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Pablo Sandoval leaves game with mid-back tightness

09.09.15 at 9:47 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval left Wednesday’s game with the Blue Jays prior to the start of the sixth inning with what the team announced as mid-back tightness.

Sandoval was 1-for-3 with an RBI as the Red Sox were leading the Jays 10-1 when he left the game.

The third baseman has been dealing with back issues of late, missing a few games over the weekend with the same injury after being scratched Friday.

Following the game interim manager Torey Lovullo said it was for precautionary reasons.

“He started to tighten up a little bit But the therapy he received since coming out of the game, he’s feeling much better,” he said.

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

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Anderson Espinoza, Michael Kopech to pitch in Fall Instructional League

09.09.15 at 9:06 pm ET
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Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

Even though the Red Sox‘ minor league season has ended at all levels, that doesn’t mean the season is completely over.

The Fall Instructional League will get underway in a few weeks in Fort Myers, Florida and it will be a chance for some of the younger Red Sox prospects to continue to develop.

The youngest up-and-coming prospect, Anderson Espinoza will be one of the pitchers after the 17-year-old was promoted to Single-A Greenville last week after the Gulf Coast League ended.

For the season between the Dominican Summer League, Florida Gulf Coast League and Single-A Greenville, Espinoza had a 1.23 ERA over 58 1/3 innings of work to go along with 65 strikeouts. He was kept on a strict four-inning limit.

“I think he handled himself well in his one start,” Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel said. “Unfortunately, it was only one start for him up there. He’ll take a couple weeks off and then he’ll go to the Instructional League.”

Michael Kopech is the other big name pitcher who is scheduled to pitch. The 19-year-old is most known for being suspended 50 games in mid July for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

In his 16 games with Greenville this year, he went 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA and totaled 70 strikeouts in 65 innings.

“You have to rank him right up there with our top guys,” Treuel said. “I think a good thing was he was able to work in Fort Myers, he was able to work on the changeup and we’ll continue to monitor the progress in the Florida Instructional League and he’ll be a guy that we can extend out. He’s not going to be the normal two-inning guy, we’ll be able to stretch him out because he hasn’t logged many innings this year. He may be a guy that we can get up to four or five innings like we did with Brian Johnson a few years ago to make up some innings.”

Other pitchers scheduled to throw in the Fall Instructional League include 2015 draft picks Logan Allen and Travis Lakins.

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David Ortiz blasts career home run No. 498 against Blue Jays

09.09.15 at 8:41 pm ET
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Two to go.

David Ortiz launched career home run No. 498, moving within two of 500 for his career, with a mammoth three-run shot to dead center off of Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison in the third inning on Wednesday night.

Ortiz’s 32nd homer of the season boosted his OPS to .896, just four points shy of .900.

The odds of Ortiz reaching his milestone homer at Fenway have decreased virtually to zero. The Red Sox embark on a nine-game road trip through the American League East beginning on Friday in Tampa.

Dave Dombrowski not close to naming Red Sox general manager, but says he values continuity

09.09.15 at 5:52 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski hasn’t begun the process of hiring a new general manager of the Red Sox he said on Wednesday afternoon, but added that he values continuity in a front office, which perhaps bodes well for current assistant general manager Mike Hazen.

Dombrowski discussed the GM search after announcing a series of promotions in the front office: Brian Bannister has been named director of pitching analysis and development, Chris Mears has been promoted to pitching crosschecker, and Gus Quattlebaum has been named director of pro scouting.

“I have not started anything in the general manager’s position, other than have a list compiled,” said Dombrowski, who added that he’d rather talk to external candidates when their teams aren’t in pennant races.

He also spoke of the importance of continuity in building a front office. Former GM Ben Cherington left behind a respected staff, and Dombrowski has no plans to clean house.

“I think continuity is extremely important assuming you have good people,” he said. “I think the best organizations in baseball generally have a lot of continuity and I said when I first came here there’s a lot of good people here. I’ve met with a lot of good people and I’ve been very impressed with them. Doesn’t mean we’re not going to have some changes, but I can tell you right now when I’ve met with them, there’s not anybody I’ve said, ‘Oh that’s a full time employee we’re dismissing.’

“I think if you give people an opportunity and structure some things differently, and I’m sure there will be some changes, some people won’t want to work with me. That’s the way it goes. But I think continuity is important.”

While former Braves GM Frank Wren has been mentioned as one possible GM candidate here, the team also has Hazen, an assistant familiar with the current front office.

Read More: Dave Dombrowski, mike hazen, Red Sox GM,

Rich Hill to make first MLB start in 6 years Sunday vs. Rays

09.09.15 at 5:19 pm ET
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For the first time since 2009, left-hander Rich Hill will start a major league game.

The Red Sox announced Hill will start Sunday in Tampa against the Rays, as he will be the sixth man in the Sox’ rotation. He made 13 starts for the Orioles in 2009, going 3-3 with a 7.80 ERA.

Hill pitched out of the bullpen with the Red Sox from 2010-12, the Indians in 2013 and Angels and Yankees in 2014. He signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in August and has excelled in Triple-A Pawtucket.

