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John Farrell on MFB: ‘I think we would all love to see Jon Lester back in a Red Sox uniform’

08.13.14 at 4:59 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the state of the team and the prospects of Jon Lester returning to the club in the offseason. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox won consecutive games for the first time since July 20-21 with a 3-2 win over the Reds Tuesday night. Joe Kelly made his second career start with the Red Sox and was strong again, allowing two runs on five hits in six innings for a no-decision.

“The one thing with Joe Kelly, he’s athletic, he repeats his delivery,” Farrell said. “I thought last night he had more powerful stuff than in St. Louis, and when you sit in the dugout, particularly from the third base side, you get a real appreciation for how quick his arm is. Good action to his secondary pitches both curveball and slider, might’ve been pitching a little bit too fine last night early on but settled in.

“I think he’s just a quality right-hander who we’re still getting to know, but clearly there’s a lot there to like.”

Kelly may be the newest Red Sox pitcher acquired, but the starter still most talked about in Boston is Lester, whom the Sox traded to Oakland at the deadline for Yoenis Cespedes. Lester will be a free agent at the end of the season, and has expressed an openness to returning to Boston. Farrell said he hasn’t given up hope on Lester returning.

“I think we would all love to see Jon Lester back in a Red Sox uniform,” Farrell said. “We also know that once free-agent season opens, he’s going to have an opportunity — he’s earned the right to see what the market is going to bear for him. I’m sure there will be a number teams that are interested in Jon. He’s durable, he’s productive, he’s done it in Boston, there’s a great comfort level with everyone here.

“I found his comments to be encouraging. He’s looking for the total package, not just the highest dollar. I think that sits well with anybody who reads it and particularly where he’s spent the majority of his career. We know there’s deep roots here. One of his homes is still here.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Yoenis Cespedes exits with right hand contusion

08.13.14 at 4:58 pm ET
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Red Sox left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was replaced by pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks in the top of the seventh inning due to what the team described as a right hand contusion. Cespedes incurred the injury, manager John Farrell said, during his third and final at-bat of the game, when he delivered an RBI single in front of Mike Napoli‘s two-run homer.

“In his last at-bat, he got jammed pretty good,” Farrell told reporters in Cincinnati after the Sox’ 5-4 win. “Wanted to stay in the game, but felt a little soreness in it and might have affected the grip of it so took it out of his hands. Precautionary, got him out of the game.”

Farrell said that Cespedes hadn’t gotten any X-rays on the hand.

“He was kind of fighting it a little bit, wanting to stay in, but we thought it was best to get him out at that time,” Farrell told reporters.

Cespedes is now hitting .268/.286/.488 in 10 games with the Red Sox. He’s driven in eight runs in his last four games.

Closing Time: Anthony Ranaudo, Mike Napoli help Red Sox sweep Reds

08.13.14 at 3:37 pm ET
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On a day when he didn’t have his best stuff, Anthony Ranaudo gave a glimpse of a pitcher who is willing to compete and grind through innings to give his team an opportunity. On Wednesday, his performance was good enough to allow the Red Sox to fashion a 5-4 win.

The big right-hander, making his second big league start, attacked the strike zone even on a day when he elicited few swings and misses. The result was some hard hit balls en route to an eight-hit yield that included a pair of homers, a double and a triple, but an ability to limit the damage to four runs while walking one and striking out one. He threw 61 of 91 pitches (67 percent) for strikes.

Ranaudo has now given the Sox six innings in both of his first two big league starts, offering a suggestion that he hasn’t been overwhelmed by the initial challenge of competing at the highest level. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to win each of his first two big league starts since Justin Masterson in 2008.

The Red Sox went 5-3 on the road trip, finishing with three straight victories.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Mike Napoli slammed a two-run, opposite-field homer and drove in three runs while going 1-for-4. The homer was Napoli‘s third in August, a mark that leads the team, and his 15th of the year. Napoli is hitting just .206 this month but with an .870 OPS. Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts taking center stage; more strides for Garin Cecchini; Manuel Margot scorching

08.13.14 at 12:34 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 LOSS AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)

(BOX)

– Feats of Mookie: Leading man. Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk, and he’s now 11-for-25 with a .440/.533/.640 line (with five walks, five strikeouts and five extra-base hits) in six games since being sent back down to Triple-A by the Sox. Among all minor players with at least 300 minor league plate appearances in full-season ball this year, Betts ranks fourth in average (.348) and fifth in OBP (.436), with his combination of the ability to hit for average and work the strike zone suggesting a player who profiles as a leadoff hitter — something the Red Sox will need going forward if they conclude that Brock Holt is not the answer for such a role.

