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Dave Dombrowski on Clay Buchholz: ‘He’s a real good protection for us’

07.25.16 at 6:34 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Dave Dombrowski was asked flat-out about Clay Buchholz’ trade market Monday. His answer was predictable.

“I wouldn’t get into specific players,” the Red Sox president of baseball operations said.

So, what does the future hold for the 31-year-old?

“Well, right now he’s in our pen and protecting us as we go forward with the five starters. He’s a real good protection for us,” Dombrowski said. “I thought he threw the ball the other day [Saturday] as well as I’ve seen him throw it all year. I know if you just looked at the stats you’d say, ‘Oh, he didn’t do very well.’ We unfortunately missed a couple balls that were catchable that particular day. I thought his stuff was outstanding. So, he’s got a place now.”

Buchholz last outing, which Dombrowski was referring to, ended up with the righty getting charged with three runs over an inning of work. But, as the Sox’ president referenced, the pitcher’s fastball was up to 95 mph, and most of the damage done of him was a product of misplayed fly balls.

But with the starting rotation set with David Price, Steven Wright, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz, and Red Sox manager John Farrell hesitating to use Buchholz in high leverage situations, the righty’s value to the Sox currently remains as insurance for the starters.

“It’s important. He helps in that regard,” said Dombrowski of Buchholz backing up the current group of starting pitchers. “I know it’s not an ideal scenario for him, but he’s been great about it. He’s a true professional. John communicates well with him and [pitching coach] Carl Willis does. It’s a situation where you understand it that he’s not thrilled, but he handles himself very professionally, keeps himself ready. And like the other day, and I told him afterwards, I said, ‘I thought you threw the ball as well as I’ve seen you’ve thrown it all year.’ He was hitting 95 [mph] and he had good movement and the breaking ball was good. Unfortunately a couple fly balls fell in that probably don’t.”

Dave Dombrowski: Trade offers coming in, but nothing seems close

07.25.16 at 5:43 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

The afternoon session with the media started with Dave Dombrowski catching up with Detroit media, but soon transformed into an update regarding where the Red Sox stands heading into the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.

The takeaway? There’s a lot of talking, but it doesn’t appear teams are loosening the reins on their asking prices.

“That could be a trade right there, I don’t know. It’s that time of year,” joked the Red Sox president of baseball operations after his phone beeped. “That’s what makes it interesting and fun. I can tell you today we’ve received five trade proposals that I hadn’t received before today from other clubs calling me. So that’s why this time of year is very interesting. We also have some real good young players in our organization, so some people are looking for those players. I can say we’re not close to making any trades at this moment.”

When asked if clubs have altered their asking prices, Dombrowski added, “Not really. Not yet. Generally, there’s a week to go, so generally, three or four days beforehand maybe. But you know, it’s an interesting situation. You take risks either way, because you can be there and you can be asking this. But then all of a sudden, if some clubs lose and there are more players in the market that are available, then you don’t get what you were looking for, even close to that. Maybe more clubs all of a sudden are looking for players. So, it’s always an interesting.

“I was talking to somebody last year. Look how the marketplace changed last year when I was with the Tigers. We switched at the time, and all of a sudden we’re not making a commitment to move players and then we did, and all of a sudden David Price and [Yoenis] Cespedes and [Joakim] Soria are out there. They’re three of the best players. That could happen this year, too. If you wait, I remember last year at the very end, I’m not going to say who, but I remember there were a couple clubs that were looking for this and on July 31st they were calling around saying, ‘Would you take this guy?’ That’s why it’s always an interesting market. I think it’s a fun time. It’s something we really need to keep abreast of and our people do a good job of that.”

And even though the Red Sox don’t seemingly have any obvious needs — having traded for starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz July 14 — it certainly appears Dombrowski is open to exploring additional moves.

“I’m not looking to necessarily make something significant because we already added,” he said. “We have five solid starters. I think [Eduardo] Rodriguez is throwing the ball much better, gives us a real solid chance to win. We look for Pomeranz to pitch well for us. We have five solid starters. Could they be better? Sure. Everybody, if we had five All-Star starters, we’re better. But we have five guys we like. I was just talking about our bullpen. Our offense is the best in baseball as far as run production is concerned. Now, can we be better? Sure. Will we be open-minded? Sure. But I don’t see that there’s a driving force. And we are going to get some players back. We have nine guys still on the DL.”

