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David Ortiz takes issue with being brought into John Lackey-Nelson Cruz feud

07.07.14 at 10:11 pm ET
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One thing was abundantly clear prior to the Red Sox‘ series opener against the White Sox on Monday night: David Ortiz was not happy he was recently brought into the conversation regarding John Lackey‘s issues with Nelson Cruz.

Following his start Saturday night, Lackey referenced his disapproval of Cruz, making a comment brought on by the pitcher’s issues regarding the Baltimore slugger’s PED suspension of a year ago.

When asked about the comments, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said, “We need to all make sure we check our own backyard before we start looking at someone else’€™s.”

That led to a conversation on the MLB Network Monday afternoon that Ortiz happened to see. According to the designated hitter, the host on the network’s show (which he couldn’t specifically identify) said the slugger had received a “free pass” for appearing on a list identifying him as one of the major leaguers to test positive for PEDs on the MLB’s 2003 survey testing.

“What pisses me off is the whole thing about, why does my name got to be mentioned in that? What did I have to do with that? I saw on MLB the guys talking about it, and then they brought my name up, and one of the guys said that I got a free pass on that,” he told WEEI.com. “It was the Lackey and Showalter thing, going back and forth. Showalter didn’t say anything about me.”

That, however, was just the beginning of Ortiz’s rant.

“But then, when they are commenting about what Showalter said, they brought my name up,” he added. “Then one of the guys wanted to say that I got a free pass. And to be honest with you, in this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he’s saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof. It’s easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, ‘Yes, you did this, you did that.’ My [expletive], I call straight up bull. Let me tell you. You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].

“That’s reality. You don’t use the words that I get a free pass. You don’t get a free pass on this. MLB don’t play that B.S. MLB don’t play that. There’s a reason why I’ve been drug-tested like eight times and we’re not even at the break. Is that a free pass? There’s a reason why I’ve been tested like 40 times since they approved the policy, the drug policy. Is that a free pass? They can get that free pass and shove it up their [expletive].”

Read More: David Ortiz, john lackey, Nelson Cruz,

Red Sox pregame notes: Mike Carp returns; Shane Victorino to start rehab assignment; Sox ‘remain committed’ to Xander Bogaerts

07.07.14 at 7:57 pm ET
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Mike Carp returns to Red Sox after recovering from a broken foot. (AP)

Mike Carp returns to Red Sox after recovering from a broken foot. (AP)

Just two days after hitting a game-winning bloop single, Jonathan Herrera was optioned to Pawtucket to make room for Mike Carp, who comes off the disabled list after a broken foot sidelined him for a month.

Carp has been on a rehab assignment with the PawSox. During his time in Triple-A, Carp went 5-for-21 with a double and a home run, with four of the hits (and both extra-base hits) coming in his last two games. Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Carp will resume his role as a left-handed bat off the bench in pinch-hit situations while also giving the Sox options at first base and left field.

Farrell had nothing but praise for Herrera, who was acquired in the off-season from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for lefty Franklin Morales.

“He fits the role to a tee, the utility role,” Farrell said. “It was a difficult conversation. He’s a quality person, quality player, stayed prepared and contributed when asked in the role that he was in. He occupied a role that was difficult. He sat for seven or eight days and then to play to the efficiency that he did, we clearly viewed him as a major league player and I would suspect that he would be back with us at some point this season.”

With Herrera no longer on the 25-man roster, Farrell said Brock Holt represents the utility jack-of-all-trades option. The manager added that Mookie Betts is working out solely in the outfield in pregame work, and would not be a consideration for shortstop (a position that Betts last played in Lowell in 2012).

OTHER RED SOX NOTES Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jonathan Herrera, mike carp, Shane Victorino,

Red Sox game to start at 7:45 p.m.

07.07.14 at 6:41 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced that the start of Monday’s game against the White Sox has been delayed by the threat of severe weather. The Red Sox had already asked fans to clear the uncovered seating bowls at Fenway Park due to lightning in the area. At this time, the starting time of Monday’s game isn’t known. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

UPDATE: The team announced that the game is now scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m.

Red Sox lineup vs. White Sox: Mookie Betts sits, Brock Holt in right

07.07.14 at 3:19 pm ET
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For the third time in four games, Mookie Betts is not in the Red Sox starting lineup, on a night when Boston will face right-handed starter Scott Carroll of the White Sox. The outfield will feature Daniel Nava in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Brock Holt in right. A.J Pierzynski will be behind the plate to catch Clay Buchholz.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, RF

Daniel Nava, LF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Stephen Drew, SS

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Xander Bogaerts, 3B

Clay Buchholz, RHP

Red Sox minor league roundup: Three years later, Henry Owens keeps checking all the boxes; Pawtucket trade candidates; Trey Ball showing signs

07.07.14 at 1:56 pm ET
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Henry Owens was a lanky left-hander who nonetheless convinced the Sox to use a first-round pick on him in 2011. (Gregg Forwerck / Courtesy Team USA Baseball)

Henry Owens was a lanky left-hander who nonetheless convinced the Sox to use a first-round pick on him in 2011. (Gregg Forwerck / Courtesy Team USA Baseball)

Over the last dozen years, the Red Sox have rarely dedicated their earliest picks to high school pitchers. The team did it with its top selection in 2002, drafting Jon Lester with its first overall pick (a second-round selection), but after that, the instances of taking a pitcher with a first- or sandwich-round pick were few.

