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Yoenis Cespedes leaves game due to ‘personal matter’

08.21.14 at 8:20 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday’s game against the Angels after three innings. The Red Sox announced that he left the game on “a personal matter” and was not injured. Before exiting, Cespedes had uncoiled a rocket of a throw to nab a runner (attempting to score from second on a two-out single to left) at the plate and had struck out against Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Red Sox pregame notes: David Ortiz finds little satisfaction in milestones; Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli day-to-day

08.21.14 at 6:59 pm ET
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It was another impressive night for David Ortiz on Wednesday in the midst of what has been yet another impressive season for the Red Sox‘ slugger.

Ortiz was 4-for-4 with three singles and hit his 30th home run of the season, was set for his fifth at-bat in the Sox’ 8-3 loss to the Angels Wednesday night.

Instead, up came Alex Hassan.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game Ortiz was dealing with some “general soreness” after spending most of his night on the base paths. On Thursday, Farrell said the decision to pinch-hit for Ortiz was meant to “get him off his feet.”

According to Farrell, Ortiz is out of the lineup for Thursday’s series finale against the Angels on a planned off day with the Sox in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days. He said Ortiz’s removal from Wednesday’s game and his status Thursday is unrelated.

“We’ve got a scheduled off day next Thursday prior to opening up a series in Tampa, so rather than running him a stretch of 17 consecutive, that’s where today comes in,” Farrell said. “But there are some periodic off days throughout September that we’ll have a chance to catch up on.”

Ortiz is 14-for-26 (.538) with five multi-hit games through the first seven games of the Sox’ 11-game homestand. Thursday’s homer marked his eighth 30-home run season, tying him with Ted Williams for the most in Red Sox history. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Farrell: Surgery not ruled out for Allen Craig’s foot

08.21.14 at 5:35 pm ET
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Allen Craig was supposed to be getting his at-bats in Pawtucket Thursday night.

Allen Craig

Allen Craig

However, injuries and other circumstances have opened up a need. So instead, he’ll be the designated hitter in his second-career game with the Red Sox.

Craig, who was acquired by the Red Sox from the Cardinals for John Lackey, injured his ankle Aug. 1 in his Red Sox debut, and hasn’t played since.

The outfielder was scheduled to rehab in Pawtucket at DH Monday and play right field Wednesday and Thursday, but with Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli battling injuries and David Ortiz on a scheduled off day, Red Sox manager John Farrell said it would be just as valuable to give Craig those at-bats with the major league club.

Craig played right field and went 1-for-3 with a two-run single for Pawtucket Wednesday night. Farrell said Craig played with “no hesitations” over his two games with the Triple-A club.

“Went first to second on a base hit and overthrow after a couple RBIs, wasn’t too challenged in right field with many opportunities, but came out of it physically fine with some change in direction to his running and some acceleration to what would be full speed,” Farrell said. “So he’s passed at least two days of the physical test.”

That, at least, is the case with the ankle injury that Craig suffered in his Red Sox debut on Aug. 1, when he tweaked his foot while crossing first base. Still, questions remain about another injury with his foot.

Craig suffered a Lisfranc injury last September that ended his 2013 regular season and kept him out for the early part of the Cardinals’ World Series run. St. Louis and Craig opted to let the injury heal naturally with rest rather than surgery.

“We do know this: the injury he had last year was something that was given rest and recovery rather than a repair, probably as much to do with their stretch and postseason run. I guess it’s debatable whether a repair was needed or recommended, but they chose a conservative path,” said Farrell. “I can’t say, ‘Is there still some involvement?’ That is above me. He turned the ankle and foot here on the base, so what he was feeling wasn’t a result of the actual previous injury. But does the previous injury still give some instability? That’s, again, debatable.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, Cardinals, John Farrell, lisfranc

Red Sox minor league roundup: Breaking down Matt Barnes’ turnaround; Deven Marrero snaps slide; Sean Coyle’s opportunity; Speier streaking

08.21.14 at 12:02 pm ET
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Right-hander Matt Barnes continued his second-half dominance on Wednesday. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox.)

