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Coello finally catches on in MLB

09.05.10 at 1:55 pm ET
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This is not what Robert Coello envisioned when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2004 as a catcher. But on Sunday, when he entered the Red Sox clubhouse, he did so as a right-handed reliever available to Terry Francona out of the bullpen for the last four weeks of the season.

The Red Sox selected Coello to the major league roster from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday after the 25-year-old went 7-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 32 games – including 13 starts – for Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland. In 107 1/3 innings with the PawSox, he struck out 130 and held opposing batters to an impressive .192 average.

He missed the 2006 season with a before signing a minor league deal with the Angels, who converted him to a pitcher in 2007.

“He’ll be in the bullpen,” Francona said. “It’s kind of an interesting story and probably not the route a lot of guys have taken but it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. It’ll be interesting. He has a pretty good fastball. He’s a conversion guy. His secondary pitches are probably still in progress but it’ll be interesting to see how he does.”

Coello spent 2008 in the independent Golden Baseball League before the Red Sox showed interest and signed him.

Read More: Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels, MLB, Red Sox

Closing time (Game 2): White Sox 3, Red Sox 1

09.04.10 at 10:14 pm ET
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The Red Sox lost both legs of their day-night doubleheader with the White Sox, dropping the nightcap and wasting a strong effort from John Lackey in a 3-1 loss. The offense struggled to get anything substantial going against White Sox righty Gavin Floyd, picking up just one run off the starter on an RBI single from Marco Scutaro.

For the recap of the first game, click here.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

- The White Sox’ lone run in the third was an ugly one. After Lackey allowed a leadoff triple to White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, he recovered nicely by getting Ramon Castro swinging. With one man out, Gordon Beckham grounded to first and Victor Martinez came home with the ball.

Quentin appeared to be toast at the plate, but despite having the ball a few steps prior to the outfielder’s arrival, Jarrod Salatalamacchia dropped it when contact was made between the two. This allowed the run to score and Saltalamacchia to be charged an error on the failed fielder’s choice. The play made for one of the two unearned runs for Lackey on the night.

- The Red Sox didn’t exactly put themselves in position to pile it on Gavin Floyd throughout the night and didn’t pose much more of a threat to the bullpen. They put only three runners in scoring position the entire night, only one of whom scored, in the form of Ryan Kalish. The rookie outfielder’s run put the Sox on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Scutaro singled past a diving Beckham and into right on the 88th pitch from Floyd.

- Kalish had a bit of an adventure in the seventh inning, which allowed the White Sox’ second run to score. After Quentin doubled to center off Lackey, Kalish’s errant throw in went into uncharted territory past second base and into foul territory, where Saltalamacchia ran to retrieve it. By the end of the play, a run had scored and Quentin, who improved to 7-for-11 off Lackey, was standing on third. Quentin would go on to score on a sacrifice fly from Castro.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- John Lackey was very good for the first six innings before running into some trouble in the seventh. Though he threw a lot of pitches early due to deep counts and/or baserunners, he got more efficient as the night went on. After taking 28 pitches to retire the first four hitters, including an eight-pitch at-bat that culminated in a strikeout of Alexei Ramirez, Lackey stayed sharp at a more economical rate through the fifth (he averaged 7.0 pitches to his first four batters and 3.25 to his next 16). He then cruised in the sixth, taking 10 pitches to retire the side in order and pick up his seventh strikeout of the night.

Though things did take a turn for the worse in the seventh due to Quentin’s continued dominance of the righty and some poor defense by the Sox, Lackey still had one of his better nights as a member of the Sox. On the night, Lackey gave up four hits and two walks over his seven innings, with just one of the White Sox’ three runs earned. He struck out seven and hit a batter on 116 pitches.

Speaking of hit batsmen, and making the night more impressive for Lackey was the fact that he executed knowing he had to be careful throwing inside on hitters. Eyebrows were raised when Lackey plunked Quentin in the at-bat following his play at the plate, which caused home plate umpire James Hoye to warn both dugouts.

