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Lowell goes 1-for-5 in ‘so-so’ debut

07.22.10 at 11:48 pm ET
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — By his own admission, Mike Lowell’s 1-for-5 performance for Triple-A Pawtucket wasn’t his best day.

But a veteran like Lowell knows what to get out of a start as a DH in a minor league rehab assignment. Especially when it’s your first in live game action in over four weeks.

“It was alright,” Lowell said. “I think for seeing live pitching for the first time in over a month it was kind of so-so. I think my timing was off a little. I felt a lot more comfortable as at-bats went on. Obviously, there’s a purpose to being here.”

Lowell made his first rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday night and went 1-for-5 in Pawtucket’s 5-4, 10-inning win over Toledo as the veteran infielder attempts to come back from yet another bout with a strained right hip. Scouts were on hand at McCoy stadium from the Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers and Royals.

With one out and a runner on third in the first inning, Lowell popped out weakly to second base on a 1-1 pitch. He struck out on four pitches in the third and flew out several feet from the warning track in left leading off the sixth. In his final at-bat in the eighth, Lowell grounded out to third after Daniel Nava reached second base on a throwing error to open the inning.

With none out and Nava at first in the bottom of the 10th, Lowell hit a bloop single to shallow center to move Daniel Nava to third before Nava scored the game-winning run on a single by Lars Anderson down the right field line. Lowell went on the disabled list on June 23 with a strained right hip and received a shot in the hip on Monday.

But most importantly – at least for Lowell himself – he ran out of the batter’s box in the eighth and tenth innings without any pain.

“I’m not anticipating waking up in any pain,” he said with a typically dry smile. “My biggest concern was the running and that felt good so I’m happy with that. I definitely want to swing bat better.”

Lowell will get the day off on Friday as Pawtucket opens a weekend series in Columbus, Ohio. Lowell expects to play back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, including playing one of the games as a third baseman.

Nava, playing his first game back at Triple-A since being optioned earlier in the day, tied the game, 3-3, on a long three-run homer in the third. Nava batted .286 in 29 games for Boston, including a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the majors against Philadelphia at Fenway Park on June 12.

Read More: Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, mike lowell, Orioles

Report: Red Sox acquire Hannahan

07.22.10 at 6:58 pm ET
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According to a tweet from Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Dan Hoard, the Red Sox have acquired infielder Jack Hannahan from the Seattle Mariners. The 30-year-old has played parts of four seasons with the Tigers, Athletics and Mariners. It is unknown who the Red Sox may have given up in the deal.

Hannahan has not played in the majors this season and has spent his time at Triple A Tacoma. In 63 games for the Rainiers this season, Hannahan has hit .228 with with a .331 on-base percentage, five homers, and 33 runs batted in.

In his major league career, Hannahan has hit .224 with an .311 OBP, 16 home runs, and 90 RBI. He has played 232 of his 290 games at third base.

Read More: Jack Hannahan,

Ricciardi on Big Show: Sox won’t do ‘something crazy’

07.22.10 at 6:19 pm ET
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ESPN baseball analyst J.P. Ricciardi joined The Big Show on Friday afternoon to talk about the mentality of the Red Sox approaching the trade deadline, the chaos surrounding July 31, and the etiquette between general managers when trying to make a deal.

‘€œI think it’€™s safe to say that the Red Sox are not going to trade Casey Kelly and any of their really, really good prospects because they know they’€™re a big part of what their future is going to be,’€ Ricciardi said. ‘€œI can see them doing some minor things, addressing the bullpen and maybe addressing a bat somewhere, but I don’€™t think you’€™re going to see them going above and beyond and doing something crazy.’€

Ricciardi also touched on the probability of big-name players such as Prince Fielder, Jayson Werth, Dan Haren, and Roy Oswalt being moved over the next nine days.

Below are the highlights of the conversation. Visit The Big Show audio on demand page to hear the interview.

It’€™s interesting how some teams handle the pressure of the trade deadline different.

A younger team probably doesn’€™t handle it as well as a veteran club. I think the veterans have been through it before. They can even talk a young kid off the ledge and tell him, ‘€œHey, all you have to do is just keep playing, you don’€™t control this. Just keep doing your job and concentrate on the things you can control, which is how you go and play.’€ I have to believe that some of the younger kids that hear their named mentioned, especially for the first time, are probably a little sketchy and a little nervous at this point. This is really the worst week. From Sunday until the 31st that last week, it’€™s not comfortable walking around guys. As much as your trying to assure guys certain things, there’€™s just a lot of tension around. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: J.P. Ricciardi, Roy Oswalt, Theo Epstein,

Video: The Full Count – Trade Deadline Edition

07.22.10 at 2:10 pm ET
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Bradford and Speier go 3 Up 3 Down, discuss the Sox trade interests, and Rob defends the makeup of the team.

