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Red Sox select high school outfielder, Ohio State pitcher in 5th and 6th rounds of MLB draft

06.09.15 at 3:57 pm ET
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The Red Sox selected Jagger Rusconi out of West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita, California in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB draft with pick No. 141.

Drafted as a center fielder, the 18-year-old Valencia, California native was a shortstop for his high school team. He is committed to the University of Southern California and hit .414 with four home runs and 13 RBIs this season.

Rusconi is a switch hitter who throws right-handed and is listed at 5-feet, 11 inches and 165 pounds.

With their sixth-round pick, the Red Sox drafted Ohio State University right-hander Travis Lakins 171st overall.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Lakins is a sophomore at Ohio State who went 4-4 in 15 starts this season. Lakins finished 2015 with a team-leading 84 strikeouts and a 3.75 ERA in 96 innings of work, the second-most on the team.

Lakins tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 55 in his freshman campaign. He went 1-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 55 innings. He was named the Big Ten freshman of the week on March 17.

Lakins is from Franklin, Ohio and was named the league player of the year twice in his baseball career at Franklin High School. He also earned all-conference honors three times for his excellence on the basketball court.

For more draft and Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

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Source: RHP Pat Light promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket

06.09.15 at 3:14 pm ET
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Pat Light

Pat Light

The move to the bullpen certainly has paid off for right-hander Pat Light.

A 2012 first-round pick out of Monmouth University, Light was moved to the bullpen to open the year with Double-A Portland where he excelled, going 1-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 29 2/3 innings, including 32 strikeouts to 11 walks.

Now, according to a source, Light has been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.

He’s been exceptional of late, posting an 0.83 ERA in his last 17 appearances and had a 12 2/3 scoreless innings streak snapped in his last outing.

The news was first reported by the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Light could be a potential closer, as a pitcher who throws in the high 90s and his former Cape Cod League manager said he was “born to close.”

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

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Red Sox lineup: Mookie Betts dropped to eighth

06.09.15 at 3:06 pm ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

BALTIMORE — With Orioles righty Miguel Gonzalez on the mound, Red Sox manager John Farrell starts Brock Holt in right field, hitting him second.

Also of note in the Red Sox‘ lineup for their series opener against the O’s is center fielder Mookie Betts hitting out of the eighth spot. Betts has hit no lower than seventh this season, manning that position three times. He has hit leadoff in 38 games, and second in 12.

Here is the rest of the Red Sox lineup with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt RF
Hanley Ramirez LF
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Mookie Betts CF
Blake Swihart C

For all the matchups, click here.

Red Sox select Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s son, Tate in fourth round of MLB draft

06.09.15 at 2:08 pm ET
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After selecting University of Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi in the first round and University of Washington catcher Austin Rei in the third round, the Red Sox took Missouri State center fielder Tate Matheny in the fourth round with pick No. 111 overall.

He is Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny’s son and was selected by the Cardinals in 2012 in the 23rd round, but didn’t sign.

It is the first time the Red Sox have selected college players with their first three picks since 2012 when they took Deven Marrero, Pat Light and Brian Johnson.

MLB.com tabbed Matheny as the 103rd best prospect in the draft. They say: “Because he lacks a true plus tool, some scouts see him as a tweener or fourth outfielder, but his proponents believe he can become a big league regular.”

Matheny hit .291 with an on-base percentage of .417 in 61 games this season as a junior. Ironically, Benintendi’s Arkansas team knocked Matheny’s Missouri State team out of the NCAA Tournament this week.

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

Read More: 2015 MLB Draft, mike matheny, Tate Matheny,

Red Sox select University of Washington C Austin Rei in third round of MLB draft

06.09.15 at 1:23 pm ET
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After not having a second round pick, the Red Sox made their first selection since the No. 7 overall pick in the draft with the sixth pick in the third round, No. 81 overall.

With that pick the Red Sox selected University of Washington junior catcher Austin Rei. He was named the fourth-best catcher in the draft, according to MLB.com. He was limited to 25 games his past season after suffering a UCL injury in his left thumb on Feb. 19.

Rei throws and bats from the right side and was selected by the Twins in the 37th round of the 2012 draft, but didn’t sign.

As a junior at Washington, he hit .330 with seven homers and 20 RBIs, earning All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention following the injury, this after being named All-Pac-12 as a sophomore.

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

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Red Sox-Orioles series preview

06.09.15 at 9:26 am ET
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Zach Britton (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Orioles closer Zach Britton has converted his last 10 save opportunities and carries a 1.96 ERA on the season. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Coming off of their first series sweep of the season over the Athletics, the Red Sox will carry their momentum to Baltimore for a three-game set with the Orioles.

