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Red Sox notes: Aaron Hill’s forearm tightness forces lineup change; Dylan Bundy replaces Chris Tillman; Robbie Ross Jr. might change roles

08.16.16 at 11:45 pm ET
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Aaron Hill is dealing with right forearm tightness. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hill is dealing with right forearm tightness. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — The last thing the Red Sox needed heading into their big two-game set at Camden Yards was another injury. But that’s exactly what they got just before first pitch.

Aaron Hill was scratched by Red Sox manager John Farrell just before game-time due to right forearm tightness. Taking his place was Brock Holt, who notched a hit in four at-bats in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Orioles Tuesday night.

“Felt a little bit as he was getting loose during BP,” Farrell said. “BP was fine. swinging the bat was no issue. As he went out to try to throw, there was some restriction there. We had to make the scratch.”

Hill was playing because Hanley Ramirez is on bereavement leave. Ramirez is expected to rejoin the Red Sox in Detroit, Thursday.

— At first glance, it would appear the Red Sox might be getting a break with Orioles ace Chris Tillman being pushed back from his scheduled start Wednesday due to shoulder stiffness. But his replacement doesn’t figure to be any kind of bargain.

Getting the start in the series finale for the O’s will be Dylan Bundy, who has been Buck Showalter’s hottest pitcher of late. In his last three starts, the righty has totaled a 3-0 record and 1.45 ERA, striking out 19 in 18 2/3 innings.

— With another subpar outing from Fernando Abad, who didn’t retire either of his two batters Tuesday night, John Farrell hinted that Robbie Ross Jr. may have to be the high-leverage, matchup lefty coming out of the bullpen.

“We’ve used him early in the game because he’s got multi-inning capability,” Farrell said of Ross Jr. “But we’re probably going to have to shift that here a little bit.”

Ross Jr., who struck out lefty-hitting Chris Davis with a runner on base to end the eighth inning, has held left-handed hitters to a .164 batting average.

“I’m fine with whatever because I think it’s a thing where I’m finally facing lefties,” Ross Jr. said. “But also a thing where if a righty comes in, or they end up pinch-hitting for that lefty, I kind of like that matchup too just because my cutter plays there and my stuff goes in that direction. So it’s kind of a good feeling for me because I get more ground balls off of righties than I do lefties.”

Abad, however, continues to be ineffective when brought in to strand runners. The lefty has now allowed six of his seven inherited runners to score since joining the Red Sox.

— The people Mookie Betts were pointing to in the stands after each of his two home runs Tuesday night were the 12 friends and family he had in attendance.

Closing Time: Mookie Betts (2 HRs) once again plays hero as Red Sox beat Orioles

08.16.16 at 10:16 pm ET
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Mookie Betts is not of this earth.

He might not even be of this solar system.

The diminutive leadoff hitter, who wouldn’t even stand out at a charity softball game, continued his all-out assault on American League pitching in a 5-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night.

With the Sox desperate to build momentum for the first time since early July, Betts gave them everything they needed with two more home runs, including the go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth, to account for all of the Red Sox runs in a 5-3 victory over the Orioles that lifted the Red Sox to their fifth straight win and gave them a chance to move into a virtual three-way tie for first place in the American League East.

Betts, who was recently named AL Player of the Month for June, provided yet more evidence that he has been even better in August.

Just two days after setting or matching career-highs with three homers and eight RBIs against the Diamondbacks, Betts kept the good times rolling in Camden Yards, where he has recorded a trio of multi-homer games this season.

“Ah, shoot, I have no idea,” said Betts when asked how he generates enough power to hit 28 homers this season. “Somehow it’s going over the fence. Again, I’m going to continue to say I don’t know why, but I’m just trying to put good swings on it and enjoy it.”

