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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘It’s a little early to panic, but not too soon to make some individual player assessments’

06.11.15 at 10:19 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how the Sox are doing of late, as well as to discuss David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Despite Boston’s recent troubles, Lucchino said it remains too early in the year to condemn the team, though it is not too early to begin individual player assessments.

“[You have] 63 percent of the season left to play, and this season has been a bit of a roller coaster,” Lucchino said. “I would say to you last Sunday [against the A’s], we were all exhilarated. This team showed that it could play some good, smart, aggressive, heart-felt baseball and then what’s happened since then?

“We have a Monday to enjoy the offensive momentum and that dramatic victory, and then we lost a game on Tuesday on a wild pitch, and we lost the game yesterday to a very tough left-hander who’s beaten us with great regularity over the past several years, so I think it’s a little early still to panic but it is not too soon to make some individual player assessments.”

From an upper management’s perspective, Lucchino maintained there is some dissatisfaction with the way the season has gone, but that doesn’t mean he has any less trust in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington.

“I would say that we are frustrated,” Lucchino said. “I think John [Henry] captured it pretty well when he spoke last week regarding the faith we still have in the people whose role it is to put together this team. There is no questioning of their long term connection to this team, but there is a sense of frustration and disappointment.”

“We’re fans, too,” he added. “We get sick to the stomach when we watch certain games and certain outcomes and we get exhilarated as we were last Sunday. But the hardest thing is to demonstrate some patience with players and with a team that’s having its difficulties this year.”

Lucchino also addressed the criticism Hanley Ramirez continues to face in left field.

“It’s early,” he said. “We’re a couple of months into what is a four-year contract  and I think we need to chill out just a little bit. I think Hanley’s style lends itself to some criticism, but that’s not who he is. I think he is an intense and competitive and outstanding baseball player, and I think we should not misread his style.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, Larry Lucchino,

Red Sox Minor League Notebook (draft edition): Austin Rei, third-round steal?; How Tate Matheny differs from dad Mike

06.11.15 at 9:41 am ET
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The Red Sox could have got a first-round talent in the third-round in catcher Austin Rei. (Photo courtesy of Scott Eklund/Red Box) Pictures

The Red Sox could have got a first-round talent in the third-round in catcher Austin Rei. (Photo courtesy of Scott Eklund/Red Box) Pictures

The major league baseball draft is all about finding the best player available when making selections and finding a few steals along the way.

The Red Sox may have got a steal with their third-round pick in University of Washington catcher Austin Rei.

Rei, considered one of the top catching prospects in the draft before this spring, suffered a torn ligament in his thumb in the fifth game of his Huskies season. He returned for the team’s final 25 games and put up a slash line of .330/.445/.681 with seven homers and 20 RBIs.

Known for his defense, the right-handed hitter and junior was the fifth catcher selected in the entire draft, but his Washington coach Lindsay Meggs believes the Red Sox got a bargain.

“I think realistically, the Red Sox kind of got a steal in the third-round,” Meggs said via phone this week.

“When he arrived here he was really, toolsy,” he added. “He had a plus-plus arm and that was evident and we saw that in high school, but he had some small detail things to clean up. He became a very good receiver. He blocks as well as anyone I’ve ever had and the arm has just gotten electric. In terms of a catch and throw guy, at the time of the draft he’d become the best catch and throw guy on the West Coast. If he stayed healthy, I think you’re looking at a guy that could’ve gone in the first round.”

Meggs said Rei may have rushed his return back a bit because he wanted to get back on the field to try and help his team. Despite playing in only 25 games while coming off the injury, he was still able to make a huge impact, earning team MVP honors voted by his teammates.

The coach noted not once did he complain about the injury.

“You have to give him credit because I think, based on how well people saw him in the scouting community his first few years here, he probably could have come back a little slower from his thumb surgery without the urgency and sort of played it safe and rode it out and still had been a reasonable draft pick even if he didn’t take the field this year,” Meggs said. “He wanted to get on the field. He missed his teammates. He loves the game. He wanted to help us. He was voted MVP of our team by his teammates and I think he literally played the last month of the season. That’s the type of impact he made in such a short period of time.”

Even in such a short span, Rei had his best season offensively. His average was his best in three years, as he hit .220 and .314 in his first two seasons respectively. He also hit a total of just two homers entering the year, but finished the season with seven.

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Read More: 2015 MLB Draft, Austin Rei, Jagger Rusconi, Logan Allen

Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Wade Miley vs. Chris Tillman

06.11.15 at 8:21 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

In the final game of a three-game set from Camden Yards, the Red Sox will send Wade Miley to the hill to face Chris Tillman of the Orioles. Having lost the first two games of the series, the Sox look to avoid the sweep and to not fall further into the cellar of the AL East.

