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Justin Masterson designated for assignment by Red Sox

08.09.15 at 5:54 pm ET
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With the Red Sox looking ahead to 2016, it’s become time to give younger players more of an opportunity.

Going along with that, the Red Sox designated right-hander Justin Masterson for assignment following Sunday’s win over the Tigers. The right-hander will be removed from the 40-man roster and the team has 10 days to trade or release him.

Masterson allowed a solo home run in the seventh inning going and has now allowe runs in three out of his last four outings. Without a defined role out of the bullpen and having his contract expire after this season, it was time to let him go.

“In fairness to Justin, rather than travel, it was time to inform him today,” manager John Farrell said to reporters after the game.

He had a 6.14 ERA in nine starts to open the year and then after about six weeks was placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis, then returned in a relief role in which he posted a 3.52 ERA in nine appearances.

“It was consistent strike-throwing when you boil it down,” Farrell said of why Masterson struggled. “He flashed some better arm strength at various points in time in the season but the overall consistency wasn’t there. He was tough on some right-handers but the ability to hold it together in a starting role, multiple times through the order, that came and went.

“Then when we got him through the bullpen. He had flashes of solid contributions but again it’s the inconsistencies that led to this.”

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Closing Time: Jackie Bradley Jr., Henry Owens lead Red Sox past Tigers

08.09.15 at 4:31 pm ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

This wasn’t something many could have seen coming.

With Henry Owens making his second major league start against former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, and Jackie Bradley Jr. coming into Sunday hitting just .121, it wasn’t a duo one would think could propel the Red Sox to a series-ending win.

But that’s exactly what the pair did.

Owens picked up his first big league victory, while Bradley Jr. notched five RBIs in pacing the Red Sox past the Tigers, 7-2, in Detroit.

For the big lefty, who was coming of a solid debut in Yankee Stadium, gave up just one run on three hits over five innings. He did walk three in his 84-pitch outing, but also struck out a pair.

Owens pitched to one batter in the sixth inning, allowing a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler. But Justin Masterson came on to escape the frame without giving up a run. The righty reliever did allow a solo home run to Jefry Marte in the seventh, cutting the Sox lead at the time to a run.

Earlier in the seventh it was Bradley Jr. who allowed for the Red Sox‘ third run thanks to his first home run of the season. He had already accounted for the visitors’ second score thanks to a bases-loaded walk.

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Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Yoan Moncada records 3 hits (1 home run), while racking up stolen bases

08.09.15 at 11:11 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-70): L, 4-3, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— Pawtucket lost their sixth straight, all to Syracuse, and fell to 6-31 in their last 37 games. The PawSox offense has scored just 11 runs over the last six games and snapped a 22 scoreless inning streak with a run in the fourth inning on Saturday. Pawtucket has also gone seven straight games without a triple or home run and has just two home runs in their last 17 games dating back to July 22.

— Catcher Sandy Leon and shortstop Marco Hernandez (Boston’€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) each had multi-hit games on Saturday, accounting for four of Pawtucket’€™s six total hits. Leon drove in a run on a double in the fourth and a single in the eighth, while Hernandez scored twice.

Leon, 26, is now hitting .367 (11-for-30) over eight games in Triple-A with five RBIs and four runs scored since he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket on July 30. Signed by Washington in the 2007 international signing period out of Venezuela, the switch-hitting Leon was acquired by Boston in March from the Nationals and appeared in 33 major league games this season, hitting .180 with three RBIs.

Hernandez, 22, was back at shortstop after appearing in four of his last five games at third base. Through 21 games in Triple-A, Hernandez is slashing .263/.286/.400 with two homers and five doubles to go with 11 RBIs and 13 runs scored. Acquired by Boston last December from Chicago to complete the trade for Felix Doubront, Hernandez had an All-Star first half with Double-A Portland, leading the Eastern League with a .326 average at the time of his promotion.