Craig Kimbrel (knee) progressing well, could appear in rehab game over weekend

07.25.16 at 4:54 pm ET
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Craig Kimbrel could appear in a rehab game as soon as this weekend. (Bob DiChiara/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel could appear in a rehab game as soon as this weekend. (Bob DiChiara/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel could be back with the Red Sox sooner than some thought.

The closer suffered a torn medial meniscus, which required surgery back on July 8. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 9 retroactive to July 7. After successful surgery, July 11, he was back on the mound Monday afternoon at Fenway Park for a 25-pitch bullpen.

“Good bullpen,” manager John Farrell said. “He felt good about it. He was aggressive for the 25 pitches he threw. Both his fastball and his curveball. It didn’t look like to the naked eye that he was favoring anything. We had him throw on the main mound so we could get the pitch tracker on him and just make sure that his release point, arm angle, those types of things are consistent with getting back to activity. He would be on tap for another bullpen on Wednesday morning.”

If everything goes according to plan, Kimbrel could pitch in a rehab game this weekend. Farrell said he might need as few as one rehab outing and wouldn’t rule out a return to the team on the next road trip.

This is good news for the Red Sox as they had a timetable of 3-6 weeks from when he suffered the injury. Three weeks would be this coming weekend.

Kimbrel getting back to the Red Sox bullpen would be a big boost, especially with the injury to Koji Uehara. Kimbrel would go back to the closer’s spot with Brad Ziegler as the primary set up man. Options leading into them would be Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Junichi Tazawa.

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Red Sox lineup: Mookie Betts returns vs. Tigers

07.25.16 at 3:41 pm ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

After missing the last two days with a knee injury, Mookie Betts is back in the lineup and leading off against the Tigers.

Betts left Friday night’s game with right knee soreness.

The Red Sox will have Travis Shaw at third base and Brock Holt in left field as the Sox go up against right-hander Justin Verlander.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Travis Shaw, 3B
Sandy Leon, C
Brock Holt, LF
Drew Pomeranz, LHP

For an extended look at the matchups, click here.

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Hanley Ramirez named American League Player of the Week

07.25.16 at 3:32 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

For his performance last week, Hanley Ramirez has been named American League Player of the Week. It was his first Player of the Week award since 2009.

Ramirez batted .333 (7-for-21) with six runs scored, five home runs and 12 RBIs over the six games. The first baseman finished the week first in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage (1.048).

His best game was Wednesday night against the Giants at Fenway Park where the right-handed slugger went 3-for-4 with three home runs and six RBIs.

The three home runs tied a Red Sox single-game record, a feat accomplished 28 times by 23 different players. He set career highs in home runs and RBI in the contest, and became only the seventh player in club history with at least three home runs and six RBIs in a game at Fenway Park.

He is the second Red Sox player to win the award this year as Jackie Bradley claimed it back in May.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Report: Red Sox still eyeing ‘something big’ heading into trade deadline

07.25.16 at 11:51 am ET
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Maybe the Drew Pomeranz deal wasn’t Dave Dombrowski’s final salvo, after all.

That’s at least the vibe ESPN’s Jayson Stark is getting.

As WEEI.com reported over the weekend, the Red Sox remain pessimistic that the White Sox would loosen the reins on the likes of Chris Sale or Jose Quintana. Chris Archer would still be a longshot for a few reasons, one of which is the Rays’ reluctance to deal within the American League East.

Sonny Gray is intriguing, if for no other reason that the A’s might be altering their approach from the offseason, which had been to keep the starting pitcher in a non-negotiable vice grip. Gray has had a rough season, going 4-9 with a 5.49 ERA. He’s coming off a five-inning, seven-run debacle against Tampa Bay.

So even with Gray’s pre-2016 success, you have to wonder if such an acquisition would be worth the cost for the Red Sox. It would seem to be a pretty big risk at a pretty big cost. The continued better play would be to wait for the price to come down and take a chance that Rich Hill’s blister issues aren’t going to linger.

