|05.17.16 at 12:40 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — A source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the Braves have not yet reached out to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo about becoming their new manager, but that Lovullo’s contract allows him to interview for in-season managerial openings.
The Braves fired manager Fredi Gonzalez on Tuesday after a 9-28 start that is the worst in franchise history and the worst in baseball this year.
Lovullo, 50, led the Red Sox to a 28-21 record as acting manager last summer after manager John Farrell was diagnosed with cancer. He has previously interviewed for openings with the Rangers, Twins, Dodgers, and Indians, and was linked to the Cubs after the 2013 World Series, though he never interviewed.
Down the stretch last season, Lovullo proved adept at handling young players, which could be appealing to the Braves, who are attempting to rebuild around youth. Atlanta has named Triple-A manager Brian Snitker its interim manager, and ESPN reported that he’ll hold the job through the end of the season.
Other candidates for the job, according to reports, include former Padres manager Bud Black, who’s now in the Angels’ front office, and ex-big league infielder Mark DeRosa.
The Braves will move to a new park in 2017. They’ve gutted their roster over the last two years, trading All-Star outfielder Jason Heyward, closer Craig Kimbrel, starter Shelby Miller, and Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, among others.
Lovullo chose in the offseason to remain in Boston out of loyalty to Farrell, his longtime friend and former teammate. He signed a tw0-year deal that makes him one of the highest-paid bench coaches in baseball, but the contract does not prevent from interviewing for managerial opening during the season, the source said.
The Providence Journal was the first to report about this aspect of Lovullo’s contract.
|05.17.16 at 12:12 pm ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Monday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (18-20): L, 3-1, vs. Norfolk (Orioles)
— In the third start of his rehabilitation assignment with Pawtucket, pitcher Joe Kelly threw an efficient 6 1/3 innings against Norfolk. The right-hander held the Tides to no runs and only five hits on 92 pitches. Kelly also recorded 10 strikeouts in the start. Monday night’s game was the third double-digit strikeout game of his career.
“He had command of the zone and was explosive tonight,” manager Kevin Boles said after the game. “He attacked the hitters and it was a good step forward.”
Kelly, 27, now is 1-0 with Pawtucket with a 1.26 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP through 14 1/3 innings pitched. He has 16 strikeouts with the team and has allowed only three walks. Boston recently sent Kelly down to Pawtucket after he injured his throwing shoulder on April 20.
— The Red Sox were able to take an early 1-0 lead and hold it for most of the game. Blake Swihart walked to start the second inning, then would eventually cross home plate on a Deven Marrero ground ball.
However, Norfolk woke up offensively in the top of the eighth inning, plating three runs off Pawtucket reliever Anthony Varvaro. The right-hander gave up an infield single, a triple and a home run to allow the Tides to score the go-ahead run.
Drafted in 2005 by the Mariners, Varvaro, 31, has a 1-1 record with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 10 games. He is also 0-for-2 in save opportunities.
|05.17.16 at 11:08 am ET|
Curt Schilling’s war of words with ESPN is unlikely to abate anytime soon now that the loudest of the networks loudmouths — Stephen A. Smith — has weighed in with some pointed criticisms of gehrig38.
Speaking on SiriusXM’s MadDog Radio show, Smith blasted Schilling not for his political views, but for airing them when he knew it could get him fired.
“Let me speak up on behalf of ESPN when I say this to Curt Schilling: You are gone not because you have conservative views instead of liberal views. Your ass is gone because you did not want to listen,” Smith said, per the New York Daily News. “ESPN tells me to shut up, they’re my employer whether I like it or not. If I want to keep my job, I’ve got to shut the hell up.”
Smith took particular offense to Schilling’s contention that ESPN employs “some of the biggest racists” in the sports media. Smith noted an example of being tough on Redskins coach Jay Gruden for seemingly hold quarterback Robert Griffin, who is black, to a different standard than replacement Kirk Cousins, who is white.
“What I was lamenting was the treatment of Jay Gruden and how specific he was in dissecting Robert Griffin III, compared to how celebratory he was about Kirk Cousins,” Smith told the show. “At no time did I imply or state that is why RGIII wasn’t playing because he is black. That is a lie.”
Continued Smith: “I can’t stand people who worked for ESPN that depart from ESPN clearly harboring whatever bitterness they harbor and try to throw talent under the bus — like talent has something to do with them being gone. I have nothing to do with it.”
Smith challenged Schilling to a debate.
