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Saturday’s Red Sox-Athletics Matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Jesse Chavez

06.06.15 at 8:47 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

In the second game of a three-game set at Fenway, the Red Sox will send Joe Kelly to the hill to take on Jesse Chavez of the Athletics.

For Kelly, the first two months of the campaign have been rocky at best. The flame-throwing right-hander is 1-4 with a 5.83 ERA through his first 10 starts. With the emergence of young southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez, the Sox are currently carrying six starters in their rotation.

Manager John Farrell has indicated that he wants to return to a five-man rotation, which means that, as long as Rodriguez continues to perform, it seems like either Kelly or Steven Wright soon will lose their spot.

With that in mind, Kelly, 28, may be pitching for his starting spot on Saturday as he takes on the A’s. The entirety of Kelly’s season has been an up-and-down affair, and his last start was a relative peak.

Against the Rangers on Sunday, Kelly took a no-decision in a Red Sox loss but pitched a solid game. Kelly threw five innings and allowed two runs, just one of them earned. Kelly surrendered six hits and walked two.

The outing certainly was an improvement from the 1 2/3 innings and seven earned runs Kelly allowed in his previous outing.

“There’s no denying the stuff. It’s a matter of consistent location with his fastball,’€ Farrell said of Kelly. “When he’s in those games where the runs have come about, it’s typically been mislocated fastballs that found their way to the plate.”

Kelly has only one career appearance against the Athletics, pitching 5 1/3 innings in relief allowing just one run. His ERA against the A’s is 1.69.

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Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Deven Marrero not just a shortstop; Justin Masterson gives up 8 hits in Double-A

06.06.15 at 8:42 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (27-28): Suspended due to rain after second inning, losing 1-0 at Rochester (Twins)

— The game will be resumed on June 29 at 5:05 p.m. during the next Pawtucket trip to Rochester, as the PawSox travel to Syracuse on Saturday for the first of a two-game weekend series.

— Deven Marrero (Boston’s No. 10 prospect at MLB.com, a 2012 first-round draft pick), made his fifth start of the season at second base. Prior to this year Marrero has played exclusively at shortstop, with his first career game playing elsewhere coming on April 25 of this season when he started at third base. Mike Miller, who was called up to Triple-A on May 23 and has started every game so far with Pawtucket, got the nod at shortstop Friday. Earlier this year with Double-A Portland, Miller played 21 games at short, 10 at third and six at second.

— Pawtucket pitcher Zeke Spruill (4.03 ERA, 13 ER, 29 IP), making his first start of the year, allowed one run in the bottom of the first inning on two hits. Later in the inning, with two men on base, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made a running, Willie Mays-style, over-the-shoulder basket catch on the warning track to save Spruill of further damage. Acquired by Boston in the offseason in a trade that sent pitching prospect Myles Smith to Arizona, Spruill made 12 appearances in the majors for the Diamondbacks over the last two seasons, including three starts.

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John Farrell marvels at switch-pitcher Pat Venditte: ‘That was truly amazing’

06.06.15 at 1:47 am ET
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Pat Venditte Friday at Fenway Park became MLB's first switch-pitcher since 1995. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pat Venditte Friday at Fenway Park became MLB’s first switch-pitcher since 1995. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox manager John Farrell can certainly appreciate being part of history, even if it means standing in awe of the opponent.

On Friday night at Fenway, Oakland’s Pat Venditte became the first major league pitcher since Greg Harris on Sept. 28, 1995 to pitch with both arms in a major league game.

Then, Harris was with the Montreal Expos and accomplished the feat in the ninth inning of a game against Cincinnati. That was a year after he left the Red Sox, where he pitched from 1989-94.

On Friday, the ambidextrous Venditte was not only pitching from both sides, he was doing so in his major league debut after toiling seven years in the minors waiting for his chance.

Venditte entered the game pitching left-handed. He retired Brock Holt on a grounder to first, featuring an 83 MPH fastball and a slider between 72-76 MPH. Hanley Ramirez followed by grounding a slider into left for a single but Venditte quickly rebounded by getting Mike Napoli to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.

“This game is all about helping the team and I just want to come here and be able to do that,” Venditte said after the Red Sox‘ 4-2 win over the A’s. “And if I can do that, that’s all I care about, and whatever attention comes with that is fine. But we’re here to win games. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I’m pitching with both hands or one, it’s for one effort.

“Tonight, I felt comfortable out there. I was able to get ahead for the most part. I fell behind a couple guys but I felt good out there.”

