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Josh Beckett hyperextends left knee in another mound mishap

07.08.11 at 9:28 pm ET
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Despite leading 8-3, and having thrown just 68 pitches, Josh Beckett left Friday’s game against the Orioles after five innings after slipping on a wet mound at Fenway and suffering a mildly hyperextended left knee. The Red Sox say he left for precautionary reasons.

Beckett’s plant foot slipped after throwing Ball 1 to Felix Pie. Red Sox manager Terry Francona and trainer Greg Barajas came racing out of the dugout to look at their star ace, who is leading the staff with a 7-3 mark and a 2.12 ERA. Beckett stayed in the game but was not as effective as he had been in throwing four shutout innings and leading, 8-0.

He eventually walked Pie and Robert Andino, both of whom came around to score as Beckett surrendered RBI singles to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. Derrick Leeopened the fifth with a mammoth homer off the Volvo sign in left.

Beckett missed over a month last year with a sore back when he slipped on a wet Yankee Stadium mound. Matt Albers, who relieved the injured Jon Lester on Tuesday, came on to pitch the sixth for the Red Sox.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, hyperextended left knee, Josh Beckett, MLB

Red Sox agree to deals with Dominican prospects Flores, Romero

07.08.11 at 9:23 pm ET
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The Red Sox have agreed to terms with a pair of 16-year-old Dominican prospects, according to team Senior Vice President of Player Personnel and International Scouting Craig Shipley. Shortstop Raymer Flores and right-hander Deoscar Romero both have agreed to terms with the Sox; the contracts will become official tomorrow, when the two players sign their contracts. Romero will receive a $600,000 bonus. ESPNDeportes.com reports that Flores will receive a $900,000 bonus.

The Sox view Flores, a switch-hitter, as a player whose advanced defensive skills will allow him to play shortstop. Shipley said that “for his age, he is a very, very good young hitter.”

Baseball America lists Flores, 16, as a 5-foot-9, 155-pound player who is expected to fill out as he matures physically. In Flores and Manuel Marcos, a center fielder who reached an agreement for an $800,000 bonus last week, the Sox have signed a pair of highly athletic players with middle-of-the-field defensive skills and advanced offensive approaches for their young ages.

Romero, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher who throws 89-91 mph who turned 16 in April. He also features a curveball and changeup, with the curve being considered the more advanced pitch. He has an advanced delivery for his age.

“He is very young and moldable,” said Shipley. “And he is very projectable.”

Read More: deoscar romero, july 2, manuel marcos, raymel flores

Weiland on promotion: ‘I definitely think I’m ready’

07.08.11 at 8:43 pm ET
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It has been a couple of days since Triple-A right-hander Kyle Weiland received word that he would be making his major league debut on Sunday for the Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles. The 24-year-old, a third-round pick of the Sox in 2008, has been sitting uncomfortably on the news for a couple of days, unable to share it with anyone — including his wife and family.

But the decision to have Weiland start on Sunday became public on Friday, and the right-hander — who is 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 93 innings for the PawSox — admitted to PawSox play-by-play man Dan Hoard that he is elated for the opportunity.

“It’€™s something that I’€™ve been working for for a long time. It’€™s everybody’€™s dream and goal since they were little kids,” said Weiland. “The fact that I’€™m getting the opportunity on Sunday is a tremendous honor, and I’€™m really excited about it. I can’€™t wait for it.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that the Red Sox are excited about the opportunity to call up a pitcher who has had as good a first three months of the season as anyone in the organization. Weiland has shown a four-pitch mix — a heavy, sinking two-seam fastball, a swing-and-miss curveball that he uses to both sides of the plate, a cutter that has become a difference-maker for him against left-handers and a changeup — to perform with tremendous consistency. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: dan hoard, kyle weiland,

Red Sox vs. Orioles Live Blog, July 8

07.08.11 at 7:05 pm ET
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Josh Beckett will look to close out his All-Star first half with a bang against the Orioles. He is 7-3 with a 2.12 ERA, in what has arguably been his best half-season ever. The Sox are 11-5 when he’s taken the mound. He’ll oppose left-hander Zach Britton.

For all the latest news, updates and analysis from the game, join the live blog, below.

Red Sox vs. Orioles, July 8

Why Yamaico Navarro – and not Josh Reddick- is getting the call in left

07.08.11 at 6:22 pm ET
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After playing shortstop and third base in the majors, Yamaico Navarro was penciled by Red Sox manager Terry Francona to make his first-ever start in the outfield on Friday at Fenway.

“We saw him run balls down this spring in BP and he was doing it [well],’€ Francona said. ‘€œA lot of guys do do it. But it seemed like – as an organization – maybe we ought to think about doing this. We wanted him to get his feet on the ground in Triple-A first. He started out hitting real well and then he got hurt. Then they moved him to both left and then right. They say he’s been really good.”