Miley has a 5-5 record with a 4.67 ERA through his first 11 starts. He has posted a pedestrian 1.36 WHIP.

In his last outing, the 28-year-old pushed his record to an even .500 with a victory over the Athletics at Fenway. The left-hander tossed 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He walked only one and struck out six. Miley threw 69 of 96 pitches for strikes, and induced 13 ground balls.

“Tonight I had good command of the fastball, really got on a good page with [Blake] Swihart,” Miley said after his outing. “We scored some runs early and got the momentum on our side, and I just wanted to keep it that way. We were able to pull that one out.”

Miley’s previous start was a clunker of a loss to the Rangers in which he lasted only four innings, allowing five earned runs.

Aside from that outing, Miley has been very solid over the past few weeks. Dating back to May 13, Miley has thrown 33 innings and worked to a 2.73 ERA. In that time, spanning five starts, Miley has earned a 4-1 record.

Having spent his entire career pre-2015 in the NL, Miley doesn’t have much experience against usual Red Sox foes like the Orioles. His only appearance at Camden Yards was one to forget, as he lasted only 2 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs in Boston’s 18-7 loss on April 26.

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Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Justin Masterson improves; Marco Hernandez heating up; Mauricio Dubon’s speed pays off

06.11.15 at 8:16 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (29-30): W, 2-1, vs. Charlotte (White Sox)

— After two rehab starts (right shoulder inflammation) in the minor leagues, Boston right-hander Justin Masterson showed clear improvement Wednesday afternoon with the PawSox as he allowed just two hits and one run over six innings, striking out six and walking one. Masterson threw 75 pitches, 47 for strikes, with the sinkerballer causing nine ground outs to just two fly outs. In Masterson’€™s previous rehab start for Double-A Portland on June 5, he allowed eight hits over 4 2/3 innings, while in his first rehab outing for Pawtucket on May 31 Masterson displayed some wildness as he walked two and had two wild pitches in just 1 2/3 innings.

“€œHe was much more consistent in the strike zone,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Baltimore. “Velocity was still in the mid to upper 80€™s, but the action to his sinker, he got a number of swings and misses. He used probably the same distribution of fastball and slider that we’ve seen here. So we’ll check with him when we return to Boston and we may have a decision to be made here.”

— The PawSox offense continued to scuffle, but the team managed to scrape out two runs on five hits, including Garin Cecchini’€™s game-winning walkoff double. A Travis Shaw single started the ninth-inning action for Pawtucket and pinch-runner Deven Marrero moved to second on a Bryce Brentz walk before coming home on the Cecchini two-bagger. Cecchini (Boston’€™s No. 8 prospect at MLB.com) worked a 3-1 count and ripped a fastball to the right-center wall on a bounce before being surrounded by celebratory teammates. Cecchini has put together a good week at the plate, going 5-for-18 with two homers, including a grand-slam on June 7 at Syracuse.

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Read More: Derek Miller, garin cecchini, justin masterson, Marco Hernandez

Closing Time: Orioles play outstanding defense, shut down Red Sox in 5-2 victory

06.10.15 at 9:46 pm ET
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It was another frustrating night for Mike Napoli and the Red Sox. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It was another frustrating night for Mike Napoli and the Red Sox. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Perhaps we’ve been putting too much stock in wins over last place teams.

The Red Sox on Wednesday night fell to 13-16 since starting a West Coast swing on May 11. But five of those 13 victories have come at the expense of the A’s, the worst team in the American League, and one of the two or three worst in baseball.

The Red Sox swept the hapless A’s over the weekend in Boston, departing for Baltimore with their first three-game winning streak since the opening road trip in Philadelphia and New York. They also brought with them a sense of momentum that perhaps was misplaced, given the caliber of the competition they had just beaten.

That is, of course, easy to say now after a second straight disheartening loss at the hands of the O’s. On Tuesday, the offense ruined another tremendous effort from rookie Eduardo Rodriguez in a 1-0 loss. On Tuesday, the offense continued its return to the abyss, while starter Rick Porcello wasn’t nearly good enough.

With the Orioles chipping away at Porcello for 10 hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings, the Red Sox needed a big night from their offense to keep pace, but they didn’t come anywhere close to getting it. The Sox managed just seven hits off starter Wei-Yin Chen, with Baltimore’€™s defense doing a tremendous job of limiting the damage.

The Red Sox had two runners (Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval) erased at second trying to stretch singles on great outfield plays, and Gold Glove center fielder Adam Jones robbed Mookie Betts of a pair of doubles with leaping and diving catches, respectively.

