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Closing Time: Mookie Betts blasts 3 homers, backing Eduardo Rodriguez’s return in Red Sox win over Orioles

05.31.16 at 9:55 pm ET
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Mookie Betts celebrates one of his three homers with catcher Christian Vazquez on Tuesday. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts celebrates one of his three homers with catcher Christian Vazquez on Tuesday. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — Eduardo Rodriguez is back, but what really matters is Mookie Betts never left.

On a night when Rodriguez should’ve been the story, Betts stole the spotlight by blasting three homers for the first time in his career.

Those shots gave Rodriguez all the offense he’d need in a 6-2 victory over the Orioles in his first start of the season, three months after suffering a spring training knee injury.

Rodriguez went six solid innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He struck out three and walked none, featuring a fastball that sat in the 91-93 mph range and a changeup that kept the Orioles off balance.

“It’s good,” Rodriguez said. “It was just like the first time on the mound. It was just like, don’t force it too much and just try to locate the heater and that’s it.”

He got all the offense he’d need from Betts, who led off the game with his 10th homer of the year, and then followed with a three-run shot in the second and the first opposite-field blast of his career in the seventh, leading manager John Farrell to suggest “Mookie” as a good name for Jackie Bradley’s Jr. soon-t0-be-born child.

All of that power gave Rodriguez some breathing room in his first start since last season. He entered the game with some concerns over the stability of his right knee, as well as his velocity. On the first count, he certainly looked comfortable while pitching with a brace on his right knee. On the latter count, he spent the first inning at 92 mph, the second at 93, and the rest in the low-90s. That’s down from the 94-95 he averaged last year, but he compensated by commanding his changeup.

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, eduardo rodriguez, Eduardo Rodriguez wins, mookie betts

Xander Bogaerts extends hitting streak to 24 games

05.31.16 at 9:19 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

BALTIMORE — He waited a while this time, but Xander Bogaerts managed to keep his hitting streak rolling Tuesday night.

The Red Sox shortstop blooped a single into left field during his fourth at-bat, with Baltimore reliever Dylan Bundy on the mound. It marked the 24th straight game Bogaerts has notched at least one hit.

The righty hitter slapped his hands together as the ball fell in front of Baltimore left fielder Nolan Reimold, with the hit putting Bogaerts’ American League-leading batting average at .352.

“For sure. Are you kidding? I know I had that. Live another day,” said Bogaerts when asked if he was thinking about the streak during his final at-bat. “I know I hit it and it might fall in, but I didn’t know how deep the left fielder was playing. It was a lucky one and I definitely will take it.”

Bogaerts went hitless against Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, grounding out to second base in his first at-bat, grounding out to shortstop his second time up, and getting called on strikes in at-bat No. 3.

Bogaerts is now hitting .393 with a 1.007 OPS during the streak, which began on May 6. He has now hit safely in 36 of his last 38 games.

After the game, Bogaerts continued to make it clear that this hitting streak is on his mind.

“I know each day that I got it,” he said. “I wake up, I know that I have it. I come to the field, I know I have it. The first couple of at-bats, you’re not really putting pressure on yourself, but as the game goes on you know your time is running out so you try and focus a little bit more, try and put up a good at-bat and see what happens. I definitely know I have it.

“It’s a good pressure. You have a lot of people pulling for you, wanting you to get that hit. Obviously, in the big leagues it’s not easy to get any type of hit. You take anything like that, an infield it, anything, when you have a streak like that.”

John Farrell talks what might have been this season for Sam Travis

05.31.16 at 8:37 pm ET
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Sam Travis

Sam Travis

BALTIMORE — Would Sam Travis had a shot at seeing major league action this season if not for his torn ACL? Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t about to dismiss such a scenario.

“You never want to rule it out,” Farrell said before his team’s game against the Orioles Tuesday night. “An advanced hitter … So unfortunate for Sam in this case.”

Travis has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2016 season after suffering the injury to his left knee during a rundown Sunday in Pawtucket.

The first baseman had already left quite an impression on the major league staff after hitting .469 with a 1.147 OPS in spring training. He went on to hit .272 with a .756 OPS with Triple-A Pawtucket before his injury.

