|04.27.16 at 6:13 pm ET|
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright was far from a shoo-in to make the starting rotation coming into the 2016 season. Through three starts this year, heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Braves, he has been a pleasant surprise with a 1.40 ERA, the lowest for any starter on the team. With Joe Kelly making steps toward his return from the disabled list, it remains to be seen if Wright will be the one bumped out of his spot.
Manager John Farrell certainly was not ready to deem him the odd man out upon Kelly’s return.
“Those things work themselves out,” Farrell said. “Not knowing when Joe Kelly’s availability to us will be — who he is making solid progress, Joe is. But Steven is doing everything within his power and opportunity to stay in that spot.”
Kelly has been sidelined since his April 19 start against the Rays, when he suffered a right shoulder impingement. As far as his progress to this point, Farrell explained he has already begun taking steps toward his return to full strength.
“He’s played catch out to 120 feet, and will do so over the coming days,” Farrell said. “I don’t have a date in which he’ll get back on the mound for the first time yet.”
One encouraging sign for Red Sox pitching has been an increased number of strikeouts this season. While some of that can be attributed to David Price’s arrival in Boston, it has also been due in large part to the success of the Red Sox bullpen.
According to Elias, the Red Sox lead the majors with 10.44 strikeouts per nine innings, and the team’s total of 210 are the most for any big league team through 20 games since 1900.
“David’s going to get his strikeouts, he has a track record of that,” Farrell said. “But I think the greatest improvement has been in our bullpen. I think somebody brought to my attention the other day that per nine innings, I think our strikeout rate is four more right now currently than we were the last couple of years. Anytime late in the game you can put less balls in play, certainly the better, and we’re starting to really build upon our bullpen and that hasn’t been the case the last couple years.
|04.27.16 at 5:23 pm ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to talk about the latest with the Red Sox, especially manager John Farrell. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Many in the media have been heavily critical of Farrell over the first 20 games of the season, questioning a number of decisions he’s made within each game. Dombrowski offered his support for the Red Sox manager.
“I think that John Farrell has done a fine job for us,” Dombrowski said. “I think he is a good manager. I think people that spend time micromanaging moves usually are the ones that are going to micromanage any manager’s moves. … I think John Farrell has done a fine job managing this team. I think he has done a good job managing this team. I think he is a good manager and we’re fortunate to have him.”
Added Dombrowski: “He has my support. He knows he has my support and so I don’t really need to tell him that on a daily basis. We work together very well. I am happy he’s our manager.”
As it relates to Pablo Sandoval, Dombrowski confirmed the team never gave Sandoval a weight mandate before he could play in games again, nor did the third baseman asked to be traded if he wasn’t going to be playing full-time.
Sandoval is set to go back to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his injured shoulder on Monday, which comes after a previous visit two weeks ago where a full exam couldn’t be performed because of how sore he was.
“Well, I’ve had it happen before,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen once in awhile. I think it is also a situation where it’s not for me and I don’t find too many people to question what Dr. Andrews says. He’s about as quality of a source when it comes to medical aspects of Major League Baseball and injuries in general. When he recommends something, that is generally the practice we follow. I think we have always followed it. That is what he recommended so that’s what we’ve done.”
|04.27.16 at 5:06 pm ET|
A couple of injury updates from Fenway Park, where the Red Sox are preparing to open a two-game series against the Braves as part of a home-and-home with their “natural” rivals from Atlanta.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval said he’s feeling better and is on track to be examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Pensacola, Fla. He’s on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain and had to postpone his first visit with Andrews last week because he was too sore to be examined.
“A lot better,” Sandoval said. “A lot better. It’s still sore, but we’ll see what’s going on. The inflammation at least went down, it’s to a good point, so now we’re going to see what’s going on there.”
Sandoval has been limited athletically since suffering the injury on April 14.
“What am I doing? Nothing,” he said. “Just cardio, icing. That’s the only thing I can do.”
Sandoval isn’t sure if he’ll avoid surgery. He’s waiting to hear what Andrews says.
“I don’t know. I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I’m going to let them make the decisions. I don’t know if I’m going to get surgery or not. At least I can move it around. The inflammation went down. I hope they can look at it and see what’s going on.”
In other injury news, right-hander Carson Smith was in the clubhouse, one day after throwing a simulated inning against hitters at Triple-A Pawtucket following a rainout.
“I did get rained out yesterday, but I was fortunate enough to get some work in in the bullpen with some hitters standing in,” Smith said. “We tried to emulate a game as best we could.”
The plan is to send him to Double-A Portland on Friday and see if he can bounce back again and pitch on Saturday before determining the next step. The Red Sox have suggested he could return next week, and he sounds confident he avoided a serious injury in spring training when he left the mound with elbow tightness.
“I’m very confident I’m ready to go,” Smith said. “The velocity is there, the movement is there, so I’m happy.”
