Noted baseball sabermetrician Bill James has returned to a position of power with Boston Red Sox, according to the Boston Herald. Principal owner John Henry told the paper that James had fallen "out of favor over the last few years for reasons I really don't understand. We've gotten him more involved recently in the central process and that will help greatly. He's the father, so to speak, of baseball analysis and a brilliant iconoclast who looks at things differently from everyone else." James is a data-driven baseball mind whose knowledge and theories helped the team win the World Series in 2004. James and Henry shared a dislike for the seven-year, $142-million contract given to free agent Carl Crawford in the winter of 2010. How much influence James will have now is unclear, but the paper said that Henry wants to give James' methodology in pursuing players another chance in light of the team's recent struggles. Rookie general manager Ben Cherington is in favor. "I've wanted to get Bill more involved since I got the job," Cherington said. "I work with a bunch of people in Boston who are really good. We've got a good group of people -- scouts, front office, analytic staff -- that are in Boston, that I see in Boston, talk to every day and I think it's important to have someone who is not in that environment to get advice from. And Bill would be an important part of that because besides from the way he sees the world and the way he sees the game, he's detached enough, he's not staring at the same stuff all the time, he's not having the same conversation all the time and you can end up getting biased just by being in that role, so it's important to have that kind of checks and balances." ---Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley is likely out for the season. The right-hander is scheduled to receive another injection of platelet-rich plasma in his right elbow, and manager Don Mattingly told reporters that it's unlikely Billingsley will pitch again this season. "It's hard to think we're going to get Bills back," Mattingly said. ---Texas Rangers TV announcer Dave Barnett, who's been on leave since making rambling comments during a June broadcast, will work two college football games for the University of North Texas. The university announced Wednesday that Barnett will do play-by-play Saturday against Texas Southern and Nov. 10 vs. South Alabama. Barnett graduated from the school in 1979. During June 18 game at San Diego, Barnett said a runner was on "fifth" base after a "botched robbery." Weeks later, he announced that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence for medical reasons. ---New York Yankees infielder Ramiro Pena was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Pena was designated for assignment over the weekend. He played in three games with the Yankees in July and hit .258 in 101 games at the Triple-A level this season. ---San Franciso Giants pitcher Dan Runzler was recalled from Triple-A Fresno. The lefty posted a 6.00 ERA and in 30 innings between High-A San Jose and Fresno. He will pitch in middle relief.
- Bill James
- Boston Red Sox