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Red Sox notes: Eduardo Rodriguez to start Friday in New York; Clay Buchholz back in starting rotation

07.10.16 at 12:37 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox Friday night in New York. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox Friday night in New York. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The Red Sox will get two starting pitchers back in their rotation coming out of the All-Star break — Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz.

Rodriguez will start Friday night in New York, as he’s appeared in two games with the PawSox since being sent back down in late June. He threw seven shutout inning on July 3, then allowed two runs over three innings in a rain-shortened outing Friday night.

“There’s been some adjustments made to his hand position,” manager John Farrell said. “It was a seven-inning and a rain-shortened three inning outing in which he’s pitched down there. The first inning in his second start — took him an inning to get into things, but the seven innings prior was sharp, was powerful. I think he’s by all reports and watching video of him looks like he’s gaining some comfort with the hand position that has been widely talked about. Required needed adjustments have been made.”

It also appears Buchholz will go back in the rotation, but the Red Sox won’t need a fifth starter until July 23. He hasn’t appeared in a game since July 2.

“Right now, we’ll work to get Clay back in there at some point,” Farrell said. “Where that slots in after the New York series remains to be worked through, but that’s the tentative plan right now.”

After Rodriguez in New York, Steven Wright will start Saturday and David Price on Sunday. Farrell said he did this to get both Rick Porcello and David Price a few extra days off.

“Yeah, we tried to build in as much as we could for everybody,” he said. “This will give David a couple extra days pitching on Sunday, but I think with Rick everything is pointing to a few extra days is what he needs.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

— Both Brock Holt (sprained ankle) and Junichi Tazawa (shoulder) are unavailable Sunday, but Farrell is hopeful they will be available Friday and he doesn’t expect either to go on the disabled list.

“Both are unavailable today,” Farrell said. “We don’t anticipate either situation, a DL situation. The four days is coming at a good time for a number of guys.”

Holt sprained his ankle after jamming it sliding into second base on Friday night, but is getting better by the day.

“Getting treatment,” Farrell said “Walking around a little bit more. The increase is a little bit more each day. Those guys are going to remain here over the break to continue to get treatment. Hopefully things are pointing to Friday for Brock and [Tazawa].”

Read More: Brock Holt, Clay Buchholz, eduardo rodriguez, junichi tazawa

Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez out for 2nd straight game

07.10.16 at 12:24 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

For the second game in a row, Hanley Ramirez will be out of the lineup for the Red Sox.

Ramirez left Friday’s game after fouling a ball of his leg, and has not played since. As a result, the Red Sox will run with the same lineup as Saturday, with Sandy Leon catching Red Sox starter David Price.

Newly-acquired reliever Brad Ziegler will also be available to pitch Sunday.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Bryce Brentz, LF
Sandy Leon, C
David Price, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: Brad Ziegler, David Price, hanley ramirez, Sandy Leon

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: RHP Joe Kelly has mixed results in rehab appearance with Lowell; CF Joseph Monge collects 4 hits for Salem

07.10.16 at 10:05 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (46-44): L, 3-0, and L, 5-4, at Durham (Rays)

— After the PawSox concluded Friday’s suspended game by dropping a 3-0 decision, they dropped a one-run game in the six-inning nightcap as left-hander Roenis Elias gave up five runs in four innings to take the loss. The 27-year-old from Cuba allowed eight hits — including a deep home run to former major leaguer J.P. Arencibia — and four walks with four strikeouts. Elias now is 6-4 with a 4.21 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 14 games (13 starts) with Pawtucket this season.

— Right-hander Chandler Shepherd pitched a perfect sixth inning. The 23-year-old, making his sixth appearance with the PawSox since his promotion from Portland, has a 2.70 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 10 innings.

— First baseman Chris Dominguez, who had a double and a triple in three at-bats, had two of his team’s six hits and knocked in three of Pawtucket’s four runs. The 29-year-old is hitting .225/.253/.406 in 42 games this season.

— Second baseman Ryan Court went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. His hit was a double. Designated hitter Mike Miller was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

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Read More: aneury tavarez, Joe Kelly, joseph monge, michael chavis

Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: David Price vs. Jake Odorizzi

07.10.16 at 8:48 am ET
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The Red Sox will call upon David Price while the Rays will use right-hander Jake Odorizzi on Sunday afternoon in the final game before the All-Star break.

Price is 8-6 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.229 WHIP in 18 starts this year. In his last start on Tuesday, Price pitched eight innings and gave up three runs on eight hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in a 7-2 loss to the Rangers.