Read More: mike cameron, Red Sox, Trade deadline,

Red Sox vs. Mariners matchups, 7/22

07.22.10 at 10:16 am ET
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Following a 2-5 start after the All-Star break, the Red Sox look to rebound Thursday night as they begin a four-game series against the Mariners in Seattle.

The Sox will hand the ball to John Lackey, who sports a 9-5 record with a 4.65 ERA. In his last start against the Rangers on July 17, Lackey got a no-decision in the Sox’ only win in the four-game series. He allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out three.

The Mariners will turn to Ryan Rowland-Smith, who holds a 1-9 record with a 6.18 ERA. The Australian’€™s only win this season came on June 20, when he defeated the Reds during interleague play. In four starts this month, Rowland-Smith has allowed 26 hits, 17 runs and three home runs.

Kevin Youkilis has experienced great success against the Mariners pitcher, with two doubles and four RBI. The Sox will need Youkilis to help spark an offense that only recorded 10 runs in three games against the A’€™s.

Thursday’€™s game marks the first meeting between the two clubs this year. In 2009, the Mariners won the series 4-2.

Red Sox vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith

Marco Scutaro (5 plate appearances): .200 AVG./.200 OBP/.200 SLG, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (4): .250/.250/.250, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (4): .500/.500/1.000, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 1 strikeout

Ryan Shealy (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI

J.D. Drew (1): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Kevin Cash (1): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

The Mariners starter has never faced Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, Darnell McDonald, Jed Lowrie, Mike Cameron and Dusty Brown.

Mariners vs. John Lackey

Ichiro Suzuki (85 plate appearances): .306 AVG/.330 OBP/.376 SLG, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts

Jose Lopez (40): .300/.317/.425, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 6 strikeouts

Milton Bradley (17): .176/.364/.294, 2 doubles, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts

Franklin Gutierrez (11): .182/.250/.182, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Russell Branyan (6): .500/.500/1.167, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Josh Wilson (5): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jack Wilson (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Josh Bard (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Ryan Langerhans (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Casey Kotchman (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Rob Johnson (2): .000/.333/.000, 1 walks

The Red Sox starter has never faced Chone Figgins, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders.

Read More: john lackey, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Rowland-Smith,

Olney on D&C: Brewers’ Hart a possibility for Sox

07.22.10 at 9:21 am ET
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ESPN’€™s Buster Olney joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the current rumors and speculations regarding the Red Sox. With the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching, Olney discussed a few names that the Sox may explore and talked about the possibility of the club picking up David Ortiz‘€™ option in 2011.

On if general manager Theo Epstein has to make a decision to be a buyer, seller or an obtainer:

‘€œI do think he has that decision, and I do think that is kind of what they’€™ve been waiting on. Give it more time to decide whether to pour resources into the 2010 team to make sure they are not in a situation where they are pouring paint down a hole. … And it’€™s interesting because the Phillies are in the same situation where they are kind of sitting there saying, ‘You know what, lets see if we can add guys who cannot only help us, maybe get back into this thing in 2010, but guys who can help us next year.’ That’€™s why a Corey Hart might be a good fit for the Red Sox, and I know yesterday activity around the Brewers outfielder really picked up a lot more.

“And maybe if they start to fall out of it a little bit more, maybe they get less interested in a guy like Scott Downs, the reliever from Toronto who is a free agent at the end of this year. Go for the guys who have four to five years of service time rather than go for players who are going to be eligible for free agency in the fall.’€

On if the Sox will be fine with just having their injured players return and not making a trade:

‘€œI also think another factor is they have to look at the landscape of their division and say, ‘You know what, even if we add something, we spend resources to improve the 2010 team, bottom line is we maybe chasing the two best teams in baseball.’ That’€™s a dynamic they have to deal with and I think the GMs in the other divisions really don’€™t have to worry about.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Corey Hart, david dejesus, Scott Downs,

Another fantastic Fenway finish

07.21.10 at 10:17 pm ET
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There was so much appropriate about the ending of Wednesday’s first professional soccer match at Fenway Park in 42 years.

The game was tied late. The game was forced into extra ‘innings’ and a team named Celtic came out on top.

What more would Boston fans want in the inaugural Fenway Football Challenge?

Paul McGowan scored the decisive goal in extra penalty kicks as Celtic F.C. defeated Sporting Club de Portugal before 32,162 in the inaugural Fenway Football Challenge Wednesday night at Fenway Park. McGowan’s goal came just moments after Liedson’s shot went over everything and into the right field grandstands, giving Celtic the 6-5 edge in penalty kicks.

