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Ellsbury will play at least one more rehab game

08.02.10 at 1:19 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Michael Bowden,

Red Sox vs. Indians matchups, 8/2

08.02.10 at 9:02 am ET
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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 »

Read More: Cleveland Indians, fausto carmona, john lackey,

Report: Yankees sought Lowell at deadline

08.01.10 at 10:18 pm ET
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Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com has reported that a three-team trade sending Mike Lowell to the Yankees through the Rangers “was discussed” on Friday, just a day before the July 31 deadline.

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.

‘€œWe were going to activate him,’€ Francona said. ‘€œThere 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.’€

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Picking up Pap

08.01.10 at 6:52 pm ET
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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.”

Papelbon also gave credit to Cabrera, who is now hitting .351, second in the American League. Cabrera is also second to Josh Hamilton in homers with 26 while leading the circuit in RBIs with 91.

“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.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Detroit Tigers, Jonathan Papelbon, miguel cabrera

Photos: Slideshow of another Red Sox walk-off win

08.01.10 at 6:41 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Kevin Youkilis, marco scutaro,

Closing Time: Red Sox 4, Tigers 3

08.01.10 at 4:26 pm ET
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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.

–The issue of Mike Lowell‘s future continued to hover somewhat uncomfortably over the Sox.

Red Sox notes: D-Mac scratched, Ells makes strides

08.01.10 at 3:21 pm ET
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Darnell McDonald was scratched from Sunday’s lineup with back stiffness but Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the team hopes to have him available later in the day as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.

In his place, Eric Patterson started in center for the Red Sox while Ryan Kalish, fresh from his 2-for-4 performance in his major league debut on Saturday, gets the start again in left field.

Elsewhere, Jacoby Ellsbury took another step on Saturday night toward a return to Boston when he went 2-for-4 and scored a run scored in his first game with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Ellsbury hit leadoff and played center field in a 5-1 loss to Durham. Asked if Ellsbury is as strong as he was before he suffering fractured ribs on April 11, Francona answered, “He probably isn’t as strong as he was in spring training. He came to camp in really good shape.

“We are trying to get the soreness out of his body in Triple-A, not here, so that is why he needs to keep playing a little bit,” added Francona.

In four games with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Pawtucket, Ellsbury is hitting .333 with four runs, two walks and a stolen base.

Ellsbury played the outfield again Sunday and will continue playing with Pawtucket until he is at full strength.

“He is going to have general soreness from not playing,” Francona said. “We have to get him through that, and I think we would all rather do that in Pawtucket and not here.”

Francona gave props to Jed Lowrie for his game-changing at-bat in the ninth, pinch-hitting for Patterson. Lowrie fouled off several pitches before drilling a double to left-center and extending the eventual game-winning, three-run rally.

“His at-bat was tremendous,” Francona said. “I think it got overlooked a little bit because of what David did. That was a really nice piece of hitting.”

Lowrie batted .367 with four doubles, one homer and nine RBIs in 10 rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket and Class A Lowell.

Francona said that Lowrie, who was activated from the disabled list July 21 after a three-month bout with mononucleosis, is getting stronger and stronger but still is not ready to play every day.

“He is a good hitter. I think it has become forgotten,” Francona said. “He has had a lot of things go wrong health-wise, but he seems to be getting back, which is good.”

Read More: darnell mcdonald, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Red Sox

Red Sox vs. Tigers matchups, 8/1

08.01.10 at 12:35 pm ET
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Following a ninth-inning rally on Saturday, the Red Sox look to capture the three-game series against the Tigers on Sunday.

Clay Buchholz will take his record of 11’€“5 and 2.71 ERA to the mound and face a talented Tigers offense. Miguel Cabrera has faced the righty eight times in career, but Ryan Raburn has had the most success against the Sox All-Star, having homered against him.

This start marks Buchholz’ third outing since the All-Star break and returning from the DL. In his last start, Buchholz defeated the Mariners on July 26 by striking out seven batters and allowing one run.

