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Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Marcus Stroman

09.18.15 at 2:57 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox head to Toronto on Friday for a matchup with the AL East-leading Blue Jays, and they’ll send Rick Porcello to the mound opposite Marcus Stroman in the opener of a three-game series.

Porcello (8-12, 5.06 ERA) is 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in four starts since returning from a stint on the disabled list (strained right triceps). In his last outing on Saturday against the Rays — best known as the night David Ortiz hit his 500th home run — Porcello pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. He picked up the win as the Sox cruised to a 10-4 victory.

Porcello last faced the Jays on Sept. 7 and recorded the win after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings as the Sox rolled to an 11-4 victory. In his last start in Toronto on July 1, an 11-2 Red Sox loss, Porcello allowed seven runs in two innings on seven hits and a hit batsman.

In four career starts north of the border, Porcello is 1-3 with a 7.65 ERA.

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Source: No serious issues with Joe Kelly’s shoulder

09.17.15 at 11:51 pm ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

According to a major league source, the examination conducted by the Red Sox medial team in Boston Thursday revealed that there was no serious issues with Joe Kelly’s right shoulder.

It was determined the pitcher is simply dealing with some inflammation in the shoulder, which had stiffened up on him during his start against the Orioles Tuesday night.

Kelly exited his start in Baltimore in the third inning, explaining after the game that he was having difficulty getting loose. The starter’s fastball to start the game was sitting at just 89-90 mph, well below his average.

Red Sox interim manager suggested Wednesday that Kelly would not be pitching the rest of the season due to the ailment.

Coming into his last start, Kelly had turned his season around, winning eight starts in a row. During that stretch he totaled a 2.59 ERA.

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Red Sox slated to play exhibition games in Montreal

09.17.15 at 10:12 am ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox will be playing the Toronto Blue Jays in a pair of exhibition games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, April 1 and 2.

The official announcement of the games will take place on a Friday conference call, with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous and Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy participating on the call.

The games will be the final exhibition contests for the Red Sox, who are slated to open the 2016 regular season in Cleveland on April 4.

Read More: Blue Jays, Montreal, Red Sox,

Red Sox Minor League Notebook: 2015 end of year power rankings, No.’s 1-5

09.17.15 at 9:09 am ET
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With the 2015 Red Sox minor league season coming to a close, we’€™ll take a look at the top prospects who have yet to appear in a major league game. Last week we unveiled No.’s 6-10 and this week is No.’s 1-5, as this is the final Red Sox Minor League Notebook of the season. 

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

1. Yoan Moncada

The Red Sox knew they had a special talent when they inked Moncada to a contract with a signing bonus of $31.5 million on March 12. The Cuban second baseman came over to the states and spent an extra month at extended spring training before getting the call up to Single-A Greenville in the middle of May.

He struggled at first, as prior to the All-Star break he batted .200 with just one home run. Greenville manager Darren Fenster and the rest of the organization remained patient with the 19-year-old and didn’t panic.

“You take into account, throw out baseball, and you take into account a kid that gets taken out of his upbringing in Cuba and has to learn a completely different culture and he is away from his family and away from his friends — that’s not an easy thing to handle,” Fenster said recently. “Just in life in general. You throw that on top of a kid who had obviously unrealistic expectations that just came with the number that he signed for. I think some people that with what he signed for thought he was a major league player out of the gate, and he was in Greenville for the same exact reason everyone else was in Greenville.

“He was in Greenville because he had work to do to get better. Everything that we introduced to this kid was different from everyone else because it was his first year in the organization, it was all brand new. To his credit, during that first month and a half of his struggles he never wavered from trying to get into that routine like everyone else. The 24 other guys in that clubhouse, those guys were used to the expectation that our staff held to everyone everyday and to Yoan’s credit he fell in line with everyone else.”

Once getting acclimated to the states and his new team, Moncada caught fire in the second half where he hit .310 with seven home runs. He was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team and named the Most Outstanding South Atlantic League MLB prospect.

Fenster described him as being one of, if not the most athletic players in all of minor league baseball.

“He stands out as an elite athlete,” he said. “I don’t know if we have a better athlete in the entire organization, which I’m sure is saying a lot. It would be hard pressed to find a player in all of minor league baseball who is a better pure athlete. With that being said, for athletic as he is, there are aspects of his game for when he signed were incredibly raw. We had to build a foundation defensively for example just staying consistent with fielding routine ground balls.