“You want to sit here and have a debate about what really went on?” he asked. “Name the time and place and I’ll show up, with the permission of ESPN, of course. I guess listening to my boss makes me a bad guy. Well guess what? I’d rather be bad than stupid.”
|05.17.16 at 8:26 am ET|
Following Monday’s rainout in Kansas City, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will take the mound Tuesday night against Royals righty Yordano Ventura.
It’s been an impressive start to the year for Porcello, who is 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. The six wins are tied for second best in the American League, while Porcello’s WHIP sits at fourth in the league. In his last start, a 13-3 win vs. the Athletics on Wednesday, he allowed three earned runs and six hits while recording five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched.
The Red Sox plated 10 runs in the first five innings of the game, allowing Porcello plenty of breathing room on the hill.
“The way the guys have been swinging the bats, you just have to minimize big innings and keep us in the game,” Porcello said after the win. “I can’t say enough about what they’ve been doing. It’s unbelievable top to bottom, the damage they’re doing and the quality at-bats they’re putting up and wearing pitchers down.”
Monday night’s game will be Porcello’s 21st start against Kansas City. In his career vs. the Royals, Porcello holds an 8-6 record with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. His last start against Kansas City was a 7-4 loss on June 20 of last year. The 27-year-old surrendered six earned runs and eight hits in five innings pitched for his eighth loss of the 2015 season.
|05.16.16 at 9:00 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Joe Kelly appears ready to rejoin the Red Sox.
Making his third rehab start Monday night with Triple-A Pawtucket, Kelly was dominant as he went 6 1/3 shutout innings while scattering five hits, walking a batter and striking out 10.
Kelly departed with the PawSox leading 1-0 against the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Orioles.
“Terrific,” manager Kevin Boles said. “Power stuff. Power mix. Command of the zone. Showed life to his fastball. He was explosive tonight. Attacked the hitters and took a good step forward.”
His fastball stayed steady throughout, holding in the 93-94 mph range after getting warmed up following the first inning on a cool, windy night at McCoy Stadium. Kelly was also able to keep the opposing hitters off balance with his off-speed pitches. He totaled 11 swing-and-misses in the game and retired the last six batters he faced.
“It was a mix bag,” Boles said of the off-speed pitches. “That slider tonight that he threw — he threw a couple of good breaking balls. The slider was sharp tonight. It just looked like he had better overall pace and tempo to his delivery. He was aggressive. He attacked the zone. Threw a lot of strikes.”
He only had one rough inning — the fourth. Three straight hits (one infield single) loaded the bases with two outs, but he was able to get the third out on a swinging strikeout to end the threat.
With the Red Sox getting rained out Monday and playing a doubleheader Wednesday, they will need a starter for Saturday at home against the Indians. It seems it would line up perfectly for Kelly on the usual four days of rest.
“He’s there. He was really good,” catcher Sandy Leon said. “I think he’s ready for the major leagues. He looked amazing today.”
Kelly has been on the 15-day disabled list since suffering shoulder impingement on April 20. In three rehab starts, Kelly has gone a total of 14 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out 16.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|05.16.16 at 7:26 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — Brian Butterfield doesn’t typically condone violence on a baseball field, but in the case of Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista on Sunday night, he’ll allow it.
Butterfield is uniquely qualified to dissect the play that led to Odor landing an overhand right flush to Bautista’s jaw. Not only is he an infield instructor wise to the nuances of the slide that precipitated the brawl, he also coached Bautista in Toronto.
“As far as the fight goes, you’d rather not see it happen, but when guys get hit and there’s a history, that’s going to happen every once in a while,” he said. “I’m fine with it. I’m sure it’s a different feeling in both of those clubhouse, but I was really fine with everything that went on.”
Bautista enraged the Rangers last October by authoring one of the great bat flips in history on a crucial home run in the playoffs. The Rangers waited to seek retribution until his final at-bat of the season series before drilling him on Sunday.
An annoyed Bautista took first, and then slid hard and late on Odor, whose submarining relay to first practically scalped Bautista.
The two got in each other’s faces before Odor unloaded on Bautista’s, sparking a benches-clearing melee.
Butterfield first broke down the slide, which he considered borderline but appropriate.
“He stayed low,” he said. “He stayed below the knees. It was a firm slide, but there was nothing else, except he went beyond the base. When he started to slide, it was right around the base, so it was a little later, he was probably still pissed off. But no, I didn’t think he went in there with the intent to hurt anybody. I think he was still pissed off where he wanted to make his presence felt.”
In that situation, Butterfield noted, Odor must hold his ground and the low throw is one way to defend himself.
|05.16.16 at 6:08 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — Jackie Bradley’s emergence isn’t a secret anymore.
