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Report: Royals looking at John Lackey

07.31.14 at 7:28 am ET
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The Kansas City Star is reporting that the Royals are among the teams checking in on Red Sox right-hander John Lackey. The Royals, according to the report, appear to be exploring the market for starters who would remain under team control through 2015, permitting the club to help brace itself for the anticipated departure of right-hander James Shields in free agency. At least in theory, Lackey — who is subject to a team option at the major league minimum for next year as a result of missing all of 2012 after Tommy John surgery — represents such a pitcher, though whether he would honor his contract and pitch for the minimum next year remains to be seen.

According to the Star report, the Red Sox seek a power arm in exchange for Lackey, though the Royals, according to the report, are reluctant to move their top tier of prospects that would fit that description. According to the report:

The Red Sox are seeking a power arm, according to people familiar with the situation. The Royals prize their prospects who fit that mold, pitchers like Kyle Zimmer, Sean Manaea and Miguel Almonte.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article836354.html#storylink=cpy
Read More: john lackey, kyle zimmer, miguel almonte, mlb trade deadline 2014

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti: Dodgers not trading top 3 prospects

07.31.14 at 7:12 am ET
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Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told reporters that while his team is in the market for starting pitching — presumably including either Red Sox starters Jon Lester or John Lackey — he had no designs of moving any of the team’s top prospects: outfielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Julio Urias.

‘€œWe’re not in the market to trade any of the three, period,’€ Colletti told reporters. ‘€œThere’s been no player discussed that warrants two of the three.’€

Colletti also said that the Dodgers do not plan to trade outfielder Matt Kemp before Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

“No one’s ever heard me say we’re shopping Matt Kemp,” said Colletti. “That’s all in another world.”

Read More: Corey Seager, joc pederson, julio urias, matt kemp

Shane Victorino’s early exit ‘totally precautionary’

07.30.14 at 11:25 pm ET
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When Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino was taken out of Boston’€™s game against the Blue Jays Wednesday in the fifth inning, most expected the worst.

In the third inning, Victorino grounded out to Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes and appeared to ease up on his run to first base while attempting to beat out the throw. While Victorino returned to man right field in the top of the fourth, Daniel Nava took his spot in the No. 2 hole of the lineup, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the fifth.

The possibility of Victorino reaggravating the same hamstring that has sidelined him for 78 games this season was certainly a legitimate scenario, as the ailment has been a recurring issue for Victorino throughout the year.

However, when Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked about the decision to remove Victorino from the game, he said that it was a “€œtotally precautionary move.”

“After his final at-bat, when he went out and played the next inning in right field, I could tell that there was a little bit of change in his gait,”€ Farrell said. “€œHe wanted to continue on, but given what he’€™s come through, I took it out of his hands just to be extra cautious.”

Victorino has shown few signs of rust since his return from the disabled list on July 19, hitting at a .343 (11-for-32) clip with one home run and two RBIs.

Read More: John Farrell, Red Sox, Shane Victorino,

John Farrell: ‘No new news’ on Jon Lester as deadline nears

07.30.14 at 11:07 pm ET
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As the final innings of a one-sided 6-1 Red Sox loss unfolded, a chant bubbled up from some corners of Fenway Park.

“Jon-ny Les-ter! Jon-ny Les-ter!”

It was a spontaneous crowd tribute to a pitcher who has spent his career with the Red Sox since the team drafted him in 2002, who has spent every day of his nine-season big-league career calling Fenway Park home. It was a moment of recognition that, by the time the dust settles on the Major League Baseball trade deadline at 4 p.m. on Thursday, there’s a very real chance that Jon Lester will no longer be a member of the Red Sox.

“We were well aware of it, heard it. Wouldn’t expect anything less,” said Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “This is a fan base that is very much in tune with what we’re doing, good and bad, and I think it’s a clear sign of support for Jon.”

Lester, said Farrell, was in the dugout for the full nine innings of the Sox’ listless loss to the Blue Jays. And as of the end of the game, the manager added, there was nothing to report regarding the possibility of a trade.

“No new news or any progression of any sort to announce,” said Farrell. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jon Lester, mlb trade deadline 2014,

Closing Time: Downward spiral continues as Red Sox swept by Blue Jays

07.30.14 at 9:59 pm ET
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Brandon Workman suffered his fourth straight loss. (AP)

Brandon Workman suffered his fourth straight loss. (AP)

With the July 31 trade deadline less than 24 hours away, Red Sox manager John Farrell remarked prior to Wednesday night’€™s game against Blue Jays that he hoped the distractions revolving around multiple rumors would have a “minimal” impact on the performance of his club.

That didn’€™t appear to be the case once Wednesday’€™s game got underway, as a combination of free passes and sloppy errors issued by the Red Sox helped Toronto come away with a 6-1 victory, earning a three-game sweep at Fenway in the process.

This is the second time this season that the Blue Jays have earned a sweep at Fenway Park, as Toronto took three-straight games from the Red Sox on May 20-22. Boston was outscored by a 22-4 margin during the just-completed series, which extended the team’s slide to eight losses in nine games.

Brandon Workman, starting in place of Jon Lester, labored through his outing, allowing four hits and five runs (two earned) over five innings of work, including a career-high four walks. Workman’€™s uncharacteristic command issues would prove to be costly — three of the four batters that reached base via a Workman walk eventually ended up scoring.

