|08.03.10 at 1:21 am ET|
Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis left Monday’s game against the Indians after the second inning due to a jammed right thumb. Youkilis was in obvious pain after his soft lineout to shortstop concluded the bottom of the first inning. The Red Sox training staff visited him on the field, and Youkilis remained in the field for one more inning, but he did not remain in the contest for long.
The Red Sox performed a fluoroscope of the thumb, and the initial diagnosis was that there was no break. However, Youkilis will receive an MRI on Tuesday morning to confirm whether that diagnosis was accurate.
“Youk’s pretty sore,” said manager Terry Francona. “He’s had a bone bruise in that area. When it got jammed, that thing swelled up real quick and got discolored.”
Until the MRI is performed, the Red Sox are uncertain how much time Youkilis will miss. As such, Francona was uncertain whether the Sox would have to make a roster move for a first baseman. The Sox have three first basemen in Triple-A: Lars Anderson (hitting .247/.338/.411/.749), Ryan Shealy (.239/.358/.485/.843 in Triple-A) and Aaron Bates (.230/.326/.351/.676). And, of course, the team also has Mike Lowell on the disabled list.
For now, however, the Sox are undecided on whether reinforcements will be needed.
“We need to see what happens [Tuesday]. Sometimes, when you get jammed like that, it can be as small as a broken blood vessel. It hurts like heck and then it goes away,” said Francona. “We’ll see how he’s doing.”
Youkilis is hitting .307 with a team-leading .411 OBP, a .564 slugging mark, .975 OPS, 19 homers and 62 RBI.
|08.02.10 at 10:30 pm ET|
After an emotional weekend of walkoff wins, the Red Sox were unable to carry momentum into the series opener with the Indians. Despite an eighth-inning rally led by Adrian Beltre’s three-run homer, the Sox wound up on the short end of a 6-5 final Monday night.
The Red Sox were unable to continue the ninth-inning magic of the weekend, managing just a one-out Marco Scutaro single off of Cleveland closer Chris Perez, who picked up his 13th save.
The teams will meet again Tuesday night, with Josh Beckett (2-1, 6.33 ERA) on the mound for the Red Sox. The Indians have yet to announce their starter.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– After three consecutive superb starts that saw his ERA shrink from 4.78 to 4.26 (lowest since May 10), John Lackey had his first poor outing of the second half. Lackey allowed six runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings against an Indians team that entered Monday ranked next-to-last in the American League in both batting average (.247) and slugging percentage (.381). Lackey simply could not control the strike zone in the series opener, walking five batters, including Trevor Crowe with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. That would be the final batter Lackey faced in the contest.
Lackey has struggled with his command all season, entering Monday’s start averaging 3.3 walks per nine innings, a total which would represent the worst of his career. He has now walked at least five batters in three of his 22 starts this season. From 2007-09 he walked at least five batters in none of his 84 starts.
– Kevin Youkilis was forced to leave the game after the second inning with a jammed right thumb. Youkilis was seen grimacing in pain while flexing his right hand following his first-inning at-bat against Carmona. That led to Victor Martinez shifting over to first and Kevin Cash replacing Martinez behind the plate. How big a hit did the lineup take? Well, Youkilis entered Monday’s game with an OPS of .978 and 62 RBI. Cash — who took over the No. 3 spot in the batting order following the Youkilis injury — entered the game with an OPS of .380 and zero RBI in 52 plate appearances. Cash failed to get a hit in his two at-bats Monday, dropping his average to .143.
– Before the game Mike Cameron was placed on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to struggle with a lower abdominal tear. Cameron underwent an examination at Mass General on Monday and the decision was made for the veteran center fielder to return to the DL (he was first on the DL from April 19-May 24 with the same injury). If the two weeks of rest and rehabilitation don’t lead to an improvement, it is likely that Cameron will undergo season-ending surgery.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Adrian Beltre homered twice and drove in all five runs for the Red Sox. Beltre has now hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. David Ortiz also posted a pair of hits and now has an 11-game hitting streak.