If he didn’t emerge on the big league roster at some point this year, Travis certainly was putting himself in a spot to compete for a major league job in 2017. The scenario of playing first base for the Red Sox, with Hanley Ramirez moving to designated hitter, had been floated.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Farrell said. “I had a chance to speak with him last night at length. And in the face of a lengthy rehab and surgery that’s pending I thought he was able to handle it in as positive a manner as he could. It’s disappointing for him and for us, but we’re here to support him and get him through it and by all accounts. It looks like spring training is the goal as far as a timeframe is concerned.”

PawSox to host ‘Free Brady Friday’ June 10

05.31.16 at 5:26 pm ET
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The PawSox are showing their support for Tom Brady with a special promotion. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The PawSox are showing their support for Tom Brady with a special promotion. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The PawSox are joining the “Free Brady” movement.

Next in their “Free [blank] Friday” series, the team will have “Free Brady Friday” on June 10, in which fans named Tom and/or Brady will be admitted free to McCoy Stadium for the PawSox game that night.

In addition, box seats, normally priced at $13, will be priced at $12, in honor of the quarterback’s uniform number. For each of those tickets, the club will donate a “quarter back” to Best Buddies, which Brady and members of the PawSox leadership have supported.

Also, all ceremonial first pitches and certain in-game promotions will be used with footballs instead of baseballs.

“Tom Brady is one of the region’s most beloved athletes and public figures,” said PawSox senior vice president/general manager Dan Rea, who announced the promotion. “This evening allows PawSox fans, so many of whom are Patriots fans, to show their support for him.”

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

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Red Sox lineup: Jackie Bradley on paternity leave, Rusney Castillo recalled

05.31.16 at 3:48 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox announced Tuesday that they’ve placed Jackie Bradley Jr. on the paternity leave list and recalled Rusney Castillo from Pawtucket.

With Bradley out, Chris Young is in center field and batting seventh Tuesday night against the Orioles.

“Hopefully everyone is getting through this OK and resting comfortably at some point,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We probably won’t see Jackie until we get back to Boston and in the meantime Rusney comes up to provide depth in all three outfield positions.”

This is the first time Castillo has been with the Red Sox since being demoted following the first week of the season. With Triple-A Pawtucket, the outfielder was hitting .249 with a .619 OPS and one home run.

“There’s been some inconsistencies on the offensive side of things,” said Farrell of Castillo. “I don’t know that he’s really gotten on track as we’ve seen in the past so we’ll see when he gets here.”

Returning to the lineup will be catcher Christian Vazquez, who got Monday off with Ryan Hanigan catching knuckleballer Steven Wright. Hanley Ramirez, who also sat on Memorial Day, makes his return to first base, with Travis Shaw sliding back over to third.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Eduardo Rodriguez making his first big league start of the season:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young CF
Blake Swihart LF
Christian Vazquez C

For all the matchups, click here.

Read More: jackie bradley jr., Rusney Castillo,

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Bryce Brentz leads way for Pawtucket; RHP Anderson Espinoza tosses shutout ball for Greenville

05.31.16 at 10:34 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Monday.

Bryce Brentz

Bryce Brentz

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-27): L, 6-5, at Gwinnett (Braves)

— Bryce Brentz led the way for Pawtucket offensively, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs against the Braves. He contributed right away, as his two-out RBI double in the top of the first inning gave the Red Sox an early lead. He also singled in the seventh inning to bring home a run and tie the game at 5.

Brentz, Boston’s No. 30 prospect at MLB.com, is on a nice streak at the plate, as he is batting .450 in his last five games. He has hit five doubles and plated six runs in that same span. On the season, the 27-year-old is hitting .324/.370/.441 in 19 games with Pawtucket.

— Another strong showing at the plate came from designated hitter Justin Maxwell, who led Pawtucket with four hits and crossed home plate twice. Monday’s performance gives the 32-year-old Maxwell a .250/.352/.368 batting line. He is third on the team in runs (19) and RBIs (18).

— The Gwinnett bats were kept mostly silent until the fourth inning, when they drove home five runs against Pawtucket pitcher Roenis Elias to take the lead. Despite being roughed up in the inning, Elias had a decent outing, allowing four earned runs and six hits in five innings of work. He struck out four and walked four.

In eight games (seven starts), Elias, 27, is 2-3 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP. The Cuba native ranks second among Pawtucket pitchers in innings pitched (45), and his 45 strikeouts lead the team.

