|07.22.16 at 5:20 pm ET|
The biggest news as it relates to the Red Sox organization on Friday didn’t take place at Fenway Park, it took place in Double-A Portland.
Highly-touted prospect Andrew Benintendi will be making his first professional start in left field, shifting over from his natural position of center field.
Manager John Farrell was aware of the change.
“Aware of position changes, aware of the potential estimated timeline of arrival,” Farrell said. “Again, the player is going to determine when he is most ready. As we’ve seen with a number of guys, we haven’t been hesitant to move them around on the field, change positions. With Andrew going to left, we are looking down the road a little ways. When that day comes that he’s a left fielder here in Boston, remains to be seen, but the way he’s swung the bat, the way he’s advanced this year, you start to prepare for that eventual day.”
It seems like it will be a gradual shift as per source, he’s not expected to play there every day, but will get early work and reps during batting practice there. It also seems likely a potential promotion to Triple-A could come in the coming weeks.
The 2015 first-round pick, No. 7 overall out of the University of Arkansas is batting .277 with six home runs and 31 RBIs over 54 games in Double-A. He started the year in High-A Salem, but was promoted after batting .341 in 34 games.
Farrell added the shift to left field had nothing to do with Blake Swihart’s recent setback in his ankle rehab.
It seems likely the Red Sox are preparing for September when the rosters expand and also looking towards the future as Benintendi is blocked in center field with Jackie Bradley Jr., but left field is up for grabs.
|07.22.16 at 5:03 pm ET|
If you were expected Koji Uehara to return from the disabled list after the 15 days, think again.
Manager John Farrell said the reliever received a PRP injection on Friday, which suggests he will be out an extended period of time. Uehara was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a right pectoral strain.
“That is going to require a little bit of down time to recover from that,” Farrell said. “Still it doesn’t lend to a return date or really to put a ball back in his hand as of yet. That’s really the most update I can give you.”
While nothing is official, Sept. 1 seems like a good general target date for his return.
The Red Sox will get another reliever back Friday in Junichi Tazawa, who is returning from shoulder impingement. Farrell said there are no physical restrictions for him, but as they do with all relievers, the team will monitor his work load.
“We’ll pick a spot. If Eddie [Rodriguez] goes deep in the game — again, I think it’s all going to be game dependent,” he said. “The leverage to it, the stress to it — put it this way, going into tonight there is no physical limitations. That will be the guide.”
Farrell added he would like to stay away from Matt Barnes again Friday night after he went three innings on Wednesday.
|07.22.16 at 4:02 pm ET|
The Red Sox will look to keep on rolling Friday night against the Twins in the second game of a four-game weekend series.
It’s a standard lineup against a right-hander with Brock Holt in left field and Travis Shaw at third base as the Red Sox are facing the Twins’ Kyle Gibson.
Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
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
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|07.22.16 at 3:55 pm ET|
As expected, reliever Junichi Tazawa is back on the active 25-man roster as he was activated prior to Friday’s game with the Twins. As the corresponding move, Noe Ramirez was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Tazawa was on the disabled list with shoulder impingement since July 14, retroactive to July 4. He has made 35 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, going 1-1 with a 3.62 ERA and 37 strikeouts against only eight walks. Opponents are hitting just .215 this season.
Ramirez didn’t appear in a game during his few days with the club. The right-hander has made 11 relief appearances over seven stints with the Red Sox this season, posting no record and a 6.55 ERA with 11 strikeouts. He has has also made 18 appearances with Pawtucket this year, earning three saves and going 1-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 25 strikeouts compared to eight walks.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|07.22.16 at 11:11 am ET|
This is a guy whose reputation was built on defense, with his emerging overall offense offering an added bonus. Oh, and in 21 stolen base attempts he has only been thrown out once.
But what we should be taking notice of is that when Bradley hits the ball, he is usually hitting with some authority. Proof? Only one American League outfielder (Mike Trout) has a higher slugging percentage than the Sox’ center fielder, who is clocking in at .548 after notching 24th double and 15th homer of the season Thursday night.