Entering 2011, the Sox had used a first- or supplemental first-round selection on a high school pitcher just three times. There was Michael Bowden in the supplemental first round in 2005, Caleb Clay in the supplemental first round in 2006 and Casey Kelly in the first round of the 2008 draft. That was it for the first eight Red Sox drafts under GM Theo Epstein, during which the Sox had 19 picks in that top round of the draft, and there was a reason.

“High school pitching, our approach was we wanted to have really high standards in some areas that were important to us because the bust rate is so high with high school pitching,” Epstein explained this weekend on the Minor Details podcast. “We felt like if we were going to miss on high school pitching, let’s at least miss on somebody who checks all of our boxes, who does the things that we think, through a lot of trial and error and a lot of collective wisdom, does the things that we feel are really important.

“With high school pitching, it wasn’t enough to just have a good arm or to have a swing-and-miss pitch. We really wanted size, projectability, athleticism, makeup, command of the fastball, some movement or other swing-and-miss quality to the fastball, we wanted to see the present ability to spin the baseball and not just projection, we wanted to see feel for a changeup, we wanted to see intelligence and acumen, we wanted to see work ethic, we wanted the arm to work well, we wanted to have a certain kind of arm action, we needed to see ease in the delivery and a repeatable delivery, a delivery that worked. We had a long checklist that we looked for in high school pitching. That’s why we didn’t take much pitching at the top of the draft, and you’ll notice that the Cubs don’t either. It’s a rare pitcher that can check a lot of those boxes.”

But Owens checked enough of them to convince the Sox: This was the high school arm worth a pick, at a time when a lot of high-ceiling talent remained on the board.

“Owens was not one to immediately wow you with his stuff, but the closer you looked at him, you realized he did check a lot of the boxes. He was a really gangly kid, huge kid but very skinny who had massive feet and massive hands, and really showed command beyond his years. He showed the ability to spin the ball, even though it was a really soft curveball at the time, the ball spun well, had the changeup, was able to locate his fastball. He threw better, probably, on the showcase circuit the summer before than he did his senior year in high school.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: henry owens, mike carp, Ryan Roberts, Trey Ball

Red Sox-White Sox series preview

07.07.14 at 1:13 pm ET
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Rookie Jose Abreu is one of two White Sox named to the American League All-Star team. (AP)

Rookie Jose Abreu is one of two White Sox named to the American League All-Star team. (AP)

The Red Sox dropped a heartbreaker in 12 innings on Sunday, storming back from a 6-1 deficit with a five-run seventh inning only to fall in extras. With the defeat, the Red Sox fell to 1-5 on the homestand and to a season-high 10 games below .500 at 39-49. With the Rays claiming victory Sunday, the Red Sox now occupy the cellar of the AL East, nine games behind the first-place Orioles.

The White Sox managed to close in on the AL Central lead in June, pulling within 2 1/2 games of the top spot, but have since faltered and fallen to fourth place, eight games behind the division-leading Tigers. They come in at 42-47, fresh off of a series win against the Mariners.

The White Sox have dropped 14 of their last 19 contests against the Red Sox. Boston took two of three in Chicago earlier this season.

As the All-Star Game rosters were announced on Sunday evening, it was revealed that Jon Lester would be the sole representative in the game for the Red Sox (except, of course, manager John Farrell), while Alexei Ramirez and rookie Jose Abreu will represent the White Sox. Starter Chris Sale is an option in the final vote, where fans choose one of five players to round out each team’s roster.

Here are the pitching matchups for the four-game set.

Monday: Clay Buchholz (3-4, 6.22) vs. Scott Carroll (2-5, 5.05)
Tuesday: Brandon Workman (1-2, 4.17) vs. John Danks (7-6, 4.12)
Wednesday: TBD vs. Chris Sale (8-1, 2.16)
Thursday: Jon Lester (9-7, 2.73) vs. Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.20)

WHO’S HOT: RED SOX

– Though these last few series haven’t been pretty for the Red Sox, they can take away some positives, like the awakening of Dustin Pedroia‘s bat. The second baseman hadn’t looked like himself at the plate for a while, hitting just .222 with a .292 OBP and just five extra-base hits from June 1-18. But his offensive output has picked up considerably over the last couple of weeks; he’s batting .375 over his last 16 games, good for the fifth-best average in the majors since June 19.

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Jackie Bradley Jr. sparks Red Sox with glove, arm, bat

07.07.14 at 12:43 pm ET
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At the time, it looked like a nice play with little significance to the game.

Caleb Joseph hit a fly ball to center field with one out and Manny Machado on third in the top of the seventh. The Orioles already had scored four times in the inning to push their lead to a convincing 6-1 and were trying to add to it with a sacrifice fly.

Jackie Bradley Jr. got under the ball and made the catch, and Machado tagged up as expected. But for the first time in the inning, something went the Red Sox‘ way as Bradley made a pinpoint throw to catcher David Ross to gun down Machado and end the inning.

Sure, the play saved a run and was Bradley’s 10th assist of the season, tied for most among American League outfielders. But it seemed to be nothing more than a footnote in an otherwise ugly day at the ballpark for the Sox to that point.

Instead, the play proved to be key as the Red Sox emerged with a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh to even the score at 6-6.

“[I] saw it up in the air, tried to get some momentum going and try to keep it down, try to fire the best strike I could,” Bradley said.

By the end of the game, the 8-2 double play wasn’t even Bradley’s biggest defensive gem of the day.

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