“There’s nothing positive to point at right now. Threw 50 pitches through two, still went eight, we still lost. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to be better. That’s why they brought me here. I’m not doing it right now,” Price said.

In that start, Price gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Shin-Soo Choo. Seven of the 16 home runs Price has given up this year have come on the first pitch to a batter.

Against the Rays, Price’s original team, the 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA and 1.276 WHIP. Price’s last start against Tampa Bay came on June 29. Price went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, nine hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts. Price also faced the Rays on April 21. That start was Price’s worst of the season. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits (two home runs) and two walks with five strikeouts.

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Read More: David Price, Jake Odorizzi,

Looking at real importance of Brad Ziegler’s presence with Red Sox

07.10.16 at 8:35 am ET
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Brad Ziegler

Brad Ziegler

When the Red Sox traded for Brad Ziegler so much focus was placed on his ability to fill-in as a ninth-inning option with Craig Kimbrel sidelined. And even though Koji Uehara has been anointed the substitute game-ender for now, having somebody with experience pitching when it counts the most in the eighth and ninth innings is of the utmost importance.

But there is another piece of the puzzle when it comes to Ziegler’s presence that many are overlooking.

The Red Sox need somebody to get ground balls, and there are few better at accomplishing just that than Ziegler.

The Sox’ pitching staff is currently second-to-last in inducing grounders, with its relievers sitting at dead last in the majors in ground ball percentage (38.9 percent). The best they had before Ziegler was Robbie Ross Jr., who came in at 55.8 percent.

The new Red Sox side-winder’s ground ball rate currently sits at 65.5 percent (5th best in the majors), having totaled the second-best percentage last season at 73.3 percent.

Since the statistic started being charted in 1987, the Red Sox haven’t had a relief pitcher claim a ground ball rate of better than Derek Lowe’s 66.5 percent mark in 1998. Other than Lowe, the closest any Sox reliever has come to Ziegler’s propensity for the grounder was Burke Badenhop’s rate of 61.9 percent in 2014.

Ziegler also owns the third-best ground ball rate of any reliever in a single season, coming in at 77 percent in 2012.

“It’s what he does, he gets ground balls and gets out of tough situations,” said Red Sox infielder, and former teammate of Ziegler in Arizona, Aaron Hill. “You get to see first-hand how good he actually is. Sometimes you don’t appreciate it on the other side, but when you see it on a day in, day out basis, it’s like, ‘Wow, this guy is getting it done.’

“When he comes in the game, as an infielder you’re always like, ‘Here we go. I’m getting one of these.'”

Dave Dombrowski all in on getting starting pitcher(s) for Red Sox

07.10.16 at 8:08 am ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

And then there was one … position, that is.

After the acquisition of reliever Brad Ziegler, Dave Dombrowski made it very clear where his priorities reside when it comes to the Red Sox’ next acquisition.

“I mean, it’s no secret we’re looking for a starting pitcher,” said the Sox’ president of baseball operations Saturday. “I have no idea that somebody may call me this afternoon out of the blue. I can tell you that we don’t have anything that’s sitting right there prepared to make a deal, but I said the same thing about the reliever and the other moves that we made. Somebody may pick up the phone and say today’s the day they want to go, and I have to be ready.”

It’s one thing to be looking, however, and it’s another to actually reel in the kind of starter the Red Sox are hoping for.

As Dombrowski pointed out, this year is a far cry from a season ago when the market was flush with available pitchers, many of whom were playing on the final season of their contract. This July, the list of starters who will be eligible for free agency at the conclusion of the season pretty much begins and ends with Oakland’s Rich Hill and San Diego’s Andrew Cashner.

But considering the Red Sox have quite a bit of uncertainty after the trio of David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello, the need for somebody is evident.

“I think we really need somebody — that’s why I keep saying, ‘We don’t really need a No. 1 starter,'” Dombrowski said. “We’d love to have a No. 1 starter. We’ve got our three guys that have been pitching very consistently. I’m hoping that somebody that we still have will take a step up and do well. They have the ability to do so. But if we can get an effective six innings, seven innings to get to our bullpen, that would be great. We’ve just really struggled with the fourth and fifth spot, getting that done on a consistent basis. I’m not ruling it out because I think we have the abilities to do it, but we just haven’t been able to do it.”

