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Closing Time: Eduardo Rodriguez closes out his season with win over Yankees

09.28.15 at 10:06 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

NEW YORK — As first impressions go, there have been some pretty good ones for the Red Sox this season.

Eduardo Rodriguez closed out his first big league season in style, holding the Yankees to just one run over the final six innings of his 2015 season.

Thanks in large part to home runs from Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley Jr., the lefty’s effort resulted in his 10th win of the season, with the Red Sox claiming a 5-1 win over New York Monday night at Yankee Stadium. Rodriguez becomes just the second Red Sox lefty to win as many games in his rookie season going back to 1950.

“For me, it was the was the best year I’€™ve had all the time I’€™ve been playing baseball,” Rodriguez said. “Coming to this organization last year and then this year they called me to the big leagues and gave me a chance to stay here and finish the season here, too, so I think this is the best year I’€™ve got in my life.”

Rodriguez, who has been shut down due to a career-high innings total of 170 (between both minors and majors, finishes with an ERA of 3.85. His win total is the most by a Red Sox rookie since Daisuke Matzuaka put up 15 in 2007. It was the first time a Sox pitcher as young as 22 won as many as 10 games since Mike Nagy’s 12-win campaign in 1969.

“Very impressive,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo regarding Rodriguez. “He’€™s been on a great run. It’€™s his 10th win. He had some tough innings early and managed to give us six strong innings. He was right at the amount of innings we wanted him to throw this season. It was tough to take him out, he was really starting to click, but it’€™s been an impressive run since the end of May. To have 10 wins and have this type of year, he’€™s a pretty special guy.”

While Rodriguez’ effort may have highlighted the Red Sox win — which put the Yankees five games in back of first-place Toronto — the homers also served of some significance.

Coming into the series opener, Bradley Jr. was riding a 6-for-58 slump (.103) over his last 18 games, with 24 of the outs coming via strikeouts. But after walking in his first at-bat, the outfielder (playing left this time around) broke open the game with a two-run blast over the left field wall with two outs in the seventh inning.

The homer came one inning after Shaw initially gave the Sox the lead with his 12th homer of the season off Yankees starter Ivan Nova. The first baseman finished with three hits, boosting his average to .280 with an .852 OPS. He has the third-most homers of any major league first baseman since Aug. 1.

Deven Marrero offered some insurance in the ninth inning with his first career homer run.

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NESN says it plans to offer end of season tribute for Don Orsillo

09.28.15 at 7:17 pm ET
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Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo acknowledges the fans during his final home game. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo acknowledges the fans during his final home game. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

NESN has attempted to add some clarity to its approach toward not airing the Don Orsillo tribute video shown on the Fenway Park Jumbotron during the eighth inning of Sunday’s home finale.

The network sent out the following release:

“Yesterday’€™s Don Orsillo tribute by the Red Sox was designed to be an in-ballpark celebration for the fans in attendance.

“NESN already had separate plans underway to recognize Don during our last telecast of the season this Sunday (Oct 4).

“We look forward to celebrating Don’s career at NESN throughout that game.”

Click here to read more on the Orsillo tribute.

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Red Sox notes: Hanley Ramirez leaves team for rest of season; Koji Uehara throws for first time since injury

09.28.15 at 6:09 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Hanley Ramirez‘ offseason has begun early.

The Red Sox first baseman has returned to his Miami-area home, leaving the Red Sox for the remainder of the regular season. It had already been announced last week that Ramirez was being shut down due to continued soreness in his right shoulder.

Red Sox physical therapist Dan Dyrek will meet with Ramirez in South Florida Tuesday to begin to the rehab schedule for the 31-year-old.

Ramirez, who hasn’t played in a game since Aug. 26, finishes his first season with the Red Sox having played in 105 games, totaling a .249 batting average and .717 OPS with 19 home runs.

“I think he has his physical therapist he’€™s going to be with for the next several months,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo after his team’s 5-1 win over the Yankees Monday night. “We want to get him with those guys right now. Dan Dyrek is going to fly down there to be with him for several days to see that program off. … I’€™m sensing you guys feel like he’€™s kind of forgotten about and we’€™re shooing him out of the door, that’€™s not the case at all.”

The other big Red Sox free agent signee from last offseason, Pablo Sandoval, has remained in Boston while battling pneumonia. While there is a slight chance the third baseman could join the team for its final series in Cleveland over the weekend, such a reunion isn’t likely.