— RHP Shawn Haviland started making his Pawtucket debut, taking the loss with a final line of: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO (95 pitches, 63 strikes). A Harvard graduate, the 29-year-old Haviland made the start in place of RHP Jess Todd, who was scratched and placed on the seven-day disabled list with right triceps tendinitis.

— The PawSox bullpen pitched four scoreless innings of relief, with two scoreless from RHP Jonathan Aro and one each from LHP Tommy Layne and RHP Ryan Cook.

Acquired by Boston on July 31 from Oakland, the 28-year-old Cook has made two scoreless appearances for Pawtucket after pitching in 30 games in relief this year for A’€™s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville where he went 4-1 with eight saves, striking out 26 over 33 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-2 Cook had four games in the majors this season with Oakland and has made 212 career big-league relief appearances, earning an American League All-Star bid in 2012.

— LHP Brian Johnson (Boston’€™s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com) is scheduled to have a follow-up visit with doctors in the next week, according to the Providence Journal, to re-examine elbow soreness that he experienced in a start on August 2, cut short after 60 pitches. Johnson was placed on the seven-day disabled list last Monday.

“He’€™s doing treatments, and we’€™ll see when he’€™s going to pick up a baseball again,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said. “It’€™s just going to go depending on how he feels and what the medical says.”

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Read More: brian johnson, Jorge Marban, keury de la cruz, luis alexander basabe

Sunday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Henry Owens vs. Justin Verlander

08.09.15 at 7:28 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

Henry Owens will toe the rubber for the Red Sox on Sunday as he looks to build off his relatively successful major league debut against the Yankees last Tuesday. He’ll go up against former AL MVP Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

Owens’ first career start offered a minor silver lining to the Red Sox‘ otherwise underwhelming 2015 campaign. He took to the mound in perhaps the most unfriendly confines possible for a big league pitcher at Yankee Stadium and came just an inning away from a quality start and potentially a victory.

“I was anxious to be out here,” Owens said. “Very excited. I was pleased with the opportunity, and I tried to seize it the best I could. I ran into a couple of tough innings, but hopefully there’€™s more to come.”

The left-hander went five frames, allowing five hits and three earned runs while punching out five. However, Owens’ final line is deceiving as he left with a 2-1 lead intact. Robbie Ross came in to relieve him after he let the first two men reach base in the sixth inning and promptly gave up two hits and the lead. The Sox bullpen never recovered, allowing 10 more runs en route to a 13-3 loss.

Despite the outcome, Red Sox manager John Farrell is optimistic that Owens can continue to master his pitches and perform at the highest level.

“You can talk all you want, but what he’€™s going to experience for the first time on this stage, you just hope he’€™s out there controlling the environment and ultimately controlling the baseball,” Farrell said.

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Closing Time: Junichi Tazawa’s troubles continue in Red Sox’ loss to Tigers

08.08.15 at 10:19 pm ET
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Junichi Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa

With all the talk about how the Red Sox need to fix their starting rotation for next season, an equally as daunting task may be rebuilding the team’s bullpen.

The latest example of how far the Red Sox relievers have fallen came with two outs in the seventh inning Saturday night, with Junichi Tazawa facing Detroit’s Victor Martinez while trying to preserve a one-run lead.

As has been the case of late, the outcome was not good for Tazawa or the Red Sox.

The Red Sox reliever hung a split-fingered fastball to Martinez, who launched a go-ahead two-run blast into the right field seats. The hit would be the decisive blow in the Tigers’ 7-6 win over the Sox.

With the home run, Red Sox relievers had allowed opponents a .623 slugging percentage for August. Tazawa continues to exemplify the bullpen’s downturn, coming into the game having allowed a .382 batting average and 1.059 OPS against since the All-Star break.

Heading into Saturday, Red Sox relievers’ batting average against was .308 in August, with the bullpen’s ERA standing at 5.40 for the month.

