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Friday Red Sox Farm Report: LHP Trey Ball leads Salem to playoff win; LHP Jason Groome pitches well in Lowell’s season-ending loss

09.09.16 at 8:58 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Thursday.

Trey Ball

Trey Ball

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: W, 5-1, vs. Myrtle Beach (Cubs)

— In Game 2 of the best-of-three Carolina League South Division championship series, Trey Ball pitched 5 2/3 quality innings to lead the Red Sox to the series-tying win, forcing a decisive Game 3 on Friday night in Salem, Virginia.

Ball allowed one run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts. A 22-year-old left-hander who was Boston’s first-round pick in 2013, Ball went 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 23 regular-season starts.

— After Mario Alcantara relieved Ball and pitched two shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk with a pair of strikeouts, fellow right-hander Jamie Callahan finished up with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out two. In the ninth inning Callahan loaded the bases with two outs on a walk and two singles, but he induced a fly out to get out of the jam.

— Third baseman Rafael Devers went 2-for-4 with three RBIs on a run-scoring single and a two-run home run. The 19-year-old Devers, MLB.com’s No. 3 Red Sox prospect (behind Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi), batted .282/.335/.443 with 11 home runs and 71 RBIs in 128 regular-season games.

— Left fielder Jayce Ray went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run that opened the scoring in the second inning. The 26-year-old hit .343/.452/.419 in 33 games with Salem during the regular season.

— Right fielder Joseph Monge and center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe each went 2-for-4, with Monge scoring a pair of runs.

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David Ortiz’s one request for his final few games? Make sure Dan Dyrek is close by

09.08.16 at 6:35 pm ET
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Dan Dyrek and David Ortiz will be inseparable for the season's final month or so. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)

Dan Dyrek and David Ortiz will be inseparable for the season’s final month or so. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)

TORONTO — Want to know who will be one of the most important people in that Red Sox clubhouse for the final three weeks of the regular season?

Hint: He’s a 63 year old, former championship collegiate swimmer from the suburbs of Buffalo, who was the reason Larry Bird was able to play on the “Dream Team” back in the 1992 Olympics.

His name is Dan Dyrek, and he is he man in charge of getting David Ortiz to the finish line.

How important is the Red Sox’ Director of Sports Medicine Services? For the final regular season month of his career, Ortiz had one request of the Sox’ owners. It wasn’t another car, more money, or any other kind of retirement gift. It was Dyrek.

“Huge. Huge,” said the Red Sox’ designated hitter when asked about the importance of the physical therapist. “When he’s not around I’m not feeling comfortable. My feet hurt when he’s not around, more than usual. I swear.

“He started traveling everywhere because everybody wanted a piece of him. But this last month I told the owner we need him around 24-7 [24 hours a day, 7 days a week] because he’s incredible.”

The impact Dyrek has had on not just one, but two, of the greatest icons in Boston sports history is truly remarkable. First it was managing Bird’s balky back for the final few years of his career, having been told by the Hall of Famer that he wouldn’t be punctuating his career with the ’92 trip to Barcelona if Dyrek didn’t come along.

And now, Ortiz.

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Red Sox minor league notebook: Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi at top of 2016 power rankings

09.08.16 at 4:21 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada still has plenty of room to grow. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Yoan Moncada still has plenty of room to grow. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

With the Red Sox minor league season pretty much wrapped up (Salem and Lowell are still in the postseason), we decided to do an end of the year power rankings of players in the minor league system.

Note, we still included Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi given their limited major league experience and chance they don’t start on the major league roster next season.

1. Yoan Moncada

Although Moncada has struggled in his limited major league action this month, the future is still very bright. The No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, has recently transitioned to third base, which will continue in the Arizona Fall League. In 106 minor league games between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland this season, the switch-hitter batted .294 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs. Of the 15 homers, 11 were hit in Double-A over the final 45 games of his minor league season before skipping Triple-A and going right to the majors. He can also steal bases as in his two seasons in the minors, he’s stolen 94 bases on 109 attempts.