— Another Red Sox player shut down for the season, closer Koji Uehara, took a positive step in his comeback from a broken right wrist.

Uehara played catch for the first time since suffering his season-ending injury Aug. 7 Sunday, and then repeated the activity at Yankee Stadium Monday.

Uehara remains optimistic he will be able to hit the ground running when next season’s spring training rolls around after continuing his training in Tokyo during the final few months of the offseason.

The 40-year-old is signed for one more year beyond 2015.

— Lovullo said prior to Monday night’s game that Rusney Castillo is dealing with a sore right quadriceps muscle, but could be back in the lineup Tuesday.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Ivan Nova

09.28.15 at 8:40 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Following an impressive weekend series in which they did not allow a single run in three games against the Orioles, the Red Sox will look to continue their success in a four-game set against the Yankees. The Sox will send rookie Eduardo Rodriguez to oppose Ivan Nova in the series opener Monday night.

Rodriguez (9-6, 3.97 ERA) last started a week ago against the Rays. He went six innings and allowed three runs (all of which came in the first inning) on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts as the Sox won 8-7 thanks to an eighth-inning grand slam from Xander Bogaerts. After the erratic first inning, Rodriguez settled in and threw five straight scoreless innings.

“For me, in the first inning, all my pitches were in the middle of the plate,” Rodriguez said after the game. “I tried to go outside, and they’d go to the middle. Same with the inside corner. After that, all my pitches were working pretty good to both sides of the plate.”

The 22-year-old left-hander likely will be making his final start of the season, as interim manager Torey Lovullo stated prior to last week’s start that Rodriguez would pitch 10-14 more innings in 2015.

Rodriguez has faced the Yankees three times this season, putting together a 2-1 record with a 2.45 ERA over 18 1/3 innings with a .265 opponents batting average. Rodriguez earned the win the last time he saw the Yankees, going five innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts in Boston’s 4-3 victory on Aug. 31.

Rodriguez will be making his second career start at Yankee Stadium, where he owns an 0-1 record with a 2.57 ERA.

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David Ortiz’s contract has worked out pretty well for all parties involved

09.28.15 at 6:50 am ET
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It was one seemingly innocuous at-bat. A simple first-inning fly ball to left field in Game No. 155.

But for David Ortiz it certainly held some significance.

The plate appearance was the 39-year-old’s 600th for his season, triggering the final stage of his option for 2016. By stepping to the plate for that first time Sunday afternoon against Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez, Ortiz guaranteed himself that he would be making $16 million the following year.

“I earned my [expletive],” he said when notified of the milestone.

While making an extra million bucks in one day is nice — with his vesting option for ’16 having clicked in at 425 plate appearances and progressively going up at five checkpoints — what the moment symbolized meant just as much.

“When I signed my last contract I wanted the team to be happy. But the most important thing was that for all the people who talked [expletive] about me talking about a contract, I wanted them to shut the hell up, too. I did something so I could earn it,” he said. “Some people say the team always gives me things and I don’t earn it. I’ve heard people say I sound greedy when I talk about contracts. But it’s not greedy, it’s just the way it is.

“When you get older it’s not like you want to ask for anything crazy. Once you get to my age, it’s at a point where a player needs to earn things. You don’t know how your performance is going to be. So me and the team, we both did something we feel comfortable with.”

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Outgoing Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo honored with video tribute in Fenway Park finale

09.27.15 at 6:26 pm ET
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Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo acknowledges the fans during his final home game. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo acknowledges the fans during his final home game. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Don Orsillo broadcast his final Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Sunday and was honored with a  video tribute that concluded with the beloved play-by-play man tapping his heart in salute.

Orsillo, whose contract will not be renewed, was shown on the scoreboard after the seventh inning. The team ran a highlights package of some of his most memorable calls, and then focused on him in the NESN booth as Orsillo pointed and waved to the crowd and the Red Sox dugout.

“I was glad to see the response and the reception he had,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “Personally speaking, I know Don is a caring and kind man who is connected to his city. He’€™s been in a lot of living rooms for a long time. And I know this city is going to miss him. It was nice to see everyone acknowledge him and he’€™s going to be missed.”

