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John Farrell explains decision to push David Price back to pitch home opener

04.08.16 at 4:30 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

It’s been a messy week of scheduling for the Red Sox with two games being postponed in Cleveland in the past few days. Now that they are in a dome facing Toronto over the weekend, they are guaranteed to play games, but that doesn’t mean their rotation hasn’t been altered.

David Price could have pitched on regular rest Sunday, but the Red Sox have opted to have No. 5 starter Steven Wright pitch which pushes Price back for the home opener Monday afternoon at Fenway Park against the Orioles.

Speaking on the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network’s pregame show with Tim Neverett prior to Friday’s game, Farrell explained what went into the decision.

“Our thought coming out of spring training was David was going to pitch Monday [April 4] and we’d roll him back around on Saturday here tomorrow in Game 2,” manager John Farrell said. “Then he would be on tap to get an extra day rest the next time through on Friday back home against Toronto once again. When we started to miss days and then all of a sudden you’re looking at two and possible three guys in that rotation getting pushed further back, I think it begins to accumulate against you in that way. We tried to keep our entire rotation as close to their normal day as possible, rather than just looking at one guy in particular and keeping him on a set schedule.

“It was more a decision keeping everyone close to their normal routine as opposed to one. This pushes David Price back into the home opener when we get back off this road trip. It keeps us all with three right-hander starters against a predominately right-handed hitting lineup up here in Toronto. Those are the reasons and factors that went into this.”

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Red Sox lineup: Ryan Hanigan to catch Joe Kelly in Blue Jays’ home opener

04.08.16 at 3:03 pm ET
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TORONTO — The Red Sox will experience their second home opener of the season on Friday night at Rogers Centre with another sellout crowd, along with a newly fashioned all dirt infield.

As for the Red Sox lineup, the only change from their first two games is in the insertion of catcher Ryan Hanigan, who will catch Sox starter Joe Kelly. Kelly’s ERA last season was almost a run lower when throwing to Hanigan (4.20 in 13 starts) than it was when teaming up with Blake Swihart (5.10, 11 starts).

Kelly will be going up against Toronto ace Marcus Stroman, who will be pitching in his second game this season. The diminutive righty is 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in four starts against the Sox.

The Red Sox lineup will roll out like this:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley CF

For a breakdown of the pitching matchups, click here.

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Marcus Stroman

04.08.16 at 9:35 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

After Thursday’s game in Cleveland was postponed due to rain, the Red Sox will send out hard-throwing right hander Joe Kelly to make his 2016 debut in the team’s first divisional match of the young season. He will attempt to outduel young Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman.

In his 2015 campaign Kelly started more games (25) and threw more innings (134 1/3) than he ever had previously in his career. He finished 10-6 with a 4.82 ERA and 110 strikeouts.

He had a solid spring, posting a 2.63 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 24 innings.

Kelly has developed good chemistry with catcher Ryan Hanigan, which really became evident this spring. With Christian Vazquez still not fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated he’s likely to utilize this combination when it’s Kelly’s turn in the rotation.

“I think right now Joe Kelly has settled into a pretty good rhythm and feel with Ryan behind the plate,” said Farrell. “That’s not to say that that battery is going to be every fifth day. But that’s one where, when you start to map out spots for individual guys, that’s one where I can envision Ryan handling him.”

In five career starts against the Blue Jays, Kelly is 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Joe Kelly, Marcus Stroman, Red Sox

Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Andrew Benintendi opens season with first career 4-hit game

04.08.16 at 6:43 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday, the opening day of the regular season for the affiliates listed below:

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (0-0): Postponed due to rain vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays). Next action Friday vs. Buffalo.

— Pawtucket will now play its 2016 home opener Friday at 6:15 p.m., with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5:45 p.m. Thursday’s postponed game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 12:05 p.m. (seven-inning games with a 30-minute break in between).

— The PawSox starting pitching schedule for the weekend now is: LHP Henry Owens Friday, RHP Sean O’Sullivan for Game 1 Saturday, RHP William Cuevas for Game 2 Saturday, and LHP Brian Johnson (Boston’s No. 6 prospect at MLB.com) Sunday. LHP Roenis Elias is expected to round out the rotation on Monday.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (1-0): W, 3-1, at Reading (Phillies)

— RHP Aaron Wilkerson pitched shutout baseball over 5 2/3 innings, earning the Opening Day victory (1-0) with a final line of: 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO (84 pitches, 56 strikes). The 11 strikeouts were a career high for the 26-year-old Wilkerson, who last season went 11-3 with a 3.10 ERA over 29 outings combined between Single-A Greenville, High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, striking out 137 in 136 2/3 innings of work.

