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Red Sox Pre-Game Notes: Dustin Pedroia ‘moving towards’ surgery, but ‘nothing definitive’

09.10.14 at 12:38 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell said while there were no firm plans to do so yet, surgery to address the ongoing inflammation he’s experienced throughout this season represents a likely outcome. For now, Farrell suggested, the surgery has yet to be scheduled, but that appears the likely conclusion of this process after Tuesday’s MRI revealed the worsening inflammation.

Dustin Pedroia is likely to undergo season-ending surgery. (Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia is likely to undergo season-ending surgery. (Getty Images)

“Nothing definitive. He and we are still gathering information. It’s moving towards probably a procedure, but nothing definitive is scheduled right now,” said Farrell.

Of course, the idea of fixing what currently ails Pedroia is one thing. Going forward, the Sox face the question of whether there’s any way to diminish the frequency of injuries that have become an annual staple for Pedroia as a result of his perpetually dirt-covered style of play.

“We’ve asked him not to slide head-first anymore, which he’s doing. You go back to Opening Day in 2013 [when Pedroia tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on a head-first slide], that’s where a lot of this originated,” said Farrell. “He’s aggravated the left hand again by being taken out at second base on double plays, earlier in the year and then mid-year. So, we’re really not going to ask him to change — with the exception of deciding to slide head-first. Dustin plays the game as he’s wired. That’s what makes him the great player that he is.

“If there’s thought to playing more under control, does that thought put a guy in position physically for potential injury? That’s debatable. But he’s going to play by his instincts,” Farrell added. “We would not ask Dustin to even think about changing those. Then I think you’re disrupting the natural abilities of a player. That might be more detrimental than just playing all out.”

Given that the team won’t ask Pedroia to alter his red-line style of play, there is an alternative that the team is considering: Having Pedroia play less. He played a career-high 160 games in 2013 and had played in 97 percent of the team’s games until he suffered a concussion in Tampa Bay at the end of last month. The team may seek to regulate the number of games he plays more actively going forward. Read the rest of this entry »

John Farrell on MFB: ‘Probably likely’ Dustin Pedroia inactive for remainder of season

09.10.14 at 11:01 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, making his weekly WEEI appearance Wednesday, told Middays with MFB that Dustin Pedroia is “probably likely” to miss the rest of the season due to an injury to his left hand/wrist. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Pedroia, in the midst of a subpar offensive season (.278/.337/.376), had an MRI on Tuesday that revealed inflammation in the wrist. The 30-year-old was scheduled to meet with team representatives Wednesday to determine a course of action.

“Nothing has been arranged as far as surgery,” Farrell said. “Information is still being gathered. There’s not been a final, like I said, target date or decision in this way. It’s pointing towards him having the procedure done. So, whether or not he remains inactive — it’s probably likely he is inactive the rest of the way.

This injury is the latest in a series of issues with Pedroia’s hands. He had surgery on his left thumb last offseason.

“Let’s face it, he’s had a number of collisions, headfirst slides, a number of things that have affected the hands, and he’s dealing with it in the left hand right now,” Farrell said. “We look at it like, if this procedure is needed, which, the initial reports — and let’s face it, surgery is always something you have to be concerned with, but … the severity of it is not like a high-risk situation with him.

“So, we look at it like if there’s a chance to get an additional two weeks of recovery time so he can get into some strength training throughout the winter and go through a normal offseason workout program as he gets into later November and beyond, that’s probably the avenue chosen here.

“What Dustin means to us is obvious. This is the heartbeat of our team, and we’ve got to get him back to 100 percent as soon as we can.”

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, John Farrell, Koji Uehara

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Brandon Workman vs. Wei-Yin Chen

09.10.14 at 10:33 am ET
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Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman

The Red Sox will play the third and final game of their series against the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park. Brandon Workman will get the start for Boston and will oppose left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. The Red Sox will look for an improved performance from their offense, which has scored a combined two runs over the last three games.

