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Torey Lovullo: ‘Hanley Ramirez is our left fielder and I think we’re going to stay with that’

08.18.15 at 5:35 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez misplayed another ball in left field Monday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez misplayed another ball in left field Monday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

With the season Hanley Ramirez is having in left field and another misplay on Monday night, there’s been more talk of potentially moving him to another position like first base.

Despite the criticism, interim manager Torey Lovullo was very strong the team’s commitment to Ramirez in left field.

“We’re not hiding anything and we want to be as transparent as possible. No, he’s not getting any type of work at first base at this point. Hanley Ramirez is our left fielder and I think we’re going to stay with that,” Lovullo said. “We’re going to try and get him the necessary work and necessary reps and necessary innings out there to get him to the point he feels comfortable and we become a championship defense in the outfield. It takes time. He’s a converted infielder and it’s a tough process. He’s further from the ball and moving and traveling at different angles and I feel comfortable saying Hanley is doing the right thing, working as hard as he can to make it happen as fast as he can.”

Lovullo pointed to some of the struggles he’s had in left field to being an infielder for all of his 10 seasons prior to this one.

“I think maybe he has some infield instincts in the outfield still,” he said. “I know he wants to come in on balls. I think we’re trying to get him to sit down as long as possible. I think he’s becoming a little bit more comfortable with the spacing around the wall. I just think there’s a general feel that he needs to develop here at Fenway Park. I think on the road he does OK defensively. I think at Fenway Park it’s a very confined area and he’s still adjusting. It’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Despite all the issues, Lovullo feels Ramirez is making promising strides since the beginning of the season.

“I think he’s on a good path right now,” he said. “I think there has been improvement since April. I think there has been improvement each and every day. He’s making some nice plays. We want to see everybody improve to a certain standard and make sure that we go out there and help him as a collective group to win baseball games.”


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Terry Francona glad he was present for John Farrell’s treatment

08.18.15 at 5:31 pm ET
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Terry Francona and John Farrell were Major League teammates in addition to coaching together. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Terry Francona and John Farrell were Major League teammates in addition to coaching together. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Terry Francona considers himself fortunate that the Indians’ only trip to Boston this season came when it did.

“Sometimes things happen in weird ways,” he said. “I feel really grateful for whatever reason that we were here.”

Francona showed up to Massachusetts General hospital bright and early Tuesday morning, as he and Indians bench coach Brad Mills joined John Farrell for the Red Sox manager’€™s first chemotherapy treatment.

Speaking prior to Tuesday night’€™s game against the Red Sox, Francona reflected on his morning, but politely declined to go into detail on Farrell’s status.

“I don’€™t think I need to be the John Farrell medical update person; I don’€™t think that’€™s fair to him,” Francona said. “Millsy and I went over there together, which [for] anybody who knows Millsy, not surprising.

“I’€™m glad we went. I’€™m really glad we went over. I think [Indians general manager] Chris Antonetti went over after we left. I’€™d rather let John say what he wants to about his stuff because that’€™s his business, but we went over and spent a lot of time telling stories, most of them probably not true.”

When asked about Farrell’€™s spirits, Francona said it wouldn’€™t be fair to him to answer the question, though he said he felt being there was ‘€œprobably good for all of us.’€

“It didn’€™t feel good because of the circumstances, but I didn’€™t really think about it. He’€™s just my friend,” Francona said. “I didn’€™t really give it much thought. Millsy was there too, and Millsy’€™s every bit the friend to everybody, and I appreciated Millsy doing that. He didn’€™t have to do that, and I think John was pleased to see him.”

In addition to being there for Farrell, the Indians being in town this week allows Francona to participate in the Jimmy Fund radio telethon, an event he enjoyed each year as Red Sox manager.

“The Jimmy Fund is incredible.” he said. “I mean, the people there at Dana Farber and the work that they do and the way they handle it, I’€™ve seen it first hand. It’€™s incredible. When I was in town for those eight years, I always went out and would go on radio for 10 or 15 minutes and make a donation. I’€™m guessing tomorrow, my donation will probably be a little bit more because it probably needs to be.”