Helder Postiga‘s header in the 82nd minute lifted Sporting C.P. into a 1-1 draw in regulation. Diogo Salomao just missed moments earlier, hitting the crossbar on a header, drawing Celtic keeper Lukasz Zaluska out of position and allowing Postiga to knot the match.

“It’s not like your normal set-up,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. “And it’s the history and tradition of the stadium, as well.”

Georgios Samaras scored on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute to give Celtic the lead in the first Fenway Football Challenge.

But the game was secondary to the event itself. Just ask Lennon.

“I think we enjoyed it,” Lennon said. “It’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world and to play a football game here, it was pretty unique.”

Lennon was not alone in his awe of Fenway on Wednesday night and the near-sellout crowd to watch an exhibition match.

“It was a little strange playing here,” Sporting C.P. manager Paulo Sergio admitted. “We have the habit of the crowd being in line with the pitch and when I looked today, it seemed too long. I had the impression that to the left of me was too large, said Sporting manager Paulo Sergio. But, it is a mythical stadium and I will from here become a fan of the Red Sox and be more curious about baseball.”

As is the case with Red Sox fans, the following of Celtic F.C. is loyal and well-traveled. This was a payback of sorts for Celtic to its loyal fan base.

“We knew there was a huge following, obviously the Irish and the second and third-generation Irish, it was important to come and try and connect with the supporters and important to take the team here and have all the fans over here see them in the flesh, as it were,” Lennon said. “It was important to put on a performance that sent the fans home happy because a lot of people have a traveled a long, long way to come and see them tonight, and I know the boys appreciated that and I hope the fans appreciated it as well.”

Samaras, who played for Greece in the recent World Cup, had several chances in the first and second half before getting tripped by Anderson Polga on an offensive move near the left field line. The match was a “friendly” or exhibition as both teams get ready for their regular premier leagues in Europe.

The match was the first on the Fenway pitch since Pele and Santos F.C. played the Boston Beacons in an exhibition on July 9, 1968.

Read More: Celtic F.C., Celtics, Neil Lennon, Pele

After memorable run, Nava sent back to minors

07.21.10 at 8:51 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava told reporters in Oakland that he had been optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket following his club’s loss to the Athletics on Wednesday. The outfielder, who became the second player in baseball history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in his big league career, was sent back to the PawSox in order to clear a roster spot for Jeremy Hermida.

Nava hit .286 with a .381 OBP, .832 OPS, one homer and 16 RBI in 29 games. The switch-hitter was particularly impressive against right-handers, hitting .319 with a .390 OBP and .911 OPS. In his final at-bat before being sent down, Nava lined out to center field as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to the A’s.

The 27-year-old took his return to the minors in stride.

“I’ve got things I need to work on, and I’ll go back there, try to work on that stuff, try to focus on that stuff, wait for another opportunity,” he told reporters in Oakland.

Hermida is set to be activated for Thursday’s game against the Mariners. He has missed the last six weeks as a result of a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre on June 6 that left him with five fractured ribs. Hermida is hitting .217 with a .653 OPS, five homers and 27 RBI this year. During five minor league rehab games with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Hermida hit .211 with a .566 OPS.

Read More: daniel nava, Jeremy Hermida,

Closing time: Athletics 6, Red Sox 4

07.21.10 at 6:39 pm ET
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Jack Cust and Matt Watson each homered in spoling Clay Buchholz‘ return from the disabled list on Wednesday as the Athletics’ bats once again proved stronger than those of the visiting team in a 6-4 Red Sox loss.

Jed Lowrie filled in admirably for Marco Scutaro in his first game of the season, while Adrian Beltre supplied the Sox with the team’s only homer. Though the Sox mustered four runs off of A’s starter Gio Gonzalez, the offense was silenced for much of the lefty’s start and failed to tack on a run after the 24-year-old’s departure.

With the loss, the Red Sox have opened their 10-game road trip by dropping two of three to the Athletics. They now head to Seattle for four with the Mariners before closing out the road trip with a three-game set in Anaheim.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Buchholz was clearly off his game in his return from the disabled list. He was charged with five runs on the day (two of which he left to Scott Atchison upon departing in the fifth inning) and was unable to escape the fifth inning.

Buchholz struggled in each of his four-plus frames, facing 24 batters en route to recording just 13 outs. The cleanest he looked in the game was in the fourth inning, as the only slip-up Buchholz had was a walk to Cliff Pennington after Rajai Davis reached on a throwing error by Lowrie.

For Buchholz, it was his shortest start of the season to not be cut short by injury. He went just one inning against the Giants on June 26 before leaving with a hamstring injury suffered while running the bases.

With the loss, Buchholz fell to 10-5 on the season. Despite giving up more than a run per inning on Wednesday, his earned run average remains an impressive 2.81.

