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Red Sox manager John Farrell explains decision to shut down left-hander Brian Johnson

08.04.15 at 7:21 pm ET
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Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

NEW YORK — Red Sox left-handed pitching prospect Brian Johnson will be shut down for the time being with irritation in his ulnar collateral nerve, according to manager John Farrell.

Speaking before the Red Sox visited the Yankees in New York on Tuesday night, Farrell said that it’s too early to say if Johnson’s injury extends to his ulnar collateral ligament, which would likely end his season.

“Well, he came out of his last start with some elbow irritation,” Farrell said. “It’s in the ulnar nerve area. I don’t know how long of a shutdown he’ll go through. Obviously the elbow situation flared up on him and he’s on the DL with Pawtucket.”

Johnson left his last start at Triple-A on Sunday in Buffalo after four innings with irritation in his elbow. The Red Sox placed him on the minor-league disabled list on Monday, and he underwent further testing on Tuesday.

“I don’t have the specifics,” Farrell said. “The only thing I do know is that it’s in the ulnar nerve area, so whether or not the ligament is completely uninvolved, I don’t have the specifics of that.”

With Johnson sidelined, the Red Sox turned their attention to fellow left-handed prospect Henry Owens, who made his big league debut on Tuesday in New York.

In other pregame news, Farrell said there he hopes second baseman Dustin Pedroia can begin baseball activities with the team in Detroit this weekend. He also expects outfielder Mookie Betts (concussion), to work with the team there, too.

Speaking of Betts, Farrell said that even when he returns, fellow outfielder Rusney Castillo will continue to get every day playing time.

Dave Dombrowski leaving Tigers; What does it mean for Red Sox?

08.04.15 at 4:37 pm ET
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Word came down late Tuesday afternoon that the Tigers were relieving Dave Dombrowski of his duties as general manager/president. It was announced that Al Avila will take over the 59-year-old executive’s duties.

Dombrowski’s contract with the Tigers was set to expire after this year.

So what does this have to do with the Red Sox. Maybe nothing. But maybe something.

As we pointed out in two separate columns on WEEI.com (and on the Bradfo Show podcast), the Red Sox could be eying someone like Dombrowski to take over a newly-formed role with the team, overseeing baseball operations.

With Sam Kennedy ready to take the reigns as team president, but making it clear that he would not be making player acquisition decisions in the same manner as his predecessor, Larry Lucchino, changes along these lines seem inevitable.

Such a dynamic would allow the Red Sox to keep general manager Ben Cherington and his staff in place, with Dombrowski — who previously worked under principal owner John Henry in Miami — garnering the final say on baseball operations decisions.

It is a structure that has been put in place throughout baseball, with the Cuba, Dodgers, White Sox an Phillies serving as examples.

Here is John Tomase’s take on how Dombrowski might make the most sense for the Red Sox if they decide to go that route.

Ryan Cook sent down to make room for Henry Owens

08.04.15 at 12:23 pm ET
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Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook

According to Minor League Baseball’s transaction page, newly-acquired Ryan Cook has been sent to Triple-A Pawtucket in order to make room for the Red Sox‘ Tuesday night starter, Henry Owens.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Owens, the Red Sox released reliever Ronald Belisario. Since being acquired from Tampa Bay last month, Belisario threw 6 1/3 innings for the PawSox, allowing just four hits.

Cook, who was acquired for cash considerations from Oakland at the non-waiver trade deadline, was active for the Red Sox’ game against the Rays Sunday but did not pitch. He has only appeared in four major league games this season, making 30 outings (finishing 20 games) for Triple-A Nashville.

Owens will be making his major league debut Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, going up against Masahiro Tanaka.

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Red Sox-Yankees series preview

08.04.15 at 10:23 am ET
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Alex Rodriguez leads  the Yankees with 24 home runs this season. (David Banks/Getty Images)

Alex Rodriguez leads the Yankees with 24 home runs this season. (David Banks/Getty Images)

One of the premier rivalries in sports will resume Tuesday when the Red Sox head to the Bronx to face the first-place Yankees for a three-game set.

Less than a month ago, the Red Sox sat just five games out of first in the AL East and were preparing to host the Yankees for a pivotal three-game series at Fenway Park before the All-Star break. Now, after losing 2-of-3 to New York and 12-of-17 since the series, the Red Sox have fallen back to double-digit games out and the Yankees have taken control of the division.

The Red Sox have won three out of their last four games as their offense powered them through their last series against the Rays. The Sox scored 20-plus runs in a three-game set for the third time this season en route to their second series win since their last meeting with the Yankees. They are now 47-59 and 13 games out of first in the division.