The 35-year-old made five starts and went 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA with the PawSox.

Interim manager Torey Lovullo is hoping his success can continue in the big leagues.

“I know it’s been [six] years since he started,” Lovullo said. “I think he did really well the last time he started at the big league level. That was my conversation with him yesterday. I know he’s very encouraged by this comfortable arm slot that he found this past season in Independent ball and it’s translated into some very productive outings in Pawtucket. I know that he is throwing a lot of downhill strikes and he’s feeling very good about where he’s at right now.

“What am I looking for? That to continue, for him to not change anything he’s been working on that’s helped him to get back to this point. Just see where he’s at. I know he’s battle tested. He’s been through a lot. We all know that. I think he’s ready for this challenge.”

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

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia starts at 2B again, Rusney Castillo back in left

09.09.15 at 3:23 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Blue Jays will close out a three-game set Wednesday night at Fenway Park, as the Blue Jays are currently 1 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East.

Dustin Pedroia is back at second base, a night after returning from the disabled list. He went 1-for-4 last night with a double.

Rusney Castillo will play left field, Mookie Betts center field and Jackie Bradley Jr. right field, as the Sox go up against Jays’ right-hander Drew Hutchison.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Joe Kelly as he goes for his eighth win in a row.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Travis Shaw, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Rusney Castillo, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
Joe Kelly, RHP

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Drew Hutchison

09.09.15 at 11:27 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

In Wednesday’s series finale at Fenway Park, Joe Kelly will look to continue his recent dominance when he goes up against Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison, who is in the midst of the best season of his young career.

Kelly (9-6, 4.84 ERA) picked up right where he left off in August on Friday night, going six innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits and three walks against the Phillies. Kelly extended his win streak to seven games with the 7-5 victory. The only other Red Sox pitchers to win seven consecutive starts since 2000 are Curt Schilling in 2004 and Josh Beckett in 2007, both in the midst of World Series-winning seasons.

“You get on a run like this and I think you feel good internally knowing that you put this hard work in, you’re getting the results and you’re graduating to the next level,” interim manager Tory Lovullo said of Kelly’s recent success. “I know that he wants to finish strong and have a good offseason and be ready for next year. He’s in a real, real locked-in spot.”

Added Lovullo: “He deserves it. He really deserves it. He had great expectations early in the year, and then he finds himself in Pawtucket. He kept his head on straight. He did what he was supposed to do, and he’s on an incredible run.”

Even with Kelly’s early struggles, his recent work leaves him two victories away from his career high for wins in a season (11). In three starts against Toronto this year, Kelly is 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA and 12 walks in 17 2/3 innings. Josh Donaldson, who scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of Toronto’s 5-1 victory at Fenway on Tuesday night, is 5-for-9 against Kelly in 2015.

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Dustin Pedroia’s hamstring feels ‘great’ after return from DL

09.08.15 at 11:34 pm ET
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Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made his return to the lineup on Tuesday night after a 42-game absence.

Although the team didn’€™t win, dropping a 5-1, extra-inning game to division-leading Toronto, Pedroia and his previously injured right hamstring came through his nine innings of action fine.

“I felt great,” Pedroia said. “€œI just wish we had won. We played hard, we just couldn’€™t find a way to score some more runs. It was great to be out there with the guys.€”

The 32-year-old Pedroia, who finished the night 1-for-4 with a wall-ball double, said he feels good about the prospects of playing again on Wednesday in the final game of the three-game series. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said they would re-evaluate Pedroia’€™s health on Wednesday before making a lineup decision.

“€œDustin checked out real good,€” Lovullo said after the loss, admitting that he had to convince Pedroia to come out of the game before it finished. “I explained to him that, ‘€˜I know you want to play tomorrow, and there’€™s only one chance you can play tomorrow, and that’€™s if you come out of this game right now.’€™ We have a soft template in place, but it’€™s all going to be contingent on how he feels tonight and tomorrow morning. But, everything was fine. He saw the ball well, nothing moved to fast for him at the plate. Made some double play turns. Made a couple of overall nice plays on defense. He ran the bases well without any limitations, and that was what we were looking for.”

Pedroia said he surprised himself a little at how comfortable he felt at the plate in his first game back, without the benefit of a rehab assignment.

“€œI actually felt pretty good,”€ Pedroia said of his three at-bats against Toronto kunckleballer R.A. Dickey and one against reliever Mark Lowe. “€œIt was kind of tough facing the knuckleball. Especially, [Dickey] was on. But my next at-bat I saw a fastball and a slider, and I felt fine. I didn’€™t want to come out. But I understand what they’€™re doing. So I have to do what I’€™m told.”

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Closing Time: Alexi Ogando implodes, Red Sox bats silenced in 5-1 loss to Blue Jays

09.08.15 at 10:43 pm ET
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Brock Holt and the Red Sox couldn't quite keep pace with the Jays on Tuesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brock Holt and the Red Sox couldn’t quite keep pace with the Jays on Tuesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Dave Dombrowski must fix the Red Sox rotation, but he’s got an equally vexing problem in the bullpen.

