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John Lackey on whether he’d have played for minimum in Boston: ‘You guys are trying to stir stuff up’

08.05.14 at 9:54 pm ET
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The reunion didn’t take long.

Former Red Sox right-hander John Lackey had a chance to visit with several of his former teammates just five days after being traded from Boston to St. Louis (along with minor leaguer Corey Littrell) in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig and right-hander Joe Kelly.

Lackey, who was in his fifth year of the Boston on the five-year, $82.5 million deal he signed in December 2009 (which included sixth year vesting team option for 2015 at the major league minimum that was triggered when he missed all of 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery), suggested that the trade hardly caught him off guard.

I have some great friends on that team that I left and obviously I had a great last year and a ton of fun with that group of guys but it’€™s part of the game,” Lackey told reporters prior to Tuesday’s Red Sox-Cardinals game. “I wasn’€™t really surprised. Honestly, it was about as good a place for me to be right now. I was pretty happy with where it happened, I guess.”

The trade marked the conclusion of an eventful and somewhat tumultuous run in Boston. Lackey enjoyed a solid if unspectacular first year in Boston in 2010, struggled to a 6.41 ERA in 2011 while trying to pitch through a torn ulnar collateral ligament, was viewed as a villain in the chicken-and-beer scandal down the stretch in 2011, missed all of 2012 while recovering from surgery, then enjoyed a dazzling return in 2013 to forge not only a 3.52 ERA in the regular season but to deliver some dominant postseason performances (including winning the World Series Game 6 clincher against St. Louis). He was amidst another solid season (3.60 ERA) in 2014, making him an attractive target in the trade market, particularly given his inexpensive option for 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Red Sox chairman Tom Werner among three finalists for MLB Commissioner

08.05.14 at 6:03 pm ET
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According to a USA Today Sports, which cited “a high-ranking MLB executive with direct knowledge of the hiring process,” the search committee formed to identify a successor to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has narrowed its search to three candidates. Among those three, according to the report, is Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

The other candidates cited by the report are MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, long viewed as the favorite for the job, and MLB vice president of business Tim Brosnan. MLB owners are scheduled to vote on the candidates on Aug. 14, with 23 out of 30 votes needed for approval.

Read More: mlb commissioner, Tom Werner,

Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz at first base against Cardinals

08.05.14 at 4:26 pm ET
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David Ortiz will play first base and bat third as the Red Sox begin a three-game series against the Cardinals Tuesday night in St. Louis.

With Ortiz at first base in the inter league contest, Mike Napoli is not in the starting lineup. Rubby De La Rosa will take the mound and oppose Lance Lynn.

1. Brock Holt, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, 1B
4. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
5. Daniel Nava, RF
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
7. Christian Vazquez, C
8. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
9. Rubby De La Rosa, SP

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

Red Sox minor league roundup: Henry Owens, Red Sox pitching prospects and the innings question; Bryce Brentz back big; Kevin McAvoy, groundball machine

08.05.14 at 1:40 pm ET
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The Red Sox‘ pool of top starting pitching prospects has reached a point in their development paths where the Red Sox are eager to challenge them. Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo, all of whom spent much of the early year in Triple-A, have all seen varying degrees of time in the big leagues.

Henry Owens just moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket last week, and in his PawSox debut, he delivered a dazzling outing. Though the youngest pitcher in the International League, Owens looked polished beyond his years in carrying a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings before ultimately putting the finishing touches on 6 2/3 shutout innings in which he punched out nine, allowed two hits (both singles, one of the infield variety), hit a batter and walked three.

It was a dazzling performance that merits a glimpse to confirm that, yes, Owens can spin a curveball to round out a three-pitch mix:

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The 22-year-old is now 15-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 21 starts with 9.5 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings this year. He’s been dominant between Double-A and Triple-A.

But for a number of reasons, there’s a very good chance that Owens won’t see the big leagues this year. Among those reasons: In his age 21 season (he didn’t turn 22 until July), he’s close to cruising past his career high in innings. By the time he gets through another handful of starts in Triple-A, he’ll be at some approximation of the innings threshold where the Sox would like to see him wrap up his year. It’s not worth transforming the 40-man roster solely for the sake of one big league start. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bryce brentz, henry owens, kevin mcavoy, manuel margot

Allen Craig to land on disabled list due to ankle injury; Corey Brown getting called up

08.05.14 at 1:05 pm ET
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Allen Craig won’t be on the field for his return to St. Louis.

