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Red Sox-Rangers series preview

05.28.15 at 9:23 am ET
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Josh Hamilton (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Josh Hamilton is off to a slow start in his return to the Rangers, recording one hit in his first 11 at-bats. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

To close out the month of May and their road trip, the Red Sox begin a four-game series with the Rangers on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

For the second time this season, the Sox were swept by their opponent in their most recent series, dropping all three games to the Twins and getting outscored 14-7 in the process. In the first and second games of the series, Boston was unable to plate more than two runs before plating four Wednesday afternoon when Dustin Pedroia hit two two-run home runs. The Sox have scored two or fewer runs in 19 of their 42 games this year and own a 4-15 record in those contests. When crossing the plate three times or fewer, Boston is 5-17. In their last 15 games, the Red Sox have tallied two or fewer nine times with a 2-7 record.

“A lot of early outs, put the ball on the ground, a couple of ground-ball double plays. I’d like to think our approach can be a little bit more concerted, a little bit more concentrated,” manager John Farrell said after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss. “I think we’re capable of more than we showed here.”

The Sox also made an addition to the 40-man roster, announcing on Wednesday that they had acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Rangers for cash considerations. Peguero, who is a left-handed hitter, doesn’t do much to abate Boston’s woes batting vs. lefties, and makes the outfield picture just a little more crowded.

Thursday will mark Sox pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez’s first major league start.

The Rangers, despite dropping their most recent contest against the Indians on Wednesday, ending a seven-game winning streak, are 8-2 in their last 10 games, tied with Minnesota for the best mark in the American League during that stretch.

“Winning is contagious,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after his team’s comeback win Tuesday night. “I think all of it plays together. It’s a lot more fun to play when you’re winning games.”

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Rangers matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Nick Martinez

05.28.15 at 8:23 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

The Red Sox begin a four-game set on the road against the Rangers on Thursday, sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the bump to take on Nick Martinez.

Rodriguez will be making his major league debut in the form of a spot start in order to give the Red Sox rotation an extra day of rest. The rest of the rotation will remain intact, and each pitcher’s start will get pushed back one day.

Through eight starts this season in Triple-A Pawtucket, Rodriguez has a 4-3 record and 2.98 ERA. He has averaged almost a full strikeout per inning, sending 44 hitters straight to the dugout in 48 1/3 innings pitched. He has gotten through at least six innings in five of his eight starts.

Rodriguez hasn’€™t been great of late, however. The left-hander has gone 1-3 with a 4.18 ERA in his past four starts for the PawSox.

In his most recent outing on Saturday, Rodriguez got the loss against the Louisville Bats. He threw seven innings and allowed five runs, although just two were earned. He surrendered nine hits, struck out six and threw 70 of 93 pitches for strikes.

“If they call me, I’m ready. I always have to be ready,” Rodriguez said on May 13. Now he will get his chance to prove himself at the big league level.

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Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Yoan Moncada returns, Jackie Bradley Jr. back to hitting in Triple-A

05.28.15 at 7:40 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday, May 27:

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-24): L 9-6 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

— Pawtucket lost their sixth straight home game, the club’€™s longest home losing skid since July of 2009, as well as their 11th game in 13 played against the Yankees‘€™ Triple-A affiliate dating back to last season. Pawtucket has lost 14 of 20 overall after opening the year with an 18-10 record.

— Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka made his second rehab start for Scranton, on his path back from being placed on the disabled list April 27 with wrist tendinitis and a strained forearm. Tanaka was on a pitch count and finished with 62 tosses and a line of: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR. Over 30 members of the Japanese media were credential to watch Tanaka work at McCoy Stadium. Tanaka complained about the state of the mound during the first inning, leading to a 10-minute delay while members of the grounds crew worked the dirt to more to Tanaka’€™s liking.