On the flip side, Porcello experienced one of his common problems, allowing the Orioles to answer Red Sox runs with runs of their own in the bottom of third and sixth. He has now allowed runs immediately after the Red Sox scored nine times in 19 chances this year (47.4 percent), and needless to say, that’s too high.

“I honestly think I need to stop making so much of a big deal about it, and just go out there and continue to pitch like I’ve been pitching,” Porcello said. “Every time we score a run or whatnot, I start pressing to go out there and put up a zero, and it ends up working against you.”

The Orioles struck for two in the second on two-out RBI hits from J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty. They added another in the third on Jones’ RBI single. After the Red Sox cut the lead to 3-2 with a gift run in the sixth on Flaherty’s lousy double play turn, the Orioles added two more to call it a night.

The Red Sox now find themselves back in last place at 27-33, which is probably where they belong, seeing as they’re doing most of their damage against fellow cellar dwellers.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones had a pedestrian night at the plate (1-for-4, RBI), but he made his mark on defense, erasing Xander Bogaerts at second on a ball off the wall in the second, and then robbing Mookie Betts twice with tremendous catches. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, rick porcello,

Matt Wieters offers words of wisdom for fellow Tommy John patient Christian Vazquez

06.10.15 at 7:55 pm ET
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Matt Wieters

Matt Wieters

BALTIMORE — Christian Vazquez hasn’t gotten a chance to speak with Matt Wieters, but he might want to.

Wieters, the Orioles’ All-Star catcher, is one of the few backstops who went through what Vazquez is currently experiencing — making the recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The O’s catcher underwent the operation June 17, 2014, and finally made his return to the big league lineup just shy of a year later, June 5.

Now, having completed the journey back, he has some words of wisdom for his Red Sox counterpart.

“My advice is to take the rehab like a catcher would do,” Wieters said. “I think a lot of the throwing program is good to do early, but there are a lot of position-specific throws. There is a different kind of workload than a pitcher has. I think that can go a long way for him getting back as soon as possible. At the same time, he’s going to have to listen to his body, listen to his elbow. I think that’s what I struggled with early in the rehab. You want to be able to push it and stay on the timeline for that nine months that they say is possible, but at the same time you have to be able to listen to your body and know when it says, ‘Back off. Take a day off.’

“I actually talked to Farrell when I was at the All-Star Game and he was big and told me, ‘It’s going to be a tough year.’ I think he had it twice so he gave me advice to listen to your body and if it says, ‘Go early,’ then go early. And if it says, ‘Wait,’ then wait. That was something that helped me a good bit when I was going through the rehab process because I wanted to be at Opening Day, I wanted to be ready to go. But your elbow and your body don’t say that all the time.”

Wieters explained that part of the uniqueness that came with his rehab — and what Vazquez faces — is that the program for recovery has to be tailored for catchers, not the usual protocol given for pitchers who underwent Tommy John.

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Read More: christian vazquez, Matt Wieters,

Red Sox notebook: Why David Ortiz isn’t starting; Justin Masterson takes step forward

06.10.15 at 7:23 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — The biggest topic of conversation prior to the Red Sox‘ game against the Orioles on Wednesday night was undoubtedly the absence of David Ortiz in the starting lineup.

Prior to the media’s meeting with manager John Farrell, Ortiz was approached by reporters at his locker. The designated hitter offered very little insight as to his thoughts on starting on the bench against Orioles lefty Wei-Yen Chen.

“I’€™m not playing today. That’€™s all. I don’€™t know what to tell you,” he said.

When asked to elaborate, Ortiz responded, “I’€™m just no playing, that’€™s it.” He then continued, “That’€™s something you’€™ve got to ask the manager. I’€™m not the manager here. I’€™m just a player, and I do what I get to be told. John told me yesterday I’€™m not playing today, so I’€™m here.”

A few minutes later, sitting in the visitors dugout, Farrell’s explanation for the lineup change — which had Hanley Ramirez starting at designated hitter — wasn’t a surprise.

Although Ortiz had respectable numbers against Chen (8-for-26, .308), the DH’s overall statistics vs. lefties have been difficult to overlook. He came into Wednesday hitting just .114 (8-for-70) without a single walk.

“Left-hander on the mound and for the time being, we’€™re trying to get David going against some lefties,” said Farrell, who informed Ortiz of the decision after Tuesday night’s game. “When you look at what he’€™s doing against righties it’€™s exactly the same as what he did a year ago when he was probably 20 percent of our overall offense. And yet we’€™re trying to get him back on track against some left-handers.”

