|08.13.16 at 3:28 pm ET|
Bring back Pap?
The Nationals on Saturday afternoon released former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, making him a free agent. Papelbon, 35, is 2-4 with a 4.37 ERA. He recently lost his job as National closer following the acquisition of another former Red Sox hurler, All-Star Mark Melancon, and hasn’t pitched since allowing a homer in 1 1/3 innings of mop-up duty against the Giants last Saturday.
A source told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that Papelbon would welcome a return to Boston, but is prioritizing which spot will give him the best chance to succeed for the rest of the season.
The Washington Post reported that the Nationals initially intended to designate Papelbon for assignment, but he requested his release so he wouldn’t have to wait 10 days to find a new team.
Papelbon is in the midst of his worst season as a pro. He’s averaging 3.6 walks and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings, both well off his career averages of 2.3 and 10.0, respectively.
Papelbon has had a rocky go of things in Washington. He brawled with superstar Bryce Harper in the dugout last year, and pitched poorly enough to necessitate the acquisition of Melancon from the Pirates on July 30.
There’s no word yet on whether the Red Sox would be interested in reacquiring their former closer, but Papelbon has made no secret of his desire to return.
He saved a franchise-record 219 games in seven seasons here, and was on the mound when the Red Sox clinched the 2007 World Series.
|08.13.16 at 11:53 am ET|
Alex Rodriguez has officially been released by the Yankees, with top prospect Aaron Judge having been promoted. But before all of that went down the 41-year-old was honored by the organization at Yankee Stadium.
The night was complete with Rodriguez both hitting a double and getting an inning in at third base. But, as has been the case with the infielder’s career, something was just a bit off. This time the curveball came courtesy Mother Nature.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 13, 2016
|08.13.16 at 8:22 am ET|
The middle game of the Red Sox-Diamondbacks weekend series will feature Clay Buchholz against right-hander Archie Bradley.
Buchholz, getting a spot start due to Steven Wright’s injury, is 4-9 in 26 games (13 starts) with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.407 WHIP. Buchholz made his last start on July 2, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing six runs (three earned), seven hits and one walk with one strikeout in an embarrassing 21-2 loss to the Angels.
After the loss, he understood he might have cost himself his spot in the rotation.
“You’ve got to earn that right, I understand that,” Buchholz said (via MLB.com). “It’s not my first go-round. I’ve had some ups and downs in my career, too, so that’s the game. Have to earn the right to stay out there in those situations and I guess I haven’t earned it.”
In 13 relief appearances this year, Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.017 WHIP.
Buchholz last pitched against the Yankees on Wednesday, coming on in the sixth inning with two batters on base and inducing a double play to get out of the inning. He was credited with a hold after protecting Boston’s one-run lead, although his bullpen mates eventually imploded in a discouraging 9-4 loss.
Buchholz has faced the Diamondbacks once, in 2010. In that outing, the 31-year-old righty picked up the win after going 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs, seven hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in a 6-3 victory.
|08.12.16 at 11:26 pm ET|
When Hanley Ramirez gets hot, he gets hot.
Since his deluge of homers against the Giants on July 20 in which he parked three homers, the Red Sox first baseman has only added three more to his tally. But that was up until Friday night when he drilled two 400-plus-foot three-run home runs to help the Red Sox to a 9-4 win and climb to 16 home runs this season.
“I’ve been working a lot in the cage, and talking a lot with [Red Sox hitting coach] Chili [Davis] and [Red Sox assistant hitting coach] Victor [Rodriguez] and he keeps telling me, ‘Pick one side of the plate,’ and you know you can’t cover the whole thing before you get two strikes on you,” Ramirez said.
The work with Davis and Rodriguez is noticeable, too. Ramirez has had significantly more success when he keeps his swing short and over the center of the plate in lieu of swinging for the fences.
