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Red Sox designate A.J. Pierzynski for assignment, call up Christian Vazquez

07.09.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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A.J. Pierzynski

A.J. Pierzynski

The Red Sox have designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment, manager John Farrell confirmed to Dale & Holley Wednesday afternoon. In a corresponding move, the team has called up Christian Vazquez, who will get the start behind the plate Wednesday night.

“It’s at that point in the season where you start to look to invest in young players and take advantage of the games remaining for us,” Farrell said. “We look to players who might be here beyond this season, and in that case it’s Christian Vazquez.”

Pierzynski has posted a .254/.286/.348 line with four home runs and 31 RBIs this season. The team had signed him to a one-year, $8.25 million deal before the season.

Pierzynski’s designation opens up a spot for Vazquez, considered one of the organization’s top prospects. In 66 games in Pawtucket this season, Vazquez has posted a .279/.336/.385 line with three homers and 20 RBIs. His best asset, however, is his defense, which is viewed as potentially Gold Glove-caliber. He’d thrown out 40 percent of would-be base stealers this year.

Farrell said the move has nothing to do with any character issues involving Pierzynski, but instead is simply a move to give a younger player a shot.

“No, not at all,” Farrell said when asked about any personality issues. “This has been a matter of us taking a look internally at, what are the players we’re going to continue to build forward with? And we’ve started with what’s taken place behind the plate.

“We’re turning the page in terms of investing in young players. … I wouldn’t say that the white flag is being waved, because inside our clubhouse, I can honestly tell you that feeling does not exist.”

Some background on Vazquez:

Christian Vazquez thinks he’s ready (July 2014)

Future bet with Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts (podcast, June 2014)

How catchers Christian Vazquez and Dan Butler forced their way to prospect status (podcast, March 2014)

The making of Christian Vazquez, Catching prospect (March 2013)

 

Buster Olney on MFB: ‘I think [Jake Peavy] is going to wind up going to St. Louis’

07.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB to discuss the Red Sox and potential trade rumors. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

It’s looking more inevitable each day that Jake Peavy will be traded before the trade deadline. Some reports have the Cardinals as the most likely landing spot for the right-hander.

“I think he’s going to wind up going to St. Louis,” Olney said. “Probably there’s a situation where the Red Sox might be trying to extract some value out of this as opposed to just a pure salary dump where they’re eating some dollars and moving them out to essentially create some spots for the younger pitchers.”

Reports suggest the Cardinals could use struggling outfielder Allen Craig as a piece to acquire Peavy in a trade.

“If the Cardinals were pushing this at all like, ‘Yeah, we’ll give up Craig for Jake Peavy,’ then if I’m the Red Sox, I’m going, ‘Why would that be?,’ ” Olney said. “I know he’s not having a good year this year and you guys remember the foot problem he had in the postseason last year and there’s some thought among the scouts that this was an issue early in the year.

“You’re talking about a guy who’s had back-to-back-to-back .300 seasons coming into this season. He was an All-Star last year. In his contract, given that history, he’s really good. So if the Cardinals are really interested in doing that type of deal, and again, I have no information that they are, that would scare me and would make me ask questions about what’s really going on with Allen Craig.”

Jon Lester‘s contract situation continues to be a story for the Red Sox this season. Olney said the Red Sox have tried to re-engage in contract discussions with the lefty.

“I think they’d like to re-engage him on some deal,” Lester said. “I’ve spoken with officials and they’re watching very closely because if Lester becomes a free agent, he’s going to become one of the two primary guys out there along with Max Scherzer on the whole market.

“So teams are wondering if there’s going to be an opportunity with Lester. And they think that once we get deep into this season and the Red Sox are kind of out of the race, we get into October and they’re not in the postseason, that would probably be the time the Red Sox try to get back into it with Lester, and it’s going to cost them because he’s going to be only a month away from free agency.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, buster olney, David Ortiz, David Price

Red Sox minor league roundup: Rafael Devers continues to dazzle; Travis Shaw’s power show

07.09.14 at 12:09 pm ET
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Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN (10 INNINGS) AT COLUMBUS (INDIANS)

(BOX)

Allen Webster matched a season-high with four walks, yet managed to work around some of his control difficulties (he threw 59 percent of his season-high 108 pitches for strikes) along with a seven-hit yield that included a homer to limit Columbus to two runs in seven innings. The outing reflected what has been Webster’s improved game management in 2014 — he’s pitched seven or more innings three times this year after doing it just once in Triple-A last year. The 24-year-old recorded 12 outs on the ground and six more via strikeout.

– For the first time since May 14, Drake Britton threw a perfect inning, getting a fly out and two ground outs while throwing 13 of 17 pitches (76 percent) for strikes. The improved result represented a potential building block for the 25-year-old, though he has now gone five straight outings without a strikeout.