Workman (1-8, 4.90 ERA) did not factor into the decision during his last start against the Yankees in the Bronx last Thursday. He did, however, strike out five and get charged with three runs over six innings. The Red Sox could not hang on late, as then-closer Koji Uehara surrendered two home runs in the ninth inning — including a walkoff homer to Chase Headley — and the Red Sox fell 5-4.

Despite not getting the win, Workman said he thought he pitched well at Yankee Stadium.

“I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand well today,” Workman said after the game. “It may not have been the biggest numbers I’ve ever put up. More important than the velocity, though, is I was keeping the ball down for the most part today. That’s a big part of it.”

The no-decision last week ended a streak in which Workman lost eight consecutive decisions from June to the end of August. Over his last 10 outings, Workman’s ERA is a 6.04, pushing his season total closer to five. During his start against the Mariners on Aug. 23, Workman was knocked around for 10 hits and seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. He kept the Mariners off the board through three innings, but a seven-run fourth, which included a Dustin Ackley three-run home run, ended Workman’s day.

One of Workman’s better starts with Boston this season came against the Orioles back on June 10. He pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings at a rain-soaked Camden Yards in Baltimore. He allowed just two baserunners — one single and one walk — in the start.

Three current Orioles have one hit against Workman, while the rest of the team is hitless.

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Anthony Ranaudo: ‘Those kinds of pitches aren’t going to fly here’

09.10.14 at 12:29 am ET
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Anthony Ranaudo

Anthony Ranaudo

John Farrell has spoken highly of Anthony Ranaudo’s mound presence and poise. His stuff has been another matter.

On Tuesday, Ranaudo allowed three homers in just 3 1/3 innings to take the defeat in the Red Sox‘ 4-1 loss to the Orioles. The 25-year-old has now permitted eight homers in just 28 2/3 innings this year, with vulnerability on fastballs up in the strike zone representing a common thread in his starts.

“He didn’t get away with many mistakes, pitches that were elevated in the strike zone,” Farrell said after the game. “Where he’s gotten some swing and miss in some previous starts with some mislocated pitches, that wasn’t the case tonight.

“He’s a flyball pitcher and there’s, as we’ve seen, there’s a substantial difference between Triple-A and here. And possibly, with some of those same pitches, they’re not going to be driven as they are here, and it’s a matter of elevation within the strike zone.”

Ranaudo, who went 14-4 with a 2.61 ERA this year in Triple-A en route to International League Pitcher of the Year honors, is now 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in the big leagues. Tuesday represented his worst outing of the bunch. Ranaudo said the responsibility to turn around his results falls on him. Read the rest of this entry »

Dustin Pedroia: Surgery possible for thumb/wrist inflammation he’s been managing all year

09.09.14 at 11:39 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed inflammation in his left wrist (near the same thumb on which he had surgery last offseason), acknowledged that season-ending surgery is a possibility for the issue. The 30-year-old said that he will meet with club officials and medical personnel on Wednesday to decide the proper course of action.

“There’s getting rest, continue to play, or surgery. There’s three things we could do,” Pedroia said after the Sox’ 4-1 loss. “We’ll come up with a plan the best we can that’s best for the team.”

Pedroia said that he’s been dealing with discomfort for much of the year. His surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb last offseason required ongoing rehab that stretched into the start of the season. But when he was wiped out at second base on a double play early in the year (though he didn’t identify a date, Pedroia was wrecked at second base by Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez in the first home series of the year), he experienced discomfort that has lingered throughout the season and that has gotten worse recently.

“Obviously I’ve been kind of dealing with it for most of the year, but I mean, that’s the part of the job. The training staff and everyone’s done a great job getting me out there. Obviously, dealing with little injuries and things like that, it’s a part of it. You try to find a way to play through it,” said Pedroia. “I fell early in the year, I got taken out at second, and you know, it’s pretty inflamed. We tried to manage it the best we can, and it just gets to a point where obviously it hurts. It’s tough going out there and trying to do what you’re accustomed to doing and you can’t. But I will soon.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Why you should have cared about Tuesday’s Red Sox game: Matt Barnes makes his mark

09.09.14 at 10:43 pm ET
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(For the final month of the regular season, “Closing Time” will be called “Why You Should Have Cared,” looking beyond the final score — at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) — for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

Right-hander Matt Barnes made his major league debut with three shutout innings on Tuesday. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox.)