“No doubt,” said Bradley Jr. after the Red Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins when asked if this is the most powerful he’s ever felt at the plate. (To watch his latest homer, click here.)
With his rocket into the center field bleachers Thursday, Bradley now has more homers this season than his previous three years combined.
He is just slightly under the slugging percentage Jacoby Ellsbury finished with during the center fielder’s 32-home run season in 2011, with only Ellsbury, Fred Lynn, Carl Everett and Tony Armas ending their respective seasons with higher slugging percentages while playing center field for the Red Sox.
“I could feel it late last year and I just felt very comfortable,” Bradley said. “I felt I was getting stronger as the year went on, where in previous years I felt tired. But I conditioned and worked really hard in the offseason to be able to last through the whole thing.”
The outfielder credits a newfound commitment to weight training, particularly involving his lower half, to the maintained power. Bradley entered the season weighing more than he had at any point in his life (205 pounds), and has managed to keep the muscle despite currently dropping to 195.
And then there is the alteration in his swing, which has the lefty hitter executing a much more pronounced weight shift just before addressing the ball.
“I feel like I’m quicker and stronger,” he said. “I feel like my weight transfer isn’t as sedentary. I’m getting momentum.”
It sure seems that way.
|07.22.16 at 11:09 am ET|
Here is the look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-48): L, 5-4 in 14 innings, at Columbus (Indians)
— On his 24th birthday, Henry Owens pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs, nine hits and three walks with four strikeouts. One start after taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning, the southpaw showed the inconsistency that has plagued him all season. He’s now 6-5 with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 17 Triple-A starts.
— Following Owens, the PawSox bullpen combined to pitch 7 1/3 innings, allowing only one run. Casey Janssen came into the game following Owens, making his second relief appearance for Pawtucket after a rehab stint in Lowell, and pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing no runs, no hits and two walks with one strikeout. Chandler Shepherd then pitched three innings, allowing no runs, one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. Finally, right-hander Kyle Martin hurled three innings, allowing four hits and three walks with five strikeouts and surrendering the game-winning run via a bases-loaded walk.
— The PawSox offense benefited from several multiple-hit days. Brennan Boesch started the scoring for Pawtucket with an opposite-field double to the base of the wall in left in the first inning that plated Chris Marrero. Boesch finished the game 2-for-5 with a walk.
Third baseman Jantzen Witte drove home a run on a double in the fifth inning. Witte ended the day 2-for-6 with two doubles and a strikeout. Dan Butler drove home Mike Miller in the top of the sixth inning with a single to right field. Butler finished the game 2-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts, while Miller went 3-for-6 with a double and a strikeout.
|07.22.16 at 9:23 am ET|
After opening their four-game series with the Twins with a rout, the Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound Friday night opposite right-hander Kyle Gibson.
Rodriguez is 2-3 in seven starts with a 7.18 ERA and a 1.569 WHIP. Prior to the All-Star break, Rodriguez was 1-3 in six starts with an 8.59 ERA and a 1.739 WHIP. In his first start after the break last Saturday — and his first start major league start since June 27 — Rodriguez pitched seven innings, allowing one run, four hits and two walks with one strikeout in a 5-2 win over the Yankees.
“Clearly he got into a good rhythm,” manager John Farrell said. “He was able to settle into a good comfort level. He did an outstanding job in the middle innings. His seven innings is potentially a major shot in the arm for our rotation. It was good to see.”
In two starts against the Twins, Rodriguez is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP. The 23-year-old Venezuelan last faced the Twins on June 11. In that start, the southpaw pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, six hits and four walks with four strikeouts in a 15-4 Red Sox win.
|07.22.16 at 12:07 am ET|
This might not be the last time Clay Buchholz pitches on the Fenway Park mound, but it sure is starting to feel like his run in Red Sox home whites is facing its finale.
Part of the vibe came from the obvious observation as to what Buchholz’s lot in life has become, as he finally pitched for the first time since July 2 when he finished off the Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins on Thursday night with a scoreless inning.