The loss was made even more frustrating for the Red Sox considering they had come from behind earlier in the seventh, with David Ortiz‘s two-run single giving the visitors a lead. It was Ortiz’s third hit of the night, as he doubled in the first inning and hit his 23rd homer in the sixth.

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Read More: David Ortiz, junichi tazawa, victor martinez, wade miley

David Ortiz triggers contract for 2016

08.08.15 at 9:26 pm ET
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David Ortiz’ first-inning double Saturday night meant more than just a good start for the Red Sox. It meant $11 million for the designated hitter.

With the at-bat Ortiz reached 425 plate appearances for the season, triggering his option for the 2016 season. He is now guaranteed $11 million for ’16, with the opportunity to make more for additional plate appearances.

Ortiz’ ’16 salary will increase by $1 million each time he reaches 475, 500, 525, 575 and 600 plate appearances. At his current pace, the 39-year-old would maximize his deal, guaranteeing him $16 million for next season.

Ortiz didn’t stop with the double, going on to not only launch his 23rd home run of the season — a solo shot in the sixth inning — but gave the Red Sox the lead in the seventh with a two-run single.

“I earned it,” Ortiz told WEEI.com’s John Tomase earlier in the week when asked about the milestone. “That’s why I’m playing next year. Because I earned it.”

The DH added, “That’s the way we pretty much agreed to do things. You know me, I get greedy when it comes down to performance. I want to put up numbers. I agreed to do it that way, because if I don’t put up numbers, what would be the reason to continue playing?”

Following his final hit of the game, Ortiz’ OPS stood at .821

Saturday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Wade Miley vs. Alfredo Simon

08.08.15 at 10:40 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

In the second leg of a three-game set at Comerica Park in Detroit, the Red Sox will trot Wade Miley to the mound Saturday to face Alfredo Simon and the Tigers.

Miley enters the contest with a record of 8-9 and a 4.55 ERA. He has a moderate 4.08 FIP to go with a 1.389 WHIP in 22 starts on the season. Opponents are hitting .261 against Miley.

In his lasting outing against the Rays on Sunday, Miley took a no-decision in a game he pitched well enough to win. The left-hander tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four. Miley, 28, left the game with a 3-2 lead, but reliever Junichi Tazawa lost the game by allowing two Rays runs in the eighth. He threw a career-high 120 pitches, 71 of which were strikes (59 percent).

“You want to be out there. It’s no fun sitting down,” Miley said postgame. “We’ve got five days before we get to go out and compete again. The longer we get to stay out there, the better. It’s never fun to come out of the game.”

Since the All-Star break, Miley has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of his four starts, including taking a no-hitter into the seventh against the Angels in Anaheim. In the fourth start, however, he allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings to the White Sox. Even including that clunker performance, Miley’s post-break ERA is 3.55 across 25 1/3 innings pitched.

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Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Nick Longhi HR, Michael Chavis grand slam lead Greenville to doubleheader sweep

08.08.15 at 10:28 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

Keith Couch

Keith Couch

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-69): L, 5-0, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— Starter Keith Couch suffered the loss after allowing four earned runs on four hits and three walks in just three innings of work. He also struck out four. The right-hander has started 21 games for Pawtucket this season and has made 23 total appearances and is 4-10 with a 6.42 ERA.

— Lefty reliever Edwin Escobar also tossed three innings, giving up no runs, two hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Escobar has an 0-2 record and a 7.54 ERA in 14 games with the PawSox this season.

— The Pawtucket offense combined for just six hits — all singles — off Syracuse starter Richard Bleier, who pitched a complete game. Bleier induced 22 ground ball outs, including all three in the ninth inning, and did not walk a batter.

— Friday’€™s loss marked Pawtucket’€™s International League-leading 17th shutout loss of the year.

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Read More: Danny Rosenbaum, Keith Couch, michael chavis, nick longhi

Closing Time: Pleasure, pain for Red Sox in win over Tigers

08.07.15 at 11:03 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Up until the last out of the Red Sox‘ 7-2 road win over the Tigers on Friday night, everything was going the visitors’ way.