With the Red Sox locked in a 1-1 game against the Blue Jays in the 10th on Tuesday night, reliever Alexi Ogando imploded, allowing four runs on three hits, a walk, a wild pitch, an balk, and a sacrifice fly. When it was over, so were the Red Sox en route to a 5-1 loss that dropped them back into sole possession of last place, a game behind the Orioles, who beat the Yankees.

Toronto MVP candidate Josh Donaldson appeared to give the Jays the lead in the 10th when he led off against Ogando with a blast off the top of the left field wall, but it was ruled live and upheld on replay, with Donaldson settling for a triple.

A Jose Bautista flyout to medium center wasn’t deep enough to score Donaldson, and after an intentional walk to Edwin Encarnacion, new Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ripped a single to left to break the 1-1 tie.

Milford’s Chris Colabello padded the lead with an RBI single off the glove of diving Red Sox shortstop  Xander Bogaerts, Ogando balked in a run, and that was that.

“Tried to just navigate through their lineup the best that we could, give ourselves the best opportunity to get through that inning,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “Obviously one of the best players in the American League comes up with a leadoff triple. We’re just trying to preserve that run the best that you can. I thought we came up with a pretty good game plan and Tulowitzki beat us with a groundball through the left side of the diamond. I think we were in good position, we were in the right place. Just found a hole. You’ve got to give him some credit for executing.”

A low-scoring game in extras didn’t necessarily appear to be on the docket when this one started. The Red Sox and Jays have owned two of baseball’s hottest offenses since the start of August, and with Toronto dominating left-handed pitching, it looked like it could be a long night for starter Henry Owens, who was coming off the worst outing of his young career, a seven-run stinker against the Yankees in just 1 2/3 innings.

Owens delivered the kind of start on Tuesday that plagued him early in the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing virtually nothing in the hits department (3 in 5 1/3 innings), but also walking four, hitting two batters, throwing a pair of wild pitches, and needing 95 pitches just to get through the first out of the sixth.

“I’m trying to go deeper, obviously, but my pitch count got up and I just tried to have a couple of quick innings, and fortunately went out to the sixth, gave up a hit and walk and [Jean] Machi came in there and closed the door,” Owens said.

On the plus side, Owens limited the damage against one of baseball’s top lineups. On the down side, he was erratic and also a bit lucky, particularly on a mammoth foul home run by Donaldson that was upheld on review.

On the other side, the Red Sox couldn’t do much with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who limited them to four hits and a run in six innings, striking out four. Dickey’s only mistake was a flat knuckler to Travis Shaw, which the rookie deposited into the visiting bullpen to tie the game at 1-1 in the second inning.

The Jays had already struck for a run in the first in a frame that could’ve gone spun completely out of control before Owens reeled it back in. He hit leadoff man Ben Revere and promptly wild-pitched him to second before inducing Donaldson to line out sharply to left. Bautista walked and the Jays pulled off a double steal with the dangerous Encarnacion at the plate. But groundouts by Encarnacion and Tulowitzki limited the damage to the lone run.

Read More: Blue Jays, henry owens, Red Sox,

Red Sox Notebook: Dustin Pedroia is back, admits, ‘Last time, I don’t know if I was ready’

09.08.15 at 6:04 pm ET
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After missing the past 42 games with a right hamstring strain, second baseman Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup.

Pedroia, 32, missed 16 games with the same injury from June 25 through July 16, returning for just five games before re-aggravating the hamstring. Finally, with 25 games left in the season, Pedroia is ready to play and will be in the starting lineup against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

“[I’m] really excited to have him back in the lineup,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “It’s been a long road for him. He’s been champing at the bit for a few days, which is a good sign. We were holding him back. He has worked so hard behind the scenes to make this day happen. I’m just really happy for him, happy for the Boston Red Sox, happy for the opportunity that he’s going to give us to watch him play.”

Pedroia has played in 75 games this season, slashing .287/.348/.426 with nine homers and 15 doubles before hitting the disabled list.

“It’s frustrating,” said Pedroia. “It happens, you’ve got to learn from it and come back better. I feel strong. I’m not worried about getting through the game this time, I’m worried about trying to play good. The last time I felt I was trying to do something here and there to help us win, I didn’t feel strong. I don’t know if I was ready. But, you turn the page on that, learn from it, and that’s where we’re at today. I worked real hard with a lot of different people to get to this point and decided to move forward and play with these guys.”

Lovullo denied that the Red Sox pushed Pedroia back too soon in July before the re-aggravation.

“He was being a typical athlete that was put in a situation where he could go out and play,” Lovullo said. “[He was] probably not at 100 percent. And he understood the ramifications of that, but he wanted to play. He wasn’t forced to play, I want to make that perfectly clear. But we could quickly see that things weren’t right through that Anaheim series, and that’s when we had to pull back and make sure that he was doing the best thing for Dustin Pedroia at that point.”

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