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Read More: anderson espinoza, bryce brentz, Jalen Beeks, josh ockimey

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

05.31.16 at 8:28 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez will make his Red Sox season debut Tuesday night when he takes the mound to square off against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Rodriguez, who finished his rookie season last year with a 10-6 record to go along with a 3.85 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, finally has made his way back into the Red Sox rotation after dealing with a knee injury. He made five rehab starts with Triple-A Pawtucket before being called up, with his last Pawtucket start being one of his best. The southpaw went seven innings against Lehigh Valley, allowing only four hits and one earned run while striking out seven.

“He has tremendous ability and great makeup,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “It’s unfortunate he got hurt this spring. Sometimes people look past that it’s a significant injury. We didn’t think he would be out this long either. He took a little bit longer to heal. But not only does he have the ability, he’s a hard worker and focused to be a championship type of guy.”

Rodriguez has started against the Orioles three times in his career, going 0-2 with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. In his last appearance vs. Baltimore, a 2-0 Red Sox loss last Sept. 14, Rodriguez recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, letting up only one run.

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, Kevin Gausman,

Red Sox get good return on Felix Doubront, thanks to Marco Hernandez

05.30.16 at 6:18 pm ET
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Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

BALTIMORE — This might mean the Red Sox have officially won the Felix Doubront trade.

The player the Red Sox received from the Cubs in exchange for the lefty pitcher on July 30, 2014, Marco Hernandez, made his presence felt for the big league club Monday afternoon.

With the Red Sox holding a two-run lead over the Orioles with two outs in the eighth inning, Marco Hernandez tore into a pitch from Baltimore reliever Mychal Givens for a three-run home run, all but cementing the Sox’s 7-2 win.

It was Hernandez’s first major league home run.

“It was amazing,” said the 23-year-old, who is 4-for-15 with a walk in his first 10 big league games. “To hit my first home run, to pull on top of the ball for three runs, it’s awesome, man. David [Ortiz] gave me a tip. He said, ‘Trust your hands, and go out there with a plan, and trust your hands.’

“I just got to go there and hit a fastball. When you’re a fastball hitter, you can go ahead looking for breaking ball because if he throws you a fastball you can react. I tried for the fastball early in the count. Be aggressive early in the count … As soon as I touched first base, I saw the ball in the stands and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s gone.'”

Hernandez was playing third base with Travis Shaw moving over to first to supplant Hanley Ramirez, who got the day off.

The rookie fielded his new position cleanly, having spent a considerable amount of time practicing at the spot prior to the game with infield instructor Brian Butterfield.

“Early in the year was tough because I had never played there,” Hernandez said. “Now I’ve been working hard to prepare for that situation. It’s different because it’s shorter. At shortstop, you can wait and read the hop. But third base, you have to react. Prepare early, set up early and react to the contact.”

Hernandez hit .579 with a 1.514 OPS in 21 plate appearances in spring training, carrying over the success to Triple-A, where he managed a .333 batting average with an .827 OPS.

Red Sox send down Heath Hembree to make room for Eduardo Rodriguez

05.30.16 at 5:59 pm ET
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Heath Hembree

Heath Hembree

BALTIMORE — Everybody understood Eduardo Rodriguez would be starting for the Red Sox Tuesday against the Orioles. The only question was who would be leaving to make room for the lefty.

That was answered following the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the O’s Monday afternoon when Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Heath Hembree was being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Despite allowing a game-tying home run to Jose Bautista Sunday, Hembree showed he can be of value to the Red Sox’ bullpen, totaling a 2.14 ERA over his 12 big league appearances this season. In 21 innings, the righty struck out 18 and walked five.

Hembree has been particularly tough on righties, holding that side of the plate to a .170 batting average.

The Red Sox bullpen is now made up of Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross Jr., Tommy Layne, Matt Barnes and Clay Buchholz.

Red Sox prospect Sam Travis out for season with torn ACL

05.30.16 at 5:39 pm ET
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Sam Travis

Sam Travis

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox’ farm system has taken another hit.

The Red Sox announced Monday that top prospect Sam Travis has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and will be out for the remainder of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery. He is expected to be ready for the 2017 campaign.

Travis, who was leading the International League in RBIs (29), was hurt making a tag on a rundown during the third inning of the Pawtucket Red Sox’s game Sunday. The 22-year-old — who impressed the organization with a .469 batting average and 1.147 OPS in spring training — was hitting .272 with a .756 OPS for the PawSox.

Travis is thought to be a candidate to compete for a major league job heading into the 2017 season if the Red Sox decide to slide Hanley Ramirez off first base and into David Ortiz’s designated hitter spot.

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