And as for how many starters the Red Sox might need, Dombrowski added, “You’ve got to start with one. I hope we get one. It’s not an easy starting pitching market out there. There’s a lot of clubs looking for starting pitching, and there’s not a lot of starting pitchers out there. You can get starting pitching. I assure you I could pick up the phone here and say here, call, and you can get a starting pitcher. But is it a starting pitcher that helps you? That’s sort of the key there.”

The biggest roadblock to acquiring the pitcher the Red Sox desire appears to be the asking price of the other teams, with top prospects Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada seemingly always being surfaced by the Sox’ potential trade partners.

Dombrowski, however, seems intent on staying away from putting a sizable dent in the Red Sox’ farm system. Thus far, he has managed to acquire two very useful players in Ziegler and infielder Aaron Hill without allocating any minor leaguers who would seem to have a future with the Sox at the major league level.

“The names we don’t want to trade always seem to start the conversation,” he said. “And it’s early enough. People know there’s a limited starting pitching market, and again that could change. Clubs could fall out of it or somebody else could get back in and that changes. That’s what makes this time of year so interesting and that’s why you have to be prepared. It’s a common thread of the same names that seem to be coming up. But they have come up in every conversation we have, and then you try to get realistic and move from there.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell: Koji Uehara is our closer

07.09.16 at 8:01 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara will be back to closing game for the Red Sox — at least while Craig Kimbrel is out.

Following Saturday’s game against the Rays, manager John Farrell declared Uehara the team’s closer while Kimbrel is sidelined with a left knee injury.

“Koji is our closer,” Farrell said. “In days when he’s not going to be available we’ve got Brad [Ziegler] to turn to, but again, we’ve added a quality late-inning reliever. We’ll have a chance to outline this more specifically to Brad when we meet face-to-face, but in a conversation early this morning after their game on the West Coast that was briefly talked about. I think it’s important to maintain some consistency late in the game and that is where Koji is going to serve as our closer.”

Uehara has picked up saves each of the last two games and obviously has history closing games with the Red Sox. Farrell said earlier in the day, Uehara might be most comfortable when he’s in the closer’s role, but Uehara himself said it doesn’t matter.

“I can’t really say,” he said through a translator. “Doesn’t really matter with me. I have to get the results no matter what kind of innings I pitch in.”

Uehara served as the Red Sox’ closer from 2013-2015 until the Red Sox signed Kimbrel this offseason. The 41-year-old has 65 saves as a member of the Red Sox.

The newly acquired Ziegler has experience both as a closer and a set-up man. In 36 appearances this year with Arizona he went 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 18 saves. He will be active Sunday and with Uehara pitching each of the last two games, it would seem Ziegler would be in there in a potential save situation.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara,

RHP Sean O’Sullivan (knee tendinitis) to go on 15-day disabled list upon activation of RHP Brad Ziegler

07.09.16 at 7:47 pm ET
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Sean O'Sullivan

Sean O’Sullivan

The Red Sox have another injured player.

Following Saturday’s game against the Rays, manager John Farrell announced right-hander Sean O’Sullivan will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis to make room on the roster for reliever Brad Ziegler, who was acquired Saturday from the Diamondbacks.

Ziegler will be active Sunday against the Rays.

O’Sullivan last pitched Friday night, but said he’s been dealing with the injury dating all the way back to last year. With the All-Star break beginning Monday, this could be seen as a way to minimize the time he has to miss.

“I think that’s probably a little bit of it,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s something I’ve been battling since last April. Went on the DL last year in Philly for something to do with my knee. Something I’ve been able to fight through, but it’s kind of been a process where after I throw it’s pretty sore. Then just kind of work to getting back to being game ready by Day 5. This last one was kind of tough, especially in that fourth and fifth inning. It got real hard to post up. It was my land leg. With the break and everything coming up I think they saw it as an opportunity to get my knee a chance to calm down. Hopefully we can move all the way past it and not let it effect anymore outings.”

In five games (four starts) this season O’Sullivan is 2-0 with a 6.75 ERA, but the Red Sox are 4-0 in games he starts.

Ziegler flew to Boston on Saturday, but did not make it in time for the game. He will work in a set up role to closer Koji Uehara with Craig Kimbrel out three to six weeks.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Brad Ziegler, Sean O'Sullivan,

Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello lead Red Sox over Rays

07.09.16 at 6:49 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the year as the Red Sox beat the Rays on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the year as the Red Sox beat the Rays on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox seem to be putting things back together again.

