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Clay Buchholz still eyeing pitching one inning before end of season

09.14.15 at 8:15 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — It doesn’t seem like much, but as Clay Buchholz explained Monday pitching just one more inning this season, “would go a long way.”

Buchholz, who is recovering from a right elbow strain and hasn’t pitched in a game since July 10, continued his rehab progression at Camden Yards, throwing out to 120 feet prior to the Red Sox series opener against the Orioles.

The righty has also begun to throw breaking balls on the side, although no timetable has been presented as to when he might return to the mound.

But, as he explained, as long as he keeps going down his current path, the goal of coming out of the Red Sox bullpen for one game this season remains intact.

“We just out want to get out there and see what it’s like to ramp up to 100 percent effort level in a game,” Buchholz explained. “But I don’t have enough time to start.”

New president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had previously said that he didn’t envision Buchholz pitching again this season. Yet the insinuation by both interim manager Torey Lovullo and Buchholz that his season might not be completely over, the target seemingly remains pitching in that final series in Cleveland.

Buchholz started 18 games, compiling 7-7 record and 3.26 ERA, before succumbing to the strained right flexor in his elbow.

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Good times keep rolling for David Ortiz, named AL Player of the Week

09.14.15 at 3:40 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — As if hitting his 500th career home run wasn’t enough …

David Ortiz was named American League Player of the Week Monday after leading the major leagues with a 1.111 slugging percentage while hitting an American League-best 20 total bases.

Here is the rest of the release announcing Ortiz’s honor:

Ortiz ranked among league leaders in hitting (2nd, .444), on-base percentage (2nd, .545) and RBIs (2nd, 9), and was tied for second among AL hitters with three home runs. The veteran slugger hit his 499th and 500th career homers in Saturday’€™s 10-4 victory at Tampa Bay, becoming the 27th player in major league history to reach the 500 home run plateau.

Ortiz joined countryman Albert Pujols (April 22, 2014) as the only players in history to reach the mark with a multi-home run game. He became the fourth player to hit his 500th career blast in a Red Sox uniform, joining Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx (Sept. 24, 1940) and Ted Williams (June 17, 1960), as well as former teammate Manny Ramirez (May 31, 2008). Ortiz is now one of four players with 500 or more career home runs and three World Series championships under his belt, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson. Ortiz also homered in Wednesday’€™s contest against Toronto at Fenway Park, collecting three RBIs in the 10-4 victory over the division leaders. Ortiz, who now has 34 homers on the season, has reached the 30-homer threshold for the ninth time in his career. With 95 RBIs, he is just five shy of his ninth 100-RBI campaign. This is his sixth career Player of the Week honor and his first since the week of May 30-June 5, 2011.

Other noteworthy performances last week included Ortiz’€™ Boston teammate Mookie Betts (.429, 6 R, 12 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .679 SLG, .467 OBP); Kansas City’€™s Mike Moustakas (.292, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .542 SLG); Toronto’€™s Ben Revere (.407, 7 R, 11 H, 4 RBI, 3 SB, .467 OBP); Colby Lewis (1-0, 0.00 ERA, CG, SHO, 4 SO, 9.0 IP) of the Texas Rangers;
and Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 0.60 ERA, 17 SO, 15.0 IP) of the New York Yankees.

In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, David Ortiz will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Kevin Gausman

09.14.15 at 1:39 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Following a weekend series victory over the Rays, the surging Red Sox head to Camden Yards to open a three-game series against the Orioles on Monday night, sending former Oriole Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound opposite right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Rodriguez (9-5, 4.05 ERA), is coming off a solid outing last Sunday against the Phillies, going seven innings and allowing just one run on eight hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts, to earn his ninth win.

Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts against Baltimore this season. In the first start on June 9 the left-hander pitched very well, going six innings and allowing no runs and just three hits and three walks vs. seven strikeouts. In his second outing against his former team 16 days later he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits, with no walks and five strikeouts.