The Red Sox outfielder, who owns a Major League-best 21-game hitting streak, was named the American League Player of the Week after a huge homestand that helped the Red Sox win six of seven games.
Bradley hit .469 for the week with three homers and 15 RBIs. He recorded five multi-hit games and a pair of six-RBI games to claim his first player of the week honor.
Bradley said his goal is, “not just make it a week, just to be a player who’s producing day in and day out, being able to be there whenever they need me, take advantage of the opportunities and the main goal is to definitely win.”
He’s not sure what has helped flip the switch, though it’s worth noting he put together a huge August last year, too.
“I don’t feel like there’s anything different,” he said. “Just trying to be a hard out, putting together some quality at-bats, and hitting the ball hard.”
Bradley loves being part of the Red Sox’ impressive young core.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Anytime you’re able to grow up with the guys you played with, it makes things more comfortable just because they’ve experienced things you’ve been through, they’ve been through some of the same places that you’ve been through at the same time, so we have that mutual understanding of each other.”
On the season, Bradley is hitting .331/.374/.588 with six homers and 30 RBIs.
|05.16.16 at 5:31 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox and Royals were rained out on Monday and will make up the game as part of a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.
With slow-moving storms forecast to soak Kansas City through Tuesday afternoon, the decision was made to push the doubleheader back to getaway day on Wednesday. The Red Sox have Thursday off.
“From the report I have, it sounds like this system isn’t going to clear out until mid-to-late afternoon [Tuesday],” said manager John Farrell. “That being said, not that we were given much of a choice, but that was the reason behind it. As the day has progressed today, the weather forecast has changed. We thought we might have a chance to get tonight in, but that’s back-filled. This is a slow-moving system.”
The rotation will stay on turn, with Rick Porcello starting on Tuesday, Steven Wright getting the 2 p.m. day game on Wednesday, with David Price taking the 8 p.m. nightcap.
Rehabbing right-hander Joe Kelly starts on Monday at Pawtucket, putting him on turn to start Saturday, if needed.
“Him pitching today and obviously it lines up on time, but we haven’t gotten to that point to name anyone or anything,” Farrell said. “We’ve got a few things to look at first.”
|05.16.16 at 2:32 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox bench is finally receiving reinforcements.
Infielder Marco Hernandez was recalled on Monday and will be in uniform when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Royals.
The 23-year-old, who has played second, third, and short in the minors but is primarily a middle infielder, gives the Red Sox a much-needed left-handed bat off the bench and adds infield depth alongside Josh Rutledge.
The 23-year-old has appeared in two games for the Red Sox this year and on April 17 against the Blue Jays recorded a hit, walk, steal and run in his big league debut. In 24 games for Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .333 with a .386 on base percentage and a home run. In addition to starts at the above three infield positions, he has also started one game in left field, the first of his pro career.
O’Sullivan started a pair of games for the Red Sox, including Sunday’s 10-9 victory over the Astros. He didn’t receive a decision in that one after departing with two outs in the fifth. He went 1-0 with a 7.94 ERA in two starts for the Red Sox.
He fared better at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 32 strikeouts (vs. just 5 walks) in 33 innings.
|05.16.16 at 10:51 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (18-19): W, 12-7, vs. Gwinnett (Braves)
— Sam Travis belted two home runs, collecting five RBIs in the process. Travis, 22, made Gwinnett pay right away in the first inning with a three-run shot. He struck again in the sixth, clobbering a two-run homer that almost landed past the Pawtucket bullpen. Including Saturday’s doubleheader, Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com hit three home runs in six plate appearances.
“Travis made the wind look like it was blowing out to left field today,” manager Kevin Boles said after the game. “He had a great approach.”
After the productive weekend, Travis has a .290 AVG/.805 OBP/.457 SLG stat line. He leads the team in hits (40), runs scored (22), doubles (8) and RBIs (23).
— Despite getting the win, southpaw Henry Owens had another shaky outing. Owens, who continues to get starts in Pawtucket after being demoted from Boston earlier this month, allowed seven earned runs on eight hits in five innings and 99 pitches. He also gave up three home runs.
“When he’s right, he’s hitting the fastball cross-corner to right-handed hitters, and everything else sets up from there,” Boles told the Providence Journal. “But he’s had this pattern now where he’s missing high to his arm side. We’ve got to get it on the other side of the plate.”
On the season, Owens is 3-1 in Pawtucket with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. The 23-year-old also has recorded 33 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched, which leads the team.
— Marco Hernandez had a strong showing at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. He also managed to be on base for both of Travis’ home runs. Boston’s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com, the second baseman is batting .333/.827/.441 with seven doubles and 11 runs scored.
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