The Gray/Hill moves don’t make a whole lot of sense right now if the Red Sox actually believe Pomeranz is of value. They could include the newly-acquired lefty in a bigger deal, serving as the often-desired major league piece with some years of control. But if that isn’t the case, why bother.

While there are no certainties, taking chances that Eduardo Rodriguez and Pomeranz are going to emerge as legitimate postseason options appear more palatable than hoping some of the aforementioned pitchers will suddenly do an August about-face.

What Aroldis Chapman trade to Cubs would mean for Red Sox

07.25.16 at 11:20 am ET
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A trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs would shift a few dynamics in the playoff races. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Images)

A trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs would shift a few dynamics in the playoff races. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Images)

Aroldis Chapman is good. Very good.

For a reminder of how valuable the closer is all you have to do is understand what the Cubs are reportedly willing to give up to get a relief pitcher whose contract is up at the end of this year. (For all the updates on the rumored deal, click here.)

According to multiple reports, the Yanks would be getting back a player in Adam Warren who was a centerpiece in securing their starting second baseman, Gleyber Torres, a 19-year-old who the Cubs paid $1.7 million in 2013, Double-A outfielder Billy McKinney and another player.

It also is being reported the Cubs would like to sign Chapman to an extension as he will be a free agent after this year.

Chapman, however, is the perceived final piece for Theo Epstein’s Cubs. So why not?

The closer’s numbers with the Yankees aren’t a surprise. He is 20 for 21 in save chances, while totaling .179 batting average against in 31 1/3 innings. He has struck out 44 and walked just eight.

Sure he missed a month due to his MLB suspension for domestic violence, with the Yankees already starting to establish themselves as a pretender by the time he showed up. But Chapman was a great acquisition for the Yankees. They would be getting a significant haul. Much better than what they gave up to get the 28-year-old.

And with Torres in the deal, any sting New York might feel in regards to not getting a draft pick if Chapman signed with another team in the offseason is negated.

As for the Cubs? Closer Hector Rondon has been good. Really good. But what this does is lock down the eighth inning for Chicago, who has been relying on Pedro Strop, Travis Wood and Mike Montgomery in as the bridge to the ninth.

For July, the previously be-all, end-all starting rotation of the Cubs has shown it’s mortality, totaling the 10th-most innings in the National League, while totaling a 5.42 ERA. This would protect that dynamic a bit.

So what does it all mean for the Red Sox (besides a potentially more difficult path to the World Series if the dream matchup with the Cubs does come to fruition)?

For one, it would weaken one of the opponents the Red Sox will be facing six more times, including the second-to-last series of the regular season. Conversely, the Orioles and Blue Jays still are slated to go up against New York nine times, each. Although, obviously, facing Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will continue to be no bargain.

There is also the benefit that Chapman wouldn’t be heading to one of the American League playoff contenders, such as Cleveland. Cody Allen has been superb as the Indians’ closer, but the one piece of Terry Francona’s puzzle that might be lacking is consistently getting to the ninth.

A Chapman move also thins out what is still thought to be a healthy relieving market heading into the non-waiver trade deadline. It makes the Red Sox’ preemptive strike on Brad Ziegler that much more important, particularly considering the side-winder’s success to start his Sox career (retiring 19 of his first 20 batters).

All in all, such a trade is probably a good thing for these Red Sox.

Monday Red Sox Farm Report: LHP Brian Johnson loses in return to PawSox; Yoan Moncada strikes out 5 times for Portland

07.25.16 at 9:53 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-51): L, 5-2, at Columbus (Indians)

— Making his first start for the PawSox since May 14, Brian Johnson took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in just three innings. His control wasn’t great, as he fanned just one batter while walking four. Johnson, 25, made four rehab starts with both Lowell and the Gulf Coast League Red Sox as he dealt with an anxiety issue before returning to Pawtucket. The left-hander is 2-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 starts this season. He is Boston’s No. 5 prospect and No. 2 pitching prospect at MLB.com

— Pawtucket did not get on the board until the fifth inning, when catcher Dan Butler lined a two-run double to left field, cutting the Clippers’ lead in half. Butler, who finished 1-for-3, is averaging .364 in the month of June. The 29-year-old is slashing .304/.398/.461 with Pawtucket.