Right-hander Matt Barnes made his major league debut with three shutout innings on Tuesday. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox.)

By and large, the process of auditioning pitchers for spots in the 2015 Red Sox rotation has been something less than dazzling. Joe Kelly and Rubby De La Rosa have shown flashes of being effective, with De La Rosa offering glimpses (not yet sustained) of an ability to dominate. Brandon Workman has struggled. Anthony Ranaudo has shown little ability to elicit swings and misses, and on Tuesday, the Orioles smashed his fastballs up in the strike zone, launching three homers to hand the 25-year-old a loss (by an eventual 4-1 count) on his birthday.

Kelly profiles as a back-end starter. Workman and Ranaudo seem most likely to project either as No. 4 or 5 starters if they don’t end up in the bullpen.

But late in Tuesday’s outing, the Red Sox got a tantalizing first glimpse at a pitcher with considerable upside when Matt Barnes took the hill in his big league debut. Barnes has arguably the best fastball in the system, a pitch that can miss bats even when in the strike zone. He sits comfortably in the mid-90s, and on Tuesday, he worked primarily off of a 94-96 mph fastball that he complemented with both a changeup and a curveball (the latter of which, notably, got the first swing-and-miss of his career).

Pitchers like Ranaudo and Workman have considerable potential value to a rotation as pitchers who know how to compete and give their team a chance to win. But Barnes represents something different, his fastball giving him a chance to be either an impact starter or, in the eyes of some, a closer, with the view of his potential as a starter tied to a changeup that grades as solid average and a curveball that he’s used to increasing effect this year.

On Tuesday, he employed all three pitches in impressive fashion, throwing three shutout innings in which he permitted three hits, struck out two batters (Chris Davis on a fastball, Adam Jones on a changeup), worked out of a second-and-third, one-out jam by punching out Jones when needed and threw a whopping 30 of 38 pitches (79 percent) for strikes — the highest strike percentage of any major league rookie in his debut (min. 30 pitches) since Jamie Vermilyea threw 24 of 30 pitches for strikes in his Blue Jays debut on April 22, 2007.

In a run of relatively undistinguished performances by Red Sox call-ups, Barnes’ outing stood out, a first opportunity to stand out from the pack of Red Sox prospects making the transition to the big league level.


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Will Middlebrooks leaves Red Sox game due to illness

09.09.14 at 9:30 pm ET
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Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was removed from the Red Sox‘ game against the Orioles after five innings. The reason was not immediately known.

UPDATE: The Red Sox announced that Middlebrooks left the game due to illness. He is the third Sox player to fall prey to a bug making the rounds in the clubhouse, with Brock Holt and Mike Napoli likewise having missed time.

Middlebrooks has been on the disabled list twice this year, first for a calf strain and then from late-May through the beginning of August for a broken right index finger. Last week, Middlebrooks — who turned 26 on Tuesday — said that this year has been a constant physical struggle, even as he is no longer dealing with any specific injury that might prevent him from playing.

“I just feel like it’s been an uphill battle this whole year. But it’s not like I’m out there playing through tremendous amounts of pain,” said Middlebrooks. “It’s just small nagging things that haven’t all the way gone away. I’m not hurt. It’s just things I did during the year that take a while to heal, and if you’re out there every day, you’re going to feel them. But I’m not the only guy doing that. A lot of guys are.”

Before his removal, Middlebrooks went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He is hitting .182 with a .509 OPS this year while striking out in 31 percent of plate appearances.

Dustin Pedroia may be shut down for season

09.09.14 at 4:17 pm ET
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According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, Dustin Pedroia “could be” shut down for the season after an MRI confirmed there is increased inflammation in the second baseman’s left hand/wrist.