Put another way: There’s a fascinating dynamic in the organization, in which the fates of Jackie Bradley Jr., Holt and Betts are entwined in interesting fashion. Center field remains an undefined position for the Sox, and a case can be made that the identity of the leadoff hitter is in a similar place. Betts right now might be the best bet to address both needs. Notably, all six of his games since he’s returned to Pawtucket have been in center field.

Garin Cecchini continued his recent eruption, going 2-for-4 with his sixth homer of the year. The 23-year-old is now 9-for-19 with a homer, two doubles and eight runs driven in over his last four games. In the process, he’s boosted his average from .236 to .249, increased his OBP from .314 to .321 and bumped his slugging mark from .320 to .346. He also successfully stole his 11th base in 12 attempts on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia sits, Jackie Bradley Jr. returns

08.13.14 at 9:48 am ET
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The Red Sox will wrap up their roadtrip with a novel lineup. With a 12:35 p.m. start on Wednesday, the Sox will give Dustin Pedroia a rare day off, with Brock Holt starting at second base. David Ortiz will also get a day off while relinquishing first base to Mike Napoli. Kelly Johnson will get the start at third base in place of Will Middlebrooks (who saw his average drop to .180 on Tuesday), and Dan Butler will start behind the plate for longtime minor league batterymate Anthony Ranaudo. Jackie Bradley Jr. will return to the lineup after sitting on Tuesday, looking to snap an 0-for-35 slump.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, 2B

Daniel Nava, RF

Yoenis Cespedes, LF

Mike Napoli, 1B

Kelly Johnson, 3B

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Dan Butler, C

Anthony Ranaudo, SP

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Reds matchups: Anthony Ranaudo vs. Homer Bailey

08.13.14 at 8:31 am ET
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The Red Sox finish their eight-game road trip Wednesday night against the Reds when Anthony Ranaudo opposes Homer Bailey.

Ranaudo (1-0, 3.00 ERA) was called up by the Red Sox Tuesday afternoon to pitch in place of Brandon Workman for his second career start. The right-hander had an impressive major league debut Aug. 1 against the Yankees, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings for his first career win. The rookie walked four and struck out two on 91 pitches.

“I thought he did a good job of keeping the game under control,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “There were a number of innings where the leadoff hitter would get on base, threw walks to lead some innings off, but I thought he threw the ball downhill well, kept the ball out of the middle of the plate for the most part.”

Ranuado was sent back down to Triple-A Pawtucket after that debut outing and made one more minor league start Aug. 8 before this most recent call-up. The 24-year-old responded with arguably his worst start in over a month, giving up four runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings. That effort, however, was strong enough to help the PawSox to a win to improve his minor league record to 13-4 with a 2.58 ERA this season. Ranaudo hasn’t lost a start at any level since June 1.

Bailey (9-5, 3.71 ERA) has had a relatively disappointing season but has been solid as of late. The righty has had a quality start in six of his last seven outings, posting a 1.62 ERA in that span.

On Thursday, Bailey ended a streak of four straight no-decisions with a win over the Indians. He tossed seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out eight.

“He pitched a really great game,” Reds manager Bryan Price said after the game. “He scuffled early with his command, but he came back strong and gave us a great chance to win.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Yoenis Cespedes again mashes Red Sox to victory

08.12.14 at 10:16 pm ET
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So this is why the Red Sox wanted to add Yoenis Cespedes.

For the second straight game, the outfielder gave an intriguing demonstration of what he might be able to add to the middle of the Red Sox lineup. With his team trailing, 2-1, in the top of the eighth inning, Cespedes sent a 433-foot rocket over the center field fence to propel the Sox to a 3-2 win.

Cespedes now has a .467 slugging mark this year, which ranks second on the team to David Ortiz. His 19 homers are likewise behind only Ortiz among current Sox lineup members. The idea, then, of having Ortiz, Cespedes and Mike Napoli combine forces in the middle of the order represents a potential path forward for a team that entered Tuesday ranked 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors in homers.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »

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