Indeed, Navarro handled 27 chances without an error in the outfield.

“He’s got a good clock, defensively, like when the ball’s hit to him at short or third, and it helps to have a arm like that,” Francona said. “You never see him rush, he’s got a real good idea, a real good awareness of where the runner is. And it seems like that’s translated to the outfield, also.’€

Clocking is something the Red Sox have seen Navarro do with the bat, hitting .286 with one homer in two starts at short and one at third base.

He hit .283 last year with Pawtucket before being called up in August, collecting just six hits in 42 at-bats. He was off to a hot start this year with the PawSox before a strained oblique forced him to miss time. When he came back, the Red Sox wanted to see if what they saw in the spring would translate to games that counted. So, the PawSox played him in the outfield 11 times, including eight times in right, three in left and once in center.

Francona said he’€™s not worried about Navarro learning how to play the Green Monster behind him.

“It’s his first time but he’s a really good athlete so no more than anybody else,’€ Francona said.

Navarro has been a work-in-progress for the Red Sox, a player with loads of raw talent, both at the plate and in the field but Francona said is being very careful not to overload the 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic about his aggressive hitting approach.

“He’€™s kind of a hard guy,’€ Francona said. ‘€œHe doesn’t speak a ton of English and I don’t know how comfortable he is in the early part of his career here opening up too much. Last year when he got cold and he swung at everything in sight and he was nervous and trying to be too aggressive. Just harness that a little bit because if he does he’s got great bat speed, a little bit like [Josh] Reddick. That ball comes off his bat like something special.”

Meanwhile, Francona confirmed that Clay Buchholz will throw on Sunday for the first time to test his strained lower back, which received a cortisone injection this week. Francona, however, said the team is still a ways from committing to a timetable for a post-All Star return.

‘€œWe’ll send him home because we don’t want him throwing on his own too much without supervision,’€ Francona said of the plan following Sunday’€™s flat-ground session. ‘€œWhen we get back, hopefully we can get him on that throwing program and ramp him up a little bit but again, it’s all going to be according to how he feels.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, josh reddick, MLB

Kyle Weiland gets the call Sunday and provides a silver lining

07.08.11 at 4:56 pm ET
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Righthander Kyle Weiland will make his major league debut on Sunday in the pre-All Star break finale against the Orioles at Fenway Park. The 24-year-old will be taking the place of Jon Lester in the Red Sox rotation, as Lester went on the disabled list this week with a left lat strain suffered in Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jays.

One of the factors figuring in for the Red Sox is that Weiland will be well-rested, having come off an impressive start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, allowing six hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings against Rochester in a win over the Red Wings.

“He’s really been doing well,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said in making the announcement before Friday’s game. “So as much as has gone wrong with some health, this is the flip side where it’s really exciting. Kind of looking forward to it.”

Weiland is 6-2 this season, with a 2.33 ERA in 10 starts. He impressed the Red Sox in spring training with his live arm and earned his first big league assignment by showing consistent control at Triple-A, striking out 59 and walking 19 in 58 innings for Pawtucket.

The Red Sox decided not to go with Alfredo Aceves, who has already made four spot starts for the Red Sox this season.

“We certainly could’ve but again, the way our bullpen is situated, he gives us such a luxury of pitching short, pitching long and again, he may start again sometime but this kid is lined up and has been pretty hot and would like send him out there and see how he does,” Francona said.

The team also passed on Kevin Millwood as an option, which would’ve meant calling him up from Triple-A and adding him to the 40-man roster.

Francona has been a big believer in the Red Sox rookie development program, held every winter in Boston to teach young players the Red Sox way. Weiland is a product of that program.

‘€œHe went through our rookie development program, and that’s good, too,’€ Francona said. ‘€œBut he’s throwing the ball really well, missing a lot of bats. He’s come up with a cutter along with his breaking ball and fastball, he’s having a lot of success there. He came to camp this spring, which is good, because now that it’s time for him to pitch he won’t be introducing himself to everybody. I’m sure he’ll have butterflies and be nervous but guys know who he is and our catchers have caught him.

“He’s just starting to mature and sometimes that happens at different rates but he’s always had a good arm.’€

Read More: alfredo aceves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester

Kevin Millar on M&M: ‘We’ve waited around’ long enough for J.D. Drew

07.08.11 at 3:54 pm ET
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Former Red Sox player and current MLB Network and NESN analyst Kevin Millar joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon to talk about the state of the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With floundering outfielder Mike Cameron shipped off to Florida, J.D. Drew has taken even more criticism for his lack of production this season. When asked what he would do with the struggling 35-year-old, Millar stepped into the role of general manager.