– Though he is experiencing an adjustment to Triple-A pitching that has resulted in a considerable shift of his strikeout-to-walk numbers, Travis Shaw is showing considerable power of late — including on Tuesday, when he went 1-for-4 with his seventh Triple-A homer and a walk. Starting with a game in which he homered and doubled on June 19, Shaw is now hitting .270 with a .317 OBP, .608 slugging mark, six homers and 12 extra-base hits in his last 19 games. The control of the strike zone that he demonstrated in Double-A prior to his promotion (29 walks, 23 strikeouts) hasn’t been evident thus far in Triple-A (11 walks, 46 strikeouts), but the 24-year-old has shown an ability to punish pitches over the plate.

Between Portland and Pawtucket, the 2011 ninth-rounder now has 18 homers for the year — tied for ninth in all of the minors. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: michael chavis, rafael devers, travis shaw,

Baseball card features pieces of Daniel Nava’s beard

07.09.14 at 9:35 am ET
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Daniel Nava‘s beard may not have been the most outrageous or memorable of those sported by the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox, but part of it certainly will be lasting.

Strands of Nava’s 2013 playoff beard can now be collected as Topps’ Allen & Ginter “Oddity” line released 25 Nava cards with pieces of facial hair included in it.

One of the cards has already made it to eBay. The highest of 26 bids was at $202.50 as of Wednesday morning.

It is not known whether any other Red Sox had similar cards made.

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Chris Sale

07.09.14 at 9:33 am ET
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The nose-diving Red Sox continue their four-game series against the White Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night when Rubby De La Rosa opposes Chris Sale.

Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

De La Rosa (2-2, 2.51 ERA) will make his first start for the Red Sox since June 21 after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday night. The right-hander had surrendered just five hits and one run over 14 innings in his last two starts before being sent back down to Pawtucket. He took a no-decision in his last big league outing June 21 in Oakland when he held the American League-leading Athletics to one run, four hits and a walk over seven innings to go with seven strikeouts.

De La Rosa pitched a combined 6 2/3 innings in just two appearances for Pawtucket since his demotion. He went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in those appearances, but he’s coming off a shutout inning of work on Sunday.

De La Rosa has never faced the White Sox or any of their current players in his career.

Sale (8-1, 2.16 ERA) has been nearly unhittable for the White Sox this season, especially as of late. The lefty has thrown at least six innings in his last seven outings, six of which have been quality starts. Sale is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 21 strikeouts to just five walks in his last three outings. He’s thrown two complete games and has struck out 10 or more batters on four occasions this season.

Sale is coming off a dominant complete-game performance against the Mariners last Friday, but it wasn’t even his most impressive start of the season. He faced a Seattle lineup with six left-handed hitters who finished 4-for-21 against him. The 25-year-old allowed just one run on six hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts for his seventh career complete game. His slider emerged as his deadliest pitch against the lefty-heavy lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: chris sale, rubby de la rosa,

Brandon Workman on return to Pawtucket: ‘Not what I was hoping to hear after the game’

07.09.14 at 12:09 am ET
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The night had already been hard enough on Brandon Workman.

Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman

The right-hander entered a solemn Red Sox clubhouse after Tuesday night’s 8-3 loss to the White Sox with his third straight defeat in hand and bitter memories of a 3-2 cutter he wishes he could have back as the Sox fell to 1-7 on their current homestand.

Then he was summoned into manager John Farrell‘s office.

Workman was informed that he had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket as a corresponding roster move after the Sox called up Rubby De La Rosa to start for the team Wednesday night.

“Definitely it’s not ideal,” Workman said of his demotion. “Not what I was hoping to hear after the game. It’s part of it. I just have to keep getting my work in, keep getting better and get ready to go again.”

After holding opponents to three runs or fewer in his first eight major league starts dating back to last season, Workman has struggled to find the same consistency that made him so valuable to the Red Sox‘ rotation in his last three outings, going 0-3 with a 6.49 ERA in that span.

Tuesday was arguably the best of those three starts. Just three of his five runs allowed were earned and he threw 70 of his 106 pitches for strikes. Workman said it was a definite improvement from his six-run clunker over four innings against the Cubs last Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jake Peavy on rumors: ‘I don’t think people are making stuff up’

07.08.14 at 11:41 pm ET
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Jake Peavy said that he believes there's substance to the trade rumors involving him. (AP)

Jake Peavy said that he believes there’s substance to the trade rumors involving him. (AP)

Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy addressed his presence in trade rumors after his team’s 8-3 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night that dropped Boston 12 games below .500. For now, Peavy remains with the Red Sox, as Brandon Workman has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to clear a roster spot for Rubby De La Rosa to make his start on Wednesday. That said, Peavy acknowledged that the rumors that have becoming more pronounced throughout recent days about his potentially being dealt to another club appear to have substance.

“I don’t know the chances [of being traded]. I can’t really worry about it. I don’t know what to expect. I certainly expect probably the same thing everyone in here talking to me probably expects,” said Peavy. “I would think [there is substance to the rumors] at this point in time. Just, I don’t think people are making stuff up and throwing it out there. You respect what you hear. I don’t read anything. I don’t know what’s out there. I just know that I’m getting a lot of texts and calls, people speaking to me about it. We obviously have got to respect the reality of that situation. At the same time, I just hear from my representation and [GM Ben Cherington] to where your head stays out of all those rumors and all that stuff.” Read the rest of this entry »

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