David Ortiz hit another home run, this one coming off Tigers lefty starter Daniel Norris. Both Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts notched three-hit games, helping the Sox offense total 13 hits for the night. And Red Sox starter Joe Kelly turned in one of his best outings in quite a while.

But with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, Ian Kinsler hit a line drive back up the middle that struck Koji Uehara in the right forearm. While the closer managed to pick up the ball and fire it to first for the game’s final out, Uehara looked in excruciating pain while being escorted off the field by trainer Brad Pearson.

Following the game, Uehara confirmed to reporters he hadn’t suffered a break in his injured arm.

“I consider that my whole body is a glove once I release the ball. That happens,” Uehara told reporters through a translator. In regards to managing a throw for the final out, he said, “Once I released the ball, I didn’t have too much strength in my hand. It sort of caught me when I didn’t put too much muscle or too much strength in it. It wasn’t too much of pain.”

Uehara was forced to come into the game after reliever Justin Masterson had loaded the bases, proceeding to strike out Jose Iglesias before the Kinsler at-bat to record his 25th save.

Earning the win was Kelly, who allowed two runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two. The righty’s first six outs all came on strikeouts.

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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli traded to Rangers

08.07.15 at 7:32 pm ET
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As was first reported by WEEI.com, Mike Napoli, one of the heroes of the Red Sox 2013 World Series championship, has been traded to the Rangers.

A source said Napoli agreed to waive his no-trade clause, which included Texas and Seattle, to facilitate the deal.

The Red Sox receive either a player to be named later or cash considerations in the deal. The Rangers will pay approximately $1.5 million of the $5 million left on Napoli‘s deal this year.

“Once Nap cleared trade waivers, we reached back out to a handful of teams that we had been in touch with prior to the deadline and that all happened within the last 48 hours or so and just happened that Texas ended up being a team that seemed like the best fit and an opportunity for him to go back to a place he’€™s familiar with and play in a role that should fit him. And play for a team that’€™s made a nice run and has a chance to do something down the stretch,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington Friday night. “Happy for Nap and obviously want to thank him for what he did for the Red Sox particularly in 2013, a huge part of our success that year and made a real impact and became a real good player on the field for us and obviously a popular player and part of that team’€™s success. So we appreciate what he did us and wish him well.”

The 33-year-old has struggled for much of the season, batting .207 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. His defense has also taken a step back at first base. He has posted an .896 OPS since the All-Star break, however, and he brings a winning pedigree to a Rangers club that has finally found its stride to work its way back into the wild card race.

With a 4-3 victory over the Astros on Wednesday, the Rangers completed a sweep and moved a game over .500 for the first time since July 3. They began play on Friday just 2 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot.

In Napoli, they reacquire a player who had two of his best seasons in Texas, where he hit a career-high .320 in 2011 before making his only All-Star team in 2012. His most obvious path to playing time in Texas would be as the right-handed half of a first base platoon with slugger Mitch Moreland.

While it may have been time for Napoli to go, that doesn’t change what he meant to the Red Sox in 2013. An originator of the beards that took the region by storm, Napoli hit .259 with 23 homers and a career-high 92 RBIs.

He also blasted two of the most pivotal homers of the postseason — a solo shot off Justin Verlander accounted for the only run in Game 3 of the ALCS, as well as bomb to dead center off of Anibal Sanchez that started the Red Sox on their way to a 4-3 victory in Game 5.

After the Red Sox won it all, a jubilant Napoli was photographed roaming the streets of Boston shirtless in one of the enduring images of the celebration.

Cherington noted that the absence of Napoli will free up playing time for rookie Travis Shaw, although the GM suggested that neither Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval would likely see time at first base. He also introduced the possibility of another chance at the major league level for Allen Craig.

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