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Read More: anderson espinoza, Andrew Benintendi, rafael devers, Red Sox Minor League Notebook

Dustin Pedroia puts pressure on Arizona State admissions, Orioles pitchers

09.16.15 at 10:56 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Dustin Pedroia is feeling good about himself, and his alma mater.

Thanks to a smooth double play with Red Sox shortstop Deven Marrero, Pedroia got a chance to put the pair’s alma mater — Arizona State University – on a pedestal it might not have been on prior to the Red Sox‘ 10-1 win over the Orioles Wednesday night.

“That was pro,” said Pedroia of Marrero’s work in turning the 6-4-3 double play. “There’€™s only a select few of us that get a chance to go [to Arizona State], so it’€™s pretty cool. He played great. He’€™s a great player. Defensively, he knows what he’€™s doing, and his at-bats have been really good. He’€™s picking and choosing when to drive the ball. It was pretty cool to watch.”

Marrero — who notched three hits — was in the lineup to give shortstop Xander Bogaerts a rest. Pedroia was in just because he’s back to feeling like his old self.

The Sox second baseman continued to exhibit the kind of offensive prowess he had prior to injuring his hamstring June 24.

After launching his 11th and 12th homers of the season, Pedroia is now hitting .379 (11-for-29) with a 1.212 OPS since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

“I feel good. I just feel strong, I feel healthy,” he said. “It’€™s just a matter of getting back to the rhythm of the game and stuff like that.

“I’€™m just feeling normal. That’€™s how I felt before I got hurt. That’€™s the frustrating part, sometimes you get hurt and miss some time. The biggest thing for me is just being out there, feeling good and being able to help us win.”

While the right hamstring was the thing holding Pedroia back for much of this year, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the 32-year-old’s game is the ability to generate power with his hands.

“Shoot, ‘€™13? I think I was sixth in the MVP voting so that was a pretty good year,” said Pedroia when asked about overcoming his issues of two seasons ago. “I’€™m over the hand stuff. I got that fixed. It just felt good to be out there and help us win, just helping out.”

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox,

Closing Time: Henry Owens makes another positive impression in Red Sox win

09.16.15 at 9:58 pm ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

BALTIMORE — Henry Owens is making things interesting for the Red Sox.

Once considered a pitcher with potential, but one who might not have enough of a fastball and too much wildness, has left quite a mark over his eight games with the big league club. And it was his latest outing — a 7 2/3-inning gem in which he didn’t allow a run or walk while striking out four — that might have been his best resume-builder.

Owens’ 113-pitch gem led the Red Sox to a 10-1 win over the Orioles Wednesday night at Camden Yards, and put him in an even more interesting position heading into the offseason.

“I think so,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo when asked if he thought this was Owens’ best big league effort. “No runs, no walks. Seven and two-thirds. I think he scattered six hits. Nothing was really driven. He just didn’€™t look like he was in trouble. And on a night like tonight, as I just said, those are tough times for pitchers to pitch. They get distracted by the score. They get distracted by the silliness that starts to take place in the dugout. I can remember turning around several times seeing him very focused, ready to go out and throw up another zero.”

The lefty now owns a 4.33 ERA, having allowed three runs or less in all but two of his starts.

“I had a couple outings where I had to learn some lessons and I’€™m trying got roll into each out and learn as much as I possibly can for the time I’€™m here,” said the 23-year-old, who is now 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his four road starts this season. “I’€™m pleased with tonight and I’€™m just going to work harder tomorrow and try and bring it into the next outing.”

Helping the rookie feel at ease in the series finale was a Red Sox offense that was all over Baltimore starter Michael Wright.

Thanks in large part to a pair of home runs by Dustin Pedroia, along with David Ortiz‘ 35th blast of the year, the Sox jumped out to a 9-0 lead after four innings and never looked back. Pedroia finished with five RBI.

For a complete box score, click here.

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Red Sox notes: Joe Kelly examined in Boston; Mookie Betts to try right field

09.16.15 at 6:20 pm ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

BALTIMORE — No matter how minor the Red Sox might believe Joe Kelly’s shoulder stiffness is, they weren’t going to take any chances.

The team sent the pitcher back to Boston Wednesday in order to have his pitching shoulder examined after Kelly was forced to exit his start Tuesday in the third inning due to his discomfort.

“He flew back this morning so he’€™s probably getting examined right now as we speak,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo prior to his team’s series finale against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

When asked about Kelly consistently flexing his arm throughout his recent run of starts, Lovullo noted. “He’€™s been doing that now for probably two or three starts. It’€™s just a way of him to get loose, his back back gets tight. He’€™s a very wiry athlete, so anything he’€™s doing to relax a muscle — we’€™re not exactly sure what that meant. We saw a little bit more of that yesterday and then the comments during the second inning raised some red flags.”