Over their last seven games, the Red Sox offense owns the MLB’s sixth-best WAR (1.5). As a team, they have slashed .295/.349/.443 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs. The corner infield spots have all of a sudden become home to the Red Sox hottest hitters as Mike Napoli and Travis Shaw combined to hit .333 with four home runs and eight RBIs in the last week. Shaw has been especially impressive as he went 4-for-4 Saturday with two longballs, a double and three RBIs.

“I feel pretty good at the plate,” Shaw said after the game, an 11-7 Red Sox victory. “Just trying to not do too much, just stick with what I’€™ve done down there. I’€™ve been successful down there and trying to carry that up here.”

“I try and control what I can control,” Shaw added. “Each day that I am in the lineup up here try and make the most of and hopefully that speaks for its self.”

While Shaw and the Red Sox offense have streaked of late, so has the Yankees’. During the last 14 days, the Yankees have had the best lineup in baseball, scoring 94 runs and logging a .305/.372/.533 team slash line on the backs of Mark Teixeira (six home runs), Alex Rodriguez (five home runs) and Chase Headley (12 RBIs).

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Read More: Luis Severino, New York Yankees, travis shaw,

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Henry Owens vs. Masahiro Tanaka

08.04.15 at 9:59 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

Tuesday will be an exciting day for the Red Sox in an otherwise underwhelming 2015 season as they will send left-hander Henry Owens to the rubber against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees. It will be Owens’ major league debut in wake of Rick Porcello’s trip to the DL with tightness in his right triceps, as he was scheduled to start Tuesday.

Owens has excelled in the Red Sox organization ever since his second full season at the professional level in 2013 when he posted an 11-6 record and a 2.67 ERA in 26 starts between High-A and Double-A ball. Drafted in the first-round of the 2011 draft out of Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California, Owens has quickly risen through the Red Sox‘ system. The 6-foot-6 starter has moved up a level each year since 2012, culminating with his call up to the show.

“Well, one we wanted to insert another starter and not move guys up. We wanted to provide an extra day of rest, so Tuesday is Henry’€™s day,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the decision to bring up Owens. “It’€™s going to be probably the biggest stage he’€™s going to make his debut on as schedule has it. Ideally having another left-hander going against that lineup in that ballpark. We’€™ll see him on Tuesday.”

Last season, Owens turned heads when he went 14-4 in Double-A Portland with a 2.60 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched. He finished the year in Pawtucket, going a combined 17-5 between the two levels. His record may not indicate it this year (3-8), but Owens has picked up right where he left off in 2014. He sports a 3.16 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in Triple-A, allowing just 84 hits in 122 1/3 innings of work.

For such a lanky individual, Owens does not have an other-worldly power fastball. His heater resides in the 88-91 mph range with some late downward movement that helps him produce soft contact. Owens’ money pitch is his changeup. Owens also throws two breaking pitches, a slider and a curveball.

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Read More: henry owens, Masahiro Tanaka,

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: PawSox offense struggles against rehabbing Stephen Strasburg; Luis Ramos takes loss in Greenville debut

08.04.15 at 9:42 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

Edwin Escobar

Edwin Escobar

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-65): L, 9-3, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left-hander Edwin Escobar took the loss in his first start of the season. He allowed four earned runs in three innings of work on six hits and one walk. He also struck out one. In 13 games for Pawtucket this season, Escobar is 0-2 with an 8.69 ERA.

— Lefty Robby Scott also tossed three innings for the PawSox Monday, giving up five earned runs on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Tommy Layne and Heath Hembree combined for two scoreless innings.

— The Pawtucket offense faced Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who is rehabbing after a DL stint with a left oblique strain. Strasburg struck out 11 in 5 2/3 innings but was tagged with two earned runs on a two-out double by Mike Miller in the second inning. Allen Craig and Garin Cecchini led off the frame with back-to-back singles and came around to score.

— Craig finished the day 3-for-4 with a run scored. Miller posted the only other multi-hit game for Pawtucket, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and two RBIs.

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Read More: Allen Craig, Andrew Benitendi, garin cecchini, stephen strasburg

Red Sox pitching prospect Brian Johnson placed on disabled list with elbow tightness

08.04.15 at 12:21 am ET
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Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

Red Sox left-hander Brian Johnson was placed on the minor league disabled list on Monday, one day after leaving a start at Triple-A Pawtucket with tightness in his elbow, a team spokesman confirmed.

Johnson lasted just four innings at Buffalo on Sunday, allowing two hits and a run. He walked three and struck out three. He is scheduled to undergo further examination on Tuesday.

One of the team’s best pitching prospects, Johnson made his big league debut on July 21 in an 8-3 loss to the Astros. He allowed three hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings, walking four, striking out three, and having difficulty throwing over to first base.

Manager John Farrell said last week that Johnson would rejoin the rotation shortly, but that was before he suffered this injury. Left-hander Henry Owens will make his big league debut on Tuesday when the Red Sox open a three-game series in New York against the Yankees.