Orsillo remained largely expressionless throughout the tribute and hasn’t commented on his ouster since it was announced in late August, though fans have responded angrily, circulating a petition that has topped 60,000 signatures. He’ll be replaced by WEEI radio play-by-play man Dave O’Brien.

Orsillo told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo after the game that he appreciated the gesture.

“Thanked the fans from the bottom of my heart,” Orsillo told the Globe. “I appreciate all of their support. I’ve heard them all in the last month. Having grown up here as a Red Sox fan, to have that happen here as a Red Sox fan, I’ll take that with me to my grave.”

Red Sox players addressed what he has meant to the organization.

“Every time we watch a highlight, we hear his voice,” said reliever Craig Breslow. “He’s always had a great relationship with the players, they respect him. They recognize that obviously he has a job to do, but it seems as though he’s on our side, and that’s important.”

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia saluted Orsillo’s presence.

“He’s been first-class, man,” he said. “We’re going to miss him. We wish nothing but the best for him. We’re around him all the time. He’s been great to all of us.”

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has known Orsillo as long as just about anyone in the clubhouse, said players have always appreciated the self-deprecating way he’ll joke with guys like former manager Terry Francona.

“He’s been here longer than just about everybody in this clubhouse,” Buchholz said. “To see someone go, that you recognize their voice without even having to see them on TV, he’s been through thick and thin with this organization, and he’s very good at his job. It’s not going to be very hard for him to find another situation that’s going to treat him as well as this one did. It’s going to be a little different, but the montage, the video and everything was pretty cool to see.”

The fans gave Orsillo a prolonged ovation that reverberated through the park even after play resumed.

“Seemed like it was a really indicative and kind gesture by the fans, and it seems like he was sincerely and genuinely touched,” Breslow said. “It’s a relationship that’s gone on for many years here, and he’s been a part of some of the greatest moments in the franchise’s history. He’ll always be remembered for some of those calls. As you can see from the outpouring of support from fans, they’re definitely sad to see him go.”

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Closing Time: Henry Owens, Blake Swihart lead Red Sox to shutout over Orioles; NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo honored

09.27.15 at 4:06 pm ET
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NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo waves to the crowd after being honored by Pats. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo waves to the crowd after being honored by Pats. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Red Sox began the season without an ace. They’re ending it with hope for the starting rotation.

The latest starter to step up with an outstanding effort was Henry Owens, who dominated the Orioles into the eighth inning on Sunday, lifting the Red Sox to their third straight shutout en route to a series sweep in the 2015 Fenway Park finale.

Owens was outstanding, attacking the strike zone into the eighth inning. He allowed just three hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one.

Owens improved to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to 3.84 and continued a run out of scoreless starts against the Orioles, who entered the series with an outside chance of sneaking into the wild card conversation, and ended it without managing a run.

The Red Sox didn’t manage much offensively themselves, with the lone highlight the third home run of the season from Blake Swihart, a solo shot into the bullpen in the third inning.

The Red Sox are now 23-14 in their last 37 games.

The game also provided an opportunity to say goodbye to two longtime employees, with outgoing CEO Larry Lucchino honored on the field before the game, and popular NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo earning a standing ovation after appearing on the scoreboard between the seventh and eighth innings.

Orsillo, broadcasting his final game at Fenway Park, is reportedly in the mix for the San Diego Padres announcing job.

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Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo: ‘When you think about the future, it’s very bright’

09.27.15 at 12:49 pm ET
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Torey Lovullo

Torey Lovullo

With the Red Sox preparing to host the Orioles on Sunday in their home finale, interim manager Torey Lovullo took a moment to commend the team on what it has accomplished over the last six weeks to head into the offseason on a positive note.

Since Dave Dombrowski took over on Aug. 18, the Red Sox have gone 22-14 (.611), which projects to a 99-win pace over a full season.

“It’s given us a lot of hope for next year,” Lovullo said. “It’s given us a lot of confidence internally. It’s given each player confidence individually to say, ‘We’re ready to turn the page and contend for a championship next year.’ All along we have not overlooked today’s game. That’s a hard balance at times. That’s just a tribute to these young players and the veteran players. Because David Ortiz is forcing his way into the lineup to be a great example to the younger players.

Dustin Pedroia is fighting his days off so he can let everybody know what it takes to play here in Boston. Those veteran players are setting a great tone, the younger players are following, and it’s just timing well. There’s energy, there’s focus, there’s concentration, and we’re playing really good baseball. And I think everyone expects that to happen on a daily basis. When you think about the future, it’s very bright. We feel really good about what direction this organization is going in.