His three-run shot into the left-field seats in the fifth broke a scoreless tie. His two-run blast off of All-Star setup man Brad Brach then won it for the Red Sox in the eighth after it briefly appeared they’d blow not only Betts’ first homer, but a combined no-hitter that lasted until Steve Pearce beat out an infield single to third with two outs in the seventh.

“Freakish. That’s unbelievable. It’s unreal,” Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr. said of Betts. “I got to see some guys like Nelson Cruz and I was here actually when Josh Hamilton had those four home runs. That was sweet. But I’ve never seen anything like this where it was like night and day, boom, boom, boom. He’s going to get it going. It was pretty special. He’s as clutch as you can get. When it’s big games he’s coming out on top.”

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, mookie betts, Mookie Betts MVP, Orioles

Eduardo Rodriguez leaves with no-hitter after hamstring ailment

08.16.16 at 8:45 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

BALTIMORE — The tough-luck season for Eduardo Rodriguez keeps on hitting roadblocks.

The Red Sox starter was forced to exit his outing with nobody out in the fifth inning against the Orioles Tuesday night due to left hamstring tightness. Rodriguez exited the game after looking into the Sox’ dugout following his second pitch of the inning.

After a brief meeting with manager John Farrell and head trainer Brad Pearson, Rodriguez walked off the mound and into the Camden Yards visitors’ clubhouse.

“I felt it on one pitch before the strikeout to [Mark] Trumbo [in the fourth inning] — the pitch before,” Rodriguez said. “When I threw the pitch, I felt something get tight in there. When I came out for the fifth, I was feeling like it was getting worse so I didn’t want to do something to something inside of there. I feel like we made the right decision before it got worse.”

“I think we got this early,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He felt a little bit of hamstring tightness come on towards the last hitter of the fourth inning. We checked him in between innings. There was no reduction of strength or range of motion. But it was clear the first two pitches he threw to start the fifth, he was not right. He was definitely favoring it so we got him out of the game at the time. He feels a little bit more loose post-game. We’ll have a better read on this [Wednesday].”

At the time of Rodriguez’s injury, the lefty hadn’t allowed a hit through four innings, striking out seven and walking two, with the Red Sox carrying a 3-0 lead. The starter finished having thrown 62 pitches.

The performance had been his second straight standout outing, having come off throwing seven innings of one-hit ball against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Both Rodriguez and Farrell were uncertain if the lefty would be forced to miss a start.

“I’ve got to work and see how I feel, if I feel good,” Rodriguez said.

“There’s a chance at this point,” said Farrell of the pitcher making his next scheduled outing. “I think we got it early enough to where it doesn’t seem to be a significant restriction at this point. But we’ll know more as we get through the coming days.”

Clay Buchholz on Jonathan Papelbon: ‘He’s a special breed’

08.16.16 at 8:21 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

BALTIMORE — There’s not a lot of guys left on the Red Sox who were with the clubwhen we last saw Jonathan Papelbon in a Sox uniform. That would have been on the final day of the 2011 season, answering an hours worth of questions in the Camden Yards visitors clubhouse following the finale of the Sox’s history-making collapse.

Dustin Pedroia. David Ortiz. Clay Buchholz. They were all there when Papelbon left for Philadelphia after that season.

All three, along with Papelbon’s former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, appear to be on board with the idea of the former closer rejoining the Red Sox. Pedroia is one of the reliever’s better friends in baseball, and Ortiz recently hosted Papelbon at the designated hitter’s celebrity golf tournament in the Dominican Repbulic in December.

It’s an acceptance Buchholz confirmed prior to the Red Sox’ series opener Tuesday night.

“Obviously everybody here knows who he is, but there are a few of us who actually played with him and knows what he brings to the table, especially when he’s healthy,” said Buchholz, who played with Papelbon from 2007-11. “He can make any team better. Him knowing how this place is run, and everybody knowing who he is, he can definitely push our bullpen over the edge and make us a lot better. You can basically have three closers out there with Kimbrel and Ziegler. If you can build a bullpen out of guys that are used to pitching late in ballgames with the lead, that’s pretty good.”