News of Johnson’s DL stint was first reported by the Boston Globe.

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Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Brian Johnson has solid start in Pawtucket win; Tim Roberson posts 4 hits to lift Portland

08.03.15 at 10:52 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

Dayan Diaz

Dayan Diaz

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-64): W, 2-1, at Buffalo (Blue Jays)

— The PawSox scored both runs Sunday in the top of the eighth inning. After Deven Marrero and Sandy Leon started the frame with back-to-back walks, Allen Craig singled and Marrero was able to score on a throwing error. Leon scored after Garin Cecchini grounded into a fielder’€™s choice.

— Dayan Diaz earned the win in a four-inning relief appearance. The righty allowed just one hit and two walks. Diaz is 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 20 appearances out of the bullpen.

— Left-hander Brian Johnson started for Pawtucket and was limited to 60 pitches, allowing one earned run on two hits and three walks with three strikeouts over four innings of work. Johnson has a 9-6 record and a 2.53 ERA after 18 starts in a PawSox uniform this season.

— Right-hander Noe Ramirez pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his first save of the season.

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Read More: brian johnson, dayan diaz, deven marrero, Kyri Washington

Red Sox prospect Henry Owens to make major league debut Tuesday at Yankee Stadium

08.02.15 at 5:37 pm ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

It’s one of the biggest stages in all of baseball and Tuesday night it will be the site of Henry Owens’ major league debut, as the 23-year-old will take to the mound for the first time in a big league uniform against the Yankees.

With Rick Porcello scheduled to start Tuesday and going on the disabled list Sunday, that opened a spot for Owens.

“Well, one we wanted to insert another starter and not move guys up. We wanted to provide an extra day of rest, so Tuesday is Henry’s day,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s going to be probably the biggest stage he’s going to make his debut on as schedule has it. Ideally having another left-hander going against that lineup in that ballpark. We’ll see him on Tuesday.”

Owens was the selected in the first-round of the 2011 draft by the Red Sox.

Over 21 starts with Pawtucket this season, Owens is 3-8 with a 3.16 ERA. The biggest issue for Owens has been the number of walks he’s allowed, but he’s cut them down of late, which is the primary reason for him getting the promotion.

In April and May the 6-foot-6 left-hander had 35 walks in 54 1/3 innings. At one point in early June he had the most walks in all of baseball — both Triple-A and the majors. Recently, Owens has commanded his pitches much better as over his last two starts (12 innings) he has a total of two walks and in the month of July he has issued just eight walks in 31 2/3 innings.

“A lot more strikes, repeating his delivery,” Farrell said of what has changed for him. “I think coming out of spring training there was some work needed just commanding his body as well as the baseball and that has been the case over the last four weeks or more. In a nut shell, it’s more quality strikes throughout the entire time he’s on the mound.”

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Closing Time: Junichi Tazawa allows 2 runs in 8th inning as Red Sox can’t hold lead vs. Rays

08.02.15 at 4:45 pm ET
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Wade Miley picked up his ninth win of the season Sunday against the Rays. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Wade Miley received a no-decision as Junichi Tazawa allowed two eighth inning runs to take the loss. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Junichi Tazawa has been the Red Sox‘ most dependable reliever this season, but even he can have a bad day once in a while.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox and Wade Miley, Tazawa allowed two eighth-inning runs in the their 4-3 loss to the Rays, spoiling a good start from Miley.

With the Red Sox leading 3-2 in the eighth, Evan Longoria doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera’s ground-rule double. Cabrera scored on a single by James Loney for the game-winning run. Tazawa picked up his fourth loss of the season.

“Today you have five consecutive fastballs to Asdrubal [Cabrera], which is a little bit uncommon for him and the last one leaked over the plate,” manager John Farrell said. “Even against Longoria to lead off the inning — tried to go down and away, ball ends up back arm side and close to Evan on that particular pitch. It’s been fastball location that hasn’t  been as sharp in those moments.”

Koji Uehara tossed a scoreless ninth inning.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for Miley. After allowing five first inning runs his last time out, Miley allowed a leadoff home run to Brandon Guyer to open the game, but quickly settled down.

The left-hander retired the next seven hitters, getting into a good groove. Miley finished going 6 2/3 innings allowing two runs on five hits, while walking a batter and striking out four. Robbie Ross entered with a runner on third and two outs and after hitting a batter and a walk, he struck out Joey Butler to get out of the jam.

“A very good assortment of all his pitches,” Farrell said of Miley. “I thought he blended his offspeed pitches in well against the heavy right-handed hitting lineup. The 3-2 fastball that Guyer runs into to get things started, but other than that he was in command for the time he was on the mound today.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, junichi tazawa, Robbie Ross
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