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Red Sox DH David Ortiz dropped to fifth in batting order, seeks inspiration from unlikely source

05.26.15 at 7:26 pm ET
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There aren’t too many big leaguers older than David Ortiz at this point, but the struggling Red Sox designated hitter figures he might as well take inspiration from one of them.

“If Bartolo Colon can get a hit,” Ortiz told reporters in Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon, “I probably can too.”

The portly Mets right-hander, who leads the National League in victories (7) at age 42, actually has two hits this season. That’s 32 fewer than Ortiz, but it doesn’t feel that way with the 39-year-old slugger off to one of the worst starts of his career.

Ortiz is hitting .221 with six homers and a .694 OPS. He’s also mired in a 2-for-23 slump, which prompted manager John Farrell to drop Ortiz to fifth in the order for Tuesday’s game against the Twins, hoping the shift from third and fourth will spark him.

“I’m swinging like [expletive] so once I figure things out, probably I’ll go back to third, right?” Ortiz said.

Ortiz guaranteed he’d find his way out.

“For you guys who always ask me, how much longer I can do it and I make it look easy ‘€“ it ain’t that easy,” Ortiz said. “Baseball players, we have to go through struggles to figure things out. Once again, it shows you guys that I’m not Superman. You know what I’m saying? It’s part of the game, man. I keep on working. I’m going to keep on working as long as I play baseball and I will find a way to get out of it once again.”

Ortiz said he appreciates the chance to step back and re-evaluate from lower in the order. Back in 2009, manager Terry Francona dropped Ortiz to seventh in the order, and he responded by going 4-for-6 with a pair of home runs.

“Actually, I feel like John is trying to give me some breathing room and walk into the groove that I used to be and try to get me out of the attention of everyone and just try to go back to where they need me to be,” he said. “It happened to me before. And it wasn’t nice that feeling, I was going down to seventh or eighth, something like that. But it doesn’t matter where they put me. I’m the one that has to come in and get things done and try to be consistent at what I do when I’m at my best. I have the confidence it’s going to happen at some point.”

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Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz dropped to fifth

05.26.15 at 4:26 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — With righty Mike Pelfrey on the mound for the Twins, David Ortiz slides to fifth in the Red Sox batting order for Tuesday night’s game.

The last time Ortiz hit fifth on a regular basis was 2011, when he filled the spot in 108 games. The Red Sox DH is currently in an 0-for-16 slump.

With Ortiz dropped down, Pablo Sandoval slides up into the No. 3 spot. Also in the lineup will be Rusney Castillo, who mans right field.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Clay Buchholz on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mookie Betts CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hanley Ramirez LF
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Rusney Castillo RF
Sandy Leon C

For all the matchups, click here.

Mike Napoli named AL Player of the Week following monster homestand

05.26.15 at 3:40 pm ET
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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli’s monster homestand has earned him American League Player of the Week for the week ending May 24.

Napoli batted .429 (9-for-21) with six runs scored, five home runs and 10 RBI over six games to claim his third career AL weekly honor, last winning with the Red Sox on September 8, 2013. Napoli led all major league hitters in home runs, slugging percentage (1.190) and total bases (25).

Among AL batters, he finished first in RBI, tied for first in on-base percentage (.500), tied for second in runs scored and fifth in batting average.

By homering in three straight games, he became the first player since David Ortiz did from July 21-23, 2014 at Toronto (also four homers in three games). No Red Sox player had homered in at least three consecutive home games since Ortiz accomplished the feat from June 10-20, 2012, and he is the first to do so in three consecutive days at home since Jason Bay from August 10-12, 2009.

For the season Napoli is now batting .211 with eight home runs. The first baseman raised his average 41 points during his impressive week.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Henry Owens solid in Pawtucket loss, Carlos Asuaje lifts Portland with 2 homers

05.26.15 at 10:04 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-22): L, 2-0, vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

— Left-hander Henry Owens took the loss despite giving up just one run on four hits, although he did allow four walks. The 6-foot-6 southpaw also fanned four in the six-inning effort. Owens fell to 2-3 in nine starts this season, but lowered his ERA to 2.98.

–€” Righty Miguel Celestino pitched two innings of relief, giving up the second Scranton run. He allowed one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Dana Eveland tossed a scoreless ninth inning despite allowing two hits and a walk.

— Allen Craig, the designated hitter Monday, hit a single to left field in the ninth inning. He has now hit safely in his last four games.

— Shortstop Deven Marrero also singled and has recorded a hit in seven of his last 10 games.

— The PawSox managed just four hits in their fifth shutout loss of the season.

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Read More: carlos asuaje, henry owens, mauricio dubon, yoan moncada

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mike Pelfrey

05.26.15 at 8:28 am ET
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The Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz to the mound Tuesday to face Mike Pelfrey and the Twins at Target Field for the middle game of their three-game set.

Buchholz, who holds a 2-5 record and a 4.58 ERA, comes into Tuesday’s game with a streak of three consecutive quality starts. His latest outing came against the Rangers last Thursday, when he pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, limiting the Rangers to two earned runs. Unfortunately for Buchholz, the Red Sox could not figure out Texas left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, mustering only one run and handing Buchholz the tough-luck 3-1 loss.

“I thought Clay certainly gave us a chance to win this ballgame,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “They score a second run on an attempted double play in the first to give them a 2-0 lead and then a cutter that stayed on the outside of the plate to [Mitch] Moreland is the extent of their offense. Going into the eighth inning, kept his pitch count well in check, and through the middle innings I thought he did an outstanding job to get that deep.”

Since his loss to the Rays on May 4, Buchholz has shown the stuff that made him a dark-horse Cy Young candidate back in 2013. Over his last three starts, the 30-year-old has logged 21 2/3 innings, notching 18 punchouts and limiting opposing hitters to a paltry .200/.250/.333 slash line. Buchholz finally has begun to find his swing-and-miss pitch, as 16 percent of his strikes over these three starts have come off of the whiff.