“We can go back to May and June, he would have a bump in the road and give up five runs and come out of the game,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “That hasn’t happened in a long time. That’s maturity.”

Rodriguez is looking to break a three-game road losing streak, as he’s allowed 17 runs in 13 2/4 innings in his last three starts away from home.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, could close to within five games of .500 for the first time since the All-Star break (when they were 42-47), and they could climb out of the AL East cellar in this series, as they enter Monday’s action one game behind both the Orioles and the Rays (who open a series against the Yankees).

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Joe Castiglione’s call of David Ortiz’s 500th career home run

09.13.15 at 7:21 pm ET
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In case you missed it, here is Joe Castiglione’s call of David Ortiz‘s 500th career home run Saturday night on the Red Sox Radio Network.

(Click here to listen to the audio. The call is at the 1:37 mark)

Castiglione also caught up with Ortiz before Sunday’s game to talk about the designated hitter’s feat. Click here to hear that interview.

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Closing Time: Rich Hill’s dominant performance highlights Red Sox’ extra-inning win

09.13.15 at 5:15 pm ET
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Rich Hill was spectacular in his first big league start since 2009. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

Rich Hill was spectacular in his first big league start since 2009. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

Two days, two pretty significant storylines for the Red Sox.

No, the Red Sox‘ 13-inning, 2-0 win over the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field wasn’t going to set the baseball world on fire. And while Rusney Castillo’s two-run single in the 13th (giving him three hits for the day) was notable, it wasn’t what will drive the conversation as the Sox leave Florida.

Less than 24 hours after David Ortiz launched two homers to give him 500 for his career, a far less accomplished player offered his own remarkable moment. For Rich Hill, Sunday afternoon wasn’t any ordinary game.

Making his first major league start since July 27, 2009, Hill dazzled through seven innings. The lefty allowed just one hit without giving up a run, while striking out 10 and walking one in his 109-pitch outing.

“He’s always had a really good breaking ball. That’€™s known. What he was able to do was make adjustments, get a feel,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who said Hill will make at least two more starts. “When you’re throwing him one inning as a reliever, there’s not a lot of time to make those touchy-feely adjustments. What Rich was able to do was make the adjustments and throw some quality breaking balls. The thing that stood out to me was when he had to make some pitches, he did. One batter reached second base. The outing speaks for itself. It was just a great outing.”

The only hit off of the 34-year-old came with one out in the third inning when J.P. Arencibia hit a grounder just to the right of Xander Bogaerts, which the shortstop couldn’t quite reel in.

Considering how long it had been since Hill’s last big league start, the results were somewhat remarkable. According to Elias, it had been the longest in between starts for any major league lefty since Brad Thomas drought that lasted from Aug. 11, 2001, until April 24, 2010.

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Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz sits out for Rich Hill’s return

09.13.15 at 10:01 am ET
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With his 500th career home run in the books, David Ortiz will get a day off in the Red Sox‘ series finale against the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. Taking his place in the designated hitter spot will be Allen Craig.

Also getting the start will be Deven Marrero, who slots in at third base against Tampa Bay starter Drew Smyly.

Perhaps the most notable piece of the Red Sox‘ plan is Rich Hill taking the hill as a starting pitcher for the first time sine July 27, 2009. According to Elias, the last left-handed pitcher to go at least six years between major league starts was Brad Thomas, who started on Aug. 11, 2001, and then again April 24, 2010.

Hill will attempt to continue the recent run by Red Sox starters, who have posted a 2.65 ERA in the last eight contests.

Here is the Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Travis Shaw, 1B
Rusney Castillo, LF
Allen Craig, DH
Deven Marrero, 3B
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF

For the pitching matchups, click here.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Rich Hill vs. Drew Smyly

09.13.15 at 9:08 am ET
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Recently reacquired Rich Hill will make his first major league start since 2009 when the Red Sox close out a three-game series against the Rays and left-hander Drew Smyly on Sunday afternoon.