Red Sox lineup: Despite hot bat, Jackie Bradley Jr. sits vs. Indians

08.18.15 at 3:31 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Despite swinging the hottest bat on the team, Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the night off as the Red Sox go up against right-hander Trevor Bauer in Game 2 of a three-game series with the Indians.

The Red Sox‘ outfield will have Hanley Ramirez in left, Mookie Betts in center and Rusney Castillo in right, as they look to snap a two-game losing streak.

Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is a complete look at the Red Sox’ lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Broke Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Rusney Castillo, RF
Blake Swihart, C
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

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Brock Holt on M&F: Terry Francona accompanying John Farrell to chemo treatment ‘shows what kind of man he is’

08.18.15 at 1:25 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

Red Sox utility player and Jimmy Fund co-captain Brock Holt checked in with Merloni & Fauria, along with Tom Caron during the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to talk about what the Jimmy Fund does and also to discuss manager John Farrell‘s recent cancer announcement. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Farrell told the team last Friday during an unexpected meeting he has stage 1 lymphoma. Holt said it shocked everyone and felt like the team was going through it with its manager.

“When he told us we all kind of sat there and jaws were dropped, like what do we do, what do we say? You’re not really ready for something like that to be told to you,” Holt said. “It was a difficult day for everyone I think, but part of our job is to go out there and play every night and fortunately we were able to do that put some runs on the board and play a good game.”

Farrell’s first day of chemotherapy is Tuesday and Indians manager and close friend Terry Francona accompanied him to Mass General Hospital for his treatment.

“That kind of shows the kind of man that Terry is,” Holt said. “I have never met him, but obviously he was the manager here for a long time and Dustin played for him and Dustin says nothing but good things about him. It just kind of shows what kind of man he is and that is a pretty cool thing that he’s doing.”

Despite the team being 14 games below .500, Holt has seen some positives, although he did admit it’s been a disappointing year for everyone.

“I think our job is to come out and play regardless of how things have gone in the past,” Holt said. “The season obviously hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to go, or anyone else for that matter. We’ve done some good things. Younger guys are starting to play. Obviously [Xander Bogaerts] has had a tremendous year for us. He plays one of the main positions on the field for us, shortstop, so that’s been big for us. Our pitching has been better of late. We’ve been banged up, man — [Clay] Buchholz, [Rick] Porcello now, but Porcello is coming back. I think we have a good group. We just have to keep going on the path we’ve been on of late.”

Personally, Holt struggled a bit following the All-Star break, which he attributed to possibly fatigue coming out of the break. He’s performed better of late, as he’s batting .276 in August. He attributed the better performance to using a lighter bat.

“I think so. I was tired there for awhile,” he said. “I wasn’t getting to some pitches I usually get to and I was confused — I wasn’t doing anything different, my swing is pretty simple. I wasn’t able to square anything up. I was fouling pitches off or just missing them — pitches I usually get to. That’s part of the learning process of playing so many games. I didn’t get the All-Star break this year, but I think I’m starting to catch a second wind and I’ve started to switch to a lighter bat too, which has probably helped. I think I was just tied for awhile. It’s a long season. It’s a grind.”

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Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Andrew Benintendi debuts for Greenville; Edwin Escobar tosses 5 scoreless innings

08.18.15 at 8:53 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

Edwin Escobar

Edwin Escobar

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (48-76): W, 6-1, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’€™s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) pitched five scoreless innings to pick up the win (1-2, 5.51 ERA) in his third start of the season, with a final line of: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO (87 pitches, 53 strikes). Escobar, 23, loaded the bases in the third and fell behind the Syracuse cleanup hitter with a 3-1 count, but recovered for his first strikeout of the game on a fastball to escape the jam. The 6-foot-2 Venezuelan allowed leadoff singles in the second, third, and fourth, but was able to navigate the action as he stranded seven total runners in the outing.

Acquired by Boston in July of 2014 from San Francisco along with RHP Heath Hembree in exchange for RHP Jake Peavy, Escobar has started three of his last four games and in his last three appearances has allowed just one run over 13 innings of work, with nine strikeouts and seven walks. Escobar began the season on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, and allowed at least a run in nine of his first 14 appearances after coming off the DL on June 18.

— RHP Jorge Marban pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief in his second PawSox appearance since his promotion from Double-A, allowing a run on an RBI-double in the seventh inning but getting a strikeout on a breaking ball to limit further damage and strand a runner at third.

