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Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Brian Johnson helps Pawtucket end 8-game skid with shutout; Danny Mars continues to succeed in Greenville

07.29.15 at 8:59 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (42-61): W, 6-0, vs. Norfolk (Orioles)

— Brian Johnson made his first PawSox start since making his major league debut and tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. The left-hander gave up four hits and three walks and struck out six. Johnson improved to 9-6 in 17 starts for Pawtucket and lowered his ERA to 2.54.

— Righty Noe Ramirez relieved Johnson in the seventh and pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing one walk and striking out two. Right-hander Ronald Belisario pitched the ninth inning and allowed one hit.

— Travis Shaw led the Pawtucket offense, posting the only multi-hit game for either team Tuesday. The lefty went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Shaw, who played third base Tuesday, is hitting .253 with 12 doubles and 30 RBIs on the season.

— First baseman Allen Craig also drove in two runs, finishing 1-for-3 with a walk. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI, and catcher Humberto Quintero went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Jose Quintana

07.29.15 at 8:10 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox will take on the White Sox on Wednesday as Rick Porcello matches up with Jose Quintana and looks to end the team’s latest slump.

Porcello undoubtedly wishes he could take much of his 2015 season back. The right-hander bears the weight of a 5-10 record and the AL’s worst ERA among starters at 5.51. Much of his struggles can be attributed to his inability to rein in the baseball. Porcello has given up 18 home runs in each of the last two seasons. He has already reached that mark this year through just 19 starts.

To Porcello’s credit, he has responded well since his long-term future with the Red Sox came under serious consideration July 1. Following that disastrous start against the Blue Jays — two innings pitched, seven runs and three homers allowed — he has been stalwart, logging a 2.50 ERA over three starts. His success culminated with a seven-inning, one-run masterpiece against his former team, the Tigers, last Friday. After the game, a 2-1 Red Sox walkoff win, Red Sox manager John Farrell praised Porcello’s resilience under pressure with men on base.

“A lot of strikes by both starters, and I thought tonight from the fourth inning on, Rick’€™s fastball was one of the best he’€™s had on the entire year,” Farrell said. “He was really good with his extension. I think it showed up with some swing and miss to his changeup. He was down in the strike zone, got a key double play in the fourth inning. He was very good. Even the couple of opportunities where they had runners in scoring position he was able to get a key strikeout. He and [Hanigan] again went out and matched up and executed well.”

As a longtime member of the AL Central, Porcello is no stranger to the White Sox. In 19 starts against them, he has posted a 9-7 record and a 4.02 ERA, his second-best mark vs. a team against whom he’s made at least 12 starts. Facing a struggling offense, he will look to cash in and make his third quality start during the month of July.

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Jose Abreu believes Rusney Castillo is going to be star for Red Sox

07.28.15 at 11:29 pm ET
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Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu

Almost a year after the Red Sox inked Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal, the outfielder has collected a fair amount of naysayers.

But don’€™t count Jose Abreu among that group.

The White Sox slugger ‘€“ who hit his 52nd career home run in the first baseman’€™s 238rd big league game Tuesday night during his team’€™s 9-4 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park ‘€“ believes good times are ahead for his former Cuban national team teammate.

“Yes, of course,” said Abreu through a translator when asked if he believed Castillo would be a star in the major leagues. “He’€™s a five-tool player. He’€™s just trying to work hard every day. He’€™s a great, great player.”

While the 28-year-old Abreu is just less than six months younger than Castillo, the pair’€™s immediate major league success has been strikingly different.
The Red Sox outfielder has totaled a .272 batting average, .688 OPS and three home runs in 38 major league games, while also 40 more games with Triple-A Pawtucket this season.

Abreu, on the other hand, by this date in his first full major league season had already hit 31 homers.

The White Sox slugger suggests, however, that all Castillo needs is more time.

“I played against him a lot in Cuba and I know him very well. He’€™s a very good player,” Abreu said. “My advice for him is to just keep working hard every day because he’€™s got a lot of talent to show up here.”

He added, “I see him as the same player as he was in Cuba. Sometimes it’€™s difficult for a player to just play one game or two and not have that consistency instead of playing every day. He has to keep working his way because he’€™s not a manager. He just has to play hard.”

