Steve Pearce, the Most Valuable Player of the World Series last fall, is giving strong consideration to retiring after 13 seasons in the majors.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do,” Pearce said Saturday before the Red Sox’ 9-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. “It could be time.”
Pearce, who turns 37 in April, played only 29 games this season because of a strained left calf, a lower-back strain, and a partially torn ligament in his left knee. He has not played since May 31.
“I need to get healthy first of all and then I’ll decide what I want to do,” Pearce said. “I don’t have any regrets about my career, that’s for sure.”
Pearce, a free agent after the season, flew to Boston for the weekend to reconnect with his teammates and visit with coaching staff.
“I wanted to be around to see everybody together one more time,” he said.
Pearce has hit .254 with a .772 OPS, 91 home runs and 303 RBIs for seven teams in his career.
The Red Sox acquired Pearce from Toronto on June 28, 2018, to platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base. He had a .901 OPS in 50 regular-season games then was 11 of 38 with six extra-base hits, nine walks, 12 runs, and 11 RBIs in 13 postseason games.
Peace hit a tying home run off closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. He added a three-run double in the ninth inning in a game the Sox won, 9-6.
In the Game 5 clincher, Pearce had a two-run homer off Clayton Kershaw in the first inning and a solo shot off Pedro Baez in the eighth.
“Best part of my career, what we did last fall,” Pearce said. “I’ll never forget what we did as a team.”
The Sox signed Pearce to a one-year, $6.25 million contract 19 days after the Series ended. But he hit .180 with one home run and nine RBIs.
“I wish I could have done more this season,” he said. “That’s baseball, the ups and downs. We’ll see where it goes; but I got more out of my career than I expected. Baseball treated me great.”
Xander Bogaerts’s two-run homer in the first inning off Orioles starter John Means was his 33rd of the season. The homer brought Bogaerts’s extra-base hit total to 85, tying him with Nomar Garciaparra for the most by a Red Sox shortstop.
Garciaparra did it in 1997 and 2002. The Bogaerts milestone came just after he reached another one Friday evening, recording the 500th RBI of his career. He’s just the fourth Red Sox player to reach 500 RBIs before turning 27 years old.
Like, Bogaerts, Rafael Devers keeps adding his name to the history books this season. He has 89 extra-base hits, which led the majors. He recently tied Tony Conigliaro for the most homers (32) by a Red Sox before turning 23. After Friday’s game, Devers was just three hits shy of 200 on the year. Devers’s line-drive single to right in the fifth on Saturday brought him closer to that total. If Devers does reach it, he’ll be the first American League player to reach 200-plus hits before turning 23 since Starlin Castro in 2007.
Manager Alex Cora said recently that Devers changed his mind-set this past offseason, coming back more in shape by changing his diet. Devers set the bar for himself entering the season, and in many ways he’s exceeded it.
“I said it in spring training, if you had to pick a guy that would impact this team, I had no doubt in my mind it was going to be [Devers],” Cora said. “He’s not afraid of the stage. That’s the most important thing. I saw in [2017 with the Houston Astros] we were trying to do everything possible to rattle him. And he looked at us and laughed at us. He doesn’t just want to be good. He wants to be great.”
Rodriguez goes for 20
If there’s something for Sox fans to look forward to Sunday, Devers getting to 200 hits is certainly one of them. But you also have to include Eduardo Rodriguez possibly reaching 20 wins, which has been the topic of conversation for a couple of weeks now.
The Sox players and Cora willed Rodriguez through his last start against the Texas Rangers. He went five innings, giving up 11 hits and seven runs while also throwing 113 pitches. In the fifth inning, the Rangers’ Delino DeShields attempted to steal but was thrown out by Christian Vazquez for the final out of the frame.
On Sunday, all the Sox’ regulars will play. Mookie Betts — who was the designated hitter Friday — had the day off Saturday but will be in back in right field for the finale. If Rodriguez gets his 20th, he’ll be the first Sox lefthander to do so since Mel Parnell in 1953. Just five Sox southpaws have reached 20 wins: Parnell, Lefty Grove, Babe Ruth, Ray Collins, and Jesse Tannehill.
Rodriguez, who is also at 196⅓ innings, wants to reach 200 for the first time. He’s been the Sox’ most durable starter, going five-plus innings in each of his 27 outings since the start of May.
Calling it a career
Best wishes to Bob Tomaselli, who is retiring after 27 years of manning Camera 5 in the home dugout at Fenway Park for NESN. His colleagues signed a No. 27 from the Fenway Park scoreboard for Tomaselli.