He’s got some soreness in the left hand, and he’s been getting treatment on it for some time now. As it has worsened some, we felt like he needs to give this a little bit of a break,” said Farrell. “I can’t say whether it’s directly related to the repair that he went through last year, but an MRI did reveal that it’s got further inflammation in the left hand, left wrist area. … It’s been a little while, and yet he’s been banged up a little bit and being able to manage it to a certain extent while still playing. As it continued to worsen a little bit, we backed him off.”

Farrell didn’t know yet if surgery would be an option, saying that Pedroia has been dealing with the issue for a while. The team, the manager said, is still working to gather more information about the extent of the injury and options for dealing with it.

“It’s had an impact, there’s no doubt,” said Farrell. “To what extent is hard to say, but he’s dealt with this for some time.”

Farrell said that Pedroia had continued to play because there was no risk of further injury, but given his worsening health, the team recognized the need to evaluate him.

“If he were to continue to play, does it put him at further risk? I don’t think that the medical staff is saying he’s at further risk. It’s just to the point where the discomfort is there, and we’re taking some time now to gather all the information and lay out the best plan going forward for him,” said Farrell. :His long-term health is the most important thing, and that will always be kept in the forefront.”

Pedroia is currently batting .278 with seven homers, scoring 72 runs , having played 134 games. He has also walked 51 times, while totaling 75 strikeouts.

Jemile Weeks is the Red Sox‘ starting lineup Tuesday, hitting eighth. Farrell said that when Brock Holt recovers from both a recent illness and a stiff neck, the team would like him to be its primary second baseman. He suggested that, for now, the team does not expect to consider Mookie Betts at second, instead preferring to continue his regular work in the outfield.

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Anthony Ranaudo vs. Chris Tillman

09.09.14 at 12:45 pm ET
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Anthony Ranaudo

Anthony Ranaudo

The Red Sox will play their second game of a three-game series against the Orioles on Tuesday night. Rookie right-hander Anthony Ranaudo will oppose Chris Tillman.

On the road against the Yankees last Wednesday, Ranaudo (3-1, 4.63 ERA) lost his first major league start, which ended his three-game winning streak with the Red Sox. It still was a quality outing, as he allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings. He also struck out one and walked just two batters.

Ranaudo did not win his fourth-ever big league start, but he said he felt confident in stuff at Yankee Stadium, despite pitching against the team he watched growing up as a kid.

“I felt really good, this is probably the most comfortable I’ve felt on the mound, the best I’ve felt about my stuff throughout the game and I felt probably it was the best I mixed my stuff,” Ranaudo said after the game

Tuesday’s start will be the fifth of Ranaudo’s career and fourth against an American League East opponent. He’s faced the Yankees twice, last time out and his first major league start — a win where he allowed two runs over six innings on Aug. 1. He also beat the Rays on Aug. 29 with six innings of three-run ball.

He has never faced the Orioles, and Tuesday’s outing will be just his second ever at Fenway Park.

Compared to his minor league season with Triple-A Pawtucket where he struck out 111 hitters in 138 innings, Ranaudo has only punched out a combined eight hitters through his first four starts with the Red Sox. Pitching to contact more at the big league level, Ranaudo has seen his batting average against jump from .223 to .264 from the PawSox to the Red Sox.

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Curt Schilling returning in role as analyst on ESPN starting Thursday

09.09.14 at 11:43 am ET
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ESPN has announced that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will be returning to his role as baseball analyst on ESPN. Schilling, who has been in an eight-month battle with mouth cancer, will be on “Baseball Tonight” on ESPN2 Thursday night at 10.

Schilling — who first publicly explained his battle with cancer when appearing on the Dennis & Callahan show during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Telethon (click here for audio/text of the interview) — has been in remission since June.

The 47-year-old Schilling (who has lost nearly 60 pounds due to the battle with the disease) is slated to be a regular contributor on the Thursday night show, according the network.

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