– Another impressive night for Ryan Kalish, who stood out with his arm and bat on Monday. The former high school quarterback’s strong toss to the plate in the second inning held Matt LaPorta at third base. Kalish then threw a dart to home plate in the fourth inning to gun down Shelly Duncan and end that inning. The left fielder also had three hits, including his first career extra-base hit, a double in the seventh.
Unfortunately for Kalish, the evening wasn’t all good news. In that same seventh inning, he was involved in a brutal collision with Indians catcher Carlos Santana, sliding into the left leg of the backstop as Kalish was thrown out at home. Santana — an up-and-coming star and a real bright spot for the Indians this season — was removed from the field in a stretcher. If this turns out to be a serious injury for Santana — which is almost assuredly is — Tim Bogar will have to take a share of the blame. A shaky decision at best to send Kalish home down four runs with just one out. Turned out to be a huge call in a one-run final.
– Clay Buchholz saw his ERA drop from 2.68 to to 2.59 without throwing a pitch on Monday. How? Will Rhymes’ leadoff single in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game was changed to an error on second baseman Jed Lowrie, taking two earned runs away from Buchholz, whose 2.59 ERA still ranks second behind Cliff Lee’s 2.51.
– Tim Wakefield pitched a pair of scoreless innings out of the bullpen on his 44th birthday. The last pitcher to take the hill on his 44th birthday was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, who tossed 7.1 innings for the Mariners in a loss against the Royals on 9/15/82.
|08.02.10 at 8:15 pm ET|
A busy day for updates at Fenway Park, focused chiefly on roster moves that are and are not being made. In short: Mike Cameron has been put back on the disabled list due to the ongoing (and, in fact, growing) discomfort with his abdominal strain. He and the team are hopeful that rest and treatment will allow him to play again this year, but both the player and club are aware of the possibility that the 37-year-old will need season-ending surgery.
In his place, the Sox recalled Daniel Nava from Triple-A Pawtucket, likely as a placeholder for Jacoby Ellsbury, who seems likely to return in the next few days.
Cameron has played in fewer than half of the Red Sox‘ games this year, entering just 48 of Boston’s 105 contests entering Monday. Yet he has gone to extraordinary lengths to play in even that many contests while dealing with an abdominal strain that he and the Sox have understood will eventually require surgery to repair.
“He actually had been handling it unbelievably,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “I don’t know how he’s handled it for as long as he has. But the area has been getting a little bit bigger. There’s some areas around, like the groin, and just higher up, where it’s starting to get a little bit bigger, and make it harder for him to bounce back.”
For now, the Sox are hopeful that they might be able to hold off on the surgery until after the season, and that by being placed on the 15-day disabled list, he might be able to put himself in a position to play with rest and treatment. But, if that fails, the team acknowledges that surgery would then be necessary.
Cameron was certainly hoping it would not come to that, since such a procedure would be season-ending. At the same time, he acknowledges that it has become difficult for him to contribute given his physical limitations.
“I don’t think there’s been a day I’ve woken up there hasn’t been discomfort,” said Cameron. “I’ve just been fighting. I’ve had some good days. I’ve had some pretty good days. Obviously I can say you can tell the difference in my swing when the bat is flying through the zone. The last couple of days, I was just kind of cutting myself off and that’s just been part of it. it’s just one of those things where I’ve been going at it about as hard a s I possibly could. Sometimes it gets to a point where the body just stops.
“I haven’t been myself out there,” he added. “Probably most frustrating is not being able to run like I want to, not being able to just be free with everything. I had to make some adjustments that I never had to make before in my life, or my baseball career. It’s made it a little bit difficult, just the challenge of being able to go out and see if I can perform without all the strengths I’ve been given.’
Ellsbury has gone 4-for-9 in two games in Triple-A Pawtucket, following a three-game rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League. By all accounts, he has looked good at the plate and in the field.