The Red Sox defense would also make things easy for the Blue Jays, as errors by both Workman and Xander Bogaerts in the fifth inning helped Toronto pile on three unearned runs en route to a commanding  5-0 lead.

While Workman was not able put the Red Sox in a position to come away with the win, Boston’€™s lineup didn’€™t fare much better, as Toronto starter Mark Buehrle held the Sox to just one run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings of work.

The lone Red Sox run came off the bat of catcher Christian Vazquez, who drove in Xander Bogaerts with a ground-rule double in the bottom of the fifth.

After scoring a season-high 14 runs July 21, the Red Sox have only managed to cross the plate 18 times over their last nine games.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 48-60 and are now a season-high 13 games behind the first-place Orioles in the AL East division standings. Through two-thirds of the season, the Sox are on pace to go 72-90 — with a chance that they’re about to sell a number of veteran pieces. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Blue Jays, Brandon Workman, Red Sox,

New Red Sox prospects Edwin Escobar, Heath Hembree excited for ‘new beginning’

07.30.14 at 8:33 pm ET
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Edwin Escobar

Edwin Escobar pitched for Team World at the 2014 Futures Game in Minneapolis. (AP)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — It is immediately clear that Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree are the new kids on the block in the Pawtucket Red Sox clubhouse.

As other lockers are stuffed to the brim with gear, both Escobar and Hembree’s lockers are spare, barely beyond empty. A couple of uniforms hang in the lockers accompanied by the pitchers’ gloves.

That personal effects have yet to fill their lockers comes as little surprise. The duo, after all, did just move across the country from Fresno, Calif., home of the San Francisco Giants‘ Triple-A affiliate.

Both Escobar and Hembree were thrown slightly off guard when they learned that they were traded to the Red Sox. Both hurlers were awakened Saturday morning by the news from Giants general manager Brian Sabean that they had been traded in exchange for Jake Peavy.

Heath Hembree

Heath Hembree

“This time of year, everybody has to be on their toes, I guess,” Hembree said. “I was excited. It was a little bittersweet leaving some good friends, but definitely excited for the new opportunity.”

For Hembree, the Giants organization was the only one he’d ever known. The 25-year-old was selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of the University of South Carolina. Deemed a closer of the future by Baseball America, he has posted a 3.89 ERA and saved 18 games in 41 appearances in Triple-A this season. Hembree has struck out 46 hitters and walked 13 with opponents hitting .263 off of him.

Hembree, who made his major league debut in 2013, is excited for the chance to make a mark on a new organization.

It’s a little bit of a new beginning,” Hembree said. “[The Giants] are all I’ve known, but coming over here and being part of this team right now, it’s like a new beginning and I’m looking forward to it.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: edwin escobar, heath hembree,

John Farrell: Felix Doubront’s struggles not as simple as need for change of scenery

07.30.14 at 7:02 pm ET
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Another domino has fallen in the Red Sox‘ potential trade deadline fire sale, as the team officially announced that pitcher Felix Doubront has been traded to the Cubs for a player to be named later.

While Doubront’s last outing with Boston on Monday against the Blue Jays (six hits, six earned runs in 2/3 of an inning) could have been seen as the last straw in terms of the Red Sox dealing with the unhappy hurler, Farrell noted that a deal involving Doubront was not a direct cause of his last appearance.

“I don’t know that two nights ago triggered a trade,” Farrell said. “I don’t think any trade happens overnight, so I wouldn’t say it’s a direct result of that.”

The transaction puts a close to what has been a miserable season for Doubront. The 26-year-old lefty was never able to establish himself on the mound this season, posting a 5.19 ERA over his 10 starts, prompting the team to demote him to the bullpen.

Doubront, frustrated by his removal from the starting rotation, appeared disinterested in subsequent games, allowing 11 earned runs over his last nine innings of work (11.00 ERA).

A move to the Windy City could help give Doubront a new sense of motivation and energy, but Farrell said that the left-hander’s effort to improve himself will stand as the key factor in whether he will be able to turn around his career.

“I don’t necessarily buy into the change of scenery,” Farrell said. “Can it invigorate someone in a new surrounding? Possibly. But as I talked with him a while ago, if this does come to fruition, the work is always going to be needed, regardless of where you pitch or the role in which you’re pitching in. He has performed well for us over a period of time and it can’t be understated, the importance of his relief appearances last year in the World Series, those were two pivotal outings by him and he did a great job.”

While Farrell acknowledged that Doubront arrived at spring training in much better shape than the year before, he said that Doubront was never able to find the consistency that aided the lefty at points last season. While he finished 2013 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP, Doubront also compiled a stretch last season from May 16 to Aug. 10 that saw him post a 2.73 ERA.

“When you talk about any pitcher, not just in this situation, but consistency is driven from a number of ways,” Farrell said. “Every player has maintenance in their work routine, and in a pitcher’s case, in his delivery, consistently throw strikes, to remain aware of game situations. I can’t say that there was one thing. … He did suffer from the one fatigue outing where you spend some time on the DL after that, but he seemed to never get on the role like he did last year, which was 15-16 straight starts of three runs or less and that was missing this year.”

Read More: felix doubront, John Farrell, Red Sox,
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