— The long-ball allowed by Tanaka came off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., who also doubled off the right-center field wall and scored twice, finishing 3-for-5 and raising his Triple-A average to .342. It was Bradley’€™s third game back with the PawSox after his most recent stretch in Boston, an 0-for-11 six-game cup-of-coffee that ended with Rusney Castillo’€™s promotion last Friday. Bradley spent the majority of 2014 with Boston, but batted just .198 in 127 games played.

— John Cornely made his second Pawtucket appearance since being acquired by the Red Sox one week ago in a trade from the Braves. Cornely, 26, took the loss after allowing two runs, including a triple and a home run in 1 2/3 innings. The game was tied at six entering the seventh inning when Cornely, a hard-throwing righty, allowed two runs. He had recorded a two-out save in his first Pawtucket appearance last Friday.

— Pawtucket will have an off day on Thursday before a three game series with Louisville begins. With the callup of lefty Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston, Brian Johnson will pitch Friday and Henry Owens Saturday.

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Red Sox acquire outfielder Carlos Peguero from Rangers for cash

05.27.15 at 6:13 pm ET
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Carlos Peguero

Carlos Peguero

MINNEAPOLIS — The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they have acquired 28-year-old outfielder Carlos Peguero for cash considerations from the Rangers.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Peguero — a left-handed hitter who appeared in 30 games for the Rangers — the Red Sox placed reliever Anthony Varvaro on the 60-day disabled list.

Peguero played all three outfield positions for the Rangers, hitting .186 (13-for-70) with four home runs. All of his homers came on Texas’ seven-game road trip in early May.

The outfielder had been designated for assignment May 20. He is out of options.

Peguero has shown pop, hitting 30 home runs for Triple-A Omaha last season. For his minor-league career, the Dominican native has homered 167 times, averaging one home run every 16.7 at-bats during his stints in Triple-A. He also strikes out quite a bit, fanning 125 times in 284 big league at-bats.

Originally signed by Seattle, Peguero has played in 99 major league games. He totaled 44 appearances with the Mariners in 2011, 17 in ’12 and two more in ’13. Playing for the Royals last season, the lefty hitter got action in four games.

He is a significantly more productive hitter against right-handers, hitting .290 at Triple-A in ’14 compared to a .198 clip vs. lefties.

While it is unclear what the roster move on the 25-man roster might be, the Red Sox could disable Rusney Castillo (who said after Wednesday’s game he was optimistic he would be ready to play Thursday after suffering a shoulder injury Wednesday), or send Jeff Bianchi back to Triple-A.

Another scenario would be designating Daniel Nava for assignment, with Peguero serving as another left-handed-hitting outfielder.

The Red Sox will also be bringing up pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to start Thursday, with Heath Hembree most likely being sent back to Pawtucket.

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Source of Hanley Ramirez’s problems? Pitchers ‘watched me the first month’

05.27.15 at 5:54 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Hanley Ramirez isn’t blaming his recent struggles on his banged up left shoulder. And neither are the Red Sox decision-makers.

So, if it’s not that, then what is it?

This is a hitter that hit .293 with a .999 OPS, 10 home runs and 22 RBI in April.

Thus far this month his average sits at .210 for May, while carrying a .511 OPS, not a single homer and just one RBI.

“Just work to June,” he said after going 0-for-3 in the Red Sox‘ 6-4 loss to the Twins Wednesday. “That’s it.”

Besides bad luck — “I mean, I keep hitting line drive outs to people. I can’t control that. And I’ve been doing that for, I mean, the whole month. Just right at people,” he said — Ramirez believes a big part of the issue is how careful opposing pitchers are approaching him.

The Twins’ pitchers did pound the inside part of the plate against Ramirez throughout a series he came away with just one hit and one walk in 12 plate appearances. And those balls he did put in play were done so without extending his arms, forcing most of his contact to center and right field.

“I mean, I’ve got a strike zone. Most of the pitches they’ve thrown me inside are balls. I’m not supposed to pull that,” Ramirez said. “I hit it back up the middle, that’s my approach. Back up the middle. If you start opening your front shoulder and keep chasing, I’m not changing my approach. So it is what it is. I’m not getting any mistakes right now. They’re just pounding the black of the plate.”