As for the Tigers, Justin Verlander gets the nod with a record of 12-6 and 3.74 ERA. Verlander, who ranks fifth in the AL in strikeouts with 130, will need to slow down David Ortiz, Victor Martinez and the rest of a Sox lineup that has hit well against the Tigers pitcher.

Tigers vs. Clay Buchholz

Miguel Cabrera (8 career plate appearances against Buchholz): .125 average/.222 OBP/ .125 slugging, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Gerald Laird (7): .143/. 250/. 143, 1 walk

Johnny Damon (5): .200/ .333/ .400, 1 double, 1 walk

Jhonny Peralta (4): .500/. 400/. 500, 3 RBI, 1 strikeout

Ryan Raburn (3): .667/. 667/ 1.667, 1 home run, 2 RBI

Brennan Boesch (3): .333/. 333/. 333, 1 RBI

Austin Jackson (2): .000/ .333/ .000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Ramon Santiago (1): .000/. 500/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

The Boston starter has never faced Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge, Adam Everett, Alex Avila, Don Kelly and Carlos Guillen.

Red Sox vs. Justin Verlander

Victor Martinez (43 career plate appearances against Verlander): .302 average/ .318 OBP/ .651 slugging, 3 doubles, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Adrian Beltre (25): .240/. 240/. 440, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 strikeouts

Marco Scuatro (19): .211/ .250/ .368, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

David Ortiz (10): .300/ .417/ .700, 1 double, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (10): .400/ .400/ 1.000, 2 HR, 3 RBI

J.D. Drew (6): .333/ .333/ .333, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Mike Cameron (2): .500/ .667/ .500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Eric Patterson (1): .000/ .000/ .000, 1 strikeout

Bill Hall (0): .000/ 1.000/ .000, 3 walks

The Detroit starter has never faced Darnell McDonald, Kevin Cash, Ryan Kalish, Eric Patterson and Jed Lowrie.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, justin verlander, tigers

Red Sox deciding what to do about Lowell

08.01.10 at 12:07 pm ET
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The Mike Lowell drama continues at Fenway Park as Red Sox management and the veteran third baseman are in talks about his future with the team. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Sunday morning that he and general manager Theo Epstein were talking at length following Saturday’s game and were prepared to activate Lowell for today’s game but the team backed off as they try to determine the best course of action with the 2007 World Series MVP.

Francona said that while he was aware of the discussions, the decision on his future is above his head.

[Click here to hear what Francona had to say about Mike Lowell.]

“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.”

Lowell has been on the disabled list since June 24 with a right hip strain.

The 36-year-old just finished a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket, batting .500 with four homers in 22 at-bats. The team tried unsuccessfully to deal him at the trade deadline. If Lowell and the team do not come to terms on his role in Boston for the last two months, he could be designated for assignment, allowing the team 10 days to trade him or releasing him to allow him to sign elsewhere.

Read More: mike lowell, Red Sox, Terry Francona, Theo Epstein

Sox did not discuss moving Ellsbury

07.31.10 at 10:21 pm ET
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According to multiple major league sources, the Padres never contacted the Red Sox to discuss the availability of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. In fact, according to one of those sources, no team contacted the Sox about Ellsbury, nor would the Sox have considered a deal for the 26-year-old barring what was characterized as a massive return.

Ellsbury, after playing three rehab games in the Gulf Coast League this week, played in his first rehab contest with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles while playing center field. Ellsbury has played in just nine games this year, but is nearing a return to the Red Sox in his recovery from the broken ribs endured earlier this year.

“I can’t give you an exact timetable [for his return],” said GM Theo Epstein. “We want to make sure he’s ready to hit. Last time he came back, I think it took him a little while to get going with the bat and get his timing down. As much as we need him back here, we don’t want to rush him back here before he’s ready to hit. We’re going to be aggressive with it, day to day depending on how he feels and how ready he looks to come up and compete.”

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Padres,
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