Signed by Boston in July of 2014 from the Grand Prairie AirHogs out of the independent American Association, Wilkerson was promoted to Double-A Portland on Aug. 5 of last year. In his last six starts dating back to last year, Wilkerson has allowed just three total earned runs over 35 2/3 innings (0.78 ERA) with 36 whiffs to just 10 walks over that span.

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Read More: aaron wilkerson, Andrew Benintendi, Anyelo Leclerc, henry owens

Red Sox-Indians series finale postponed by rain, David Price now scheduled to start home opener

04.07.16 at 6:33 pm ET
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Thursday’s game between the Red Sox and Indians was postponed because of bad weather, and no makeup date is set.

The clubs were scheduled to play their series finale at 6:10 p.m., but the game was canceled because of rain that left the field unplayable.

Manager John Farrell told reporters in Cleveland that the scheduled starters will just push back a day. That leaves Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Steven Wright starting in Toronto, and it puts left-hander David Price on schedule to start the home opener on Monday against the Orioles.

“He’s going to be out there every fifth day regardless of what the schedule might do,” Farrell said. “It’ll be a treat for our fans to see him on Opening Day. That’ll be a good thing. And looking forward to it — but before we get back, these three games in Toronto will be good ones for us.”

The Red Sox split the first two games with Cleveland, taking the opener, 6-2, and losing on Wednesday, 7-6.

Mike Napoli on Bradfo Show details what went wrong for Red Sox last 2 seasons

04.07.16 at 12:34 pm ET
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Mike Napoli was the latest guest on the Bradfo Show, and he touched on a number of topics, including his struggles last season, Hanley Ramirez playing first base and what caused the Red Sox to have issues the last two seasons.

Napoli said the Red Sox teams of the last two years may have been too young to be successful, especially compared to the World Series team of 2013.

“It’s so hard to compare our 2013 team in the sense that we were so veteran-heavy,” Napoli said. “We had guys that had been in the league a long time. A lot of guys already made a lot of money. There was nothing selfish about that team. Not saying that people are selfish [on the Red Sox now]. It was a younger team, guys just coming into the league. When you come up to the big leagues you don’t want to step on people’s toes. You’re trying to fit in. You want to do the right thing. There’s people here and there. It’s just tough. I just think it was guys learning to play the game still. Still going throw growing pains. It was tough. You try and get this one group playing together trying to do the same thing and not going in different directions.”

Napoli also discussed Ramirez at first base and noted that just because he looks comfortable now, it doesn’t mean his work can stop.

“Talking to some people — he’s really in tune,” Napoli said. “He’s working hard and he looks good over there. That is going to be a plus for the Red Sox. It’s something that I once I felt good over there I didn’t stop trying to get better. He’s going to have to get out there and not be content with where he is now. You have to try to still get better and learn and just try and be in the right position.”

Read More: hanley ramirez, mike napoli,

Red Sox minor league notebook: High-A Salem loaded with talent

04.07.16 at 11:18 am ET
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Yoan Moncada is the No. 3 ranked prospect by Baseball America. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

Yoan Moncada is the No. 3-ranked prospect by Baseball America. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

1. The Red Sox’ High-A Salem team is not only the most talented in terms of prospects in the organization, but it might also be one of the most talented teams in terms of prospects in all of minor league baseball. Salem has three of the top-20 prospects as ranked by Baseball America in second baseman Yoan Moncada (No. 3), outfielder Andrew Benintendi (No. 15) and third baseman Rafael Devers (No. 18). It doesn’t stop there, either, as there are more top prospects in shortstop Mauricio Dubon, first baseman/outfielder Nick Longhi and pitcher Travis Lakins. The majority of the players played in Greenville last season and are progressing through the organization together. It would not be a surprise to see Moncada and/or Benintendi be promoted to Double-A Portland at some point during the season. Regardless, the Salem team will be very fun to watch.

“There’s 25 guys on that team and a lot of them played together last year,” Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett said. “There are some that are back in Salem for a second time. I think those relationships develop over time. You’re hoping guys are pushing each other and are competitive off the field in terms of the way they are working. As each individual player pushes each other, they are all getting better.”

2. Moncada will look to build on his first season in America, especially his second half of the season with Greenville, where he hit .310 with seven home runs. The second baseman also became much more comfortable as the season went on with every part his game and even off the field as he was adjusting to life in America.

“He had a pretty good spring,” Crockett said. “Obviously, had the groin issue that pushed him back sort of right in the middle and slowed him up a little bit. Overall, continued to focus on the routines defensively and being consistent with that. He came in wanting to work and spent most of offseason in Fort Myers working on the physical side of his game and continuing to work out with our strength coaches here.”