When asked if pitchers were approaching him differently than in April, Ramirez was quick with an answer.

“Yeah, yeah. No mistakes,” he said. “On the black, everything. They watched me the first month. They don’t want me to hurt them. Just keep fighting every at-bat and every game, you know? I’m not going to quit. Keep going out there and compete.”

They not only need Ramirez to compete, but they really need him to be closer the presence he was earlier in the season.

“I mean, what I learned through the years, man, that’s the season, that’s how it goes, up and down, up and down,” he said. “One day you’re hot, one day you go in a slump. You’ve got to try to stay there, fighting every day til you get hot again. As a team, we’re not playing good right now. We’ve got to keep going out there, man, and I think Pedroia, man, he’s keeping everybody awake here. You watch him every day go out there and play hard, it’s what we’re trying to do.”

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Rusney Castillo isn’t worried about latest shoulder injury

05.27.15 at 5:16 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

MINNEAPOLIS — According to Rusney Castillo, his latest injury doesn’€™t figure to be too much of an issue going forward.

The Red Sox outfielder, who re-injured his right shoulder diving for a catch in his team’€™s 2-1 loss to the Twins Tuesday night, proclaimed himself better and on the verge of returning to action.

“It’€™s tough to say exactly when,” Castillo said when asked about a return date. “We’€™re going day-to-day right now. I was ready to go in today, whether it be defensively or to run. I wouldn’€™t have been 100 percent, but I did feel much better as the day went on today. We’€™ll take it day-to-day and see how it feels tomorrow.”

Castillo was replaced in the Red Sox‘€™ lineup by Brock Holt for the Red Sox’€™ 6-4 loss to the Twins Wednesday afternoon.

He insisted after the game that the injury wasn’€™t nearly as severe as the shoulder ailment which put him on the disabled list with Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this season.

“It’s not the same level of intensity or as serious of an injury,” said Castillo, who is 3-for-15 (.200) since joining the Red Sox. “Ideally, I could start playing [Thursday] or over the weekend. We’ll see how I feel. If not [Thursday], then the next few days I’m hoping.”

When asked about what has become a trend in regards to missing time due to injuries since signing with the Red Sox, Castillo said, “It’s at times a little concerning. Playing back in Cuba, I had never had any sort of injuries like this. It’s concerning, but at the same time every single one of them I’ve been able to bounce back relatively quickly. It’s not something I’m concerned with moving forward.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox hit low point with latest loss to Twins

05.27.15 at 3:39 pm ET
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Rick Porcello had his second straight rough outing Wednesday. (Hannah Foslier/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello had his second straight rough outing Wednesday. (Hannah Foslier/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — Fifty-seven games into the season and this is not working out, as the Red Sox‘ latest loss reminded us.

The pitcher, Rick Porcello, who the Red Sox designated their stopper — judging by the $95 million committed over the next five seasons — allowed six runs over seven innings and now has an ERA of 5.37. In his last two starts, Porcello has given up 13 runs in 11 1/3 innings.

The three hitters (David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez) the team invested in combined $52 million for this season finished off the Sox’ three-game series against the Twins with four hits (4-for-35, .115) and two RBI between them.

Most importantly for the Red Sox, the end result of the struggles was a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins after Paul Molitor’s club’s 6-4 victory over the Sox Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

The latest defeat pushed the Sox to five games under .500, entrenching their position in the basement of the American League East.

The Red Sox certainly aren’t panicking, but the master plan for how to contend isn’t bearing fruit thus far.

“We’€™re four games out of first-place so I’€™m not upset,” Dustin Pedroia said. “I’€™m upset about the way we’€™re playing, but if you look at the big picture we’€™re right there. Everybody can say whatever they want about our team but we’€™re one click away from being a championship caliber team. But right now we’€™re a last-place team. So hopefully it comes soon.”

The three games also marked the first time the Twins have swept the Red Sox since completing the feat in June 13-15, 2006 at the old since demolished Metrodome.

