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After learning of trade on Twitter, Joe Kelly embraces new opportunity with Red Sox

08.02.14 at 3:54 pm ET
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Newest Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly exemplified the life of a major leaguer in 2014 on Thursday.

Kelly was in the training room with former Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski before the Cardinals’ afternoon game that day when he struck up a conversation with his teammate about the latest trade deadline rumors. The most recent report involved their team.

“Hey, it looks like the Cardinals are going to get [John Lackey],” Kelly told Pierzynski.

“Oh yeah, really? How do you know?” Pierzynski asked.

Kelly responded: “I’ve got a source on Twitter.”

Said Pierzynski: “Oh yeah, because everything on Twitter is true.”

Kelly checked Twitter again about 15 minutes later and found out not only had St. Louis traded for Lackey, but he and Allen Craig were the ones going to Boston in return.

“I went over to A.J. and said, ‘I told you Twitter is true,’ ” Kelly said. Read the rest of this entry »

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David Ross lands on DL, Dan Butler called up

08.02.14 at 3:44 pm ET
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It is a strange injury when a tear is described as a positive outcome.

Catcher David Ross suffered what the Red Sox believe was a tear of the plantar fascia on Friday — an injury that actually represents a positive development, as his case of plantar fasciitis had become constantly painful. With the tear, the team is hopeful that Ross’ foot will heal in a fashion that permits him to play without pain.

“Everything points towards that tendon having let go last night, which, in this case, is a positive,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “How many days it takes to recover, we’ll see, but the 15 days should hopefully help this quiet down to the point of him returning.”

With Ross sidelined, the Red Sox called up Dan Butler, a 27-year-old who signed with the organization as an undrafted free agent in 2009 out of the University of Arizona while playing in the Cape League. Butler (hitting .227/.306/.338 this year in Pawtucket, after amassing a .262/.350/.479 line at the same level last year) is described in the organization as a “grinder” who kept his head down and, despite lacking typical prospect status conferred upon a player who signed for a significant bonus, forced his way to the big leagues by showing good defensive skills and the ability to lead pitching staffs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shane Victorino gets ‘news that I didn’t want to get’ about potential surgery

08.02.14 at 3:26 pm ET
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For Shane Victorino, a year of injuries and frustrations seems like it may be nearing a conclusion under a surgeon’s knife. The 33-year-old, on the disabled list for the third time this year after he left Wednesday’s game with discomfort in his back, underwent an MRI on his lower back on Friday that suggested that he might need surgery. He will visit Dr. Robert Watkins, a back specialist in Los Angeles for a second opinion before settling upon a definitive course of action.

“I’€™m definitely disappointed, news that I didn’€™t want to get. Obviously I think we need another opinion, see where we’€™re at and we’€™re going to go from there,” said Victorino. “Obviously [the MRI] showed some signs of some things going on with my back that obviously it’€™s important for us to get a second opinion. We’€™ll go and see what happens and go from there. … Any time you have to go and see someone like [Watkins], it’€™s never what you want to hear. You’€™re just hoping that what you see in an MRI doesn’€™t come out with that kind of information. We’€™ll get that second opinion and see how it goes.” Read the rest of this entry »

Yoenis Cespedes is very familiar with next Cuban on Red Sox’ wish-list, Rusney Castillo

08.02.14 at 11:03 am ET
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There is no doubting the Red Sox‘€™ interest in Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo.

The Sox were one of the teams to hold a private workout for Castillo ‘€“ meeting up with the speedster in Fort Myers Friday ‘€“ while having already witnessed the showcase for all clubs a week ago in Coral Gables, Fla. (Baseball America classified the Red Sox‘€™ interest as having the biggest presence at the event, attended by a reported 100 scouts from 28 different teams.)

The 27-year-old is an intriguing talent considering his athletic ability. He is 5-foot-9, 205 pounds with the kind of speed built to cover ground in either center or right field at Fenway Park. Offensively, think the high-end potential of 20 home runs, 30 stolen bases.

So, do the Red Sox have a chance at reeling in a player considered the next Cuban primed to make an impact on the major leagues? Having one of Castillo’€™s former acquaintances from Cuba ‘€“ Yoenis Cespedes — on the team won’€™t seem to hurt the cause.

“If he’€™s not a five-tool player, he’€™s a least a four-tool player,” Cespedes told WEEI.com. “He’€™s very comparable to [Dodgers outfielder Yasiel] Puig. Obviously a different height and size, but very similar qualities.”

Cespedes played against Castillo when both were younger, with the new Red Sox outfielder eventually surmising that a major league future might be in the mix for the younger player.

“The last year I played with him I saw he was the caliber of player to play on the Cuban National Team, and 90 percent of the players that play on that team has the ability to play in the big leagues,” Cespedes explained.

The acquisition of Castillo still might considered a long-shot considering the number of teams involved, and the fact that Cespedes wouldn’€™t call his relationship with the outfielder a close one.