Smith was injured on March 21 in Jupiter and feared the worst.
“It’s a big relief,” he said. “When you have elbow problems, I think any pitcher can say that’s the biggest scare, hearing all the Tommy John stories. I’m glad I dodged that bullet and am healthy now and will continue to do things to dodge that bullet.”
|04.27.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
After sitting out the two games in Atlanta, David Ortiz will return to the Red Sox lineup Wednesday night.
It is a standard Red Sox lineup against a right-hander with Brock Holt in left field and Travis Shaw at third base. The Braves will send Bud Norris to the mound in the third game of the four-game series.
Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Steven Wright.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Steven Wright, RHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|04.27.16 at 11:41 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (11-8): Game vs. Syracuse (Nationals) was postponed due to inclement weather. Next game is Thursday night at Syracuse.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (6-14): L, 3-2, at Binghamton (Mets)
— Starter Teddy Stankiewicz threw six solid innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on just two hits with three walks and two strikeouts, but he did not wind up factoring into the decision. He lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.13 to go with a 0.79 WHIP. Opponents are hitting just .183 against Stankiewicz this season.
— Binghamton, which took a 1-0 lead in the third on a throwing error by Sea Dogs first baseman Tim Roberson, scored the winning run in the eighth inning on a two-out RBI single from Dominic Smith that scored Kyle Johnson, who had led off the inning with a walk. Lefty reliever Nik Turley (0-1) took the loss. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed one hit and two walks with three strikeouts. Lefty Luis Ysla came on to record the final out of the eighth.
— The PawSox collected just three hits all game against Binghamton starter Andrew Barbosa (7 1/3 innings) and reliever Akeel Morris, who closed things out to get the win. Right fielder Bryce Brentz had the most significant hit of the game for the Sea Dogs, a two-run double in the sixth inning that gave his team the lead. He finished 1-for-4 with the double, two RBIs and two strikeouts. Designated hitter Henry Ramos and shortstop Jose Vincio each contributed a hit as well.
|04.27.16 at 9:16 am ET|
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright, who has been a pleasant surprise in the team’s rotation this season, will look to continue that narrative as he faces off against Astros righty Bud Norris on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Wright has put up quality starts in all three of his outings this season, although he only has one win to show for it, as his record sits at 1-2 to go with a dazzling 1.40 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. In his last start Friday against the Astros in Houston, he picked up his first win of the season after going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one unearned run on four hits. He walked five and struck out six, as the Red Sox came away with a 6-2 victory.
“He’s been the most consistent starter, without question,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the win. “Going back to the conversation in spring training, not knowing where he was going to break with us. Just go out and pitch. And he does a great job of that, whether it’s in either role. To pitch the innings he’s doing, he’s been a stabilizer in the rotation.”
Wednesday night will be Wright’s first career start against the Braves.
Norris has had a rough go of it so far this season, as he’s off to a 1-3 start with a 6.75 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. In his last start Friday in Atlanta against the Mets, he lasted just four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out four as the Braves went on to lose the game, 6-3.
“Really kind of frustrating,” said Norris after suffering his third loss of the season. “I’ve got to get better. I know I can pitch deeper [in games] and do a lot better. … I want to turn this around as quick as I can, because it’s still April. I know there’s a lot more in the tank.”
The 31-year-old, who started his career with the Astros in 2009 and also has pitched for the Orioles (2013-15) and Padres (2015), has faced the Red Sox seven times, compiling a 2-3 record with a 3.07 ERA and 1.318 WHIP. He has 41 strikeouts and 19 walks in 44 innings of work.
|04.26.16 at 10:24 pm ET|
ATLANTA — The Red Sox should be getting some clarity on the Pablo Sandoval situation in less than a week.
Red Sox manager John Farrell reported before his team’s game against the Braves Tuesday night that Sandoval is slated to return to Dr. James Andrews Monday for a full exam on his ailing right shoulder. The third baseman wasn’t able to conduct the originally scheduled second opinion due to discomfort in the area.
In the meantime, here are some answers to questions surrounding the situation.
THE TEAM WAS AWARE OF SANDOVAL’S SHOULDER HISTORY
Through reviewing Sandoval’s medical history with the Giants, and the physical the Sox conducted at the time signing the free agent, the Red Sox did have what they considered enough information on a shoulder that had given the player problems in 2011. But the nature/severity of the injury wasn’t considered anything more than what many position players deal with.
IT WASN’T BAD ENOUGH TO CONSIDER INSURANCE
When free agents are signed, and there is a part of their body which might be of some concern, teams often take out insurance. In John Lackey’s case, the insurance was a clause in his contract that stated if he missed any significant time due to his injured right elbow his team option would be for the major league minimum salary. In the Jason Bay controversy, the Red Sox asked the player to pay a chunk of the insurance policy due to concerns over his knee. The Marlins couldn’t get insurance on Josh Beckett’s shoulder because of it’s condition prior to the player’s trade to the Sox. With Sandoval’s shoulder, however, going the insurance route wasn’t deemed necessary.