“Yeah, everybody here, pretty much everybody is champions,” Ramirez said. “They know how to win. They know how to win. I’ve been here for a month, month and a half, almost two months, and I’ve learned that from those guys. I’m trying to be on the same page, know what I mean? All I care right now is just win. We’re not winning lately, but we’re just going to stay at it every day.”

The only thing keeping the Red Sox competitive in the series finale were a pair of two-run homers from Pedroia.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Pedroia. The second baseman finished the series with a team-high five hits after his two homers and now finds his batting average at .290. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

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Buster Olney on MFB: Red Sox have ‘most fixable problems’ of AL East teams

05.27.15 at 1:49 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox, their status within the American League East and how they can improve. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Last week, with the Red Sox seeming to heat up, Olney said that the team had a great opportunity to take advantage of a relatively weak AL East. Since then, the Sox offense has sputtered and the team has lost five of seven. However, Olney maintains that the Red Sox still have the best chance of any team in the division to turn things around.

“When you look at what they have as their list of potential solutions, it’s just a lot longer than, say, a team like Tampa Bay or the Yankees, where they’re pretty much stuck with the guys that they have, and it’s part of the reason why I think going forward [the Red Sox] have a chance to get better,” Olney said.

While the Red Sox have struggled this season, Olney said, “They have the most fixable problems and the most resources to fix them with,” as compared to other teams in the AL East.

One change Olney recommended is to move the lineup around based on day-to-day matchups rather than each player’s pedigree. The Sox, for example, moved the struggling David Ortiz down to fifth in the order for Tuesday and Wednesday’s games.

“That feels like the first step in what has to happen next in fixing the 2015 team, which is to get away from stature and past records and all that and just get back to picking the best lineup every day,” he said. “If you move Ortiz, who has the most stature on that team, you can probably do a lot of other things as you go.”

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Former Red Sox OF Yoenis Cespedes unhappy about treatment in Boston

05.27.15 at 12:54 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes’ time with the Red Sox was brief, and he said he knows why. Cespedes, now with the Tigers after an offseason trade, said he clashed with Sox first base coach Arnie Beyeler, and that led to what the outfielder implies was a smear campaign against him.

“There were some rumors in Boston, things that were said about me that I said were not true, so I knew they were going to trade me,” Cespedes told USA Today’s Jorge L. Ortiz. “The first base coach treated me like I was a rookie when I got there, wanted me to do things a rookie would do, and I told him I wasn’t going to, so he started talking.”

Cespedes was acquired by the Sox from the A’s at last year’s trade deadline. Right away there was speculation that he would not last in Boston, as he is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

The 29-year-old also questioned the decision-making of the A’s, who saw a drop-off in production after moving the Cuban slugger in a deal for Jon Lester. Oakland, which was in first place in the AL West at the time of the trade, went 22-33 the rest of the season. This season the A’s have the league’s worst record (17-31).

“[Fellow Cuban Ariel Prieto] would tell me Oakland is a school where they develop the players, then they let them go,” Cespedes said Monday before the Tigers opened a three-game series in Oakland. “I was a little surprised to see some of the main figures leave.”

Reminded that the A’s have a reputation for trading up-and-coming players rather than paying them, Cespedes replied: “Then why operate? Don’t they want to win a championship?”

A’s manager Bob Melvin said he’s not interested in discussing his former player.

“I think we have to move on,” Melvin said. “He’s with a new team and we have a new complement of guys. . . . Baseball’s a transient business. Guys move around from time to time. He’s just one of the guys who was here and had an impact, and he’s no longer here.”

Cespedes, who is hitting .285/.318/.469 with five home runs, 24 RBIs and a league-high 16 doubles in 47 games, is the two-time defending All-Star Home Run Derby champion, and he said he plans to defend his title this summer.

Read More: Arnie Beyeler, Yoenis Cespedes,

Live blog: Red Sox, Rick Porcello take on Twins in series finale

05.27.15 at 12:22 pm ET
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Live Blog Red Sox vs. Twins, series finale

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