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Sox's Roenicke wants players to get used to fake crowd noise

Boston — If Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke gets his say, Fenway Park will be blasting the noise all summer.

Roenicke said Monday he's hoping the park starts using artificial crowd noise for intrasquad games ahead of what's expected to continue into regular season games starting July 24.

"I was hoping they'd have that agreement made with I guess maybe the company that's doing this," the manager said. "We thought we were going to get it back tomorrow or the next day. Hopefully that happens. It makes a difference in these games. Hopefully we'll get that back on and also allow them to have some time to work on it."

It may be artificial, but the fake crowd noise gives the park a sense of purpose rather than feeling like a backyard game in a small town.

Playing without any noise has been weird to some.

"I think the timing of that is really difficult, watching a game and figuring out what's really going to happen to be able to control the sound on that," Roenicke said. "Whoever is doing that needs to practice. Hopefully we'll have plenty of games for them to get used to it."

Manager open to hosting fans

Roenicke isn't just hoping for artificial crowd noise; he wants the real thing.

The skipper joined Red Sox president Sam Kennedy in voicing his hopes that fans would enter Fenway Park at some point this season.

Gov. Charlie Baker said recently he hesitated to speculate when fans might be allowed, since Fenway is a large venue which isn't allowed to open to the public until the fourth and final phase of the reopening plan, which would require effective treatment or a vaccine before its implementation.

"Safety comes first," Roenicke said. "I don't care if it's ownership, MLB, players, fans should feel the same way. When we feel like as a nation that we are safe enough to do this, I'm fine with it.

"I have a nephew who's pitching in Taiwan and they're back to normal. Korea seems to be doing really well with it and I read a couple of days ago that Japan is now putting people in the stands. These teams are showing that we can do this. The issue here is obviously, and when you mention case to case, that city, do they have issues in that city? And if they are, it's probably a good idea to hold off."

The Red Sox will play in Boston, New York, Toronto (unless the team moves to Buffalo, which has been reportedly discussed), Baltimore, St. Petersburg, Atlanta, Washington, Miami and Philadelphia.

"The cities we play in that have done a great job of this and the numbers are really going down," Roenicke said. "If we can slowly integrate a number of people, I don't know what this is, to start with, but I think if we can, everybody would be comfortable with it."

Another lefty stepping up

Left-hander Matt Hall impressed in three innings of an intrasquad game on Monday, leaving Roenicke wondering if he'd be able to fill the role as the fifth starter (likely an opener) or an innings eater to come in the game behind an opener.

The 26-year-old has limited MLB experience but holds a career 2.97 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning over five minor league seasons. He was acquired via trade from the Detroit Tigers during the offseason.

"Matt Hall, I thought, was really good today," Roenicke said. "We know he's got a good curveball. He showed that today. Talking to our hitters, they were commenting on the curveball. That is a real nice weapon he has. And he threw the fastball well. He kind of cuts it in on right-handers. I was really impressed with him today."

The Sox are desperate for innings, especially by lefties, since they've been without Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor, their three best lefties who have all tested positive for the coronavirus.

"I think how durable a guy is, how quickly he can bounce back is really important in this role," Roenicke said. "Sometimes a starter, you pitch him three or four innings, if you can't pitch him for five days that doesn't work really well in the bullpen. Whoever can be more durable, give us those innings, hopefully throw up a lot of zeroes to give this good offense a chance to score a bunch of runs, it's important.

"I don't want to say just eat up innings because that kind of gives you the idea that we're behind and we're just trying to cover ourselves, but you need to pitch some innings. Matt is one of those guys, again, I've mentioned four or five guys are in that boat. He looked really good today."

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