Five days after the Cardinals traded Craig to the Red Sox, along with right-hander Joe Kelly, for right-hander John Lackey and minor league lefty Corey Littrell, Craig is heading to the disabled list due to an ankle injury, according to a Red Sox team source. Craig went 1-for-4 with a double in his Sox debut on Friday, but in his final at-bat, he tweaked his ankle while crossing first base while running out a grounder.

In 97 games for the Cardinals this year prior to the trade, the 30-year-old Craig was hitting .237/.291/.346, a significant dropoff from his pre-2014 career line of .306/.358/.492. Craig missed considerable time last year due to a Lisfranc fracture in his foot. On Sunday, Sox manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox were trying to discern if there was any connection between last year’s injury and this one.

With Craig out, outfielder Corey Brown will join the Red Sox to provide outfield depth. The 28-year-old, who signed a minor league deal with the Sox in the offseason, is hitting .226/.294/.452 with 16 homers in 83 games this year in Triple-A Pawtucket. Of his 16 homers, 14 have come against righties. Brown, who can play all three outfield positions, has played 36 big league games in his career, all as a member of the Nationals from 2011-13.

The Red Sox begin a three-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday.

News of Craig’s move to the DL was first reported by Maureen Mullen (via twitter).

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Shane Victorino to undergo lower back surgery

08.05.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino‘s injury-riddled season came to what seemed like an almost inevitable end, as the 33-year-old will undergo what is surgery on his lower back on Tuesday, the team announced. The procedure will likely end Victorino’s season. Dr. Robert Watkins, whom Victorino visited on Monday for a second opinion after an MRI in Boston identified the potential need for surgery on Friday, will perform the operation.

“‘€œI’m definitely disappointed, news that I didn’t want to get. Obviously I think we need another opinion, see where we’re at and we’re going to go from there,’€ Victorino said on Saturday. ‘€œObviously [the MRI] showed some signs of some things going on with my back that obviously it’s important for us to get a second opinion. We’ll go and see what happens and go from there.”

Victorino — who hit .294/.351/.451 in 122 games last year, even as he twice landed on the DL with similar injuries — played just 30 games between three stints on the disabled list due to hamstring and lower back injuries. He hit .268 with a .303 OBP and .382 slugging mark.

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Red Sox-Cardinals series preview

08.05.14 at 10:50 am ET
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This isn’t the World Series rematch either side was probably expecting at the start of the season.

The Red Sox and Cardinals meet Tuesday for the first time since the Fall Classic when they begin a three-game series at Busch Stadium. But instead of a matchup between two of Major League Baseball‘s best, this will be a meeting between teams going in completely different directions.

The contrasting outlooks was made clear last Thursday at the deadline when the two sides were trade partners. The last-place Sox sent starter John Lackey to St. Louis, which was looking to bolster its rotation for a playoff push, in exchange for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, who will make their return to their former home field this week.

“I’€™m definitely looking forward to it. It’€™s going to be fun,” said Kelly, who will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday. “But it’€™s just another ball game. You’€™ve got to go out there and be 100 percent locked in and just make pitches and try to get those guys out.”

The Red Sox are coming off yet another series defeat. This time they lost two of three to the rival Yankees at Fenway Park to sink further into the AL East cellar. The Sox are 14 games out of first place and 4 1/2 games out of fourth.

While the Cardinals haven’t looked as strong as they did a year ago, they’re still a threat in the National League. St. Louis has won three of its last four and took two out of three from the first-place Brewers this past weekend to move within a game of the division lead.

The Cardinals were lifted by their newest arm, Lackey, in Sunday’s win. The right-hander gave up two runs on seven hits over seven innings to help St. Louis to a 3-2 win.

“From the start, my arm felt good,” Lackey said after the game. “I started locating some balls better as the game went on.”

Here are the pitching matchups for the three-game set.

Tuesday: Rubby De La Rosa (3-4, 3.64 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (11-8, 2.98 ERA)
Wednesday: Joe Kelly (2-2, 4.37 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (8-8, 4.14 ERA)
Thursday: Brandon Workman (1-4, 4.08 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (13-6, 2.26 ERA)

WHO’S HOT: RED SOX

– Dustin Pedroia continued his impressive emergence at the plate against the Yankees over the weekend. The second baseman went 6-for-14 with four runs and four RBIs over the three-game series. Pedroia nearly drove in another in the ninth inning Sunday when he connected on a pitch from David Robertson that hooked left of the foul pole before clearing the Wall in left field. He’s now had five straight multi-hit games and seven in the last nine. Pedroia is hitting .400 (10-for-25) during this five-game multi-hit streak.

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