The Texas native has made eight career starts vs. the Twins, posting a 3-1 record and a 4.25 ERA. He has struggled with limiting baserunners against Minnesota, walking 19 batters in 48 2/3 innings pitched. Facing a 2015 Twins team that owns a .308 OBP, 11th in the AL, Buchholz hopes to find better success against Minnesota this time around.

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Closing Time: Joe Kelly roughed up in Red Sox’ loss to Twins

05.25.15 at 5:05 pm ET
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Joe Kelly turned in his worst start of the season Monday. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly turned in his worst start of the season Monday. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it seemed like old times.

After a run of solid starting pitching, and two straight wins, the Sox fell into some old habits with starter Joe Kelly lasting just 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs. It put John Farrell‘s team in a hole they couldn’t dig out from, losing its series opener against the Twins, 7-2, Monday afternoon at Target Field.

Kelly, whose ERA jumped to 6.24, has given up five or more runs five times in his nine starts this season.

“It’€™s not ideal, but I’ve just got to keep pitching,” the Sox starter said when asked about the inconsistencies.

Kelly allowed one run in the first before giving way to Matt Barnes after surrendering six in the second.

“A number of pitches found their way to the middle of the plate, and whether it was hard contact or soft contact, a high number of base hits,” Farrell noted. “They put up six in the first inning, and you’ve got to go to the bullpen at that point in that second inning. A short day, and unfortunately we get a hole dug pretty darn deep here [Monday].”

The dagger for Kelly was Trevor Plouffe’s three-run homer in the second, building the hosts’ lead to seven runs.

“Full count. I threw a lot of pitches that inning and I really didn’t want to give into him or walk him,” Kelly said after turning the shortest outing of his career (in 57 starts). “I threw a strike, breaking ball that kind of backed up on me a little bit. He put a good swing on it and hit a three-run homer.”

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On heels of latest pitcher controversy, John Farrell wants MLB to approve substance for better grip

05.25.15 at 2:38 pm ET
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Brian Matusz, here being ejected from Saturday's game against the Marlins for having a foreign substance on his arm, is appealing is eight-game suspension. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Brian Matusz, here being ejected from Saturday’s game against the Marlins for having a foreign substance on his arm, is appealing is eight-game suspension. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — With another major league pitcher getting suspended for the use of a foreign substance — Baltimore’s Brian Matusz, who is appealing his eight-game ban Red Sox manager John Farrell suggested there should be another look at the rules of baseball.

Talking to the media prior to his team’s series opener against the Twins at Target Field on Monday, Farrell said MLB might want to look for a new substance that helps the pitcher with his grip on the baseball that is considered legal.

“I would like to see an approved substance that pitchers can use,” Farrell said. “Because when we take a manufactured baseball and rub it with dirt, it’s going to create a slippery feeling to it. The mud residue leaves a film on it that you don’t necessarily feel a good, consistent grip. Unless you go to a ball like the one used in Japan where it’s got a tacky feel to it. But I’d like to see something that’s approved that everyone can use. I think if you poll any hitter, the hitter wants to know that the ball’s got a grip. The ball’s not going to get away from [the pitcher].”

Matusz, who was ejected from Saturday’s game against the Marlins for having a substance on his right arm, is the second MLB pitcher in a week to be disciplined for using an illegal substance on the baseball. The BravesWill Smith also was suspended eight games for using what he said was a combination of rosin and sunscreen — also on his right arm.

“I think any time the game loses players for eight to 10 games, I think it makes us as an industry look within,” Farrell said. “If a number of pitchers are putting themselves at risk and the belief is a widespread number of pitchers are using it, why would we not look to improve the game? Nobody wants to see pitchers sidelined.”

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Read More: Brian Matusz, Clay Buchholz, John Farrell, Will Smith

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia back in leadoff spot

05.25.15 at 11:44 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia will bat leadoff for the third straight day as the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Twins in Minneapolis with an afternoon tilt. Pedroia is 2-for-6 with a walk in the past two games, both Red Sox wins. Mookie Betts will bat second for the Sox.

Here is the lineup that will face Twins righty Ricky Nolasco, as Joe Kelly starts for the Sox.

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mookie Betts, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Daniel Nava, RF
Blake Swihart, C

For the detailed pitching matchups, click here.

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts,

Live Blog: Follow action (tweets) as Red Sox take on Twins at Target Field

05.25.15 at 10:41 am ET
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Live Blog Red Sox vs. Twins
 

Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Travis Shaw shines in left for PawSox, Trey Ball victorious in shutout for Salem

05.25.15 at 10:19 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-21): L, 5-4, at Louisville (Reds)

–€” Left-hander Brian Johnson took the loss for the PawSox in a seven-inning effort. He walked none and struck out seven but gave up four runs on eight hits, including a solo home run to Chris Dominguez. A first-round draft pick in 2012, Johnson is 5-3 with a 2.92 ERA in nine starts with Pawtucket.

— Travis Shaw played left field for just the second time in his career and recorded two outfield assists, including one on a putout at home. Shaw went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs scored.

— Allen Craig went 2-for-4 with an RBI, recording his fifth multi-hit game for Pawtucket. Luke Montz went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in the ninth inning.

— Mike Miller notched his first Triple-A hit with a single to center in the eighth inning. He came around to score on Craig’€™s double. Miller finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk and one run scored.

— Pawtucket was without utility infielder Jeff Bianchi, who was called up to Boston after the Red Sox placed Shane Victorino on the 15-day DL. Bianchi was hitting .302 in 17 games in Triple-A this season.

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