And then there is that sting that Abreu left for Red Sox fans when the White Sox out-bid Boston for the player’€™s services by less than $5 million. (It is believed that the narrow miss by the Red Sox on Abreu pushed the team harder toward signing Castillo, with principal owner John Henry emailing WEEI.com last August, “Yes, the financial aspects [of Castillo’€™s contract] were impacted by coming close on Abreu. The White Sox did their homework.”

“I just kept my mind open for each team,” Abreu said. “I have to thank the Red Sox organization because I was working out in their complex in the Dominican Republic, so I have to thank them for that because they gave me the facility to show off for other teams, and for them also. But things were right for the White Sox.”

Pedro Martinez wants to be remembered as happy, grateful, a sign of hope

07.28.15 at 11:21 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez had his No. 45 retired by the Red Sox Tuesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez had his No. 45 retired by the Red Sox Tuesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

There was a long wait for it, but Tuesday night was all about Pedro Martinez again at Fenway Park.

As the Red Sox retired No. 45 to the right field wall, Martinez reflected on all he had accomplished during his time in Boston as well as how he reached this point in his career.

It was all he could do, he said.

Prior to the game, the Sox held a ceremony for the recent Hall of Famer, bringing out former members of the team like Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Dennis Eckersley, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek and others.

“All I could do was reflect when I saw everybody there,” Martinez said. “And seeing the franchise standing right there, all the players … reflect, reflect and reflect and maybe one of these days I will wake up and say, ‘Hey, my god, this just happened.’ But right now I’m like in a bubble, I’m flying around. I haven’t set my feet down yet.”

He also emphasized just how much all of his accolades have affected him, and how he’s still strapped for words when he thinks about how he was the one on the receiving end of them.

“It seems like destiny had me linked in a very different way to everything,” he said. “The Red Sox, the seasons, the championships, ’04, 86 years and then I’m part of the All-Century team for the Red Sox, and I see so many great players that passed by that couldn’t pull it off. I was part of the ones that pulled it off, and not only that, I’m the first pitcher that goes into that exclusive wall of numbers retired.

“It’s a unique opportunity to feel this, and I don’t know how to describe it. I get confused in the middle of trying to explain why, why me? How? And I’m trying to enjoy it as well, and I’m trying to have a great time and soaking up as much as I can, but I’m still floating from being in the Hall of Fame, from being in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, Latino Hall of Fame, so many things that happened that I can only say I’m fortunate. I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent so many different things.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox can’t overcome 5-run first inning in loss to White Sox

07.28.15 at 10:07 pm ET
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Wade Miley allowed five first inning runs in the Red Sox' loss to the White Sox Tuesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Wade Miley allowed five first inning runs in the Red Sox‘ loss to the White Sox Tuesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly’s first inning Monday night was bad — allowing four runs — putting the Red Sox in a quick 4-0 hole.

But, Tuesday night was even worse as Wade Miley allowed five first-inning runs, digging the Red Sox a hole they couldn’t dig out of in their 9-4 loss to the White Sox on the night Pedro Martinez‘s number was retired before the game.

Martinez wouldn’t have liked what he saw, as after striking out the leadoff batter, Miley allowed the next five batters to reach, all of which scored, as the White Sox took a 5-0 lead before the Red Sox even stepped to the plate.

The big blow came on a two-run Geovany Soto double, which scored two runs. Emilio Bonifacio followed with an RBI double for the fifth run of the inning.

“Not a lot of command in the first inning,” Miley said. “A lot of fastballs in the middle of the plate and not a good effort me making adjustments in that first inning. I probably had a couple opportunities to minimize the damage and didn’t do a very good job of it.”

Miley settled down, firing four scoreless innings until a freak play in the sixth ended his night.

With two outs in the sixth inning and the White Sox carrying a 5-2 lead, Jose Abreu launched a first-pitch fastball to deep right-center field. Mookie Betts raced back to catch the fly ball, but after two steps hurdled his body over the right field fence.

The outfielder tumbled into the Red Sox bullpen, landing on his head and neck. While the ball trickled out of Betts’€™ glove after landing on the ground, Abreu was initially called out. But after an umpires’€™ review, the call was over-turned, giving the White Sox slugger his 16th homer and the visitors’€™ a two-run lead.