There is still room to grow for the 21-year-old, especially from the right side of the plate as in Double-A he batted just .167 against lefties. Then obviously just transitioning from second base to third base will require some improving as well, which he will do in the offseason. Moncada has unbelievable upside, which is why he’s considered the best prospect in baseball. He could start the season in Triple-A next year before getting an early call-up to the majors.

2. Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi quickly rose through the minor league system this season being promoted to Double-A Portland after just 34 games in High-A Salem where he hit .341. After initially struggling in the first few weeks in Portland, he got his feet under him and ended up by batting .295 over 63 games with the Sea Dogs before his promotion to the big leagues in August.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft does everything well. As a left-handed hitter he isn’t afraid to go the other way and makes things look effortless for a 22-year-old, especially transitioning to left field roughly two weeks before getting the call to the majors. He’s likely the Red Sox’ starting left fielder next season.

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Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Michael Kopech allows 6 runs; Salem, Lowell fall in playoff openers

09.08.16 at 11:40 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: L, 8-1, at Myrtle Beach (Cubs)

Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

— In Salem’s playoff opener, starter Michael Kopech struggled for the second straight outing. Kopech got chased from the game after just 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs, all earned, along with five hits and as many strikeouts with a pair of walks. He’s now allowed 12 earned runs in his last three innings pitched.

— Anyelo Leclerc allowed five hits over 1 2/3 innings of relief, surrendering a pair of runs — one a solo home run — with three strikeouts. Following Leclerc, the bullpen was stout for the remaining four innings, with Jake Cosart, Bobby Poyner and Trevor Kelly combining to not allow a run with one hit and walk as well as a pair of strikeouts.

— Offensively, Salem managed just six hits with 11 strikeouts while not collecting a single extra-base hit.

— Designated hitter Jose Sermo was the only player with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3. Red Sox No. 3 prospect Rafael Devers went 1-for-3, driving in Salem’s lone run with a single in the sixth to plate Luis Alexander Basabe.

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Closing Time: Resurgent Travis Shaw, solid David Price lift Red Sox past Padres and into 1st place

09.08.16 at 12:15 am ET
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Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw watches his two-run homer against the Padres on Wednesday. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw watches his two-run homer against the Padres on Wednesday. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw didn’t lose his job for long, and good thing for the Red Sox, because now they’re back in first place.

Shaw, seemingly buried by the arrival top prospect Yoan Moncada last week, returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday night and made an impact, homering and driving in three runs to key a 7-2 victory over the Padres that vaulted the Red Sox back into sole possession of first place in the American League East.

The Red Sox passed the Blue Jays, who lost to the Yankees. The Red Sox and Jays open a three-game series in Toronto on Friday, kicking off the final 23 games of the season, which will all be played against division rivals.

The Red Sox needed to take care of business against the Padres first, and they did so in large part on the back of Shaw, who ripped a mammoth two-run homer to right in the second and added an RBI single as part of a three-run fourth.

“I think I’ve played my whole career that way, trying to prove something, kind of a back against the wall type of thing,” Shaw said. “It seems like it brings out the best in me. You just try and keep that edge as long as I can. There’s always that little bit of an edge there, trying to get back to where I was earlier in the year.”

Those hits made a winner of Red Sox left-hander David Price, who improved to 15-8 by winning his sixth straight start. Price went seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs and striking out eight.

“I knew it was going to happen. I knew good things were going to happen to me,” Price said. “I’ve had a lot of good things over the course of how many starts it has been. Whether it’s hard-hit balls going at guys or soft-hit balls not finding the holes, whenever I make a really good pitch, having good things happen, that’s what’s going on for me my past couple of starts. I just want to keep it going.”

The Red Sox tacked on runs with late home runs from Hanley Ramirez and Brock Holt before Koji Uehara returned with a scoreless eighth and Brad Ziegler and Craig Kimbrel combined to close out the ninth.

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Andrew Benintendi may be ready for return during next homestand

09.07.16 at 8:05 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

SAN DIEGO — Andrew Benintendi is getting close.