Venditte had a perfect eighth inning, getting Xander Bogaerts to ground to short and Mookie Betts to fly to right, before striking out switch-hitting Blake Swihart. A very impressive debut for the switch-pitcher. Farrell was jokingly asked why he can’t teach his pitchers to throw with both arms as successfully.

“Our hands are full with one arm,” Farrell conceded. “That was truly amazing tonight. To watch Venditte, it’s a remarkable thing to see what one person’s body is capable of doing. The coordination, even guys in the dugout were marveling. This is a very unique thing and a very cool thing.”

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, MLB, Oakland A's

Brett Lawrie thinks netting needs to be improved at Fenway, doesn’t blame maple bats

06.05.15 at 11:22 pm ET
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Fenway security officials stand in the unprotected area where a female fan was struck Friday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Fenway security officials stand in the unprotected area where a female fan was struck Friday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

After Friday’s horrific bat accident in the stands behind the A’s on-deck circle, the scrutiny of controversial maple bats is likely to intensify.

But Brett Lawrie, the A’s batter whose bat shattered in the top of the second inning and struck a woman two rows deep in the box seats, sees a much different issue.

“I don’t think so,” Lawrie said when asked about MLB addressing the safety of maple bats. “I just think the netting [needs to be addressed]. I don’t think it’s necessary for the bats to change. You come into a game, you see I don’t know how many foul balls fly into the stands every game and for the most part, everyone is fine all the time, and these things are coming in at 100 miles an hour. And then when one bat flies into the stands at a low [speed], and if you’re not paying attention, it’s just one of those things where it was some bad luck. There’s really no time to react behind the dish.

“I really don’t feel like it’s necessary to change bats or anything like that. It’s just one of those things that’s part of baseball and unfortunately, everything is so close behind there and there’s limited netting. Yeah, it’s really important to be heads up back there.”

“First and foremost, our thoughts and concern and certainly our prayers go out to the woman that was struck with the bat. A scary moment certainly. Our concern is with her and her family,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “All you can think about is a family coming to a ball game to hopefully get three hours of enjoyment and unfortunately, with how close our stands are to the field of action, an accident like this is certainly disturbing. Our thoughts and concerns are with her and her family.”

Lawrie was using a Tucci model maple bat that was sawed off at the handle on a 94 MPH cutter from Wade Miley when Lawrie swung and grounded out. The barrel of the bat helicoptered into the stands, striking the woman and causing severe head trauma and bleeding in the stands.

The protective netting behind home plate at Fenway stops just shy of the on-deck circles on both the first and third base sides. Lawrie pointed to that as his biggest concern for fans as a visiting player at Fenway.

“You’ve got limited netting here in Boston so when you’re behind home plate and you’re along the third base side or first base side, you’ve really got to be heads up for foul balls or anything coming into the stands because it’s so close. There’s really no time to react,” he said.

Lawrie said he’s seen plenty of scary situations of foul balls and bats flying into stands but nothing in his career that approached what happened Friday.

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Closing Time: Dustin Pedroia, Wade Miley lead Red Sox past A’s

06.05.15 at 9:53 pm ET
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The Red Sox believe they’re good enough to win the American League East and make the playoffs. On Friday night, they played like it.

Wade Miley earned his fifth win of the season with his fourth quality start in five outings and Dustin Pedroia paced the offense to lead the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over the A’s that didn’t feel that close.

“Tonight I had good command of the fastball, really got on a good page with [Blake] Swihart,” Miley said. “We scored some runs early and got the momentum on our side, and I just wanted to keep it that way. We were able to pull that one out.”

Before the game, general manager Ben Cherington made it clear that he believes the pieces are in place for the Red Sox to win the division without making a major trade. A new-look lineup then did enough to make a winner of Miley, with the 1-2 duo of Pedroia and Brock Holt combining to record five hits.

The Red Sox did their damage against A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir (4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 4 R), who saw his ERA climb to 3.14.

The Red Sox struck for their first run just two batters into the game, when Pedroia led off with a single and Holt followed with a double that outfielder Ben Zobrist boxed around, allowing Pedroia to score.

A Hanley Ramirez sacrifice fly, an error on a Mookie Betts bunt, and another Pedroia/Holt combo accounted for the final three runs.

That was more than enough for Miley, who pounded the corners at the bottom of the strike zone while throwing 69 of his 96 pitches for strikes.

“I was down in the zone,” Miley said. “If you get a fastball down in the zone and locate, you get some balls on the ground. It worked out.”

The game included a scary moment when Oakland’s Brett Lawrie broke his bat and a piece flew into the stands, where it struck a woman in the head. She was removed from the game on a stretcher, bloody and screaming, with what police later told Boston.com were life-threatening injuries.