Saturday was a solid team win as they got a good performance from their starting pitcher, some timely hits and the bullpen did its job as the Red Sox beat the Rays 4-1.

They have now won three straight for the first time since May 31 and have won five out of their last six games overall.

Trailing 1-0 early, the Red Sox were able to rally as they took a 2-1 lead on one swing of the bat when Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the season — a two-run shot over the Green Monster in the fourth inning. The Sox added two more in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia ripped a two-RBI single to center field.

“He missed in the middle of the plate and I just put a good swing on it,” Bogaerts said. “If he puts the ball where he wants to that might not have happened, but it leaked over the middle.”
Bogaerts’ 10 home runs and 55 RBIs before the All-Star break are the most for a Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 2003.

Rick Porcello closed out his first half of the season with another solid performance. The right-hander went seven innings, allowed one run on six hits, while not walking a batter and striking out five on 94 pitches. He ran into trouble in a few innings, but made a few big pitches to get out those jams.

“Anytime you can pitch deep in the game, keep runners off base and give our guys a chance to go to work at the plate it’s ideal,” Porcello said.

The right-hander improved to 8-0 over nine starts at Fenway Park this season. He is one of three major league pitchers to not have lost in any of their first nine home starts joining Chris Tillman and Stephen Strasburg.

With Junichi Tazawa unavailable, Matt Barnes threw a 1-2-3 eighth and Koji Uehara picked up his second save in as many days to close out the win.

Closing Time note

Porcello has gone at least five innings in 26 straight starts, the longest of his career and longest by a Red Sox pitcher since John Lackey went 39 games from 2013-14.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win.

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts, rick porcello, xander bogaerts

Dave Dombrowski hints Andrew Benintendi might not be that far away from big leagues

07.09.16 at 5:00 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Just under two weeks ago, Dave Dombrowski sat in the visitors’ dugout in Globe Life Park suggesting Andrew Benintendi’s bat wasn’t quite ready for big league consideration. (To read the comments, click here.)

Judging by Dombrowski’s tone Saturday afternoon, along with Benintendi’s production of late, that line of thinking by be shifting.

The Red Sox president of baseball operations noted prior to his team’s game against the Rays that he wouldn’t hesitate at all to bring up a player (such as Benintendi) straight from Double-A, which is where the outfielder currently finds himself.

“He’s played very well,” Dombrowski said Benintendi, who entered Saturday hitting .288 with an .844 OPS with Portland. “But I wouldn’t get into individual cases. I’ve never felt that Triple-A is really a necessity with good players. I’ve jumped many guys from Double-A in my career. Usually if you do well at Double-A against that type of competition and show that you can perform. There’s some benefits to going to Triple-A. I don’t mean to downplay it. But I’ve had a lot of success throughout my career with guys going from Double-A to the big leagues.”

Dombrowski also touched on his philosophy when it came to the risk that comes with promoting a player while skipping the final level before the majors.

“I don’t think you can generalize that statement,” he said. “I’ve learned that young players, each one is their own individual that you have to deal with all of their makeup things they have. I’ve had some guys it makes no difference to and other guys where it can set them back. The point of being here and being overwhelmed at that time and having a hard time catching up to it and everything speeds up and making that adjustment. Usually your really good ones end up, if that happens, still doing fine. I do think you have to be very aware of the makeup and individual personalities of the players and see how you think they’ll deal with it, because everyone is different.”

The Red Sox don’t appear in any rush to alter their left field rotation, even with Brock Holt (ankle) presumably out until after the All-Star break.

It’s why Dombrowski noted that when it came to prioritizing needs heading into the non-waiver trade deadline, outfield wasn’t in the mix.

“I’m not really looking to do that,” he said in regards to trading for an outfielder. “At some point, Blake Swihart (ankle) is going to come back, too. We put him on the emergency disabled list and the timing for that makes sense. He was playing for us. Chris Young (hamstring) is coming back. Brock Holt looks like, when I went in there earlier, it looks like he doesn’t have to be on the disabled list. Bryce Brentz has done a nice job for us.

“That’s what’s always interesting for me in my job. There’s no perfect club. So once you end up filling the next need, then something else is your biggest need. So that’s happened to me forever. And that’s going to happen to me forever. That’s part of the job. But the reality is I think our offense is pretty good, so that’s not really a priority. We also have young kids coming. We’ve got a kid like Benintendi coming. I don’t know if it’s this year or next year, but you’re not looking to necessarily get a long-term guy out there because we’re pretty deep with those young outfielders.”

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