Kelly, who has also sporadically battled the biceps soreness that sidelined him at the start of the season, had been on one of the best runs of his young career. Entering Tuesday night, he was 8-0 with a 2.59 ERA since Aug. 1.

“We just want to make sure we find out if anything is happening there,” Lovullo said. “Obviously he left the game [Tuesday] and was unable to get loose completely. It made a lot of sense to get him up there and out of there.”

– The Red Sox are going to be trying a little something different with Mookie Betts, who will start in right field when the Red Sox play the Blue Jays in Toronto over the coming weekend.

It will be the first time this season Betts has player another position other than center field, having played right field 12 times in 2014.

Jackie Bradley Jr. will play center field, with Rusney Castillo starting in left field, in the new alignment.

“We all know Jackie is comfortable in center,” Lovullo said. “Jackie is comfortable no matter where you put him. We’€™re probably looking at Mookie’€™s first steps, Mookie’€™s coverage. His reads. It’€™s more about Mookie in the situation of being a right fielder than it is Jackie being a center fielder. We feel fine about arm strength. Everybody is concerned about the right fielder’€™s arm strength. We know that Mookie has really improved in that area. That’€™s not really going to be an issue for me. I think it’€™s mostly about his first-step reads and gaining ground on the ball. And you can see what he’€™s doing in center field. We look for that to be the same in right field.”

– Instead of flying to Toronto immediately after Wednesday night’s game, the Red Sox were scheduled to stay over int the Charm City and fly out midday Thursday.

Read More: Joe Kelly, mookie betts,

Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts get night off, Jackie Bradley to play center

09.16.15 at 3:19 pm ET
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Fresh off Tuesday night’s marathon 13-inning loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox are giving a couple of regulars a day of rest.

Center fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts will take a seat, with Jackie Bradley sliding over to center field. Rookie Deven Marrero will make the third start of his career at shortstop in place of Bogaerts.

Bogaerts has played in all but five games this season, while Betts has appeared in 128 of 144 games this year.

Here’s the rest of the lineup, in support of young left-hander Henry Owens:

Brock Holt RF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Travis Shaw 1B
Rusney Castillo LF
Blake Swihart C
Jackie Bradley CF
Deven Marrero SS

Read More: Brock Holt, xander bogaerts,

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Henry Owens vs. Mike Wright

09.16.15 at 12:58 pm ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

Coming off two tough losses to the Orioles, the Red Sox close out their series in Baltimore on Wednesday night when they send Henry Owens to the mound against fellow 6-foot-6 rookie Mike Wright.

Owens (2-2, 5.25 ERA) last pitched Tuesday against the Blue Jays, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing one run on three hits with four walks and two hit batsman. He did not factor into the decision.

The left-hander blamed issues coming out of his windup for his wildness.

“I think out of the stretch I felt in command of most at-bats. … There’s some refinement I still need to do with my mechanics out of a windup, which beging tomorrow,” he said after the game.

Owens has made seven starts since getting called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 4. In five of those starts he has allowed a combined seven runs, but two rough outings — seven runs against the Mariners and Yankees — have ballooned his ERA. He has not yet faced the Orioles.

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Read More: henry owens, Mike Wright,

Red Sox shut down reliever Junichi Tazawa for rest of season

09.16.15 at 12:01 am ET
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Junichi Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa

The Red Sox have shut down reliever Junichi Tazawa, who has shown the strain of a heavy cumulative workload over the last three years, but insist he is not injured.

Interim manager Torey Lovullo made the announcement after the Red Sox lost 6-5 to the Orioles in 13 innings on Tuesday. He said the decision was made shortly before the game.

“I want to make this perfectly clear,” Lovullo said. “There is no injury. There is nothing behind this other than us giving him a rest.”

Tazawa is 2-7 with a 4.14 ERA, his worst since becoming a full-time reliever in 2012. Most of the damage has come since the All-Star break. Tazawa is 1-3 with a 5.85 ERA and five blown saves in the second half. Over his final eight appearances, he posted a 12.15 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .500 against him.

After making 71 appearances in each of the prior two seasons, he was shut down with 61 this year.

“Taz has been a warrior over the last three years,” Lovullo said. “Over 70 appearances for two consecutive seasons, and he was on pace for that this year. It was just our way to pay him back. You know what — get a jumpstart on the offseason, recuperate, get strong and focus on 2016.”

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from Baltimore)

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