“Obviously there’s a lot of concern,” Mile said. “I didn’t see what happened, but my thoughts and prayers are with those guys, and I hope everything works out.”

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Second baseman Dustin Pedroia continued his torrid pace since moving into the leadoff spot, going 3 for 4 with a pair of runs. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— LHP Wade Miley bounced back from his worst start in a month, against the Rangers, to limit the A’s to two runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six, walked just one, and allowed a solo homer.

— Filling in for Pablo Sandoval, third baseman Brock Holt went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a stolen base.

— Newly acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza made a nice running catch on a soft liner to record the last out of the game.

— Outfielder Rusney Castillo went 2 for 3 with a run.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Mike Napoli went 0 for 4 as his average dropped to .209.

— Closer Koji Uehara recorded the save, but not before putting two runners on and nearly surrendering the game-tying two-run homer in the ninth.

— Catcher Blake Swihart went 0 for 4.

Fan leaves on stretcher after being struck by a broken bat, reportedly suffers life-threatening injuries

06.05.15 at 8:01 pm ET
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A fan is carted off the field after getting hit in the head with a bat and suffering serious injuries. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A fan is carted off the field after getting hit in the head with a bat and suffering serious injuries. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In a scary moment at Fenway Friday night, a fan was struck and bloodied by a broken bat that flew two rows deep into the stands behind the A’s on-deck circle.

With one out and none on in the top of the second, Brett Lawrie grounded out to Dustin Pedroia. But in the process of the swing, the bat shattered and struck the unidentified woman in the face. The Boston Globe reported that the injuries were life-threatening.

The fan appeared to have a large gash over her left eye.

Emergency personnel responded immediately and attempted to apply a neck brace but the fan was still moving around in obvious pain.

After Josh Reddick grounded out to end the inning, the game was held up for five minutes as the fan was put on a stretcher and wheeled onto the infield warning track and out of Fenway in front of the Red Sox dugout.

There was no immediate update on the condition of the fan from the team.

Boston police spokesperson Rachel McGuire told the Boston Globe that the woman was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. McGuire also indicated that the woman was sitting with her husband and son at the time.

“As soon as I hit it, I had to get out of the box,” Lawrie said. “I was at first base. I saw some commotion kind of behind home plate and whatnot, and then I didn’€™t really know because I was running the bases and whatnot. Then in between innings is when things kind of got serious and realized there was a bit of an issue. Hopefully everything is OK and she’€™s doing all right.”

 

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Brett Lawrie, Oakland A's,

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington defends Hanley Ramirez, John Farrell, doesn’t anticipate ‘major’ trade

06.05.15 at 7:24 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington is riding with this roster.

The Red Sox general manager met the media in the dugout before Friday night’s game with the A’s, and he made a number of points abundantly clear.

Manager John Farrell isn’t going anywhere. Embattled slugger Hanley Ramirez is the team’s left fielder.  The Red Sox have the talent to win the American League East, so no major trades are in the offing.

“I can still see a team that’s capable of winning the division,” Cherington said. “So yeah, I’m confident we’re going to play better. We have to improve in some areas.”

One of the main ones is left field, where Ramirez’s atrocious defense has negated his 12 home runs.

“He’s our left fielder,” Cherington said. “Look, if you go back ‘€¦ examples of teams where you’re not going to get great defense out of every single spot. You can win with that if you’re doing well enough in enough other areas. I just think focusing on any one single aspect of what’s going on is not helping us. I understand why you’re asking the question, maybe it’s something you guys feel the need to be focused on but it’s not helping us find a way to get better so we’ve got to look at every area and then with every area find a way to improve.”

Cherington said Ramirez has shown “courage” in making the switch after signing an $88 million contract this winter to move off of shortstop.

“Here’s a guy who was an elite player at one position for a long time in this league and wanted so badly to be in Boston that in my mind he had the courage to come here and change positions,” Cherington said. “And has worked at it. As John Farrell has said, yeah, it’s a work in progress, but I have respect for what he’s trying to do because it’s reflected how much he wanted to be here and be a part of this.”

Cherington also said that the team’s struggles aren’t on manager John Farrell.

“I don’t think it’s John Farrell’s fault,” he said. “Ultimately it’s my responsibility. I’m the GM, I’m at the top of the baseball operations department at least. The performance of the major league team ultimately is on me. If it’s not performing it’s my responsibility to try and find a way to make it better and that’s what were trying to do.”