“He looked pretty good. He seemed like his timing was on in the box,” said Nava. “He was pretty locked in, taking good swings, not swinging at bad pitches. Out in the field, he was running around. He looked fine. From what I saw, he looked good.”
However, it was Nava rather than Ellsbury who was called up. Ellsbury spent Monday working out with the Red Sox, will play another rehab game in Pawtucket on Tuesday and then be re-evaluated by the Sox on Wednesday. The Sox did not want the circumstance of Cameron’s injury to lead them to rush Ellsbury’s rehab.
“We’re kind of walking that line where we all know potentially what he can mean to us. But he still feels it at times,” said Francona. “We’re trying to not get caught up in like a Cameron going down and then activating a guy before he’s ready. We’re just trying to use the proper judgment, regardless of what’s going on here. I think that’s probably the only way to do it.”
Nava may be up for just a couple of days, holding a roster spot for Ellsbury. He had nearly arrived at McCoy Stadium for tonight’s PawSox game before getting a call from Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo saying that there needed to be a conversation. In Lovullo’s office, Nava was informed that he was to make the drive north. He arrived at Fenway Park at 4 p.m., just prior to the start of batting practice.
In 11 games back in the minors following his taste of the big leagues, Nava was hitting .310/.444/.429/.873. He had been focused on improving his mechanics as a right-handed hitter, the side from which the switch-hitter struggled while in the majors.
—Dustin Pedroia continues to rehab his broken foot. He has been comfortable doing almost everything, but there remains some discomfort when he runs.
“He’s really doing everything, but the running is still the one thing that he feels. Until he doesn’t, or until that pain is very minimal, we’ve got to kind of keep a tight rein on him,” said Francona. “I think he understands that.”
Francona said that, given the amount of time that Pedroia has missed, he will likely need some period of time on a rehab assignment, but the manager expected that the second baseman will be able to return soon after he is running again.
–Hitting coach Dave Magadan has been away from the club since Friday due to the death of his father. He is scheduled to return to the club on Tuesday.
–First base coach Ron Johnson is also away from the club due to a family medical emergency.
|08.02.10 at 3:35 pm ET|
Anyone hoping for the Red Sox to add a big name at the trade deadline had to have been disappointed unless they went in to Sunday taking “big name” at its most literal interpretation. Through that lens (“yips” be damned), the Sox executed a move to land them the longest name to ever be stitched to a jersey in Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Though paying attention to such quirky details as letters in a name may seem a bit extraneous, such discussion is actually quite popular this time of year. In fact, the Red Sox are quite popular in the world of crazy names, according to a bracket currently on the official website of Minor League baseball.
The bracket began last month and initially consisted of what were deemed to be the 64 most “unique and funny names from across the minors.” In addition to Saltalamacchia, Red Sox farmhands Seth “The Hammer” Schwindenhammer and Stolmy Pimentel were featured in the bracket.
An outfielder in his second year with the Red Sox organization, the intrigue with Schwindenhammer goes past his name. He went to the same high school as Jim Thome in Illinois and tore up the slugger’s records. A 5th-round pick in the 2009 draft, Schwindenhammer is liked for his power potential as a lefty. After playing 36 games in the Gulf Coast League in ’09, he made the jump to Single-A Lowell, where he is currently spending his first full minor league season.
Despite surpassing Thome’s high school marks, when all is said and done, Schwindenhammer — all 15 letters — stands to break a major league record the second he is called up to the majors.
“They say if I make it to the bigs, it will be the longest in baseball history,” Schwindenhammer told Alex Speier earlier this summer. “That would actually be awesome.”
Indeed he would break Saltalamacchia’s record, beating the catcher’s 14-letter name by one letter. While the outfielder would be the first player in the majors with a 15-letter name, he’s hardly used to wearing a jersey with his actual name written across the back.