Right-hander Matt Barnes continued his second-half dominance on Wednesday. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox.)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-0 WIN VS. LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Matt Barnes continued his outstanding second half with 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball in which he allowed two hits, walked three and punched out seven. The 24-year-old has allowed two or fewer runs in all six of his second-half starts, pitching at least six innings in all but one of them and pitching into the seventh in four of the six outings. In other words, in his last six outings, he has as many outings of more than six innings (four) as he had in the first 65 games of his professional career, from 2012 through the first half of 2014.

Reports of Barnes’ stuff were positive on Wednesday, consistent with a number of recent evaluations from his second half. He pitched primarily off his fastball — a plus offering that he featured at 92-95 mph and commanded well within the strike zone — while sprinkling in a solid changeup (a major league average offering) and a roughly 80 mph curveball that featured short bite and 12-to-6 shape. One evaluator on hand estimated that he threw about five of 10 curveballs well on the night, suggesting that his first one of the game was usable to steal a strike, and his second one bounced on the grass in front of the dirt at home plate, underscoring the idea that inconsistency remains with the pitch. Still, the curveball showed improvement from previous looks by that evaluator, with a spin and shape that suggested the potential to be a useful third pitch.

Barnes’ fastball remains a standout pitch, still perhaps the best of all of the Sox’ upper levels pitchers. If he complements that with a changeup that grades as average (where it is now) to slightly above, and can get the curveball to the point of being somewhere near average — perhaps even a 45 on the 20-80 scouting scale — there is reason to believe that he has a chance to be a solid starting pitcher in the big leagues, perhaps one with a ceiling above the likes of Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman and, arguably, someone like Allen Webster or even Rubby De La Rosa.

But, the fact that his curveball is still a work in progress, and that he posted a 5.06 ERA with 6.9 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine in the first half before his recent six-start run with a 1.63 ERA, 7.4 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine underscores the notion that he’s not as polished as those other four, which explains (along with the fact that all of them are on the 40-man roster this year and Barnes is not) why they’ve seen time in the big leagues this year and Barnes has not. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: gabe speier, matt barnes, sam travis, sean coyle

Thursday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Matt Shoemaker

08.21.14 at 8:00 am ET
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The Red Sox finish their four-game series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday night when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Matt Shoemaker.

Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) showed signs of consistency in recent outings, tossing three straight quality starts, two of which came on the road. But Saturday was a setback. The right-hander was tagged for six runs on nine hits over four innings, and took a no-decision in a Red Sox win over the Astros. He walked four and struck out two on 89 pitches. It was De La Rosa’s worst outing since a seven-run meltdown in Toronto on July 24 and his most walks allowed since June 19.

“It was a struggle for him tonight,” Farrell said after the game. “He struggled with his command, struggled with any type of put-away pitch.”

One of De La Rosa’s best starts this season came in his Aug. 10 outing against the Angels. He pitched into the eighth inning for his first road win of the year, giving up one run on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. De La Rosa is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.

Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA) has been a surprising success for the Angels this season. An undrafted pitcher out of Eastern Michigan University, the righty maintained a professional career by pitching well in Triple-A the last two years.

The 27-year-old got his big league chance this year after a combination of injuries and struggles from normally reliable starters left a hole in the rotation. And he’s taken advantage of that opportunity. He’s third on the team in wins and ERA over 96 innings this season.

“I definitely thought it was a possibility,” Shoemaker said of attaining this kind of success in 2014. “Did I think it was going to happen? Not necessarily. But my competitiveness tells me, ‘Hey, it’s possible. Anything is possible.’ “

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Clay Buchholz implodes in fifth inning as Red Sox drop third straight to Angels

08.20.14 at 10:55 pm ET
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In one inning, Clay Buchholz‘s night went from stellar to forgettable.