Just don’t expect a blockbuster trade anytime soon.

“I believe in what we can be,” Cherington said. “That doesn’t mean you’re patient. We’ve got to have some urgency to get better. There are all sorts of ways for that urgency to manifest. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a major move or anything. I think we have to have urgency but we still believe in the team.”

Red Sox looking to ‘take advantage’ of having No. 7 overall pick in MLB Draft

06.05.15 at 3:35 pm ET
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The Red Sox selected LHP Trey Ball the last time they had the No. 7 overall pick in 2013. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

The Red Sox selected LHP Trey Ball the last time they had the No. 7 overall pick in 2013. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

After the Red Sox make a selection with the seventh-overall pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft Monday night, the organization will not select again until the third round. But, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and first-year Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard are staying levelheaded when considering options for their top selection.

“€œThis is one selection. Yes, we want to take advantage of it, but we have to sort of just keep in mind it is one selection, it is one decision amongst a lot of decisions on players that happens over the course of the year,” Cherington said on a conference call Friday. “I feel confident about our ability to get talent out of the draft, likewise out of the international markets, and the No. 7 pick in 2015 is another opportunity to do that but we don’€™t need to put more weight on it than we need to.”

The Red Sox own the seventh-overall pick for the second time in the last three years. In 2013, the Sox selected left-handed pitcher Trey Ball out of New Castle High School at No. 7 from a highly-touted draft class that included the likes of current Cubs rookie Kris Bryant.

Rikard said the talent in this year’€™s class is “pretty good,” but noted the Red Sox‘€™ selection could be impacted by how the first six picks play out.

“€œI think this draft class may be a little non-typical, just because there still is some uncertainty in front of us,” Rikard said on the conference call. “€œThere maybe hasn’€™t been those guys at the top of the draft that have kind of solidified themselves. So there is some gray area as far as what maybe the teams may do in front of us but we’€™re trying to just continue to weigh out all the options and we’€™ll continue to do so for the next few days.”

Rikard added: “We’€™re still very open-minded at the top of the draft. Obviously we’€™re well along in the process but we’€™re still considering a lot of options.”

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Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval sit against left-hander Scott Kazmir

06.05.15 at 3:27 pm ET
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David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval, who have both struggled mightily against left-handed pitchers this season, will start Friday night’s game on the bench as the Athletics send Scott Kazmir to the mound.

Brock Holt gets the start at third base and is batting second. Hanley Ramirez moves to the designated hitter spot, with recently acquired Alejandro De Aza making his Red Sox debut in left field.

Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Brock Holt, 3B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, CF
Blake Swihart, C
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Rusney Castillo, RF

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchups for Friday night’s game, click here.

Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard feeling ‘anxious,’ but ‘excited’ for first MLB draft

06.05.15 at 1:59 pm ET
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The Red Sox selected Michael Chavis in the first-round in the 2014 draft. The 2015 draft will be Mike Rikard's first draft leading the way. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Red Sox selected Michael Chavis in the first-round in the 2014 draft. The 2015 draft will be Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard’s first draft leading the way. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Monday night will be a big night for Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard.

Rikard was promoted to the position this past offseason and Monday is his first big test with the 2015 MLB Draft. The Red Sox will have the No. 7 overall pick, which only adds to the excitement, but he also noted there is some anxiety with it being his first draft leading the way.

“I’m very excited,” Rikard said on a conference call Friday afternoon. “I think that number one, everything that we do in amateur scouting starts with the amateur scouts. I mean, they are truly the lifeblood of what we do and they have done an incredible job of putting us into a really comfortable position to consider what all the options may be.

“Obviously, going through anything of this magnitude for the first time there’s going to be some level of anxiety and you just try and keep that positive and it’s certainly an exciting time. To be quite honest, anytime you think about just how important this is it doesn’t take too long to realize the people that we have here in place and our staff and how good we feel that we are. It gives you a lot of comfort with with where we’re at.”

Rikard is taking over for Amiel Sawdaye, who led the draft for five seasons and was promoted this past offseason to Vice President of Amateur and International Scouting. Rikard worked right along side Sawdaye for the five drafts as a national cross-checker.

Led by Sawdaye the Red Sox have had successful drafts of late, highlighted in 2011 when the organization selected Blake Swihart and Henry Owens, along with Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Mookie Betts. Also taken under Sawdaye have been Brandon Workman (2010), Deven Marrero (2012), Brian Johnson (2012), Trey Ball (2013) and Michael Chavis (2014).

Rickard says his transition has been an easy one because he worked so closely with Sawdaye and is familiar with the rest of the staff.

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