“I would call the Mets if I’€™m Theo [Epstein],” Millar said. “This is just me. I’€™m being the GM. Theo’€™s my assistant now. I call the Mets, I say, ‘€˜Hey Sandy [Alderson]. You take my stuff, I’€™ll take your stuff, your dead weight.’€™ J.D. Drew is dead weight for me, and I’€™ll take Carlos Beltran right now because I think he can help me in a run down the second half of the season. You’€™ve heard the Mets trying to get rid of Beltran the last couple of years.

“That’€™s what I try to do. I try to get creative, because the bottom line is ‘€” I mean, personally, I like J.D. Drew. He’€™s a nice human being. He’€™s just a nice man, but it’€™s hard for me to watch sometimes.”

Added Millar: “He’€™s a talented kid, but I think we’€™ve waited around. He should have been 30 [home runs] and 100 [RBIs] for the last 10 years. You’€™re never going to see it. He plays good defense. He’€™s got a good eye. He gets on base. But .230 and whatever it is in right field, there’€™s got to be an adjustment.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, carlos beltran, David Ortiz

Trade Deadline: Mets GM says Jose Reyes trade ‘very unlikely’

07.08.11 at 9:22 am ET
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Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told ESPN’€™s Adam Rubin on Thursday that it was ‘€œvery unlikely’€ the team would trade Jose Reyes during the season.

Rubin’€™s tweet backs up a New York Post story on Monday by Joel Sherman in which Alderson said that not only would the team not trade Reyes, but the Mets would try to sign Reyes to a long-term contract in the offseason.

Reyes leads the NL with a .354 batting average and has a career-best OBP of .398.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, jose reyes, New York Mets, Sandy Alderson

Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Josh Beckett vs. Zach Britton

07.08.11 at 9:00 am ET
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For those wondering if Josh Beckett will be available to pitch in Wednesday’€™s All-Star Game, why yes, yes he will. The Red Sox ace will take the mound for the final time before the break Friday night ‘€“ he would’€™ve been ineligible to pitch in the Midsummer Classic had he pitched on Sunday instead ‘€“ against the Orioles and their starter Zach Britton.

Beckett (7-3, 2.12 ERA) was one of the easiest All-Star selections to predict when the rosters were announced last Sunday thanks to his low ERA that stands second in the American League behind only Jered Weaver of the Angels. That stat got to its current level thanks to a strong performance in his last start on that same Sunday against the Astros in which he allowed just one earned run on five hits over eight innings while striking out a season-high 11, the righty’€™s most K’€™s since April 27, 2008. That great start was a bounceback one considering it followed his worst start of the season (6 IP, 5 ER on June 28 against the Phillies), thus proving that that outing was just more of a blip on the radar than anything else.

That being said, this current set of O’€™s could give Beckett a fight. Baltimore had scored the most runs (four on April 27) against Beckett of any team in 2011 before the Phillies dethroned them. As a team, the Orioles are hitting a very respectable .283 against Beckett and are led by Derrek Lee (5-for-9, 2 HR) and Vladimir Guerrero (.280, 2 HR), whose 59 career plate appearances make him Beckett’€™s fifth-most faced opponent.

While the rookie Britton (6-6, 3.47) has not come close to facing any major-leaguer 59 times, he too has some success against the Red Sox this season. In his only career start against Boston, the lefty allowed just one run over six innings of work in a 4-1 Baltimore win on April 26. Since that day though, Britton has earned only two more wins while losing five decisions. In five June starts alone, he was 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA to cause his season ERA to jump from a sub-3.00 level to its current state. Britton could be well-rested though as he hasn’€™t thrown more than 100 pitches since he threw 101 way back on May 24.

J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek were the five Sox hitters to scatter hits against Britton in his lone start in Boston while Kevin Youkilis produced the only RBI on a sac fly in the fourth. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Josh Beckett, Zach Britton,

Trade Deadline: Yankees reportedly scout Nationals reliever Sean Burnett

07.08.11 at 8:39 am ET
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Fox Sports’€™ Ken Rosenthal tweeted Thursday that the Yankees sent a scout to Nationals Park.

Rosenthal says the Yankees are interested in left-handed reliever Sean Burnett, though neither he nor MLB.com’€™s Bill Ladson has reported any actual discussions between the two teams.

Mike Axisa of MLBTradeRumors.com wrote Thursday that Burnett would be an affordable lefty reliever for the Yankees, who have lacked that since losing Pedro Feliciano to a shoulder injury in April.

Although Sean Burnett is 3-5 with a 5.76 ERA this season, he has held lefties to a .224 batting average against him. He is due $2.3 million next year, with a $3.5 million club option for 2013 and a $250,000 club option.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, New York Yankees, Pedro Felciano, Sean Burnett
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