YES, THE REDS SOX DO TAKE OUT INSURANCE
Because of past conflicts with Lloyds of London when it came to insuring players, Red Sox principal owner John Henry had often tried to stay away from insuring injuries. (For more on Henry’s prior approach, click here.) But, according to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, there has been no such mandate, and the decision to insure players is a “case by case” basis.
THERE HAS BEEN NO WEIGHT MANDATE
Contrary to a Yahoo! Sports report that the team told Sandoval it had “no intention of playing him unless he loses weight,” according to a major league source, there has been no such directive. The Red Sox have been monitoring Sandoval’s progress while on the 15-day disabled list, and have been encouraged by his approach — and results — the last two weeks.
|04.26.16 at 10:04 pm ET|
One way for David Price to end a thoroughly disappointing first month with the Red Sox: tying his career high in strikeouts in his longest outing in a Boston uniform.
Making his fifth start for the Sox, Price fanned 14 batters over a season-high eight innings and received ample run support in an 11-4 win over the Braves that saw Travis Shaw drive in five runs.
Price settled down from a busy first inning to have what turned out to be a very strong performance against a Braves offense that entered Tuesday 27th in the league with a .227 batting average.
The veteran left-hander loaded the bases in the first inning after allowing an RBI single to Jeff Francoeur, but he escaped without further damage by striking out Drew Stubbs to end the frame.
Price followed up the first by turning in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings with a pair of strikeouts in each. He ran into trouble again in the fourth inning, once again loading the bases and surrendering the Braves’ second run.
From there, Price essentially put the game away by allowing just one hit and walking none over his final four innings. He struck out six of the last seven hitters he faced, all of which he retired. Furthermore, nine of Price’s last nine outs were strikeouts. He finished with a line of six hits and two earned runs allowed over eight innings, striking out 14 and walking two.
Though runs allowed have been a concern in his early starts (7.06 ERA entering Tuesday), strikeouts have not. Price now has struck out at least eight hitters in four of his first five outings with the Red Sox and leads the league with 46 strikeouts. Price was coming off a season-low five strikeouts in what was his shortest and worst outing of the season, a 3 2/3 inning performance in which he allowed two homers and eight earned runs against the Rays.
With Tuesday’s win, Price is 3-0 on the season with a 5.76 ERA. The Sox improved to 11-9. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.26.16 at 11:32 am ET|
ATLANTA — It wasn’t just one whisper. There were shouts that David Price wanted to sign with a National League team so he could participate in one of his favorite activities, hitting.
When such a notion is brought up now, Price smiles and lets out a quick chuckle.
“Obviously, that didn’t happen,” he said, later adding, “I don’t know if it ever entered the discussion. I enjoyed hitting. I enjoy facing a pitcher more than I enjoy hitting. No, it never came up.”
But it’s undeniable that Price isn’t the norm when it comes to living life as a major league pitcher. He just likes taking batting practice too much.
Price, who hit a home run in his last high school at-bat, has never let the love for swinging the bat go. According to those who have played with the pitcher, it isn’t uncommon to find his way into batting practice groups, even with no interleague action in site.
“It’s fun,” Price said. “I can’t turn down BP in a major league park.”
Is he a good hitter?
“In BP I am,” he responded.
There is proof of that. There was the blast the lefty hitter sent into the second deck at Washigton’s Nationals Park. Or the one that Price hit over the “Belle Tire Blast Zone” in right field at Comerica Park in Detroit.
“Miggy [Miguel Cabrera] said he the only lefty he’d see do that was Prince [Fielder],” Price said.
|04.26.16 at 9:37 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (11-8): W, 5-0, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)
— Starter William Cuevas, back with the PawSox after a brief stint in the Boston bullpen, was dominant in his return to Triple-A. The Venezuelan right-hander threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits. He walked three and struck out four in improving to 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
“I felt really good with all my pitches and kept a good tempo tonight,” Cuevas said after the game (via the PawSox website).
Said manager Kevin Boles: “He was terrific, very efficient. He induced contact early and I thought his tempo and pace with [catcher Blake Swihart] was terrific.
— Marco Hernandez (Boston’s No. 19 prospect on MLB.com) played left field and went 3-for-5 with a double and one strikeout. Swihart also finished with three hits, going 3-for-4 with a double, one RBI and one walk.
— Sam Travis had another multi-hit performance, going 2-for-5 with two doubles. He added one RBI and two strikeouts. His average now sits at .306 to go with two home runs and 14 RBIs. Designated hitter Jason Maxwell went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Jantzen Witte was 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk.
— Reliever Kyle Martin threw two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out four to finish off the shutout.
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