The right-hander was handed a 3-0 lead by the Red Sox‘ offense and took a 3-1 advantage into the fifth inning, but imploded for five runs in the frame as the Sox fell 8-3 to the Angels Wednesday night.

Buchholz looked nearly unhittable early on, allowing just one hit and striking out three through the first three innings. He gave up a run on an RBI single by Howie Kendrick in the fourth, but was seemingly still in command thanks to some early run support.

It all unraveled in the fifth.

Buchholz gave up five runs in the inning on four hits and two walks as the Angels quickly took over the game in a one-inning assault. Buchholz loaded the bases by allowing the first three hitters to reach on two singles and a walk, then walked Kole Calhoun to score the Halos’ first run of the inning. Mike Trout followed with a fielder’s choice to score the tying run and Albert Pujols ripped a single to right to put the Angels ahead.

Josh Hamilton scored Trout on a sacrifice fly and Kendrick singled in Pujols for another.

“Combination of walks and base hits,” manager John Farrell said of the fifth inning. “Through the first four innings I thought [Buchholz] was sharp, he had good late action to his stuff. In the fifth, when he got ahead of a couple of hitters, didn’t have the same finishing pitch he had shown in the previous four and they were able to put some people on. … They found some holes and bunched some hits and walks for the five runs.”

Said Buchholz: “I just missed location with a couple of pitches. They were able to put a big inning together. It’s been a long time since I walked a run in so that didn’t help. A couple balls they hit found some holes and they scored five.”

The Angels went through the entire order in the frame. It was Buchholz’s worst inning since giving up nine in the sixth inning of a disastrous outing against the Blue Jays July 28.

Buchholz finished the game with six runs on seven hits over six innings for his eighth loss of the season. He walked two, struck out five and threw 64 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

It was his worst outing since giving up seven over five innings against the Yankees Aug. 3. But Wednesday’s outcome was surprising given how effectively Buchholz pitched in his prior two starts and the way he was rolling through the first three innings Wednesday.

“I thought Clay threw the ball pretty well,” catcher David Ross said. “I think out of the stretch he got a little rushed and couldn’t find the strike zone and then they got some hits. Other than that one inning, I think he threw the ball pretty well. I think he was just not quite as sharp out of the stretch tonight.”

The loss was the Red Sox‘ fourth straight, dropping them to 56-70 for the season and 2-5 through the first seven games of the 11-game homestand.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– As poorly as Buchholz pitched in the fifth inning, he didn’t get much help from his defense either. Daniel Nava failed to chase down Trout’s shallow fly ball with the bases loaded and no outs. Instead of an easy out and no advancement from any of the runners, the ball landed right in front of Nava and a run scored.

Kendrick’s RBI single with two outs also could’ve been prevented had Dustin Pedroia gotten a glove down on the hard grounder, which forced him to move to his left off the bat. The ball instead went just by him for a hit.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Angels starter Garrett Richards exits game with apparent leg injury

08.20.14 at 8:03 pm ET
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Angels starter Garrett Richards‘ night came to a gruesome end in the second inning Wednesday when he suffered an apparent lower injury while trying to cover first base.

Update: The Angels announced that Richards suffered a left knee patellar injury.

Richards was running to first to cover for Albert Pujols in attempt to complete a double play on a grounder to first by Brock Holt. Richards appeared to be slowing down as he reached the bag and his knee landed in awkward position, bringing him to the ground in pain.

Richards stayed down for a lengthy period of time, surrounded by his teammates, while the Angels’ medical staff came to check on him. He had to be carted off the field. Cory Rasmus came in to pitch in his place.

“That stunk. I was actually walking off and listening to him scream in pain,” Red Sox catcher David Ross said after the game. “I actually got pretty sick to my stomach as you could tell. It was a grown man out there screaming. It was not a good feeling.”

The loss of Richards could be crushing to an Angels team that has been the hottest in the game. Though he allowed two runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings on Wednesday, he has been the best pitcher on the Halos’ staff this year, entering the night 13-4 with a 2.53 ERA.

Read More: Garrett Richards,
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