But the familiarity between the players certainly wouldn’€™t seem to hurt the cause.

“I wouldn’€™t go that far,” said Cespedes when asked if he would consider each other friends. “We played against each other, I knew he was good and we would talk. But as far as friends go, we didn’€™t know each other that well. I just know he is a very nice, humble kid and a good person.”

Red Sox minor league roundup: Wendell Rijo’s power surge; Drake Britton struggles; dominance in the DSL

08.02.14 at 10:43 am ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-2 LOSS VS. SYRACUSE (RAYS)

(BOX)

– Catcher Dan Butler went 2-for-3 before being lifted in the ninth inning, shortly after David Ross left Friday’s game in Boston due to his foot injury. Butler, 27, is hitting .227/.306/.338 in 76 games this year, with respectable numbers against lefties (.244/.337/.329) while struggling against righties (.219/.291/.343). He’s regarded highly enough for his defensive abilities and leadership that during the offseason, there were some in the Sox organization who gave consideration to Butler as a potential tandem partner with David Ross as a big league catching solution before the signing of A.J. Pierzynski.

For more on Butler, here he is on a Minor Details podcast.

– Lost amidst the roster shuffle was the fact that Drake Britton‘s struggles in Pawtucket this year have pushed him behind Tommy Layne on the team’s reliever depth chart. Britton’s yearlong struggles continued on Friday, when he allowed two runs on three hits (including two homers, the sixth and seventh he’s yielded this year) in 2 1/3 innings, with his ERA bumping up to 5.52. Britton — who has walked more batters (29) than he’s struck out (26) in 45 2/3 innings this year — has shown a greater willingness to attack the strike zone of late, having walked just one batter in his last five games spanning eight innings.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-1 LOSS VS. TRENTON (YANKEES) Read the rest of this entry »

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Allen Webster vs. Shane Greene

08.02.14 at 8:48 am ET
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The Red Sox continue their three-game series with the Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday when they send Allen Webster to the mound against Shane Greene in a battle between young, unproven pitchers.

Webster (1-0, 3.38 ERA) was called up to start last Saturday after Jake Peavy was traded to the Giants, and had an effective season debut. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings to earn a 3-2 win over the Rays. Webster, however, did have some command issues. He walked five while striking out four, throwing just 42 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

“My body felt really good,” Webster after the game. “My command wasn’t as there as I wanted it to be, but I made the pitches when I needed.”

Saturday will be the 24-year-old’s first career start against the Yankees. His lone appearance against New York came in one inning of relief on Sept. 15, 2013. Webster allowed one run on a hit and a walk in a 9-2 Red Sox win.

Greene (2-1, 3.28 ERA) has been a nice surprise for a paper-thin Yankees rotation. The 25-year-old has allowed nine runs over 24 1/3 innings in four starts and has been consistently reliable.

While Greene hasn’t had any significant drop-off, he has regressed some in his last two starts, allowing three or more runs on each occasion and failing to make it out of the sixth inning. The righty made the shortest start of his major league career in his outing last Sunday. He went just 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits, two walks and two strikeouts in a 5-4 Yankees loss.

“I felt pretty good,” Greene said after the game. “I made some good pitches. I’ve just got to be better later in the game.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Anthony Ranaudo credits mechanical adjustment, newfound confidence culminating in major league debut

08.02.14 at 2:01 am ET
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A little under two months ago, things began to really click for Anthony Ranaudo. While working in a bullpen session with Pawtucket Red Sox pitching coach Rich Sauveur, the duo made an adjustment to Ranaudo’s windup, — making it more similar to the hurler’s windup in the stretch– reducing the downward movement in the righty’s motion towards the plate. The alteration, while slight, made a huge different in Ranaudo’s ability to command his arsenal of pitches, especially his fastball.

The difference in results have been striking.

Before the windup tweak, Ranaudo threw 62 percent of his pitches for strikes while posting a 3.09 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP, 57 strikeouts, 5.06 walks per nine innings and 36 walks in 64 innings pitched. Since making the adjustment, Ranaudo has thrown 66 percent of his pitches for strikes while dominating Triple-A lineups to the tune of a 1.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 42 strikeouts, 2.11 walks per nine innings and 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched.

Ranaudo’s success culminated in the righty’s major league debut on Friday in the Red Sox‘s 4-3 win over the New York Yankees, the 24-year-old’s favorite childhood team growing up in Freehold, N.J. En route to becoming the first Red Sox pitcher to win his major league debut against the Yankees since Vaughn Eshelman in 1995, Ranaudo went six innings, allowing four hits, two runs, four walks, two strikeouts and one home run allowed to Carlos Beltran.

Since making the mechanical switch, Ranaudo says the difference in his confidence pre-adjustment and post-adjustment is night and day and ultimately led to the biggest day of his career, his major league debut.

Read the rest of this entry »

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