It’s the built-in support system that Papelbon would be coming to if the free agent pitcher chooses Boston that seems to be one of the selling points to both the player and the team.

“He’s a special breed,” Buchholz said. “He’s got that side to him when he gets locked in, he gets locked in, and not everybody has that. It will be pretty unique to see it if it does happen. He already knows what to expect. He’s not coming into a place where he doesn’t really know what’s going on or how it’s run. Given that situation he would already be comfortable coming here and it wouldn’t be something new. If he does come here, hopefully it will make us a lot better.”

According to a source close to the situation, Papelbon is expected to choose his destination by Wednesday morning.

Even after rough times in Philadelphia, Ruben Amaro likes idea of Jonathan Papelbon

08.16.16 at 7:42 pm ET
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Red Sox first base coach is one of a few members of the current team to have a previous history with Jonathan Papelbon (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox first base coach is one of a few members of the current team to have a previous history with Jonathan Papelbon (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — There are quite a few familiar faces waiting for Jonathan Papelbon in the Red Sox clubhouse if he chooses to come back to Boston. But there’s only one, Ruben Amaro, who was side-by-side with the reliever during his uncomfortable 3 1/2 years in Philadelphia.

The Red Sox first base coach was the general manager of the Phillies when Papelbon agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal (with a team option for a fifth season) to play in Philly.

And despite the controversy that seemed to follow Papelbon throughout his tenure with the Phillies, Amaro remains a believer in the 35-year-old.

“I know Pap is a competitive guy. He was excellent for us,” Amaro said of free agent, who the Red Sox are considering brining back. “When he pitched for us he was outstanding. He did his job. We didn’t do our job around him, sadly. I think toward the end I think it was more about him not being able to play for a team that couldn’t be competing. He’s one of those guys for a team that is contending or competing, he’s probably great. When it’s not, maybe it’s not quite so great.

“We knew a lot about him. We didn’t know everything about him because we didn’t live with him. But the biggest thing for me at the time was to try and get the best closer available. We were having parallel discussions between [Ryan] Madson and Pap and we ended up going with Pap just because we thought it was the better choice. He ended up pitching really well. He pitched to his contract. I took a lot of heat for that contract but the fact of the matter was that he pitched to it, and pitched well.”

Papelbon ended his Phillies career as the organization’s all-time save leader, notching 123 before being dealt to Washington prior to the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline.

But between Papelbon openly admitting he never developed any kind of relationship with the Philly fans, and the closer having to evolve into a pitcher less reliant on his fastball, it was stay that didn’t go quite as planned.

Amaro, however, believes there was, and can be, value in Papelbon’s presence.

“He ended upsetting some fans at the end. I think that was more about frustrating that we weren’t winning,” Amaro said. “Sadly, we weren’t playing like a winning team for the bulk of his tenure.

“I think his stuff was getting shorter. I think he was getting people out because he was getting smarter and he was getting a little bit better with his command. But with his guile, competitiveness and baseball intelligence, it got him through a lot of situations and he had a lot of success.”

Red Sox lineup: Mookie Betts remains in cleanup spot against Orioles

08.16.16 at 3:15 pm ET
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Travis Shaw

Travis Shaw

BALTIMORE — With Hanley Ramirez still away from the team while on bereavement leave, Travis Shaw remains at first base, while Aaron Hill mans third base in the Red Sox’ series-opener against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Also of note is John Farrell keeping Mookie Betts in the cleanup spot, with David Ortiz hitting third. The positioning allows to break up the left-handed bats of Ortiz and No. 5 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with right-hander Yovani Gallardo on the mound for the hosts:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Sandy Leon C
Andrew Benintendi LF

Click here for all the matchups, with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the start for the Red Sox.

John Farrell sounds like he’s on board with bringing back Jonathan Papelbon

08.16.16 at 1:13 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — After he was released by Washington, sources close to the situation told WEEI.com Jonathan Papelbon would be open to returning to Boston.