“I never had a uniform with my full last name on it until I got [to the Red Sox’ organization],” Schwindenhammer, whose last name is German, said. “Usually I used to have to shorten it up and put my nickname on it or something. ‘¦ Back home they all call me ‘Schwindy.’ Down in Florida and over here they just call me ‘Hammer.'”
The bracket, which is now in the third round, actually sees Schwindenhammer outlasting Saltalamacchia. The catcher was eliminated in the second round by Sequoyah Stonecipher of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, an affiliate of the Marlins. Schwindenhammer is still alive and is currently going up against Padres’ shortstop prospect Beamer Weems.
Pimentel, a Sox prospect currently pitching for the Salem Sox, also remains in the bracket, but has his work cut out for him. The righty is facing Royals’ farmhand Rowdy Hardy.
Check out the rest of the bracket, as it certainly features some interesting names from across the minors, including Bubbie Buzachero, Tuffy Gosewisch, and Gift Ngoepe.
|08.02.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
According to a baseball source, Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is getting very close to activation, but it will be at least a couple more days before he rejoins the Red Sox roster. He will play at least one more rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and then the Red Sox will re-evaluate him. Ellsbury went 2-for-5 on Sunday, and is now 4-for-9 in two games for the PawSox after going 2-for-8 in three rehab games in the Gulf Coast League. He has played just nine games for the Red Sox this year while recovering from five non-displaced rib fractures.
Also, while Michael Bowden (who was optioned to Pawtucket on July 23) is eligible to return to the majors on Tuesday, the Red Sox have yet to make a determination about when they will bring back the right-hander from Pawtucket. Bowden is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in seven relief appearances for the PawSox, but he has struggled in his last two outings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. He did not allow an earned run in three relief appearances (spanning 2 1/3 innings) in the majors for the Red Sox.
|08.02.10 at 9:02 am ET|
Despite winning two straight games in the ninth inning and going 7-3 in their last 10 contests, the Red Sox still are having trouble making up ground on both the AL East-leading Yankees and the wild card-leading Rays. In chasing down the two best teams in baseball, Boston will suffer a minor setback with each loss, making games against bottom-feeding teams must wins. That’s the situation the Red Sox find themselves in when they begin a four-game series with the Indians on Monday. Cleveland, which sits in the cellar of the AL Central, sends out Fausto Carmona to the mound against John Lackey, who has found a rhythm in his last three starts.
Lackey (10-5, 4.26 ERA) will try to pitch Boston to a sixth straight home victory and a fourth consecutive win in games he’s started. Since the Red Sox began a stretch of games in late July against West Coast foes, Lackey has shown glimpses of his days with the Angels. In his last outing, the Boston starter returned to Angel Stadium for the first time since departing as a free agent and tossed 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball to earn the win. That start came on the heels of Lackey’s best performance of the season against the Mariners, in which he didn’t allow an earned run in eight innings of work for a no-decision.
For his career, Lackey has had decent success against Cleveland, going 6-6 in 14 starts with a 3.71 ERA. He last faced the Indians back in August of last season as a member of the Angels and had a difficult outing. Lackey took the loss as he got rocked for six runs in 5 1/3 innings at Progressive Field.
Carmona (10-8, 3.92 ERA), meanwhile, will attempt to get Cleveland off to a good start in the series after the Indians took two out of three from the Blue Jays. The All-Star right-hander has had a fairly consistent season and has been able to stay on the mound after dealing with injuries the past two seasons. He’s already pitched 131 innings, the most of his career since his stellar 2007 season in which he went 19-8 and was a Cy Young Award candidate. In his last start, Carmona was shelled by the Yankees, ending his three-game winning streak. New York collected 10 hits and seven runs in Carmona’s 2 2/3 innings to take the victory, 8-0.