Both managers protested, as the plunking loaded the bases with two down. Lackey came back to strike out Castro to end the inning, getting him out of the jam. Daniel Nava later fell victim to a drilling of his own in the sixth inning but Floyd saw no punishment.

- After going 2-for-4 in the day game with a pair of bad strikeouts, Bill Hall was the bright spot offensively for the Red Sox. Hitting ninth, the second baseman went 2-for-2 with a double off Floyd. Prior to Saturday, Hall had mustered just one hit over his last four games. Hall was pinch-hit for in the seventh with Jed Lowrie, who struck out swinging in each of his two at-bats.

Read More: Carlos Quentin, john lackey, Manny Ramirez,

Postgame Notes: The (Wally) Bell tolled for Hall, Sox

09.04.10 at 6:34 pm ET
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Bill Hall had the pivotal at-bat of the Red Sox’ 3-1 loss to the White Sox. After Jed Lowrie walked on four pitches, Hall stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the second inning, at a time when his team trailed, 1-0.

Hall struck out on three pitches against Chicago starter John Danks. After the game, Hall made clear that he believed home plate umpire Wally Bell was in no small measure responsible.

“We had the bases loaded. I came up. He’d just thrown four straight balls, so obviously it’s a situation where I’m on the take. Umpire gave him a pitch that wasn’t really even close,” said Hall. “When you get behind in the count against a guy like that, give him a chance to make pitches on a guy that can make pitches, it’s going to be tough. Next batter came up, [Darnell McDonald, who grounded into a 6-4 fielder's choice], same thing.

“When you give a guy a chance to make pitches and you’re worried about swinging at pitches you don’t normally swing at, it puts you in a bind as a hitter. you start to expand your zone and swing at pitches because you don’t know if he’s going to call it a strike or call it a ball. We squandered an opportunity right there. Obviously, one pitch shouldn’t define an at-bat, but it definitely can put you in a hole. He made pitches after those.”

Jason Varitek will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday, catching four or five innings. He might also DH on Monday in the PawSox’ season finale.

Mike Lowell discussed further the non-displaced rib fracture that he suffered on Aug. 20.

It has been an amazing run, of course, for the ribs of Red Sox players. Jacoby Ellsbury has missed almost the entire year after his collision with Adrian Beltre in April. Jeremy Hermida missed several weeks after he met Beltre’s knee.

Now, Lowell becomes the third member of the club to suffer a fracture that is rarely seen among baseball players.

“Beltre didn’t even hit me,” marveled Lowell, of an injury he incurred from a run-in with Blue Jays infielder John McDonald. “I just think it’s a freak thing.”

That said, Lowell feels that his game is not impaired by the injury, which was diagnosed as a fracture following an MRI and CT scan on Friday.

“It bothers me to sleep or if I get fooled swinging, so don’t get fooled,” Lowell offered. “They told me as long as I can deal with it, I can play. Hurting my hip last year, this is a much lesser inconvenience. Obviously I feel it sometimes. And when I finish all my cage routine, that’s when I feel it. I don’t think it changes my swing so I’m cool with that.”

J.D. Drew and David Ortiz were a combined 0-for-8 with four strikeouts, with all but one of those outs coming against White Sox lefty Danks. Ortiz is hitting .205/.259/.315/.574 against lefties, and Drew is hitting .183/.278/.290/.568 against them.

Read More: bill Hall, Jason Varitek, mike lowell, wally bell

Buchholz mulls a hard-luck loss

09.04.10 at 6:05 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz was well aware of his struggles against the White Sox. He entered Saturday with an 0-1 record and 14.08 ERA in his two disastrous outings against Chicago.

On Saturday, he suffered another defeat against the opponent. And yet, in Boston’s 3-1 loss, it was a very different scenario that unfolded.

For most of the day, Buchholz threw pitches how and where he wanted. Yet the White Sox hitters proved capable of fighting off one tough pitch after another, knocking Buchholz out after five innings in which he allowed two runs, sending him to his first loss since July 21, and ending a string of seven straight quality starts.

“I’ve never really fared well against this team,” Buchholz shrugged. “They put together some good at-bats, fouled off some good pitches, pitch count got up really quick. I got ahead in the count most cases. They battled off some good pitchers’ pitches, found a way to get on base and score some runs.”