– Gonzalez didn’€™t have much trouble handling a struggling Red Sox offense, turning in a quality start and cruising through the second, third, and fourth innings.

After allowing an RBI single to Beltre in the first inning, Gonzalez settled down nicely, escaping the 28-pitch inning without further damage and allowing no Red Sox hitters to reach in the following three innings.

The Sox were able to tack on a run in the fifth inning, but the frame that proved to be accompanied by most the most trouble for was the sixth. After allowing a leadoff single to Kevin Youkilis, Gonzalez served up a two-run homer to Beltre. On the day Gonzalez gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out three.

-The Red Sox failed to make the most of a struggling Henry Rodriguez in the seventh inning while trailing, 6-4. The flame-throwing right-hander was routinely bordering on walking the Sox’€™ hitters, as he ran the count full to four of the five batters he saw.

Though Lowrie and David Ortiz were able to walk in succession, the Sox didn’€™t put any runners on base against Rodriguez until there were two out. Youkilis ended the inning by flying to deep right’€¦ on a full count.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Jed Lowrie had a promising return, though not in the field. Lowrie committed the throwing error that put Davis on base in the fourth inning. The error didn’€™t come back to haunt the Red Sox in the inning, and much of the rest of Lowrie’€™s performance was solid.

Coming off a lengthy stay on the disabled list due to mononucleosis, Lowrie began his day by drawing a walk in the first inning and scoring on a Beltre single. He worked the count full in the third inning before flying out to right.

Lowrie’€™s most valuable contribution came in the fifth inning, when he plated the second run of the day in the form of Bill Hall on a single to left center off Gonzalez, who had stymied the Red Sox lineup for much of the day. He walked in the seventh inning off Rodriguez with two down, sustaining the inning with the team trailing and making way for David Ortiz to also walk.

– Though he entered Wednesday hitless in four of his last five games, Hall stood out from Boston regulars on a day that didn’€™t require much to do so. Batting eighth, Hall broke up a string of 10 Red Sox hitters who were retired by Gonzalez by doubling to right center to lead off the fifth inning. He scored on a single from Lowrie.

– Beltre had a big game offensively for the Red Sox, accounting for three of the team’€™s four runs. Beltre has now hit in four straight games, three of which have been multi-hit performances. With 16 homers on the season, he has now doubled the eight he hit in 2009, his final season with the Mariners. Barring injury, 2010 should be his seventh 20-homer campaign in 13 seasons.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, Closing time,

Francona on D&H: Need to use ‘common sense’ with Buchholz, Beckett

07.21.10 at 2:18 pm ET
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Terry Francona made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday afternoon, and the topics of discussion included the impending return of Clay Buchholz, the disappointing loss Tuesday night, and the progress of Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez.

Talking about Pedroia, Francona said, “He’s doing everything in his power to do two things. One, to be ready as quickly as possible. And the second thing is to drive me insane. Yeah, he’s like a caged animal. We have got to get him back in the lineup or somebody’s going to kill him.”

Following is a transcript of the interview.  To listen to the entire interview visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

If things go the way they should, you should have your full rotation going for the next five days for the first time since May 11.

How about that? That has a nice ring to it. I think just as important is that it’€™s not just getting them back in name only but getting back to where they can be productive. I think that’€™s something we can’€™t lose sight of. There’€™s a lot of good players out there who are trying to get back, but we can’€™t rush them to the point again where they’€™re coming back with a good name. We have to get the production that comes along with that. Again, that’€™s what we’€™re trying to do.

How do you figure out how many rehab starts is enough for a guy? Is that something you ask John Farrell or do you ask Clay Buchholz or Josh Beckett when they feel comfortable?

Well, you just named two of them, and there’€™s probably three or four factors. One is we certainly listen to how the pitcher feels. John Farrell, when he talks about pitching, he certainly has my ear. But again, what’€™s just best for our team. If you rush somebody out there before they’€™re ready, not only are they going to have a tough time competing, but they’€™re going to put a strain on your bullpen, which you don’€™t really want to do either. So you just try to balance everything and then we talk to our players and try to come to the right conclusion.

What is your philosophy on using Jonathon Papelbon in a tie game at home vs. on the road?

We will use him at home in a tie game all the time. On the road, very rarely does that happen. There has to be a day off or something like that where he hasn’€™t pitched in a long time. Like last night for instance, when they had [Andrew] Bailey in the game, he’€™s going to go two. You bring Pap in with a tie game, you’€™re hoping that he goes two innings. That’€™s not the best way. We need to hold him back. We had plenty of pitchers last night. We need to hold him back. If we use Pap and we use [Daniel] Bard and we go through our whole bullpen and then we finally take a lead and we can’€™t save the game, boy I’€™d be kicking myself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Red Sox, Terry Francona,
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