“The best way to describe it is if he stays short with his swing. He’s best when he stays with a compact swing,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. There’s times where he can get a little bit long, and that’s where you see the contact point be a little deeper in the zone or you see some balls pushed to the side. But when he’s got a compact, aggressive swing, that’s when he’s at his best. And those first two at-bats [Friday] was an example of both.”
With that in mind, Ramirez often cites that he’s not a home run hitter, even though he’s hit at least 20 home runs in six of his previous 10 seasons. According to David Ortiz, that theory is for good reason.
“He probably said that because he’s not a guy that every season he comes in and hits 30 homers. We all know he’s got pop and we all know what he’s capable of. Sometimes it’s even better when you call yourself not a home run hitter so you’re not thinking about hitting homers every time you step up to the plate. That’s some tricky trivia.“
|08.12.16 at 10:04 pm ET|
Not a lot has gone right for the Red Sox in August. But with the Friday’s 9-4 win in the series opener against the Diamondbacks, all of those concerns and frustrations seemed to be put on hold — at least for the night.
The most telltale sign of a turnaround came from the bat of Hanley Ramirez. With the Red Sox scoring an eighth-worst in the league 35 runs as a team in August entering Friday, Ramirez electrified the offense with a pair of three-run home runs in the first two innings. The first dinger went an estimated 404 feet, with an advertisement above the Green Monster stopping in its tracks. He then followed it with a 434-foot blast into dead center.
“He comes out of the game you don’t expect the kind of aggressiveness that he took. 3-0 pitch that he gets in the middle of the plate, squares it up good and then again the next inning for a couple of three run homers,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Added Ramirez, “I’ve been working a lot in the cage, and talking a lot with [Red Sox hitting coach] Chili [Davis] and [Red Sox assistant hitting coach] Victor [Rodriguez] and he keeps telling me, ‘Pick one side of the plate,’ and you know you can’t cover the whole thing before you get two strikes on you.”
The first baseman did this all amid concerns of a sore back following a nasty collision at first base Thursday with Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
“I think I don’t have to be 100 percent at this point in the season to go out there,” Ramirez said, noting that his back was still in a little pain.
Ramirez was not the only one flexing his muscles for the Red Sox, as David Ortiz drilled a solo home run into straightaway center in the bottom of the seventh for his 26th blast of the year.
|08.12.16 at 9:41 pm ET|
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: William Shatner, born March 22, 1931.
The latest occurrence to allow for such an eye-raising came Friday night, when Shatner — who is in town to help celebrate the Boston Comic Con — threw out the first pitch prior to the Red Sox’ game against the Diamondbacks at Fenway Park.
While Shatner’s first offering to make-shift catcher Travis Shaw was just short, the “Captain Kirk” quickly retrieved the ball, directed Shaw back behind the plate and promptly threw a strike.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 13, 2016
|08.12.16 at 7:51 pm ET|
It was quite a way to start Friday night’s game.
With David Price pitching for the Red Sox, Arizona leadoff hitter Jean Segura lofted what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right-center field to kick off the series opener. But as he was drifting over to haul in the fly ball, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. tripped on what appeared to be a bad patch of grass left over from last weekend’s Pearl Jam concerts.
After the game, however, both Red Sox manager and Bradley Jr. weren’t ready to blame the events.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the turf,” Farrell said. “He tripped. He’s been battling a foul ball off the right big toe, and if you notice, his first-step quickness is probably a little bit less than. There were some balls he got to but maybe not in the typical fashion of Jackie. The play that Benintendi had to dive for, that’s usually a ball Jackie’s got in his back pocket. He’s banged up. He tripped on the first play, there’s no question, he tripped, it wasn’t the turf, but he’s not running at full speed right now.”
What happened next, however, made the miscue almost worthwhile.
The next batter, Phil Gosselin, hit a shallow fly ball to center. After a late start, Bradley Jr. raced in to reel it in, with Segura seemingly attempting to tag up on the play. But with his momentum fully going toward home plate, the outfielder fired a strike to catcher Bryan Holladay.