Ortiz has been a legitimate weapon against righties, managing a .304 batting average and .961 OPS against such pitchers since May 15 (18 games). But over that same span against southpaws, the DH is just 3-for-31.

“I can respect his career path and when he gets everyday at-bats that’€™s probably a lot easier to deal with,” Farrell said. “But David is a pro and he understands there is some work to be done to get back to the normal levels against left-handed pitching.”

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Nick Lovullo, son of Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, among Sox’ selections in final rounds of MLB Draft

06.10.15 at 6:36 pm ET
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Day 3 of the MLB Draft concluded with rounds 31-40. Below is who the Red Sox selected with the sixth pick in each of the final rounds:

Round 31: Nick Duron, RHP, Clark Community College
Round 32: Clate Schmidt, RHP, Clemson
Round 33: Cal Smith, 2B, Forth Worth Christian School (Texas)
Round 34: Nick Lovullo, SS, College of the Holy Cross
Round 35: Tyler Spoon, OF, Arkansas
Round 36: Trevor Kelley, RHP, UNC Chapel Hill
Round 37: Adam Lau, RHP, University of Alabama Birmingham
Round 38: CJ Ballard, CF, Pike County High School (Ga.)
Round 39: Daniel Reyes, OF, Mater Academy Charter School (Fla.)
Round 40: DJ Artis, CF, Southeast Guilford High School (N.C.)

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

Read More: 2015 MLB Draft,

Red Sox select Bridgewater-Raynham C Andrew Noviello among others in rounds 21-30 of MLB draft

06.10.15 at 4:07 pm ET
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Day 3 of the MLB draft is continuing with the Red Sox holding the sixth pick in every round. Below is who they have selected in rounds 21-30, with just rounds 31-40 remaining.

Round 21: Daniel Zandona, RHP, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Round 22: Max Watt, RHP, Lynn University
Round 23: Kyri Washington, LF, Longwood University
Round 24: Brad Stone, LHP, North Carolina State
Round 25: Andrew Noviello, C, Bridgewater-Raynham High School (Mass.)
Round 26: Kevin Ginkel, RHP, Southwestern College
Round 27: Saige Jenko, CF, Virginia Tech
Round 28: Steve Mangrum, 3B, Western Albemarle High School (Va.)
Round 29: Will Stillman, RHP, Wofford
Round 30: Jack Conley, C, Leesville Road High School (N.C.)

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

Read More: 2015 MLB Draft,

John Farrell on D&H: David Ortiz benching against lefties ‘temporary’

06.10.15 at 4:00 pm ET
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Manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday before the second game of the Red Sox‘ series with the Orioles. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

As the Sox are facing a left-handed pitcher Wednesday night, Farrell has opted to have Hanley Ramirez DH while David Ortiz sits this one out. The skipper doesn’t see this as something that will be necessary for the whole season, though.

“Right now, it’s temporary because when David’s right, it doesn’t matter who’s on the mound, left-handed, right-handed,” Farrell said. “He’s got a long track record of handling both. We also know that there’s been stretches within his career where lefties have had more success against him, so for the time being, until we get things worked out, this is the way we’re going to go.”

The lineup will see the typical infield and Blake Swihart behind the plate, but the outfield will consist of Rusney Castillo in right, Mookie Betts in center and Brock Holt in left field while Ramirez serves as the DH.

Tuesday night, Eduardo Rodriguez made his third career major league start as Boston opened up its series with the O’s. As he had before, Rodriguez dished out another strong outing that consisted of six innings of three-hit, no-run baseball with seven strikeouts to boot. His season ERA is 0.44.

“He was very good,” Farrell said. “I think the one thing, every time a young guy takes the mound or you’re getting a better look or more look at additional at-bats for young position players, you’re starting to learn more and more about them. I thought last night, the fifth inning was probably one of the more telling signs in the three starts that he’s made for us. Big strikeouts to Delmon Young and [Adam] Jones, two guys that have been swinging the bat really well of late to shut off an inning, and he continues to bring not only great stuff but poise and competitive spirit to the mound.

“He’s given up one run in three starts. I don’t know how much you really can continue to improve over each outing, but I think there’s different situations that have presented themselves inside of games,” Farrell added. “Last night he gets a key double play to end the fourth inning, two big strikeouts to end the fifth inning, and I think each situation he’s presented with, he’s handled it with poise, he’s handled it with additional stuff to get strikeouts, so I don’t want to pick things too much apart, but each time he’s [on] the mound, he’s giving us a chance to win.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, eduardo rodriguez, John Farrell, Rusney Castillo
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