“There was a period of time about two and a half months ago when we were all depressed. We weren’t feeling so good about things. They deserve so much credit for picking themselves up and making this happen.”

In pregame news, Clay Buchholz will throw a bullpen on Monday, but it’s unlikely he’ll appear in a game this season, Lovullo said.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Henry Owens vs. Ubaldo Jimenez

09.27.15 at 9:07 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

Coming off two straight shutouts of the Orioles, the Red Sox send rookie Henry Owens to the mound to take on veteran Ubaldo Jimenez on Sunday afternoon in the Sox’ final home game of the season.

Owens (3-3, 4.41 ERA) is making his second career start against the Orioles. He earned the win the first time around, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings with six hits and four strikeouts in a 10-1 trouncing on Sept. 16.

The 23-year-old left-hander is coming off his third loss of the season on Tuesday as the Sox fell to the Rays, 5-2. He went 7 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts. The rookie did not surrender a hit until the fifth inning, but he struggled after that. He was allowed to start the eighth inning of a 3-2 game and promptly allowed a double and a two-run homer to Mikie Mahtook.

“The consistency was definitely there early,” Owens said after the game. “We came out with the two run lead early, so I was trying to keep the momentum on our side and get them back in the dugout. I thought we put together some good at-bats. I think I just did a poor job those last few innings. There was definitely positives from the outing I will take. There’s negatives I want to work on beginning tomorrow.”

Added interim manager Torey Lovullo: “When a young pitcher understands how to touch late innings, he’s going to grow up a little quicker. He’s pitched deep into games. Overall, I think he’s going to be in a pretty good place moving forward.”

Since making his debut against the Yankees on Aug. 4, Owens has only been chased from a game after throwing less than five innings just once. Owens has made five starts at Fenway, putting together a 1-2 record with a 6.35 ERA over 28 1/3 innings. The Sox are 4-5 with him on the mound this season.

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Outfielder to pitcher: Position change pays off for Red Sox minor leaguer Williams Jerez

09.27.15 at 6:00 am ET
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Williams Jerez

Williams Jerez

Williams Jerez pitched just one inning during his high school career.

According to him, it was a perfect frame, but the Grand Street Campus standout from Brooklyn enjoyed patrolling center and right field much more than standing on the mound.

“When I was younger I was a pitcher, but then I transitioned to outfield,” Jerez said. “Outfield was good for me because it was more activity for a young guy. I just wanted to be out in the field, hitting and stuff, and I decided to play outfield.”

Jerez was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft and played three professional seasons with Short-A Lowell and the Gulf Coast League hitting .221 over those three years as an outfielder.

Before the 2014 season began, Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett sat down with Jerez during extended spring training and suggested a position change.

“Ben Crockett, last year, made a meeting with me and he told me, ‘I want you to try pitching. I think you have a good arm, let’€™s see how you can do,'” Jerez said. “And that day I said, ‘OK, let’€™s try, lets do it,’ and from that day on I’€™ve been doing a really good job.”

Jerez helped the Red Sox capture the GCL championship in 2014, pitching in nine games. He went 3-1 with one save and a 2.22 ERA.

This year marked Jerez’€™s first full season as a pitcher. The 23-year-old left-hander from the Dominican Republic began his 2015 campaign in Single-A Greenville and finished the season with Double-A Portland, making 41 total relief appearances.

He posted a combined 5-3 record with four saves and four holds between Greenville, High-A Salem, and Portland. He finished the year with a combined 2.54 ERA, striking out a total of 86 batters with 31 walks.

On Saturday, Jerez was named the 2015 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year, a testament to the southpaw’€™s dedication to his new position.

“I didn’€™t expect anything like this,” Jerez said of the honor. “At the end of the season I was at home with my dad and my boss, Ben Crockett, called me and told me, ‘Hey, you’€™re pitcher of the year,’ and I was surprised that day. I was happy, too, because that was something I didn’€™t expect.”

Jerez and the other 2015 minor league award winners were honored pregame at Fenway Park Saturday afternoon before the game against the Orioles. The on-field ceremony was extra special for the former outfielder, who said he has always been a Red Sox fan despite living in New York.

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