The White Sox clearly had a game plan against the young right-hander, whose 2.25 ERA leads the American League. Hitters such as Konerko, Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones rifled hits down the right-field line, staying back on the ball and thus putting themselves in a better position not to be beaten on changeups.

While Buchholz was not hit hard, allowing just six hits, Chicago proved opportunistic in stringing together enough offense to produce their two runs.

“You work to execute pitches. When you execute them and it doesn’t work, it gets a little frustrating,” said Buchholz. “They did a really good job of that today, especially their guys who have a lot of power to the pull side. They gave up there and went the other way. it kind of foiled my gameplan. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to make them hit it to the other part of the park and that made it worse.”

After he needed just eight pitches to sail through a perfect first inning, he worked through a 22-pitch second inning (highlighted by a nine-pitch at-bat by Paul Konerko that culminated in a single to right) and then a 32-pitch third inning that featured an 11-pitch at-bat (the longest of the season against Buchholz) from Gordon Beckham and an eight-pitch battle with Juan Pierre.

Buchholz had just nine plate appearances of nine or more pitches entering the game. On Saturday, he had two such battles for just the second time all year, something that hastened his exit.

The White Sox quickly elevated Buchholz’ pitch count on a day when the Red Sox were keeping him on a fairly short leash. The Sox are considering having Buchholz (15-6) work Wednesday on three days’ rest. On a day when the team was losing, and Buchholz’ pitch count had elevated to 95 through his five innings of work, the team elected not to send him out for the sixth inning.

“The pitch count got up there really quick. I felt like I was throwing the ball well, I felt like I had good stuff, but every single one of the guys in the box battled,” said Buchholz. “If they wanted me to come back [on Wednesday], if I got over 100 pitches, it might have been a little tough for me to come back on three days rest. They told me the situation before the game. That’s the way it is.”

Tek to return with PawSox on Sunday

09.04.10 at 5:42 pm ET
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For the first time since breaking a bone in his right foot in late June, Jason Varitek has been cleared to return to game action.

The team announced following Saturday’s Game 1 loss to the White Sox that Varitek will catch four-to-five innings for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday at McCoy Stadium.

Varitek will then DH for the PawSox in their season finale on Monday afternoon before a possible return to the Red Sox active roster on Tuesday. Varitek met with team doctors on Saturday to get final clearance to return to game action.

Earlier Saturday, manager Terry Francona said the team captain could be nearing a return to game action following a meeting Saturday with doctors. Varitek has been out of action with a broken foot since taking a Carl Crawford foul ball off his right foot on June 30 against Tampa Bay.

“He’s going to meet with the medical people and doctors today,” Francona said. “We’ll see what they’ll allow him to do. Hopefully, he’ll be able to go play, we’ll see. I know time is running out for the Triple-A guys so today is an important day and important meeting for him.”

The Triple-A PawSox conclude their season with a pair of home games Sunday and Monday at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket against Syracuse.

Read More: Jason Varitek, MLB, PawSox, Pawtucket Red Sox

Closing Time: White Sox 3, Red Sox 1

09.04.10 at 4:00 pm ET
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On a day when Clay Buchholz did not have his best stuff, counterpart John Danks of the White Sox did. Buchholz was run out of the game after just five innings, his pitch count elevated to 95. Though he yielded just a pair of runs, it was not enough on a day when Boston could manage just a single run in seven innings against Danks, the 25-year-old who has quietly emerged as one of the best left-handers in the league.

The Red Sox dropped a 3-1 decision to Chicago in the first contest of the day-night double-header, moving them 7 1/2 games behind the Rays in the wild card. No team in baseball history has ever come back from a Sept. deficit of more than seven games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Clay Buchholz saw his longshot Cy Young candidacy take a shot. Though he held the White Sox to two runs, he went just five innings, and was pulled after 95 pitches in favor of Scott Atchison.

That brought to an end his streak of seven straight quality starts, the longest by a Red Sox pitcher this season.