Making matters worse, Betts was forced to leave the game and was tested for a possible concussion.

Miley went 5 2/3 innings allowing seven runs on 10 hits, while walking three and striking out five.

The Red Sox cut into the White Sox’ lead in the second inning on a Pablo Sandoval two-run homer the other way. That was all the Sox could get against White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija until a meaningless two runs in the ninth.

The right-hander went 8+ innings allowing four runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three.

In relief of Miley, Justin Masterson allowed a towering homer to Soto in the seventh and another run in the eighth. He allowed two runs over his 3 1/3 innings of relief.

The Red Sox have now dropped two straight games and are 2-9 since the All-Star break.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Mookie Betts leaves game with concussion symptoms after falling over fence, could miss time

07.28.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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What appeared to be one of the season’s more dramatic plays for the Red Sox simply resulted in a two-run homer for Chicago’s Jose Abreu and an injured Mookie Betts.

With two outs in the sixth inning and the White Sox carrying a 5-2 lead over the Red Sox, Abreu launched a Wade Miley first-pitch fastball to deep right-center field. Betts raced back to catch the fly ball, but after two steps hurdled his body over the fence.

The outfielder tumbled into the Red Sox bullpen, landing on his head and neck. While the ball trickled out of Betts’ glove after he landed on the ground, Abreu was called out. But after a video review, the call was overturned, giving the White Sox slugger his 16th homer and the visitors a two-run lead.

“The wording we use is he has to have ‘control of his body,’ ” crew chief Bill Miller told a pool reporter after the game. “In this case we couldn’t tell if the ball was on the ground on the other side of the fence or not, and so that’s why we went to replay. They determined he didn’t have control of his body when he hit the fence and the ball popped out.”

Adding injury to insult, Betts would be removed from the game after having to sit on the ground just prior to reaching the Red Sox dugout. Rusney Castillo came on to replace the center fielder.

The Red Sox announced Betts left the game with concussion symptoms.

“He’s being examined further right now,” manager John Farrell said. “At minimum, he’ll have to go through the MLB protocol to be cleared, so before stating what he exactly has, we have to get some further information from the tests.”

It’s likely Betts will go in the seven-day concussion disabled list, which goes along with MLB protocol.

Ryan Hannable contributed to this report.

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Photos: Red Sox retire Pedro Martinez’s No. 45

07.28.15 at 8:06 pm ET
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Two days after Pedro Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Red Sox retired his No. 45 during a pregame ceremony Tuesday night.

Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling, Luis Tiant, Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek were among the many current and former Red Sox who joined Martinez on the field for the ceremony. Check out all of our photos from the ceremony here.

Pedro Martinez addresses the Fenway crowd during the ceremony to retire his number. (Photo: WEEI.com)

Pedro Martinez addresses the Fenway crowd during the ceremony to retire his number. (Photo: WEEI.com)

Jason Varitek: Pedro Martinez’s ‘best moment was almost every time he took the mound’

07.28.15 at 7:22 pm ET
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Jason Varitek was 25 when Pedro Martinez was traded to the Red Sox from the Expos.

In just the second year of his major league career, the catcher was behind the plate for Martinez’s second start as a member of the Red Sox against the Angels on April 6, 1998. When he pitched in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series for his final Red Sox start, Varitek caught that too.

“You look back and it’s just an opportunity,” he said. “I was so young … it was the most memorable moments that I had to do behind the plate. You don’t appreciate how good someone is until you play your entire career and you don’t really see it again.”

“He had the physical tools with an exploding fastball, location of it, the ability to change speeds, a devastating changeup developed into the same curveball,” Varitek added. “He had plus pitches across the board, but that only goes so far unless you have the competitiveness and the heart that he had when he pitched, and it made him who he was.”

He was emotional when Martinez gave his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday, sitting in front of the television for three and a half hours so he wouldn’t miss a thing.

“You just kept waiting, waiting, waiting, and he took the stage, but it showed what heart he has for both the United States and for his home, the Dominican …” Varitek said. “I’m just so proud and happy for him. It’s his moment, his time and so well deserved.”

There isn’t a whole lot of space on the right field deck for very many retired numbers, and that, to Varitek, speaks volumes of just how big it really is to have No. 45 go up there Tuesday night.