The rookie outfielder, who has been sidelined with a left knee sprain since Aug. 24, continues to progress ahead of schedule, as was evident by his work prior to Wednesday night’s game. Using his new knee brace, Benintendi has picked it up to a pace where a return to the big leagues is now in sight.

“A good work day today,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The work in the outfield, the change of direction, the increase in running, the intensity continues to climb, he’ll go through his normal BP here today. And I would suspect that once we get to Toronto and we get another work day under our belt, we may be at the point where if there’s at-bats to be had somewhere, that’s a possibility if a team is still in playoff activity. He’s responded very well to the work so far.”

Ideally, the Red Sox would like to get those minor league at-bats with either Single-A Salem or Lowell. But there are no certainties in using those organizations to get the lefty hitter at-bats.

But, no matter how he continues the rehab process, Benintendi appears to be on target for a return to the lineup before the next road trip comes around.

“Yeah, based on what’s transpired over the last three, four days, we would anticipate that he would be available at some point when we get off the road,” said Farrell, whose team starts a seven-game homestand Monday against the Baltimore and the Yankees.

In 21 games before his injury, Benintendi was hitting .324 with an .850 OPS.

John Farrell on D&H: Clay Buchholz’s resurgence ‘couldn’t come at a better time’

09.07.16 at 3:57 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on Dale & Holley with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the team — Clay Buchholz and Yoan Moncada in particular. To hear the full interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Buchholz exited to a standing ovation from a San Diego crowd littered with Red Sox fans on Tuesday night after allowing one run on eight hits with six strikeouts and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. Since slowly reentering the rotation, Buchholz has been one of the Red Sox’ most reliable starters.

“It’s not an easy task to go back and forth, but I think what it speaks to is … Clay’s willingness to do what’s asked,” Farrell said. “And let’s face it, early on he makes 13 starts or thereabouts and the performance kind of put him in the bullpen. But to his credit, he’s made some subtle adjustments. I think pitching out of the stretch exclusively has helped with his consistency. But given where we are right now this time of year he’s pitching at his best this season and it couldn’t come at a better time.”

Suffice to say that the past handful of seasons have been forgettable at times for 32-year-old, but just when all hope seemingly had been lost, Buchholz found his way back into the Red Sox’ good graces.

“He’s never pitched or consistently pitched over 200 innings as you would expect of a top of a top of the rotation guy,” Farrell said. “I can tell you this, he give you what you have, or he gives you what he has. So when he’s been healthy, when he’s performed as he’s doing now and he’s got the ability to spin the baseball and manipulate multiple types of pitches. And because there’s a creative side in there, and I think it was on display again last night, where a hitter can never really sit in one count on one particular pitch.

“So that creativeness, the touch and feel that he has to execute different types of pitches, there are large stretches of individual seasons where he goes out and pitches like he is. And that is like a top of the rotation type of guy. Sure we’d all love it to be 200, 220 innings every single year. But you know what? I think we’re all glad we didn’t part ways at some point earlier in the season.”

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Padres matchups: David Price vs. Jarred Cosart

09.07.16 at 8:24 am ET
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The Red Sox wrap-up their three-game series with the Padres on Wednesday night by sending David Price to the mound to face right-hander Jarred Cosart.

Price is 14-8 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.217 WHIP in 29 starts. After being inconsistent for most of the season, Price has gotten hot lately. He is undefeated in his last five starts, during which time he has posted a 2.06 ERA. In each of his last four starts he has allowed two runs or fewer. In the southpaw’s last outing on Friday, he pitched seven innings, allowing two runs, four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in Boston’s 16-2 rout of the A’s.

“He was outstanding,” manager John Farrell said of Price (via MLB.com). “He set the tone for us here tonight. He was strong; he had some good swing-and-miss with some fastballs. By setting the tone, he put up three zeros and allowed us to get on track offensively.”