Evidently, the feeling is mutual.

Appearing on MLB Network Radio, Red Sox manager John Farrell seemed to make it clear his team sees the value of adding Papelbon to its bullpen mix.

A source told WEEI.com Tuesday morning that Papelbon was expected to choose which team he would be signing with within 24 hours, and that there was ‘strong interest’ in the 35-year-old.

Source: Jonathan Papelbon to make decision in next 24 hours, drawing ‘strong’ interest

08.16.16 at 10:15 am ET
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Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon

According to a source with knowledge of his thinking, former Red Sox reliever Jonathan Papelbon will make a decision on where to play in the next 24 hours and is drawing “strong interest” from across the league, colleague Rob Bradford reports.

It should come as no surprise that multiple teams are intrigued by Papelbon, who was waived by the Nationals on Saturday after being displaced as closer by Mark Melancon.

Papelbon, 35, converted 19 of 22 save opportunities this season before the Nationals acquired Melancon from the Pirates on July 30. While his stuff has clearly degraded, Papelbon remains a battle-tested closer who has saved 368 games, ninth on the all-time list.

There are concerns about his drop in fastball velocity (90.9 mph this year) and strikeout rate (8.0), as well as an uptick in ERA (4.37) and walk rate (3.6). But given the fact that the Nationals are on the hook for his remaining salary in the final year of a deal that pays him $13 million this season, Papelbon represents a low-risk option for a contender at a time when those are hard to come by.

There’s no word on whether the Red Sox are interested or if Papelbon has a preference between leagues.

Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, MLB rumors,

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Henry Owens shines for Pawtucket; Jake Cosart continues to dominate for Salem

08.16.16 at 9:53 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (65-57): W, 5-1, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— The PawSox opened a three-game series against the IronPigs with a big win, led by starting pitcher Henry Owens. The southpaw held Lehigh Valley to one run on five hits in seven strong innings, allowing a season-low one walk and striking out six. In his last four outings, the 24-year-old has recorded a 1.57 ERA with 29 strikeouts. He is 8-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 21 minor league starts.

— Chris Marrero led the way on offense, going 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBIs. He is 14-for-21 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in five games at Lehigh Valley this year. He crushed his league lead-tying 23rd homer of the season in the third inning to give Pawtucket a 2-0 lead. Marrero, 28, now has three home runs in his last five games. He’s slashing .288/.345/.519 with 61 RBIs in 113 games.

— Jose Vinicio went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He crossed home plate in the seventh inning on a doubled from the rehabbing Chris Young. The 23-year-old infielder is batting .260/.288/.321 in 60 games with both Pawtucket and Portland.

— Joe Kelly took the mound in the ninth inning to secure the win for Pawtucket. He gave up a leadoff single but struck out the next batter then induced a double play to end the game. Kelly, 28, has not allowed a run in his last three appearances. He’s 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 15 minor league outings.

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Read More: Chris Marrero, deiner lopez, henry owens, jake cosart

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Yovani Gallardo

08.16.16 at 8:52 am ET
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With the race for the American League East heating up, the Red Sox head to Baltimore on Tuesday to kick off a crucial two-game series against the Orioles, and Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start opposite veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Rodriguez has had an up-and-down season, totaling a 2-5 record with a 5.43 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. The 23-year-old right-hander has not won a start since July 16, but he is coming off his best outing of the season. In a 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Thursday, Rodriguez held New York to one run and three hits through seven innings, striking out six and walking one. He was in line to receive the win before the Yankees drove in three runs in the eighth inning.

“[Rodriguez] did an outstanding job for those seven innings of work,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said (via MLB.com).

In five career starts vs. the Orioles, Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA. His latest outing against Baltimore resulted in a 5-1 Red Sox loss on June 16. He surrendered five runs on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings.

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, Yovani Gallardo,
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