— Henry Ramos was one of two Pawtucket batters to record multiple hits, finishing the game 2-for-4 with a run scored. Boston’s No. 20 prospect at MLB.com crossed home plate on Butler’s double in the fifth frame. Ramos, 24, has hit safely in the last four games and is batting .267/.308/.415 in the minors.

— Keith Couch relieved Johnson and lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing just one run. He gave up five hits and did not strike out a batter. Sunday’s game was the second non-start for the 26-year-old righty, who’s a 7-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 17 outings.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Drew Pomeranz vs. Justin Verlander

07.25.16 at 8:23 am ET
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The Red Sox will send recently acquired starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the hill Monday to open up a three-game series against the Tigers. Pomeranz will square off against veteran right-hander Justin Verlander.

Pomeranz, who was acquired from the Padres on July 14, is 8-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The 27-year-old southpaw was named a National League All-Star and has not lost a game since June 14. His most recent outing was his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, when the Ole Miss product allowed five runs on eight hits in just three innings in an 11-7 Red Sox win over the Giants. Pomeranz struck out four, walked two and surrendered two home runs facing his old division rivals.

“I’ve faced these guys four times this year,” Pomeranz said. “I was going along pretty good there through the three [innings]. I made some bad fastball location pitches and they made me pay for it.”

Having been a part of a National League team for most of his career, Pomeranz has pitched against the Tigers just once in his six years in the majors. As a reliever, he threw one shutout inning on June 4 of last season as a member of the Athletics.

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Meet Brad Ziegler, this season’s best non-waiver trade deadline pickup (so far)

07.24.16 at 6:25 pm ET
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Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Images)

Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Brad Ziegler has faced 20 batters since joining the Red Sox. He has retired 19 of them.

For the Red Sox, who have seen their closer, Craig Kimbrel, sidelined for the past few weeks with a knee injury, and then his replacement, Koji Uehara, also hitting the shelf due to a torn pectoral muscle, Ziegler has been exactly as John Farrell described after his team’s 8-7 win over the Twins Sunday.

“He’s been a godsend, to be honest,” the Red Sox manager said after another 1-2-3 ninth inning from Ziegler. “It’s a comfortable inning. It’s balls on the ground. I think he’s given up one hit in the 20-plus hitters he’s faced. He’s very calm. He’s experienced back there. His addition back there has given us a huge boost in light of the injuries to Koji and Craig.”

Since the Red Sox sent minor leaguers Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe to Arizona for Ziegler, things could have not gone better for the 36-year-old or his new team. (And, for what it’s worth, neither prospect has distinguished themselves as of yet for their new team, Single-A Kane County.)

While Sunday marked his first save with the Red Sox (and 82nd for his career), seemingly everyone of Ziegler’s 68 pitches in his new uniform has been spot-on. He has been the kind of anchor that the Sox had to make a priority with August bearing down.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere,” he said. “It’s fun to be on a team when you show up to the park, you expect to win. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what stadium we’re in. My second game here, we’re going into Yankee Stadium right after the All-Star break and I know the rivalry and had never been part of that and we went out and beat them the first two games there. It’s a lot of fun. This is kind of, when you dream about playing as a kid, you dream about being in a pennant race and getting big if you’re a pitcher. Getting big outs in games that matter. I think everybody is just kind of feeding off each other right now. Like I said, we’re playing really good ball.”

And, for now, the guy who idolized Dan Quisenberry and John Smoltz growing up has become the star of the Red Sox bullpen.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s fun when the third out happens and we feel the crowd explode a little bit. At the same time, I’m not looking to supplant anyone’s job or anything like that. I hope both those guys are back here in about a week or two and I’ll slot in wherever they need me to and I just want to win games. It’s so much fun to win and to get to go experience the rest of the day and just sit and relax and enjoy what happened here and come back tomorrow ready to go again.”

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