Marban was replaced by RHP Pat Light (Boston’€™s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com) with one out and a man aboard in the eighth, and Light struck out the next two batters to end the frame, one on a 97 mph fastball and another on a split-finger fastball. The 6-foot-5 Light stayed on and worked a perfect ninth, getting three groundouts to end the ballgame.

Selected by Boston in the first round of the 2012 draft (37th overall) out of Monmouth University, the 24-year-old Light has allowed just one earned run over his last six appearances, a span of 12 1/3 innings with just five hits allowed. Over that span, Light has struck out 17 and walked 11. Light’€™s last seven outings have been of the multi-inning variety.

— Five different Pawtucket batters had multi-hit games, with first baseman Allen Craig, third baseman Carlos Rivero, left fielder Chris Marrero, catcher Sandy Leon, and right fielder Jonathan Roof all collecting two hits. Leon and Roof also walked, while center fielder Quintin Berry reached base twice with a hit and a walk.

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Trevor Bauer

08.18.15 at 8:37 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

With another rough start in the books, Eduardo Rodriguez will still get the nod from acting manager Torey Lovullo on Tuesday. He’ll face a similarly struggling Trevor Bauer and the Indians.

To say Rodriguez has had an up-and-down year is cliche at this point. However, it’s still applicable.

After compiling a 2.84 ERA in his previous three starts, Rodriguez fell apart last Wednesday against the Marlins. He was tagged with nine hits and eight runs in five innings. Dee Gordon got the onslaught started with a leadoff home run in the first inning, setting the tone for the rest of the outing, which ended in a 14-6 Marlins victory and a fifth loss for Rodriguez on his ledger.

For Rodriguez, Wednesday marked his fourth start in which he’s allowed six earned runs or more, tied for most on the team with Wade Miley and Rick Porcello, both of whom have logged at least 10 more starts. His bout with the Marlins raised his ERA from 4.17 to 4.83 and it recirculated speculation that he could still be tipping his pitches. Manager John Farrell was quick to address this charge after the game, arguing that Rodriguez’s troubles harken back to his command.

“I thought today when they show a replay after a base hit, he pulled some pitches across the plate. Missed to his arm side on a couple of occasions,” Farrell said. “To say this is all the result of tipping, I’€™m not going there. And I know that becomes kind of the common theme that everybody will look to seek out. But to me it was more he got behind in some counts, fastballs found some of the plate and they squared them up.”

On the season, Rodriguez owns a 6-5 record and a 4.83 ERA, along with a 1.29 WHIP. The rookie southpaw has pitched better than his standard numbers indicate, though. He sports a 4.31 FIP and an even better 4.12 xFIP, a version of FIP that assigns each pitcher the league average HR/FB ratio. Rodriguez shouldn’t have to worry about the long ball against the Tribe, a team that has generated just 93 all season, the second-worst mark in the AL.

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Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez misplay opens floodgates as Indians beat Matt Barnes, Red Sox

08.17.15 at 10:23 pm ET
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Ramirez-Hanley Red Sox 08.17.15 Rich Gagnon

Hanley Ramirez misplayed another ball in left field Monday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Hanley Ramirez experience continues to disappoint.

When the Red Sox signed Ramirez to play left field this offseason, it was considered a coup. Only four years and $88 million for a middle-of-the-order thumper who projected to get a $150 million deal in free agency prior to the 2014 season? What a steal.

But as Monday night reminded us yet again, Hanley hasn’t worked out at all.

With rookie right-hander Matt Barnes trying to escape his first real jam in the fourth inning against the Indians, he induced Lonnie Chisenhall to hit a medium line drive to left.

Off the bat, the ball looked like no worse than a running catch at the base of the left field wall, but Ramirez froze, then couldn’t get back on the ball in time. It sailed over his head for a two-run double. The Indians added two more runs as part of a five-run frame.

Instead of potentially being out of the inning down 2-1, Barnes saw the Tribe grab a 5-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in an 8-2 victory that once again called into question what exactly the Red Sox plan to do with Ramirez not so much this year, because it’s already over, but in 2016 and beyond.