David Ortiz continued his struggles, particularly against left-handed pitchers. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, including an 0-for-3 performance with two punchouts against White Sox southpaw Jordan Danks. Since. Aug. 21, Ortiz is 1-for-18 with a double and eight strikeouts against left-handers. Overall, Ortiz has now gone 13 games without a homer, hitting .192/.250/.308/.558 with 16 strikeouts in 52 at-bats.

Bill Hall‘s strikeout problem recurred at a critical time. After falling behind, 1-0, in the top of he second inning, the Red Sox loaded with bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. But Hall struck out on three straight pitches. Since his last walk on July 28, he has struck out 28 times in 82 plate appearances.

Though Hall did go on to have two singles (one of which plated the only Red Sox run of the day), he also struck out once more. He is on pace to become one of the most prolific strikeout machines in team history. Hall has 89 strikeouts in 312 plate appearances this year.

Hall has a good chance of finishing second in team history for the fewest plate appearances ever by a player to reach 100 whiffs, with only Mark Bellhorn (who fanned 109 times in 335 plate appearances in 2005) likely to prevent Hall from taking the title.

–The Red Sox mustered little with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-8 in such circumstances.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

–Jed Lowrie had a solid day at the plate and in the field, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. He also was part of three double plays that the team turned, delivering a strong pivot on two of them and initiating the third.

Dustin Richardson inherited a two-on, one-out jam and worked his way out of it in the seventh inning. Though he went to three-ball counts against both batters he faced, he came back to punch out Juan Pierre and then get an inning-ending groundout.

Pedroia to Tito: I was a ‘moron’

09.04.10 at 2:45 pm ET
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According to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, it was a fitful and uneasy night for Dustin Pedroia following very successful surgery on his healing left foot.

But at least his sense of humor is still in tact.

“He actually sent me a picture on his [cell] phone before he went into surgery. He took a picture of himself. He called himself a moron, which I agree with. Then [wife] Kelli called me, which I appreciated and he actually called me a little bit later. Then he actually called me a little bit later and sounded good.

“Then from what I understand, like a lot of people, he got a little nauseous, you know, it happens,” Francona said. “He went home and had a long night, but talked to him this morning and he sounded pretty upbeat. It sounds like, I’m sure Dr. [George] Theodore will have a report for you guys, but it sounded really encouraging from everything.

“From when they went in and saw the amount of healing, that it was in a line. It just sounded really optimistic. So that was good to hear. Certainly rather hear that than have them come out and say, ‘Oh boy, this isn’t what we thought it was going to be and things like that.’”

Perhaps most encouraging was the news that come Dec. 1 or thereabouts, Pedroia should be just about on track for a normal offseason conditioning program.

“That was a big reason why they did it [Friday],” Francona said. “That will give him, whatever the timetable is, four-to-six weeks with crutches, that’s basically what, three months? That gets Dec. 1, right? That’s basically when guys, and I know Pedey works before that, but that’s really when the winter program kind of starts, so yeah, he should have pretty much a normal winter, which should be terrific.”

In short, Francona said there’s reason to think Pedroia will make a full and complete recovery from Friday’s procedure to put a pin in his left foot to help heal the broken bone.

“It sounded really encouraging,” Francona said. “When they went in and saw the amount of healing and that it was in a line, it just sounded really optimistic so that was good to hear. Certainly, we’re glad to hear that have [doctors] come out and say, ‘Oh boy, this isn’t what we thought it was going to be.’”

After the Chicago White Sox were awarded Manny Ramirez this week on a straight waiver claim from the Los Angeles Dodgers, the slugger gets another chance to return to Fenway Park this weekend for a three-game series.

Asked if he thinks Ramirez can make an impact on the American League Central race, Francona sounded hopeful his team could get the job done like they did in June when Manny came back in Dodger blue.

“I hope not this weekend,” Francona said. The question was asked by New York Daily News sports writer Roger Rubin toward the end of Saturday’s briefing with reporters. Francona added, “You came all the way up here for that?”

The White Sox enter Saturday’s doubleheader with a 73-60 mark, four games behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.

Read More: Dodgers, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez
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