Boston has given the Cleveland starter problems throughout his career. In six games, including four starts, Carmona is 1-3 with a 5.16 ERA and has more walks (15) than strikeouts (14). His last appearance against Boston on June 7 was a wild one, in which Carmona walked a season high-tying six walks in six innings to take the loss. David Ortiz, who is batting .310 with four home runs and 12 RBI during his 10-game hitting streak, has great success against Carmona. In 11 career plate appearances, the designated hitter has slugged .800 while hitting a homer and driving in five runs. Read the rest of this entry »
|08.01.10 at 10:18 pm ET|
Sources told Rosenthal that the Rangers would have acquired the third baseman from the Red Sox and then sent him to the Yankees with the Red Sox’ knowledge.
The 36-year-old Lowell, who has been on the DL since June 24 with a right hip strain, just completed a four-game rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he hit .500 (11-for-22) with four home runs.
Terry Francona said Sunday that the Red Sox were going to activate Lowell before the series finale vs. the Tigers but had a change of mind as they continue to figure out the plan for Lowell’s future with the club.
‘We were going to activate him,’ Francona said. ‘There were some conversations that is probably up the food chain from me a little bit that needs to continue to happen. Mikey’s not active today. Those conversations I know will continue to happen but like I said, it’s up the food chain a little from me.’
For more Red Sox news visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|08.01.10 at 6:52 pm ET|
If you were expecting anyone in the Red Sox clubhouse to be sounding alarm bells for Jonathan Papelbon, you haven’t been paying close attention to the way this team has battled and hung together through far worse.
Yes, the best right-handed hitter in baseball ripped the first pitch Papelbon threw for a two-run double high off the center field wall before a nervous 37,479 at Fenway Park.
Yes, Jhonny Peralta followed one out later with a seeing-eye single up the middle that scored pinch-runner Don Kelly with the tying run and wiped out a possible win for Clay Buchholz.
And yes, there were many in attendance who were probably having nasty flashbacks to another sunny afternoon last October when Papelbon couldn’t protect a two-run lead in the ninth against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 3 of the ALDS.
But whether it was Buchholz, who watched his 12th win become a no-decision in a 4-3 Red Sox win, or Victor Martinez, who called for an outside fastball to Cabrera in the ninth only to have Papelbon shake him off, the Red Sox still have faith that Pap is still their man and still the closer.
“He’s one of the best in the game and I’d give the ball to him any day,” Buchholz said. “It didn’t work out but we got out with the win anyway.”
Papelbon appreciated the words of support and felt for his starter, who came within three outs of passing Jon Lester for the team lead in wins with 12. Both Lester and Buchholz both remain stuck on 11.
“Obviously it’s my job,” Papelbon said. “Clay’s been one of our best pitchers this year. Obviously, as a closer, you want to protect those wins for your starters and you take pride in it and obviously, I wasn’t able to do that today.
“It’s stings a little bit because you know that they work for the wins and we work for the saves and neither one happened today.
As for the first pitch he threw to Cabrera, both Martinez and Papelbon were in agreement on the fastball, just not the location. And Papelbon had no regrets.
“Nah, it’s exactly what I wanted to do, to be honest,” Papelbon said. “I shook [off] heater away and I went fastball up and in. I went and looked back at the replay and he kind of bailed out in there. He was probably looking in there more than I was expecting.”
“He made a great pitch to Cabrera,” Martinez said in defending his battery mate. “The guy’s hitting .350. It’s no [accident].”
Terry Francona cringed well before the pitch as he knew after Buchholz left the game after giving up a soft base hit and walk, that Papelbon was entering a difficult situation. But Francona had no doubts about starting Buchholz for the ninth, even when Cabrera hit the first pitch from Papelbon high off the center field wall.
“He left a pitch up to a real dangerous hitters and the ball up the middle just found a hole,” Francona said. “That’s unfortunate.”
“Right now, he’s a Triple Crown hitter and he’s hitting pitcher’s pitches,” Papelbon said. “Not much you can do about that.”
All you can do if your Papelbon and the Red Sox is put the game away as a win and move onto four against Cleveland, knowing that you won a game when your closer could protect a 3-0 lead in the ninth.
“That’s been our team this year,” Papelbon said. “That’s been the way we’ve battled throughout the season and the past couple of games.