“Hanley is a work in progress,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “He’s made improvements in the outfield. That was a tough play tonight. As we continue moving forward with Hanley, I think that’s going to be a play he’ll feel comfortable making. We have to understand where he’s come from and where he’s at right now. He’s missed a number of games. I think all things being said, it was a tough play.”

We’ve heard the “work in progress” refrain all season, and as much as fans might want Lovullo to tee off on another lackluster play, the interim manager probably isn’t in a position to be ripping his players publicly, at least not this early in his tenure.

The real question is what the Red Sox do next year. Is Ramirez going to remain in left field? Does he move to first base? Could the Red Sox somehow find a taker and move him, a la Edgar Renteria after the 2005 season?

It’s a question without an easy answer. Making matters worse, the Red Sox boast four above-average defensive outfielders in Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Alejandro De Aza, and Rusney Castillo.

“We do have three really talented gifted outfielders, but we wanted Hanley in that lineup tonight,” Lovullo said. “He was a guy that was going to potentially change the game for us. That was the decision and unfortunately it didn’t work out.

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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will accompany John Farrell on his first chemotherapy treatment

08.17.15 at 6:51 pm ET
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On Tuesday morning, Terry Francona won’t be John Farrell‘s former teammate or manager. He’ll be his friend.

With Farrell facing the start of chemotheraphy at Mass. General, Francona will be there for the man he considers his closest friend in baseball.

“We were just talking and I was just asking questions and the normal questions and he mentioned that he was going to start Tuesday,” Francona said on Monday afternoon before his Indians faced the Red Sox. “I was like, ‘Man, I’€™m right there. I’ll meet you there, I’ll go with you, whatever.’ I may not do anything other than get in the way like normal. But being a friend, the only thing I know how to do is be a friend. Like, probably the rest of us, we all don’t know exactly how to handle those things or what to do. But I do know how to be a friend and I care about him a lot, so that’s what I’ll try to do.”

Farrell was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma one week ago, and the news hit everyone hard across baseball, but particularly Francona, who played alongside him in 1988, and hired him as his pitching coach nearly 20 years later.
Francona struggled to find the words on Monday to describe his feelings for Farrell and his plight.

“I don’t know, it’s not an easy thing to explain,” Francona said. “I think, like everybody else, it’s a little bit unsettling. I was worried about him because of the hernia and all of a sudden you get the unexpected news of something more serious. It kind of unsettles you a little bit. I do know that if well wishes and lots of people caring, if that has anything to do with the outcome, he’s going to be in good shape because there’s a lot of people that care about him, myself included.”

Getting the news left him stunned.

“My first reaction was, I knew people were probably wanting to get at him but I wanted to talk to him because in this game, we run into so many good people and have so many friends,” Francona said. “But then there’s a handful of people who are friends not just through baseball but outside of baseball, and he’s certainly one of those for me.”

Report: Red Sox, Dodgers talking Alejandro De Aza trade

08.17.15 at 5:57 pm ET
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According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Red Sox and Dodgers have engaged in trade discussions revolving around outfielder Alejandro De Aza.

De Aza, who is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season, is hitting .313 with an .882 OPS in 53 games. For the year the 31-year-old has a batting average of .273 with a .782 OPS.

Monday Red Sox Farm Report: RHP William Cuevas, 1B Allen Craig lift PawSox

08.17.15 at 10:24 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

William Cuevas

William Cuevas

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (47-76): W, 7-1, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— William Cuevas earned the win with a six-inning effort. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk and struck out six. Cuevas has started three games for Pawtucket and is 1-2 with a 2.50 ERA. He went 8-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 19 starts for Portland earlier this year.

— Left-hander Robby Scott pitched three scoreless innings of relief to record his first save of the season. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out one. Scott has a 1-1 record and an 8.18 ERA after nine appearances in a PawSox uniform this season.

— First baseman Allen Craig led the offense, going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Craig has hit safely in his last four games and is batting .275 on the season. Right fielder Jonathan Roof also recorded a two-hit game for Pawtucket, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.

— Marco Hernandez hit his third Pawtucket home run, a fourth-inning solo shot, and finished the day 1-for-4. Hernandez, who was the designated hitter Sunday, is hitting .248 with 14 RBIs through 28 games with Pawtucket.

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