The 35-year-old Hill, a native of Milton, was in the Sox organization from 2010 to 2012 and again in 2014 before being traded to the Angels midseason. His last stint in the majors came with the Yankees late last year. He was in the Nationals organization to start this season before being released in June. Rather than look for another deal as a reliever, Hill joined the independent league Long Island Ducks and impressed the Sox enough to earn a look as a starter.

“It is special,” Hill said of his latest opportunity with his hometown team. “It’s special to be home, it really is. Somebody asked me if it was improbable. I may have said yes, but that was really my goal — to get back and to start.”

After being signed to a minor league deal on Aug. 10 by the Sox, Hill went 3-2 with an ERA of 2.78 in five starts with Pawtucket before being called up. The left-hander will look to start his rejuvenated career on a positive note Sunday afternoon as part of Boston’s six-man September rotation.

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What David Ortiz had to say after hitting 500th homer

09.13.15 at 12:30 am ET
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After becoming the 27th player in major league history to hit 500 home runs, this is what David Ortiz told reporters Saturday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.:

On deciding to play Saturday: “I thought I was going to play today, but they told me that they don’t want me on the turf for three straight days. I told them I’m going to play last night and if I feel good the next day, I’ll come back and play. I was going to have a day off, that was the plan. But they didn’t know if it was going to be today or tomorrow. [Torey] Lovullo just texted me early, see how I feel, I told him I was going to play and I played.”

On Dustin Pedroia‘s chance to reach 500: “Plenty of time. He’s signed for another 10 years.”

On what the last few weeks were like: “Well, what can I tell you? The past couple of weeks I think there was one day I was trying to hit homers and I think I went 0-for-4 with four punchouts. I was working on just trying to put a good swing on the ball and whatever happens, happens. You guys have seen me lately hitting the ball opposite field. When I’m swinging the bat well, that’s what I do, hit the ball everywhere. I think tonight was one of those nights where if you feel good, swinging the bat good, if you see pitches to hit facing the Devil Rays — I think the Devil Rays have one of the best pitching staffs in the game and they don’t miss much. They have a plan, a game plan against you, and they execute pretty well. I was trying to focus on putting a good swing on the ball.”

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It seems like perfect time to appreciate David Ortiz

09.12.15 at 11:49 pm ET
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David Ortiz celebrates his 500th career home run. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

David Ortiz celebrates his 500th career home run. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Enjoy the moment.

David Ortiz did.

Big Papi joined baseball’s 500-home run club Saturday night in a big way when he launched two home runs off of Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore in the original Fenway South, known locally as Tropicana Field.

It was another case of Ortiz being Ortiz.

His second home run of the game, No. 500, came in the fifth.

It was a solo shot. Fitting for this accomplishment. The announced crowd of 20,698 stood as one and cheered Ortiz. His teammates streamed out of the dugout to greet him. This was good.

The 2-2 curveball landed somewhere between the right field wall and Venus.

Ortiz has been makin’ it rain for the Red Sox since 2003. He’s whacked 442 regular-season and 17 postseason home runs since he was released by the Twins.

Signing Ortiz as an unrestricted free agent is the karmatic historic counterweight to Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez combined.

On Saturday night, he homered in the first. A three-run shot. Then he led off the fifth. Five pitches later, his no-doubter made him the 27th major leaguer to earn MLB’s half-grand prize.

He swung. He watched. He took his sweet damn time rounding the bases.

Wouldn’t you?

“I’m glad I did that. I’m glad it’s over,” Ortiz said, according to interim manager Torey Lovullo.

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David Ortiz becomes 27th member of 500 home run club

09.12.15 at 7:48 pm ET
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David Ortiz wasn’t stuck at 499 for long. Four innings after pulling within one of the 500 home run club, Ortiz became the 27th member when he launched a Matt Moore curveball into the right field seats at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

No. 500 was a solo home run, while No. 499 was a three-run shot that got the Red Sox off and running Saturday night. Ortiz’s historic blast in the fifth inning extended the Sox’ lead to 8-0.

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