“I like our attitude. I like our competitiveness and hopefully, we can get some guys healthy and get on a nice little roll.”
|08.01.10 at 6:41 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s John Vu captured some great images from the Red Sox second consecutive walk-off win on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. The Red Sox took 2-of-3 from the Tigers and have won five-of-six. Click on the image to launch the slideshow.
|08.01.10 at 4:26 pm ET|
It could have been a dispiriting loss for the Red Sox. They were in complete control of their contest against the Tigers into the ninth inning, as Clay Buchholz seemed fully in control of a 3-0 lead. The only real question appeared to be whether he would get the third shutout of his career.
That plot line changed quickly, when Detroit pushed three runs across the plate with Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound. Yet instead of agonizing over the fate of their late blown lead, the Sox went to work quickly, as Marco Scutaro delivered a bunt single that scored the winning run when Tigers reliever Robbie Weinhardt fired it down the right field line. For the second straight game, the Sox enjoyed a walkoff victory, beating the Tigers, 4-3.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
–It had been almost a year since Tigers ace Justin Verlander and Red Sox hurler Clay Buchholz had gone toe-to-toe in a tremendous pitcher’s duel in a Fenway Park day game. Verlander had outdone his opponent that day, claiming a 2-0 victory last Aug. 13, but Buchholz had given a glimpse of his ability to nearly keep up with the game’s elite. He tossed seven innings, allowing just one earned run, and looked almost the equal of Verlander.
On Sunday, Buchholz gave further evidence that he is no longer working to catch up to the top pitchers in the game. Rather, he has joined them.
For most of the day, Buchholz was absolutely overpowering, featuring a 94-97 mph fastball that he complemented with a terrific slider, changeup and the occasional cutter. He delivered a noteworthy sign of his dominance in the first inning against Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera. He threw a first-pitch, 94 mph fastball for a swing and miss, a 90 mph slider for another swing and miss and then, after spinning a curveball away, came back in with a 97 mph fastball that resulted in yet another swing and miss.
That pitch mix stayed with Buchholz for the day, leaving the Tigers thoroughly off balance until they chased him in the ninth inning on the strength of a bad-hop single and a walk. Though he took a no-decision, he gave up just three hits in improving his ERA to 2.68 ERA.
–The Sox had a tremendous approach in the early going against Tigers starter Justin Verlander, making him work in the strike zone, laying off of his off-speed pitches and driving his high-90s fastball up the middle and to the opposite field. On a day when the Tigers bullpen was severely depleted (Jose Valverde, Phil Coke and Ryan Perry were all unavailable), the Sox elevated the pitch count of the Detroit ace early, making him throw 74 pitches in the first three innings.
—Jed Lowrie continued to show that he is a different player from the one who was limited by injury starting in the final month of his rookie season. Batting left-handed (his weaker side), he lined a 96 mph Verlander fastball to left-center for an RBI single. He also had a walk and an infield single.
“He’s a good hitter. I think it’s kind of forgotten that a couple years ago he came up and kind of saved us. He played short, didn’t make any errors, drove in a bunch of runs,” manager Terry Francona said before the game. “Then he’s had a lot of things go wrong health-wise, but he seems to be getting back, which is good. We’re not to the point where we can play him every day. He’s just not ready to do that. But every other day he can help us.”
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
—Jonathan Papelbon came on in relief of Clay Buchholz following a dominating outing. The right-hander entered with a pair of runners on base and the Sox leading, 3-0, in the top of the ninth. But it took the Tigers just five pitches to tie the game against the Sox closer, as Miguel Cabrera jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a two-run double and, after a three-pitch strikeout by Brennan Boesch, Jhonny Peralta bounced a first-pitch single up the middle for the game-tying run. Papelbon has now allowed five of 10 inherited runners to score againt him.
–The Sox missed opportunities early in the game to blow the contest open. The team went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, a struggle that has represented an ongoing theme for the team in recent days.
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