How much difference does an hour make? When it comes to traveling west, the difference can be significant.
“When I was with Cincinnati, it was a three-hour [time] difference,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “One hour doesn’t seem like much, but I think a two-hour difference is better than three.”
The Sox’ first trip west is a 10-game, three-city stretch against the Angels, Mariners and Diamondbacks, who are an early surprise.
This is typically a challenging trip. Angel Stadium has been a tough place for the Sox, who lost all three games there last season and have lost 11 of the last 12. Since 2012, they’re 4-15 there.
“It seems we’ve had a lot of 10-day road trips,” Frazier said. “But it’s a fun swing. We’ll play a bunch of good teams. Winning takes care of everything, so hopefully it’s a good trip.”
Shields set to throw
Right-hander James Shields, sidelined since April 21 with a right lat strain, will throw for the first time Monday.
“I feel great. I’ve really just been following the process. They wanted me to go 12 to 14 days with no throwing and let it heal,” he said. “It’s frustrating. You want to throw, but I understand the process. I’ll throw [Monday] for the first time and see how it goes.”
Shields has taken to being “the No. 1 cheerleader in the clubhouse” while shut down.
“It’s my job to help these guys out,’’ Shields said. ‘‘I’m just another set of eyes, helping give them advice. We just came off a six-game losing streak, and the crazy thing is these guys are grinding.”
Covey’s a big boy now
After striking out a career-high nine in his start Saturday, rookie right-hander Dylan Covey “became a big-leaguer” in Shields’ eyes.
“He showed emotion. He attacked hitters. He can build off that,” Shields said.
Covey gave up a first-pitch home run to Manuel Margot but worked into the fifth inning, leaving with the bases loaded and getting charged with another run. But manager Rick Renteria was pleased with his performance.
“He was very aggressive in the zone,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I thought he was very poised. I don’t think he let anything affect him. He stayed really focused and executed pitches. He definitely had a different look to him.”
Frazier counts his framed photo with retired Yankees star Derek Jeter at an All-Star Game among his treasured possessions.
“He played the game the right way,” Frazier said of Jeter, whose No. 2 was retired Sunday by the Yankees. “I’m happy to call him a friend and proud to call him my All-Star teammate in his last All-Star Game. He said once he was never afraid to fail, and that says it all.”
After the game Sunday, the Sox optioned infielder Cody Asche to Class AAA Charlotte and will add a pitcher Monday. Asche appeared in 19 games and was hitting .105 (5-for-57).
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