Price has never faced the Padres. In interleague play this year, he is 3-2 with 3.25 ERA and a 1.139 WHIP in five starts. The 31-year-old’s last start against the National League was Aug. 12 against the Diamondbacks. Price pitched eight innings, allowing three runs, 10 hits (two home runs) and one walk with eight strikeouts.

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Closing Time: Clay Buchholz cements spot in starting rotation with win over Padres

09.07.16 at 4:31 am ET
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Clay Buchholz received a hearty round of applause after his start Tuesday night. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz received a hearty round of applause after his start Tuesday night. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — It took until Sept. 6 at Petco Park for Clay Buchholz to get the crowd reaction he had been banking on since getting his first start exactly five months before.

It was a boisterous standing ovation from the sea of red making up a good chunk of the 30,000 Southern California fans, celebrating Buchholz’s 6 2/3-inning outing against the Padres.

“Yeah, I hadn’t had one of those in a while,” Buchholz said of the applause. “It’s like I’ve said — good times, bad times. I still feel like I can pitch and help this team out. Regardless of the role, it’s a part of the game, and whenever my name is called, I try to go out there and give the team the best chance I can to win. I’m feeling good right now.”

He has officially made it back.

With no further clarification in regards to Steven Wright’s recovery, and just 24 games left in the regular season, Buchholz is a virtual lock to remain in the starting rotation the rest of the way. No more bullpen. No more bouncing back and forth. He has not only joined what has been the American League’s best starting rotation for the last month, but cemented himself as an integral part of the group.

Coming into Tuesday, Buchholz had already re-established his value both in the bullpen and when getting a crack at starting. Since July 27, the righty has totaled a 2.20 ERA. As a starter during that stretch he has a 2.31 ERA in four outings.

The latest might have been his best of the year, weaving in and out of a Padres lineup that boasted seven left-handed hitters using an equally effective changeup, curveball, cutter and mid-90’s fastball. When the 87-pitch evening was done, he had given up just one run while striking out six and not walking a batter.

“Very proud of him,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, whose team drew even with Toronto for first-place in the American League East with the win. “Proud of the resiliency that he has shown. And he’s not stopped working. He could have … when you move to the bullpen, you can take it one of two ways. For him after maybe going through the news the first time, he’s taking it in the right way and has worked to get better. You know what, the results are showing.”

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After second opinion, Steven Wright optimistic but still uncertain about return

09.07.16 at 2:53 am ET
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Steven Wright is still uncertain if he will pitch again this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright still is uncertain if he will pitch again this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — The trip to Los Angeles Tuesday for the second opinion on his ailing right shoulder was just what the doctor ordered for Steven Wright.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache agreed with the findings of Red Sox team doctor Dr. Peter Asnis when it came to Wright’s shoulder, reaffirming to the pitcher that there was no structural damage despite continued discomfort.

“I didn’t want them to find anything different from what they already found. They were just making sure there’s nothing more there,” Wright said. “[Dr. ElAttrache] was super thorough. We were there for two hours. He answered all of our questions and concerns and basically everything he said was the same thing that Dr. Asnis said. So that’s encouraging for sure.

“It’s definitely more peace of mind more than anything because having two doctors explain to you the same exact thing from looking at the same MRI, it’s definitely encouraging. So now it’s just a matter of tolerating the pain and taking it day by day and not getting too far ahead of ourselves. I’m just looking forward to that.”

Now comes the obvious next question: Does Wright expect to pitch again this season?

“I’m just trying to take it day by day and working on getting all the strength back,” he said. “If it happens, great. If not, it’s one of those things I’m not going to say yes and know that I’m going to pitch because I don’t know. It’s day by day. Hopefully, but you never know.”

Wright still wasn’t planning on getting any kind of cortisone shot, although he also didn’t know of any drastic from what he had been doing during the recovery process.

After coming off the 15-day disabled list, the knuckleballer continued to have tightness in his shoulder throughout his last two starts, with the issue failing to improve with time.

“People heal different,” Wright said. “It’s one of those things where bursitis is definitely in there and he didn’t really know. As long as though there is no structural damage and just inflammation, sometimes it takes a little more time than others.”

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