after clubhouse. Each day, they had opportunities to talk about their strange surroundings. They had chances to compare their favorite types of sushi. They had plenty of time to discuss the weather.

Mostly, though, their minds stayed elsewhere.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Red Sox showing signs for another quick turnaround

Interest in Lester, Sandoval reflect desire to return to prominence

Red Sox showing signs for another quick turnaround

The recent journey of the Boston Red Sox -- worst to first to worst -- makes the conventional description of "roller-coaster" seem truly feeble.

But the good news for Red Sox Nation -- or Red Sox Planet, to be truly global about it -- is that the organization seems to view this offseason as a chance to reload and regroup and get back to where it once belonged.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Red Sox claim Francisco off waivers from Jays

Red Sox claim Francisco off waivers from Jays

The Red Sox claimed infielder Juan Francisco off waivers from the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old played in 106 games for Toronto last season and could add some pop to a Boston lineup that lacked power in 2014. While he had a .220 average with the Blue Jays, Francisco managed 16 home runs and 43 RBIs, averaging an extra-base hit every 11.8 at-bats, the ninth-best rate in the American League.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Inbox: Will Barnes be in mix for rotation spot?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from Red Sox fans

Inbox: Will Barnes be in mix for rotation spot?

I've been eager to see Matt Barnes pitch since the Red Sox drafted him out of UConn. Do you think this will be the year he breaks into the rotation?
-- Rich P., Southington, Conn.

Barnes is one of several prospects in the system who will get an extended look in Spring Training to see if he is a viable option to pitch in the rotation. It remains to be seen how many spots will be available by the time Spring Training starts, but I wouldn't be surprised if at least one starting slot is there for the taking by one of the young guys. Barnes definitely has an impressive repertoire, and he showed some flashes during his callup in September.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Pipeline Perspectives: Castillo the next AL ROY?

Big rookie seasons projected for Red Sox outfielder, Mets righty in 2015

Pipeline Perspectives: Castillo the next AL ROY?

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

On the heels of the Baseball Writers' Association of America announcing its award winners for the 2014 season last week, our latest task at Pipeline Perspectives is to predict the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award winners.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Red Sox revisit long-term deals, but due diligence key

Boston has appeared reluctant after Crawford, Adrian, but Sandoval seeking multiyear offer

Red Sox revisit long-term deals, but due diligence key

If the Red Sox are successful in signing free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, they will likely have to change their recent course of avoiding contracts of longer than three years.

Coming off a last-place finish in 2014 -- the second Boston has had in the last three years -- general manager Ben Cherington will explore all avenues to improve his franchise quickly, including long-term contracts to the right free agents.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Castillo looking like a 'go' for winter ball

Castillo looking like a 'go' for winter ball

BOSTON -- All signs point to Red Sox center fielder Rusney Castillo being healed enough from a right thumb contusion that he will be able to begin playing winter ball in Puerto Rico later this month.

Castillo suffered the injury in late October in the Arizona Fall League, limiting his stint there to eight games. But after undergoing some medical evaluation earlier this week, it appears as if Castillo is healthy enough to ramp back up and get the at-bats the Red Sox were hoping he could log before Spring Training.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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