The throw was so good that Segura was halted in his tracks, attempting to race back to third. But Holladay gathered in Bradley Jr.’s throw and quickly gunned a strike down to third baseman Travis Shaw to get the Arizona baserunner for the double play.
— MLB (@MLB) August 12, 2016
|08.12.16 at 6:51 pm ET|
Prior to Friday’s Red Sox game against the Diamondbacks, manager John Farrell addressed a number of things, most notably Steven Wright’s progress and his potential to start as soon as Thursday.
The knuckleballer was scratched from his start on Thursday with shoulder irritation, having jammed it on Sunday diving into second base on an fake pickoff throw while pinch-running. Wright’s progress is being monitored, and he could return to the rotation as soon as this Thursday against the Tigers in Detroit.
“He threw today out to 90 feet, then also some flat ground, so there’s been a substantial improvement over the last 24 hours. Next week’s start, which would be hopeful of Thursday has not been ruled out yet, so today was a very good day for Steven,” Farrell said.
Farrell also commented on the steps that would be taken over the coming days to ensure Wright would be ready to go.
“The increase of repetition through throwing. The range of motion has improved, as I said, over the last 24 hours, the symptoms have decreased. He’s not symptom free, but still there’s a marked improvement,” Farrell said. “At some point over the coming days, if we’re still targeting Thursday and if he’s still making that track, we would have to get him on a mound by Monday, probably, would be a rough goal for that.”
Another banged up pitcher, Koji Uehara, has shown some progress of late, stretching his throwing back even further from the 60 feet he was throwing Tuesday.
|08.12.16 at 4:12 pm ET|
After injuring his back during Thursday’s game in a collision at first base, Hanley Ramirez will stay in the Red Sox lineup for Friday’s game.
“Hanley came in and actually told us this morning he was able to go,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Mookie Betts is back in the lineup after getting the night off Thursday with some soreness in his right calf, but he is not returning to the leadoff spot, rather batting third in favor of Dustin Pedroia.
“Mookie, for one, was cleared to play went through some tests and some running earlier. So based on the evaluation from the medical staff he’s ready to go tonight,” Farrell said. “[Pedroia’s] been in a good run of late anyway. I guess the best way to describe it because he’s leading off it hasn’t changed. He’s been swinging the bat well, he’s had good at-bats prior to the switch, they were present in the last couple of ball games, we need to get a couple more guys going to build that string out a little bit more consistently.”
Bryan Holaday will also get his second start as a member of the Red Sox, giving Sandy Leon a night off. Travis Shaw will get some rest, with Aaron Hill taking his spot at third.
Here is the Red Sox lineup against Diamondbacks lefty starter Patrick Corbin:
Bradley Jr. CF
Click here for the matchups with David Price on the mound for the Red Sox.
|08.12.16 at 12:23 pm ET|
Here is a look at what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (63-55): W, 6-5, vs. Durham (Rays)
— After suffering a hamstring injury in June, Chris Young began his rehab assignment in Pawtucket on Thursday afternoon. Young went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and eventually was pulled from the game in the sixth inning. Before getting hurt, Young was hitting .277/.338/.508 in 48 games in the big leagues. Young will continue his rehab appearance on Saturday by joining the PawSox in Buffalo.
— The PawSox used the long ball to propel themselves to victory. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Marco Hernandez crushed an opposite-field, two-run home run to tie the game. Henry Ramos then drew a walk, and Chris Marrero followed by hitting his 22nd home run to give Pawtucket the 6-4 lead.
[Chris Marrero] has been terrific,” manager Kevin Boles said. “He’s been our most consistent hitter.”
Marrero has a home run in each of the last two games and has scored a run in each of the past six games. The first baseman finished the contest 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s now hitting .288/.346/.516 in 110 games.
— Rusney Castillo stayed hot by going 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. It was Castillo’s third triple in seven games. Castillo had a chance for a multi-hit game, but he was robbed of a home run in the fifth inning. The 29-year-old Cuban is hitting a league-leading average of .407 in his last 14 games.
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