With a 5-2 record, the Red Sox have had a stellar opening to June after a miserable May. They sit at 27-31, sandwiched between the Orioles and the Blue Jays in fourth place in the underwhelming AL East. Despite their losing mark, the Red Sox are just 5 1/2 games back of the first-place Yankees.

Though not the best measure of success, the Red Sox had the best series of their season against the cellar-dwelling Athletics this past weekend. Wade Miley and Joe Kelly each turned in quality starts that resulted in wins. Meanwhile, the bullpen was lights out, allowing just one earned run in nine innings of work. Then the Red Sox bats came alive Sunday, scoring seven runs in the eighth-inning to rally for a 7-4 victory.

The Red Sox have been unable to sustain momentum this season, but they have a great opportunity this week to string together some wins against an Orioles team that is 4-6 in its last 10 and sits in last place in the AL East. The O’s are coming off of a series win against the Indians but dropped three out of four against the Astros to open June. Though they hold a narrow edge over the Red Sox with a 4-3 record in seven meetings this season, the O’s will face a much-improved Red Sox rotation this week.

Similar to the Red Sox, the Orioles’ major problem is their underperforming rotation, which ranks 23rd in the majors with a 4.16 FIP, worse than the Red Sox’ 4.11 mark. Baltimore pitching has fallen victim to the long ball this season, as the O’s give up 1.1 home runs per nine innings, the fourth-worst mark in the majors. The Orioles also struggle to keep runners off base, as they allow 3.2 free passes per nine innings. This walk rate plus home run prevention problems adds up to a team prone to giving up runs in bunches.

Though their offense has fallen short compared to recent seasons, the Orioles still have the characteristic big boppers that helped them to a 96-66 record last season. Led by Chris Davis, of 53 home run fame in 2013, the O’s own the seventh-best isolated power offense in the majors. Three of their regulars have hit nine home runs this season: Davis (12), Manny Machado (9) and Adam Jones (9).

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Read More: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Buck Showalter

MLB draft: What will Day 2 look like for Red Sox?

06.09.15 at 9:00 am ET
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Tuesday is Day 2 of the 2015 MLB draft and after only making one selection Monday, it will be a busy day for the Red Sox as they will make eight selections.

Here’s what happened last night and what is to come for the rest of the draft:

Round 1: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas at No. 7 overall (Read our story on how he became the player he is today, including being a two-sport star in high school).

Round 2: No selection as the team gave up both its second-round pick and Round 1 competitive balance pick (from Jon Lester trade) since they signed free agents Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez as both players declined qualifying offers from their former teams.

Rounds 3-10: The Red Sox will select sixth in these rounds, which will begin at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Rounds 11-40: The Red Sox will select sixth in these rounds, which will begin at 12 p.m. on Wednesday.

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

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Miguel Gonzalez

06.09.15 at 8:36 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Looking to push their season-high three-game win streak to four, the Red Sox will send out rookie sensation Eduardo Rodriguez to oppose Miguel Gonzalez and the Orioles.

We’re running out of superlatives for the Red Sox‘ newest southpaw. Rodriguez will get the chance to win his first three big league decisions with his start on Tuesday. In his first two, he was absolutely magnificent, hurling 14 2/3 innings with a 0.61 ERA and an even more impressive 0.61 WHIP. The Red Sox may have had some idea of Rodriguez’s potential, but they never predicted this explosion into the rotation.

“He does [have the chance to become something special],” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Rodriguez’s start last Wednesday. “And I think anybody in the game who’€™s watched any pitch whether it’€™s been previously with Baltimore or since coming over here. We have the vantage point of getting to know the person in addition to the pitcher. He’€™s got great aptitude, he’€™s intelligent, in addition to the physical abilities that he demonstrates. It is, it’€™s a special kid.”

In his latest outing last Wednesday, Rodriguez dismantled the Twins, the sixth-highest scoring team in the majors. He went seven innings and allowed just one earned run, a solo home run to second baseman Brian Dozier. Aside from this one blemish, Rodriguez was unstoppable, whiffing seven and earning a game score of 74.

One of the many apt descriptors to illustrate Rodriguez’s dominance over opposing hitters is masterful. In 53 plate appearances against the 22-year-old, opponents have reached base nine times, good for a .102/.170/.184 slash line. Opponents’ batting average on balls in play against Rodriguez is a mere .118. Normally a low BABIP indicates a pitcher has gotten lucky in terms of defense and/or hard contact, yet in this case, Rodriguez’ BABIP highlights his uncanny ability to produce weak contact.