But the other piece of the puzzle when surmising the end might be closing in for Buchholz when it comes to his time in Boston was the blunt explanation by Red Sox manager John Farrell prior to the game when asked about the pitcher’s role.
“He’s in a tough spot, I’ll be candid,” Farrell said. “I don’t want to say it’s purgatory, but as far as baseball he’s in a difficult spot. There was the four-day layover over the break. We’ve played very good winning baseball. We’ve gotten starters deeper into ballgames where the bullpen has been rested. That’s where the decisions have come in.”
And now with the Junichi Tazawa scheduled to return Friday, Joe Kelly knocking on the door to be a legitimate late-inning relief option, and the non-waiver trade deadline just 10 days away, it’s not a stretch to think Buchholz’s future will be with another club, starting in the not-too-distant future.
“If this is the way the team is going to be as far as the rotation part of it … I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out,” Buchholz said when asked if he thought we was going to be traded. “I’m not sure. I don’t know. Not having pitched in a while I felt like something has be going on. I’m just trying to stay as sharp as I can and that’s why I’ve been throwing on the side. I have to stay somewhat stretched out.
“Something has to go in some direction. I know we have Taz coming back, and Koji [Uehara] and Craig [Kimbrel] when they come back, and then it becomes a numbers game.”
|07.21.16 at 11:00 pm ET|
Prior to the game, David Ortiz hit a ball so hard into Pesky’s Pole it got got stuck in between the wires.
The designated hitter followed that up by crushing a two-run home run 420 feet well over the Red Sox bullpen and into the bleachers in the eighth inning to punctuate a 13-2 win over the Twins Thursday night.
Ortiz said he hit the ball that hit the foul pole harder, but his eighth inning blast was still hammered.
It was his 24th home run of the season, which is the most by a player 40 years or older since Raul Ibanez in 2013, who hit 29. The slugger now has 79 RBIs on the year, which are the most by a major leaguer 40 years or older since Edgar Martinez had 98 in 2003. As it relates to the rest of the majors at the moment, they are the second-most in baseball to Edwin Encarnacion’s 86.
“I’m feeling good at the plate,” Ortiz said after the game. “I told [John Farrell] that if I got on base just pinch-run for me. Everything is going well right now and I am feeling good at the plate and wanted to take advantage of it.”
Ortiz has now homered in five of his last seven home games. He’s also now reached base in 48 of his last 50 games at Fenway Park. Even at 40 years old, he continues to produce at an extraordinary level.
“Just the consistency to the at-bats, the hard hit is really mind-boggling at this point in the season,” manager John Farrell said. “We talked about the last swing of spring training and it hasn’t stopped. Extra-base hits, quality at-bats, on base seemingly a couple of times every single night.
“You don’t want this run to end.”
|07.21.16 at 9:54 pm ET|
When the Red Sox put a heap of runs on the Giants on Wednesday, it ended up being integral those runs were scored with way their pitching went.
The monsoon of runs continued Thursday, but the pitching followed this time on the way to the Red Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins.
Steven Wright took a perfect game 4 1/3 innings before Max Kepler singled to left field just over the outstretched arm of Travis Shaw at third base in the fifth. Wright threw just 51 pitches in that stretch before surrendering a pair of runs (only one of which being earned) in the frame.
The 31-year-old knuckleballer ultimately went eight innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The nine strikeouts matched Wright’s career high.
“My goal is just to go as deep as I can until they tell me I’m done. Today I was lucky enough to eight, but it makes it easy when guys score 11 runs, 12 runs,” Wright said.
The Red Sox found a way to score early yet again — even earlier than Wednesday, in fact — with Mookie Betts taking Twins starter Tyler Duffy 410 feet into the Monster Seats on the first pitch of the bottom half of the first. The dinger turned out to be a sign of what was to come, as the Red Sox put two more runs on the board in the inning, adding another trio in the third.
“That’s the first time I’ve swung at the first pitch this year,” Betts said. “[Wright] had a quick inning and I figured I might as well just ride the momentum going into our first at-bat.”
Betts noted he swung at the first pitch of the game six times last year and was 0-for-6, but Travis Shaw convinced him to try it again this year.
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