Many have speculated with Dustin Pedroia occupying second base for years to come, the organization may look to give Moncada more versatility and have him shift to a new position, potentially the outfield, but those conversations haven’t taken place yet. The Red Sox remain focused on him at second base.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, ben crockett, rafael devers, ralph treuel

Thursday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Danny Salazar

04.07.16 at 8:28 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

In the final matchup of the opening series, the Red Sox will send out hard-throwing right-hander Joe Kelly to make his 2016 debut. He will face off against Indians rising star Danny Salazar.

In his 2015 campaign Kelly started more games (25) and threw more innings (134 1/3) than he ever had previously in his career. He finished 10-6 with a 4.82 ERA and 110 strikeouts.

He had a solid spring, posting a 2.63 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 24 innings.

Kelly has developed good chemistry with catcher Ryan Hanigan, which really became evident this spring. With Christian Vazquez still not fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated he’s likely to utilize this combination when it’s Kelly’s turn in the rotation.

“I think right now Joe Kelly has settled into a pretty good rhythm and feel with Ryan behind the plate,” Farrell said. “That’s not to say that that battery is going to be every fifth day. But that’s one where, when you start to map out spots for individual guys, that’s one where I can envision Ryan handling him.”

Kelly is 1-0 in two career starts against the Indians.

As for Salazar, he is entering his fourth season in the league and will look to take another step forward after impressing last year. The right-hander finished 2015 with a record of 14-10 to go with a 3.45 ERA and 195 strikeouts. His workload took a huge jump as he threw 185 innings, 75 more than his previous high of 110. The 26-year-old Dominican had a slight scare in spring training when he took a line drive to the forearm during a start in mid-March, but he ended up avoiding any serious injury.

Salazar is 2-0 in two career starts against the Red Sox, allowing only two runs combined.

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Read More: Danny Salazar, Joe Kelly, Red Sox,

Red Sox ‘Big 3′ prospects in Salem might be a ‘Big 4′

04.07.16 at 1:54 am ET
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Mauricio Dubon

Mauricio Dubon

If you’ve paid attention to Red Sox prospect news at all over the past year, you know the names of the ‘Big Three’: Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi.

But you don’t know those names the way their teammate with the High-A Salem (Virginia) Red Sox, shortstop Mauricio Dubon, knows them.

“Moncada is ‘Monkey,’ ” said Dubon, running down the nicknames of Boston’s top three prospects (as ranked by MLB.com). “Benintendi is ‘Benny Boy.’ Or ‘Golden Boy,’ we make fun of his Golden Spikes award. And Devers is ‘Gordito.’ ”

Gordito?

“Little Fat,” says Dubon with a laugh. “But he only lets me call him that. I live with him. Otherwise he’s ‘Dev.’ ”

The attention that the ‘Big Three’ will get in 2016 is not in doubt: the 20-year-old Moncada, 19-year-old Devers, and 21-year-old Benintendi all were recently ranked in the top 50 of prospects across MLB by MLB Pipeline (7, 17, and 25), Baseball Prospectus (7, 35, and 46), and ESPN (17, 7, and 18).

But the 21-year-old Dubon — not surprisingly, ‘Doobie’ to the others — is a significant prospect in his own right. Ranked Boston’s No. 12 prospect at MLB.com, Dubon slashed .288/.349/.376 in 2015 with 70 runs, 47 RBIs and 30 steals split between Class-A Greenville and Salem (where he spent the final 58 games of the season).

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John Farrell explains thinking behind management of bullpen in loss

04.06.16 at 10:45 pm ET
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Junichi Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa

CLEVELAND — When it came to identifying the effectiveness of the Red Sox bullpen in Boston’s 7-6 loss to the Indians Wednesday night, one pitch significantly altered the conversation.

That one offering came from Junichi Tazawa, whose split-finger fastball stayed up just enough for Mike Napoli to launch it over the left field wall for what proved to be the game-winning blast.

“A split that never got to where he tried to bury it, down below the zone,” Farrell said of the seventh-inning solo home run. “He threw a couple of really good ones in the at-bat and the third one he threw him stayed up, stayed in the middle of the plate.”

“I was trying to bounce it,” Tazawa said through a translator. “I was able to get a swing-and-miss at previous pitches. That was the directions I got in the bullpen, but I mislocated it.”

Farrell explained after the game that Tazawa, who threw 16 pitches and faced three batters, wasn’t going to stay in the game long. He had entered in the seventh, after Noe Ramirez and Robbie Ross Jr. teamed up to pitch the previous inning.

With Ramirez already having had to follow up starter Clay Buchholz with 1 1/3 innings, and Ross Jr. coming on for his two batters, Farrell knew there wasn’t a lot of length left with at least three more innings to go.

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