Rodriguez, an ex-Orioles minor leaguer, will get the chance to face his former organization after being traded midseason last year for lefty bullpen ace Andrew Miller, who fled Baltimore in free agency this offseason.

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Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Brian Johnson suffers loss; Travis Shaw shines at the plate

06.09.15 at 8:15 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (28-30): L, 7-2, vs. Charlotte (White Sox)

–€” Brian Johnson suffered the loss, giving up two earned runs on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old left-hander and 2012 first-round draft pick fell to 6-4 on the year and now has a 2.66 ERA through 11 starts.

–€” Right-hander Miguel Celestino came in for Johnson and got Charlotte’€™s Jason Coats to fly out to right to end the sixth inning before getting roughed up in the seventh. Celestino gave up two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run blast and was pulled with two outs in the frame. He now has a 3.15 ERA in 34 1/3 innings of work over 16 appearances.

–€” Dayan Diaz pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the PawSox, allowing two more Charlotte solo shots, one in the eighth inning and one in the ninth. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in nine games with Pawtucket this season.

–€” Although he ended Monday’€™s game with a strikeout, Travis Shaw went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI to lead Pawtucket’€™s offense. Shaw, who played third base, is now hitting .242 with 26 RBIs on the season.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (23-34): Scheduled off day. Next action Tuesday at Richmond (Giants)

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (28-27): Game at Lynchburg (Indians) postponed due to rain.

–€” Monday’€™s scheduled series-opener with Lynchburg will be played at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday as Game 1 of a doubleheader with Game 2 immediately following. Both games will be seven innings.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (31-26): Scheduled off day. Next action Tuesday vs. Augusta (Giants)

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How Red Sox first-round pick Andrew Benintendi became the player he is today

06.09.15 at 1:24 am ET
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The Red Sox selected Arkansas outfielder Andrew Beninitendi No. 7 overall in Monday's MLB draft. (Photo courtesy of Razorback Communications)

The Red Sox selected Arkansas outfielder Andrew Beninitendi No. 7 overall in Monday’s MLB draft. (Photo courtesy of Razorback Communications)

Red Sox first-round pick and No. 7 overall, sophomore outfielder Andrew Benintendi out of the University of Arkansas has the ability to one day to become a star in Boston. But, back home in Madeira, Ohio and Madeira High School, he already is a superstar.

Graduating in a class with just over 125 students and living in such a small town, Benintendi has been all the buzz of late, as not only are his Arkansas Razorbacks heading to the College World Series, his name was called by the Red Sox No. 7 overall in the 2015 MLB draft Monday night.

“If I ever drew up a perfect kid, it would have been Andrew Benintendi,” Jack Kuzniczci, Benintendi’s high school coach (now retired), said late Monday night.

(Ironically, Benintendi is the second Red Sox first-round pick Kuzniczci has coached, as he coached 1996 first-round selection Josh Garrett one summer in Indiana, although he never amounted to anything.)

Benintendi starred at Madeira on the diamond, as he was a four-year starter and the left-handed hitter finished his career as the all-time Ohio runs leader (35 more than the player behind him), second in hits and in the top five in RBIs.

During his senior season he was drafted by the Reds in the 31st round, but he didn’t sign and went on to play at Arkansas. He even was a pitcher in his early years, throwing 88 mph in a championship game as a sophomore before becoming exclusively an outfielder for his senior year.

From the day he got him, Kuzniczci knew he had a special player.

“He was very easy for me to coach because he was a very smart kid,” he said. “His parents are just great people. He always respects his elders and coaches. He picked up things so fast. We let kids steal on their own and he took that by the horns and he loved it. A lot of coaches give signs, but I let Andrew steal on his own. He absolutely loved it. He learned the game so quick. He’s an incredibly smart kid, a good-looking kid. He didn’t chase the girls around either, so it was kind of nice to have a kid that wasn’t girl crazy. Never a problem with grades.”


It wasn’t just the baseball field Benintendi starred on, he also was an exceptional basketball player.

Benintendi holds the school record for points (1,753), free throws, three-pointers and steals. His junior year, he was one of the Division 3 Players of the Year in the state of Ohio and was named to the All-State team both his junior and senior years.

All this while this wasn’t even his No. 1 sport.

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Read More: 2015 MLB Draft, Andrew Beninitendi,
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