“It’s huge,” he said. “I mean you look on that board, and there’s only a few, there’s only room for a few [numbers], and deservedly so that Pedro’s is going to go right up there with them.”

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John Farrell: ‘Guys are fully aware that the deadline is fast approaching’

07.28.15 at 5:31 pm ET
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It’s no secret there will be more Red Sox players traded in the coming days.

With the Red Sox 13 games back of the Yankees in the AL East and 12 games below .500, there will be some movement as the team begins to shift its focus towards 2016.

Manager John Farrell noted there is a little different feel than last year, as there were many names rumored in trade talks — notably Jon Lester. There isn’t that one premier player or rumor this year.

“The difference between this year and last year is I think you see a lot of rumors surrounding individual names, precipitating in trades,” Farrell said. “That rumor hasn’t been nearly as strong surrounding guys last year. It is that time of year. Guys are fully aware that the deadline is fast approaching. I don’t think it’s as prevalent in the minds of the guys here and the lack of that rumor. If there’s anything that is kind of leaning that way, we try and give guys a heads up as best possible, but that’s not the case.”

One player who has been rumored in trades after Shane Victorino was dealt yesterday is Mike Napoli. After struggling much of the season, the first baseman has turned it around of late. Over his last 10 games he’s hitting .355.

“It’€™s something that’€™s out of my control,” Napoli said of possibly being dealt. “I come here, work hard every day to get myself better. Go out there, play hard and try to help us win that day. It’€™s something I don’€™t really think about. I come here and get my work in and do what I can.”

The Red Sox first baseman did speak of how much he loves Boston, but didn’t want to get into much about how sad he would be if traded.

“I don’€™t know. I guess I’€™ll answer that if it happens,” he said. “I love this place. I bought a place here, I live here. Love this city, love the people here. I’€™ve really enjoyed it. If that time comes, I’€™ll touch on my thoughts then.”

With the Victorino trade on Monday, Farrell himself admitted it says the team is focusing now on the future. The manager didn’t want to get into what that would mean for the team overall until after Friday’s deadline has passed.

“I think it’s probably best we get through these next few days,” Farrell said. “It’s kind of a mark on the calendar that you — I think there are some things that are obvious and if it affects an individual then that’s when a sit down 1-on-1 comes down a little more regularly.”


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Red Sox claim reliever Jean Machi off waivers, Clay Buchholz transferred to 60-day disabled list

07.28.15 at 4:53 pm ET
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It’s clear the Red Sox need to add to their bullpen and they got that process started Tuesday.

The Red Sox claimed right-handed pitcher Jean Machi off waivers from the Giants and to make room for him on the 40-man roster, Clay Buchholz (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

The expectation even before the transfer to the 60-day DL was that Buchholz would pitch in September. He is eligible to return Sept. 9.

“Yeah, once the PRP injection was had, that was adding some time,” manager John Farrell said. “Now when you start to map out the down time following the injection, the initial flat ground throwing program, the mound progression, rehab starts, we’re into September.”

Farrell still expects Buchholz to pitch again this season and wants him to as a positive note heading into next season.

“Still [do], and I think it would be important for all involved to go into the offseason with some game activity under his belt,” he said. “I think that would give some peace of mind to Clay going into the offseason as well as everyone else.”

Machi was designated for assignment on July 20. In 33 outings for the Giants this season, all in relief, he went 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA and 22 strikeouts, making 23 scoreless appearances.

“An opportunity to take a look at a guy that will pitch out of the middle for us,” Farrell said. “We know it’s been about eight days since he’s been designated so there’s a little bit of time here where we’ve got to get back on the mound. Someone who has had two strong years prior to this one. Like I said, it’s an opportunity to take a look at someone.”

In 122 appearances between 2013 and 2014, the first two full seasons of his major league career, the native of Venezuela ranked 10th among National League relievers (min. 100.0 IP) with a combined 2.49 ERA.

Farrell said he didn’t have any reports as to why there was a dip in numbers this season.

“I don’t have a whole lot of reports,” he said. “I was first made aware of it last night that we had some interest. When the waiver period expired today we were awarded the claim. I don’t have any specifics as to why performance is down from the last two years.”

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